Humanity has been around for more than a million years and as we have traversed various continents of this beautiful planet we live in, we have evolved into having distinct physical characteristics. One that is immediately noticeable and for which men and women have been ostracized throughout the ages is the color of their skin. Racism as we know it had always been prevalent and even though we would like to believe that it doesn’t exist in our modern society, the truth is, racial discrimination haunts people of color even today.
The Effects of Racism And Discrimination In the Modern World
What is racism ?
Before we can answer that let us first take a brief moment to understand what is race. While it is true that there are genetic and geographical factors affecting a person’s appearance, race, as it is prevalent in our modern society, is mostly a social construct.
How did Racism emerge?
No one is born a racist. But upbringing has an important part to play in racial discrimination. If we turn the pages of history, we will find that throughout the ages racism has been prevalent in every major civilisation. As humans, we oppose change and when we meet new people we tend to be distrustful of them. And over the years, this fear and lack of trust in new people has turned itself into the ugly monster that is racism.
Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.
says Abraham J Heschel, one of the leading philosophers of the 20th Century. And in the following paragraphs, we shall see how it has threatened the lives and livelihoods of countless coloured people across the world and continues to do so even to this day.
(1) Discrimination and Lack of Opportunities
One of the foremost arguments when it comes to racism and racial discrimination in the modern age comes from the fact that even though there are various Discrimination Laws, we still find that many educational institutions, as well as industries and professions in general, partake in a brand of sly under the table racism.
Although laws now dictate that equal opportunity must be given to someone regardless of the colour of their skin, a check of education and employment rates among coloured individuals reveals a very different story.
(2) Injustice in the Criminal Justice System
People of African American descent are more likely to commit crimes- a myth that had been perpetrated through the ages when slavery was legal and lynching black people was the norm, still lives on to this day. This is one example where racism turns into a vicious cycle where people distrust and do not want to offer jobs to people of colour forcing them into shady activities. In order to survive, sometimes people resort to less than legal alternatives and the media picks up on that news propagating racial discrimination all over again.
(3) Increased Poverty Among the Racial Minority
The effects of being denied education as well as jobs leads to a trickle down effect that results in most racial minorities being always at or under the poverty line with only a select few ever being able to get out of the long grasps of generations of poverty.
As has been noted many a time by the United Nations, poverty and racism are inexplicably related and especially in First World Countries.
While there are tangible and real world effects of racism, the phycological effects of being subject to racial discrimination is something that cannot be quantified. Some examples of discrimination which has left a mark not only on our history but also lives on as a grim reminder of our past is Apartheid. Even though several decades and Discrimination Laws have been passed since then, the extreme segregation practised by the South African population on the native African people has left scars on their pysche that are nigh impossible to heal.
Racist behaviour and racism, in general, should be condemned not just because of the economic implications it has on coloured people but because we as humans deserve better from our peers. Racism undermines the cohesive unity of humanity and thus must be stopped.