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Why is racism such a charged word?

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

A lot of ink has already been spilled on paper regarding the subject of racism, but the issue seems to be as stubborn as a granite mountain that resists any attempts to be broken down by agents of weathering and mass wasting. While many governments and communities have passed legislation to tame this “monster,” it somehow finds a way to raise its ugly head and stare mockingly at us. Each time the issue of racism is mentioned, tensions are high, reason is thrown out the window and replaced by an emotional outburst that only makes the situation worse.

If you doubt the gravity of this situation, all you need to do is to Google the word “racism”. I did and I found about 253,000,000 results (0.32 seconds). Lord, have mercy. We are in the 21st century and have made a lot of advances in technology, medicine, communication, artificial intelligence, and many other areas, but it seems we are having a lot of difficulties eradicating racism.

When you turn on the news, especially in the United States of America, a day does not go by without you hearing somebody being labeled a racist. The situation has deteriorated since Donald Trump became the president. A day does not go by without somebody calling him a racist. You may be saying that he is a racist and the racist-in-chief, as some have decided to label him. But is he? What about the accusation that all who elected him are racists? Are we saying that racism is no longer about the color of somebody’s skin, but between the Democrats and the Republicans? It seems racism has morphed into a new monster that has taken over the Republican party. If you are a Republican, no matter who you are, this monster has polluted you and you are now a racist. Meanwhile, the minority-loving, protective, and caring Democratic Party has somehow cleansed and sanitized itself of this vile monster. Therefore, all who identify with the Democratic Party are not racists, but inclusive, tolerant, accepting, and loving of all people.

The question is why is racism such a charged word? Why do the politicians like to talk about it a lot? Why is it that after the United States of America elected the first biracial president, racism is still the top item on the news? I have deliberately mentioned that President Barack Obama was biracial because his mother was white and his father was a black man from Kenya. These days words seem to have multiple meanings, and the main actors behind mass media are the spin doctors who insist on setting the narrative that all of us must follow. President Obama identified himself as a black person, and I do not fault him for that, but the underlying composition of his DNA and who he is does not change. He is biracial, and it is a part of him that cannot be discarded. That said, his election was supposed to be a high point in the life of a country and the world that has had its fair share of racial tensions because of discrimination, slavery, subjugation, lynchings, murders, and all sorts of atrocities. Unfortunately, it seems the issue of racism is getting worse with each passing day. Is this the case?

The purpose of writing this book is to offer a simple solution to this apparent complex problem of racism. There is no attempt here to deny its monstrosity and the havoc and carnage it has caused and is still causing all over the world. Nobody in their right mind can deny the existence of racism and the harm it causes. Are we at the mercy of this monster forever or is there a way out?

While some, in the name of awareness, keep stoking the fires of racism, I will be using an entirely different approach to address this vexing issue that has plagued the human race for thousands of years. Racism and discrimination did not start with the arrival of slaves on the shores of the new world, nor did it start when these slaves were caught and sold by people who looked like them. We need to go past all the great civilizations that practiced this evil and go back to the very beginning when humans were created. If we want to offer any reasonable solution, it is imperative that we go to the source of the problem. Throughout human history, racism has been practiced at varying degrees by different societies at different times.

Before one can make any attempt to provide any lasting solution, it will be important to expand the definition of racism to encompass other forms of discrimination that exist among all humans, no matter where you find them. Take, for example, tribalism and ethnocentric discrimination. While some will argue that there is a big difference between racism, tribalism, and ethnocentrism, I will be arguing here that there is a great commonality among them because the focus is going to be on what drives these three behaviors.

The bottom line is that by default, all humans can discriminate against other people who do not look, speak, eat, believe, and dress like them. In other words, the propensity to be racist exists in all of us. This does not mean that there is a racist gene, but based on how we were raised and nurtured, we tend to seek for “our own” unless taught otherwise. This discrimination becomes problematic when it perpetuated at the expense of other people. Although there is no scientific basis for dividing the human race into different races based on skin color or other factors, this idea of racism still persists because humans like to discriminate. We generally like what is predictable, familiar, and comfortable. Therefore, when we see something new and strange, fear pushes us to want to be protective of our stuff. For us to keep expanding and occupy space, we sow fear in the hearts of other people by creating the illusion of superiority.

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