Racism is referred to as a belief in which certain races of people by virtue of their birth feel that they are superior to others. This act which is built on hate, discrimination, injustice and prejudice based on culture and skin colour, language, or background has eaten deeply into the thought pattern of some individuals who see themselves over and above others. This thought pattern is a moral evil because it denies the dignity and rights of the other. It is a threat to peace and can become a catalyst for social unrest, chaos and anarchy. Unfortunately, the seeds of bias are often planted in us before nursery school. No one is born a racist. People are actually taught from infancy to see themselves higher and see some others as lower in an informal or a formal setting.
Racial biases are often associated with negative stereotypes people have against others from childhood; once imbibed, these biases are hard to let go. Stereotypes and prejudices resist change, even when evidence fails to support them or points to the contrary. Everyone has biases against others whether directly or indirectly. These biases are hidden in our psyche. Most times, our parents’ unconsciously pass them to us and their biases and prejudices become ours too. Historically, racism was notoriously expressed in slavery of Africans founded on the wrong belief of their inferiority. To the whites, an African is referred to as a less human than he is, simply because his skin colour points to the remarkable difference.
This ideology which is the order of the day, denies our oneness as humans and the basic truth that we are made in God’s image and likeness. Racial discrimination is caused by fear of the unknown, lack of proper education and exposure, closeness, ignorance, negative and wrong orientation and primitive tendency. Most recently in the United States of America, the deaths of George Floyd and Rashad Brooks (two black men in the hands of white police officers) sparked protests within and outside America, because of the nature of their deaths which many linked to racial discrimination. Consequently, many people revived the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) protest which was founded in July 13 2013 as an advocacy against racism. This thought basically doesn’t lie solely on the whites against the blacks, traces of racial discrimination has over time displayed itself even amongst the black races.
For instance, in Nigeria today, there exist several manifestations of prejudice that results to marginalization and discrimination in form of religious and ethnic bigotry, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism What we visibly see in all these, is the ardent lack of true love in our world. We must be conscious of the fact that racial discrimination contradicts in clear terms the universal brotherhood of man, which God wills from the creation of the world. Hence, a way of ensuring that racism is curbed in our world means we must be: Open-minded, possess true and unconditional love for humanity that transcends human nature’s tendency to fear and hate.
We must however, note also that just as we have the capacity to hate and be biased towards others, we also have the capacity to love and treat people with dignity and respect. This is a basic human necessity that must be encouraged. When this is carried out intently, consciously and sincerely we would have to a large extent the unique brotherhood as willed by God at creation, having in mind that when we love we become like God for God is love. Moreover, since biases start early, parents/guardians have an important role to help young children get on the right track by exposing them early to more positive images of other racial groups, helping them develop diverse friendships and cultivating virtues of tolerance, compassion and love, while talking openly about racism, tribalism and discrimination and their effects.
Finally by a way of recommendation, parents/guardians, educational systems, religious platforms and socio-political structures should help to promote the spread of love, tolerance and unity by encouraging diversity, fairness and justice in their principles and activities. The facts remains that we must see one another as equals and treat one another with dignity, love and respect, thereby enhancing fraternity, solidarity and peaceful co-existence. When this is achieved our world would be a better place, free from racial or social stratification.