CULTURAL DIVERSITY & NATIONAL INTEGRITY
THE ISSUE OF RACE
Definition of Race and Ethnicity
The notion of race does not have to be problematic from a scientific or from a social point of view. The concept of race can also be viewed as a common attempt to understand the diversity of human biological foundations. Race is therefore the fundamental variation of human genetic lineage within related natural conditions and happenstance, unalterable under normal circumstances. Ethnicity involves having common societal consciousness, and is based on acquirable elements such as cultural traits, dialects, customs, traditions, and cuisines within a defined geographic area -- such as tribe, region, or nation. It is important to state the definitions here because race and ethnicity are often interchanged and confused with the one another.
Why we include racial identity as a category in the AV country profile
We include the category of racial identity on its country profiles in order to showcase the beauty and potential of the racial diversity in each country. We believe that being cognizant of the composition and fabric of values of differences in biological heritages in each country is a good and intelligible method of fair representation. We have no intention of manipulating the process of the findings and exploiting the results as it was done by so many institutions to promote racist agenda. On the contrary, our interest is to eradicate racism by confronting it directly though the logic of its true meaning and the actual perception of race.
The direction we have taken, which is to show Africans and diaspora experiences, requires us to explain the racial background of people in all countries. This could eliminate any assumptions that every country is made up of one race of people, and informs us about the degree of inclusiveness, tolerance, and acceptance of each country.
How racial category came to being
The conception of race has been misdirected by special interests from the beginning. A Swedish botanist by the name of Carolus Linnaeus established the classification system still in use for various forms of life. In 1758, Carolus published "varieties" of the human species, he had four categories based on two criterion: inherited biological and learned cultural characteristics. “He described Homo European as light-skinned, blond, and governed by laws; Homo American was copper-colored and was regulated by customs; Homo Asiatic was sooty and dark-eyed and governed by opinions; Homo African was black and indolent and governed by impulse.”
In 1894, an influential Italian anthropologist by the name of Giuseppe Sergi (1841 – 1936) published a book known as the Human Variation (Varietà umane. Principio e metodo di classificazione). He argued that external as well as internal characteristics are unique to each variation of man and other animals. He published another book titled The Mediterranean Race (1901) where he explained the earliest European peoples arose from original populations in the Horn of Africa, and were related to Hamitic peoples. This primal "Eurafrican race" split into three main groups, the deeply sun tanned African peoples, the Mediterranean race and the north European Nordic race. Semitic people were closely related to Mediterraneans but constituted a distinct "Afroasian" group. His four great branches of the Mediterranean stock were the Libyans or Berbers, the Ligurians, the Pelasgians and the Iberians. He stated that Ancient Egyptians were a branch of the Libyans.
Sergi was one of the first few to develop an opposition to Nordicism at the period when the claim that the Nordic race was of pure Aryan stock and naturally superior to other Europeans. He argued that the Mediterraneans were more creative and imaginative than other peoples, but that they were by nature volatile and unstable. He also argued that Northern Europeans had developed stoicism, tenacity and self-discipline due to the cold climate, and so were better adapted to succeed in modern civic cultures and economies.
Exploitation of racial analysis
In retrospect, it is possible to recognize the assumptions involved in all these theories. Both the favorable and unfavorable imply a hierarchical order of prestige. Most striking is the effect of these theories on society. People across time have used the concept of human taxonomy to perpetrate their extreme views and agenda and many of those views were institutionalized.
Exploitation of racial analysis in Germany
In Germany, for an example (excuse the cliché), the influence of Nordicism was powerful and created the basis for the WWII. There it was known under the term "Nordischer Gedanke" (Nordic thought).This phrase was coined by the German eugenicists Erwin Baur, Eugen Fischer and Fritz Lenz. It appeared in their 1921 work Human Heredity, which insisted on the innate superiority of the Nordic race. Adapting the arguments of Schopenhauer and others to Darwinian theory, they argued that the qualities of initiative and will-power identified by earlier writers had arisen from natural selection, because of the tough landscape in which Nordic peoples evolved. This had ensured that weaker individuals had not survived. This argument was derived from earlier eugenicist and Social Darwinist ideas. They went on to argue that "the original Indo-Germanic civilization" was carried by Nordic migrants to as far as India, and that the physiognomy of upper-caste Indians “discloses a Nordic origin".
Völkism was popular among many German people, especially among people who were living below the national poverty level. People bought-in easily on the idea of inclusion in patriotic movement. The Nazi party saw the opportunity and capitalized on it. Adolf Hitler read Human Heredity shortly before he wrote “Mein Kampf”, and called it scientific proof of the racial basis of civilization. "In his Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (Race-Lore of the German Volk), published 1922, Hans Friedrich Karl Günther identified five principal European races instead of three, adding the East Baltic race and Dinaric race to Ripley's categories. He criticized the Völkish idea, stating that the Germans were not racially unified, but were actually one of the most racially diverse peoples in Europe. Despite this, many Völkists who merged Völkism and Nordicism embraced Günther's ideas, most notably the Nazis. In his book “The Myth of the Twentieth Century” (1930), the Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg argued that the Nordic race had evolved in a now-lost landmass off the coast of North Western Europe, and had migrated through Scandinavia and northern Europe, expanding further south, and as far as Iran and India, where it founded the Aryan cultures of Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. Like Grant and others, he argued that the entrepreneurial energy of the Nordics had "degenerated" when they mixed with "inferior" peoples.
Exploitation of racial analysis in the USA
Race exploitation has existed in America since its beginning and was largely responsible for systemic annihilation of indigenous values and African cultures in America. Although nordicism was perceived in sense among generation of settlers and immigrants, it was the eugenicist Madison Grant who emerged as its primary spokesman in the 1900s. His book, “The Passing of the Great Race” (1916), or “The Racial Basis of European History about Nordicism” was highly influential among racial thinking and government policy making.
Grant used the theory as justification for immigration policies of the 1920s, arguing immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe represented a lesser type of European and their numbers in the United States should not be increased. Grant argued the Nordic race had been responsible for most of humanity's great achievements, and admixture was "race suicide" and unless eugenic policies were enacted, the Nordic race would be supplanted by inferior races. Grant and others urged this as well as the complete restriction of non-Europeans. The Immigration Act of 1924 was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. This was designed to reduce the number of Eastern and Southern European immigrants, exclude Asian immigrants altogether, and favor immigration from Northern and Western European countries such as Britain, Ireland and Germany. President Coolidge agreed, stating "Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend.”
Grant recommended segregating "unfavorable" races in ghettos by installing civil organizations through the public health system to establish quasi-dictatorships in their particular fields. The Nazi state used such ideas about the differences between European races as part of their various discriminatory and coercive policies which culminated in the Holocaust. Madison Grant's book was the first non-German book to be translated and published by the Nazi Reich press, and Grant proudly displayed a letter from Hitler to his friends claiming that the book was "his Bible”. Passing of the Great Race was a "racial" interpretation of contemporary anthropology and history, stating race as the basic motor of civilization.
Unlike the Nazis, Grant was also credited with saving many natural species from extinction. He was also the creator of wildlife management, helped to found the Bronx Zoo, build the Bronx River Parkway, save the American bison as an organizer of the American Bison Society, and helped to create Glacier National Park and Denali National Park. In 1906, although as Secretary of the New York Zoological Society, he lobbied to put Ota Benga, a Congolese pygmy, on display alongside apes at the Bronx Zoo.
Historian Jonathan Spiro has argued that Grant's interests in conservationism and eugenics were not unrelated: both are hallmarks of the early 20th-century Progressive movement, and both assume the need for various types of stewardship over their charges. In Grant's mind, natural resources needed to be conserved for the Nordic Race, to the exclusion of other races. Grant viewed the Nordic race lovingly, as he did any of his endangered species, and considered the modern industrial society as infringing just as much on its existence as it did on the redwoods. Like many eugenicists, Grant saw modern civilization as a violation of "survival of the fittest", whether it manifested itself in the over-logging of the forests, or the survival of the poor via welfare or charity.
Perception of Race in a social context
Race is an idea that has become so fixed in many societies around the world that there is little or no room for open-mindedness when challenging the idea of racial categories. Over the years there has been a drastic change with the way the term "race" is used by scientists. Essentially, there is a major difference between the biological and sociological views of race.
The traditional terms for these populations - Caucasoid (or Caucasian), Mongoloid, Negroid, and in some systems Australoid - are now controversial in both technical and nontechnical usage, and in some cases they may well be considered offensive. The biological aspect of race is described today not in observable physical features but rather in such genetic characteristics as blood groups and metabolic processes, and the groupings indicated by these factors seldom coincide very neatly with those put forward by earlier physical anthropologists. Citing this and other points - such as the fact that a person who is considered black in one society might be nonblack in another - many cultural anthropologists now consider race to be more a social or mental construct than an objective biological fact.
The reason we generally avoid using colors such as black or white to describe peoples, is that we believe color coding artificially distorts the true understanding of the matter and has been understood as one of the root causes of racial problems today. 'Black' and 'White' as we have it up till now is an interpretation of the reflection of oneself in others. Many people, including notable scholars will argue the preference of 'Black' and 'White' as proper term of reference or valid existence of racial modality. These nomenclatures are easy to learn and perpetuate, but the wake of horror they leave behind is eternal. Many Africans have become complacent and assumed the belief of being black and many Europeans have equally assumed to be white. These beliefs are false. We have simply learned to identify ourselves based on our differences, not on who we actually are. Clearly, not all Africans are dark skinned, and not all dark skinned people are of African origin. Nonetheless, that same primordial existence applies to Europeans, Asians, and every other racial modality everywhere as well. Yet, the issue of race remains very delicate from all perspectives because it is not right to completely remove the option to take care of “one's own” caste or creed. The very notion of concern of one’s own at the cost of others is what has brought the greatest amount of unrest to the world, namely: slavery of Sub Saharan African people, colonialism, exploitation, Jewish holocaust, genocides, terrorism, racial and ethnic violence.
The truth about race
Upon the whole issue about race, every circumstance concurs in proving, that mankind are not composed of species, and the races are not essentially different from each other by virtue; that, on the contrary, there was originally one race, which, after multiplying and spreading over the whole surface of the earth, have undergone various changes through evolutionary processes and by influences of climatic phenomenon, various ways of survival, and the mixture of elements known and unknown today have become diverse. The diversity created by this phenomenon is part of the evolutionary process and the races will continue to multiply in numbers and expand across the world. This permutation is permanent. Artificial systems can be prepared to slow it down, but it can never be stopped because it is a force of nature. Racial segregation has caused a great deal of human suffering. Empirical challenges to the concept of race has forced evolutionary sciences to reconsider their application of the term.
We believe that by beginning to address the critical issue of race theory together, exploring the greater value (meaning and perception) of our human diversity and educating ourselves about our individual, collective, and collaborative potentials, we can create a better atmosphere -- free of envy, coercion, covetousness, avarice, or anger. Perhaps we can eliminate racial and ethnic violence and mitigate violence in general so that we can focus on more collective and productive performance activities without schadenfreude. (Don’t like the word in that context, I would have used “resentment”)
THE EFFECTS OF RACISM
Racism is a belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is inferior to another, thereby denigrating the importance or value of one set of people in favor of another’s glory. Its motivational factors are greed and anxiety. Racism and ethnocentrism have brought the greatest amount of violence from one mankind against another, namely: slavery, holocaust, genocides, lynching, apartheid, world wars and religious wars, to name a few. These are some of the results of cumulative effects of racism in a society. Racism has to be systemic on a large scale and institutionalized for it to exist within a society as a cultural norm. This means that powerful organizations from many branches of governments, corporations, religious orders, educational institutions, or other influential organizations are collectively are discriminating against a targeted group: i.e. NAZI Germany and Apartheid South Africa, Rwandan Akazu and Jim Crow laws in the US and so on.
There are still many forms of medium scale racial and ethnocentric forms of racism perpetrated around the world today. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization was created in 1946 to aid peace by promoting international cooperation in education, science and culture. This organization started a World Conference against Racism (WCAR) to struggle against racist ideologies and behaviors. One of its first published works was “The Race Question” in 1950, signed by various internationally renowned scholars. The United Nations has been actively involved in international agreements to uphold a global standard on human value. Since the passage of the Genocide Convention, several groups have sought recognition and redress by describing actions taken against them as genocidal. Native Americans have sought redress on the basis that the European settlement of the Americas led to death, displacement, and suffering, and that this outcome was the result of deliberate genocidal policies. A similar movement on behalf of aborigines recently gained momentum in Australia. Some Native American activists contend that genocidal policies have not ended, given the grim living conditions and poor health statistics on Native American reservations. Many African Americans argued that current economic or social disparity between racial lines in the United States as having been some of the effects of past racism and slavery and demanded reparation. However, this remains a continuous debate between US politicians and activists.
Effect of racism on collective African Americans
Maulana Karenga, scholar, and one of the great Africans in our time, argued that racism against African American constituted a cultural genocide and that the effects of racism were "the morally monstrous destruction of human possibility involved redefining African humanity to the world, poisoning past, present and future relations with others who only know Africans through stereotypical racists’ lenses and thus damaging the natural and objective human relations among all peoples.”
Effect of racism from an African-individual point of view
For the individual, racism is a constant reality. This means that the idea of racism is not pessimistic but rather active and concurrent. An African carries this in his or her heart and mind constantly. He or she understands it differently based on unique experiences, and knows that he or she is expected to know and pretend that it doesn’t exist by being happy about it when it’s being flashed in his or her face. Some people break and resort to anger and the fact of the matter is that there is great chance that the perpetrator has no racist intention and is just bereft of the collective neurosis.
The awareness of racism in itself carries with it a burden of guilt that makes everyone a potential victim. The feeling of suspense, suspicion, and anxiety are everywhere, every time of the day for the innocent victim and even the perpetrator. Whether it is at work, in a public domain or social function, the struggle to maintain the cradle of one’s existence is a great challenge. On one hand, constantly thinking that one’s fate of survival in that instance, or through any process, could be determined by a person bestowed with certain privilege, whose approval or disapproval of one’s racial attributes might be based on false or culturally sanctioned beliefs regardless of one’s merit -- is chronically disheartening. Racism against Africans is no longer about the superiority of one racial group. The new form of racism towards Africans is based on the fact that other racial groups assimilate the main stream cultural behavior, which mostly discriminate the sub-Saharan African race as inferior. This is in fact a growing risk and it is manifesting itself in many social, economic and other avenues for quality of life.
It is a constant cold-war survival environment in the heart of the African individual who is constantly weary about being deprived or disqualified for due recognition, enjoyment, happiness, love, civil rights, life on an equal footing, human rights, fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural access or any other field of public life because of his or her unalterable biological heritage. Racism violates every standard of human rights and values in the highest order and causes unnecessary suffering to the individual. This emotional and mental distress is pathogenic. The common result of this pathology is often paranoia, mental diseases, heart diseases, alienation, abnormal or complacent behaviors such as disorientation, isolation, dismay, depression, suicides, and other cancerous organ development.
It is very important to understand that every society is constituted of two main kind character types, the decent and the indecent persons. Someone can be assumed to be decent when such person is said to have good moral virtues, such as actively contributes to the benefit of the whole society, or at least does his individual responsibility or lives his or her life without knowingly or willingly victimizing or attempting to jeopardize the chance of another. An indecent person is a habitually unfair person, who tends to maintain cynical interests and willingly and knowingly jeopardize the chance of another either to extol themselves or just because they can or think they ought to. A racist is an example of an indecent person. There are two main primary kinds of racists: the consciously racist and the unconscious racist.
The Conscious racist
A conscious racist is anyone who is acculturated with specific pedagogy or belief systems thus knowingly and willingly discriminates against isolated racial groups. The overwhelming majority of conscious racists are mostly brutes, sadists and bigots who seek to earn a sense of personal achievement through the illusion of responsibility of exercising an exclusive rationale or quest for moral judgment on certain distinction of excellence based on racial uniqueness. Conscious racists tend to claim the virtues of successful people within their racial origin as their own, and they are prone to belong to a fraternity that has a specific absolute predatory doctrine that suite their interest. Here are a few types of consciously racist groups and movements that promote hate based on race, religious convictions, sexual or political persuasions. Some of the known examples are Ku Klux Klan, Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, Aryan Brotherhood, Neo-Nazi organizations, and Islamic extremists who promote an extremist interpretation of jihad and encourage such atrocious acts as suicide bombing and other forms of terrorism in the world.
Many people are unconsciously racist in any given multi-racial or multi ethnic society. These mild type racists are also victims because they are pawns of the prevailing collective neurosis. However, unconscious racists are the most effective way of upholding the existential edifices and well established statutes of racist foundations. There are many types of unconscious racists and they exist in every society. Many of unconscious racists are very decent people and they exist in all racial backgrounds.
Most societies today provide a various range of cognitive, motivational and sociocultural processes that promote intergroup biases. This includes color coding such as black and whites. Color coding is a tool for racism. What on earth could be more generic and irrelevant to the agent as deducting color reference? What narrative value does “black” has to say about Nelson Mandela and Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or what does white has to say about Giovanni Paolo II and Adolph Hitler? It is ridiculous, and just that it is an acceptable cultural neurosis does not make it right. Many things that we have done in the past were culturally acceptable then and are now known to have been wrong. In America, the depth of the bias is astounding; in such that people who think they are “whites” would argue that they are not of European origin. Yet most people ascribed as “white” have very recent European ancestry in America. This is just to emphasize the extent in lack of consciousness or self denial that is being acculturated.
Many people have already forgotten that they are “Americans of European origin”, especially if they are mixed with more than one European ethnical or national origin, thus in proper term -- European American, or African American. However, you’d find other Mediterranean and Alpine Europeans proudly referring to themselves by their national or ethnic origins, namely Italian American, Greek American, and Irish Americans. Yes, of course these are proper terms because it conveys an element of truth.
White, just as black, is a nomenclature that conveys no element of truth what so ever, other than varying degrees of privileges and social access. Here the grandfather’s clause is culturally accepted, people tend to carry on the tradition and legacy and continue to apply them to some existing situations, when a new rule ought to be applied to all future situations. This situation also helps to maintain the legacy of the spoil system, which is played out in every possible faculty of communications, tutelage, acculturation, governance, etc.
Many people develop some negative feelings toward or beliefs about other groups such as “blacks” (Mostly Africans in diaspora), of which they are unaware or which they try to dissociate from their non-prejudiced self-images. A person with no professed racist beliefs might have their actions motivated, even a little bit, by unconscious racist attitudes. Such motivation could, over time, lead to a pattern of discrimination even when absolutely nothing of the sort was intended. Note that having personal preference is a human right. The process of identifying unconscious racism is within the realm of those decisions that affect the choice of others from a hyper selfish and complacent tribal view. For instance, an argument occurred between an interracial couple, one of African origin and the other of European origin. You know, the husband said to his wife, if you want to make smart our 5 people, you give them 10 computers. The wife says sure, I can see that. But if you want to divide ten people you give them 3 computers. The wife answers, that’s true it happens every time you see that in many families where computer access has to be rationed. So, the husband says if you want to improve situations in an African country you give them more computer access than then need and you will see them create new opportunities for themselves. Impulsively the wife answered I think not! This is one example of unconscious racism.
The cue to cure
In America, Barack Obama, a highly charismatic and brilliant African and European American man, was elected president in 2008. Many American people site this occurrence as a shift in paradigm about racial issues in America. This evidence is impossible to dispute. Regardless of opinions, a genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race -- and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin. It must be encouraging to all sides, essentially. The question of whether one alleges the superiority or the inferiority of any given race is irrelevant; racism has only one psychological root: the racist's sense of his or her own insecurity which stems from ignorance or being misinformed. The fact of the matter is that evolution dictates certain standard of civility and esteemed virtue, and mankind has to find a way to get there as soon as possible with the least amount of bias. Just as there is no such thing as a collective or racial mind, so there is no such thing as a racial achievement. There are only individual minds and individual achievements -- and a culture is not the anonymous product of undifferentiated masses, but the sum of the intellectual achievements of the human race.
Our individual roles
It is a noble duty of contemporary person to make the best of any given situation. This includes using the endowed human capacity to turn anything negative into something positive or to constructively create mechanisms for turning any form of suffering to into human triumph in your work and daily life. This pursuit is the only opportunity to change oneself for the better because human value is based on decisions not on conditions.
Clearly this notion has to be a concerted effort between all peoples of the world, scholars, activists, and good institutions. However, it is safe to say that things are generally improving across the world today. Efforts to even the playing fields by African civil activists, international scholars, and great leaders across the world over a long period have just begun to gradually manifest in all societies. In 2001, the European Union explicitly banned racism along with many other forms of social discrimination in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the legal effect of which, if any, would necessarily be limited to Institutions of the European Union: "Article 21 of the charter prohibits discrimination on any ground such as race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, disability, age or sexual orientation and also discrimination on the grounds of nationality."
Do ethnic and racial categories protect or divide us within a nation?
Clearly, we live in a modern world that is continually progressive -- to be optimistic for short. This brings us to the context of choice. People’s choices have been limited to a few multiple options as recommended by the American Anthropological Association (AAA). The AAA has embarked on a new campaign to deal with the issue of race by making it disappear altogether.
The AAA also stated that "race" has been scientifically proven to not be a real, natural phenomenon. More specific, social categories such as "ethnicity" or "ethnic group" are more salient for scientific purposes and have fewer of the negative, racist connotations for which the concept of race was developed. It was for this reason that the AAA pushed for a reduction of the term “race” in government data collection.
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the United States Census Bureau and the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are of Hispanic or Latino origin (ethnicity). It is however, possible to be Hispanic, Latino, and African. This was still noted in the 2010 election form as Black. The OMB defines the concept of race as outlined for the US Census as not "scientific or anthropological" and takes into account "social and cultural characteristics as well as ancestry" using "appropriate scientific methodologies" but not "primarily biological or genetic in reference."
Up until now, race and ethnicity are considered separate and distinct identities. The categories are designed for collecting data on the race and ethnicity of broad population groups in America. They are based on social and political considerations -- not anthropological or scientific ones. The OMB states that “many federal programs are put into effect based on the race data obtained from the decennial census (i.e., promoting equal employment opportunities; assessing racial disparities in health and environmental risks). Race data are also critical for the basic research behind many policy decisions. States require these data to meet legislative redistricting requirements. The data are needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act by local jurisdictions.”
The past few decades have been filled with racial and ethnic groups fighting for recognition, protection, and entitlements in America. This battle has been fought through several congressional hearings for most of the second half of the twentieth century largely by African Americans. The fact is that when Africans go to the congress, they were fighting for civil rights, while the truth of the matter is that a variety of racial and ethnic groups were bidding to increase their portions of the federal pot. The National Coalition for an Accurate Count of Asian Pacific Americans lobbied to add Cambodians and Lao to the nine different nationalities already listed on the census forms under the heading of Asian or Pacific Islander. The National Council of La Raza proposed that Hispanics be considered a race, not just an ethnic group. The Arab American Institute asked that persons from the Middle East, then counted as white, be given a separate, protected category of their own.
One drop rule
According to various estimates, at least seventy-five to more than ninety per cent of the people who now check the “Black” box could check Multiracial, because of their mixed genetic heritage. Until recently, people with multi racial heritage were identified simply as black because of a peculiarly American institution known informally as "the one-drop rule," which defines as black a person with as little as a single drop of "black blood." This notion derives from a long discredited belief that each race had its own blood type, which was correlated with physical appearance and social behavior. The antebellum South promoted the rule as a way of enlarging the slave population with the children of slave holders. By the nineteen-twenties, in Jim Crow America the one-drop rule was well established as the law of the land. It still is, according to a United States Supreme Court decision as late as 1986. The one-drop rule seems to only apply to people of African descent.
People of mixed African-and-European ancestry, who were rejected by whites and denied of their European heritage found acceptance with Africans (“blacks”). Many of the most notable "black" leaders over the last century and a half were mixed with multiracial heritage to some extent, from Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass (both of whom had European heritage from their fathers) to W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (who had an Irish grandmother and some American Indian ancestry as well). The fact that Lani Guinier, Louis Farrakhan, Toni Morrison, and Virginia's former governor Douglas Wilder are defined as ‘black’, and define themselves that way, though they have light skin or "European" features, demonstrates how enduring the one-drop rule has proved to be in America in general. While the one-drop rule encouraged racism, it also galvanized the African community.
The one-drop rule was racist and people of African descent internalized it. What this current discourse is about letting people have the choice to identify themselves with the totality of their heritage. No one needs to be African if they choose not to be, but it is important to reiterate that African people have been inclusive, and are very diverse people, with multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-national heritage. The experiences of the struggle through all historical and societal challenges remain the strength that can never be taken away. It is enviable actually, to be able to reach in to this wealth of experiences and draw strength to make the best of any given situation and to create abundance from little and to turn suffering into great human achievements.
This whole discourse is not just about glorifying African virtue, or deconstructing complex superiority or inferiority edifices through some nihilistic philosophy, but to add to the multiple tokens of Incentive to take responsible action and provide us with the choice of what kind of a human being we ought to be.
Professor James M. Jones postulates three major types of racism:
(i) Personally mediated, (ii) internalized, and (iii) institutionalized.
Personally mediated racism includes the specific social attitudes inherent to racially prejudiced action (bigoted differential assumptions about abilities, motives, and the intentions of others according to), discrimination (the differential actions and behaviors towards others according to their race), stereotyping, commission, and omission (disrespect, suspicion, devaluation, and dehumanization).
Internalized racism is the acceptance, by members of the racially stigmatized people, of negative perceptions about their own abilities and intrinsic worth, characterized by low self-esteem, and low esteem of others like them. This racism can be manifested through embracing “whiteness” (e.g. stratification by skin colour in non-white communities), self-devaluation (e.g. racial slurs, nicknames, rejection of ancestral culture), and resignation, helplessness, and hopelessness (e.g. dropping out of school, failing to vote, engaging in health-risk practices, etc.).
Institutional racism is the existence of institutional systemic policies, practices and economic and political structures which place minority racial and ethnic groups at a disadvantage in relation to an institution’s racial or ethnic majority. Access denial to quality education, employment, high valued property neighborhoods, restrictive housing contracts, and stricter bank lending policies, racial profiling by security guards and police, use of stereotyped racial caricatures, the under- and mis-representation of certain racial groups in the mass media, and race-based barriers to gainful employment and professional advancement. The term was introduced by Black Power activists Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton in the late 1960s.
Some pundits have managed to distinguish between institutional racism and "structural racism" (sometimes called structured racialization). The former focuses upon the norms and practices within an institution, the latter upon the interactions among institutions, interactions that produce radicalized outcomes against “non-white people”. An important feature of structural racism is that it cannot be reduced to individual prejudice or to the single function of an institution.
The Dynamic Nature of Ignorance, Trepidation, and Hypocrisy of Racism
The notion of race does not have to be problematic from a scientific or from a social point of view. The concept of race can also be viewed as a common attempt to understand the diversity of human biological foundations. However, many attempts have been made to manipulate and exploit the process of the findings as well the results by so many institutions whose interest is to preserve and promote racist agenda. No one could tell exactly the cause of racism, whether it was narcissism, nordicism, völkism, eugenicist and Social Darwinist ideas, cognitive dissonance, anxiety of racial survival -- or if in fact racism was the cause of slavery or colonization, but it is certain that racism became the evil legacy of colonialism and slavery.
It is difficult for people who are not familiar with the history of racism or people who are not feeling the chokehold of racism in their lives to understand racism. Racism is a belief system that a particular race is superior to others and that another particular race is inferior to others, and that to ensure survival of the fittest, the superior race must become and remain dominant by any means necessary. Racism has to be systemic on a large scale and institutionalized for it to exist within a society as a cultural norm. This means that racism is powerful and deeply embedded in the institutions of American life. The only way racism is able to persist and subsist so far in human civilization is because of its insidiousness in our sociocultural and political economic paradigm.
To put things in properly in perspective, I generally avoid using colors such as black or white to describe peoples, because I know that color coding distorts the true understanding of the matter and has been one of the root causes of racial problems today. 'Black' and 'White' as we have it up till now is an interpretation of the reflection of oneself in others. Many people, including notable scholars will argue the preference of 'Black' and 'White' as proper term of reference or valid existence of racial modality. These nomenclatures are easy to learn and perpetuate, but the wake of horror they leave behind is eternal. Many Africans have become complacent and assumed the belief of being black and many Europeans have equally assumed to be white. These beliefs are false. We have simply learned to identify ourselves based on our differences, not on who we actually are. And what about the product of the two disparities, such as mixture of both?
Principle of Difference or Disagreement or of Discrepancy says two things, one of which disagrees with a third thing, and the other of which disagrees with the same third thing disagrees with each other. This may be why we are still divided. By using proper terms we can begin to humanize ourselves again. White and black relationship reiterates the master slave relationship implicitly whether not the one is aware. While nationality matters significantly, the issue of racism has to be addressed at the secondary level of human identity, after all it is all about empathy and the inclusion in all the benefits that is available to all human beings in their various culturally diverse states at the primary level of the biological foundation of human identity. The only one true narrative of identity for the People of African Descent Worldwide” is African, not black; and that of European descent is European, not white. The identity of race is constant as truth itself, which does not change. People of mixed heritages are either biracial or multiracial, not Mulato (which is a derogative word for cross bred between a horse and a mule). We must first remove the ignorance, fear, and hypocrisy that holds the edifice of racism in place. In order to embark upon rapprochement and ultimately cultural harmony and political congruence. Even if we have ideological differences, as long as our differences are not based on trivial or obtuse principle serving as excuse to bully or jeopardize human dignity. We should be safe.
Recommendation for Ending Racism, Avoiding Racial Conflicts, & the Upliftment of People of African Descent
Recommendation for Ending Racism, Avoiding Racial Conflicts, & the Upliftment of People of African Descent
"We the People" consisting of high-level traditional rulers, spiritual leaders, diplomats, scholars from interdisciplinary faculties and professions, and various cultural backgrounds, discussed the ongoing issue of racism and racial conflicts during this year's Spirit of Peace & Prosperity Summit. The event took place via Zoom from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from July 17 to July 21, 2020. We confirmed that racism continues to be the primary impediment of the livelihood, health, confidence, and performance expectations of Black people worldwide.
First, the People remain grateful for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service for its intervention published under the title "Avoiding Racial Conflict: A Guide for Municipalities." Such a response demonstrates the expected leadership that affirms the United States' position as a true leader of the Free World.
We, the People, offer some recommendations for your consideration in resolving the crisis in addition to your effort. Please see the advice on the following pages. We ask to please view these following recommendations through an objective lens as our contribution to the "Eradication of Cultural and Structural Racism & Abolition of Systemic and Institutional Racial Injustices."
REVISIT THE KERNER'S REPORT
• Let us revisit and revise the Kerner's Commission Recommendations to meet extraordinary challenges. The Kerner Report can also help undertake new initiatives and experiments that can change the system of failure and frustration that now dominates, weakens, and divides the nation. This undertaking should be a bipartisan effort.
The following areas of intensities are still relevant today
First Level of Intensity
1. Police practices
2. Inadequate housing
3. Unemployment and underemployment
Second Level of Intensity
4. Inadequate education
5. Poor recreation facilities and programs
6. Ineffectiveness of the political structure and grievance mechanisms
Third Level of Intensity
7. Disrespectful white attitudes
8. Discriminatory administration of justice
9. Inadequacy of federal programs
10. Inadequacy of municipal services
11. Discriminatory consumer and credit practices
12. Inadequate welfare programs
MEMORIALIZATION OF VICTIMS:
• In the context of transitional justice, memorialization can help towards honoring and mitigating the pains of victims of human rights abuses. Memorials can help governments reconcile tensions with victims by demonstrating respect and acknowledging the past. They can also help to establish and maintain a record of history and to prevent the recurrence of abuse.
• Monuments and museums such as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama, should be encouraged and established nationwide to acknowledge past racial terrorism and advocate for social justice throughout America.
UPDATE AND EFFECTUATE THE U.S. DEFINITION OF TERRORISM:
• The Code of Federal Regulations defines 'Terrorism' as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).
• Canada defines terrorism as an act committed "in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or causes to intimidate the public…with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act."
• The United Kingdom defines terrorism as to the use and threat of action "designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public" and "made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause."
The current ambiguity in the definition of terrorism can be associated with the increasing rate of hate groups in the United States. Hate groups have grown exponentially by using the Internet to promote their hateful agendas and recruit members. Hate Organizations with a history of violence and combatant aggression should not have any means for legal existence or any room for public display. Organizations whose members or enthusiasts have committed a human right abuse should be declared illegal and prosecuted.
STRENGTHENING THE RULE OF LAW AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS:
• The rule of law and accountability for human rights violations are critical for the prevention of violations, conflict, and violence, along with the building and sustaining of peace and the achievement of inclusive development. The costs of lawlessness are starkly evident across the world: in failures of justice systems, impunity for crimes, conflict over unaddressed grievances, and oppressive, unaccountable rule.
• We must promote a governance system in which all leaders and administrators across institutions and entities in public or private sectors are accountable to laws.
• We must ensure that laws and policies are openly and publicly promulgated, equally enforced, independently adjudicated, and consistent with international standards.
• Corruption remains a key risk factor across systems including in judiciary and law enforcement institutions. The need for vigilance in the absolute prohibition of torture, unnecessary battery, and the use of deadly restrictions methods on civilians by law enforcement must end at once.
• We must ensure that laws, policies, and practices increasingly address, reduce, and prevent human rights violations in the context of law enforcement and justice systems.
• Strengthened national mechanisms must provide redress to victims and accountability for human rights violations, including economic and social rights abuses.
• We must encourage litigation of human rights violations by appropriate law enforcement entities and the elimination of abuses by the justice system.
• Ensure that justice systems investigate and prosecute racial and gender-related crimes more effectively, consistently, and even-handedly.
EXPAND EDUCATION CURRICULUM AND HOLD BOTH PRIVATE & PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACCOUNTABLE
• Education programs and curriculum must start before the beginning of and extend beyond the end of African Slavery. It should include teachings on racial inequalities and the various contribution made by Africans and African Americans to American society and the rest of the world.
• Expanding schools and their education curriculum standards across the board can contribute significantly to easing the existing disparities and begin bridging the socio-cultural and political-economic gaps.
• An article published on the Stanford University website said. "A high school ethnic studies course examining the roles of race, nationality, and culture on identity and experience boosted attendance and academic performance of students at risk of dropping out."
• Courses should include African American experiences and contributions as well as African civilizations such as the Kingdoms of Kush, Kongo, Punt, Carthage, Ghana, Asante, Zulu, Yoruba, Berber, Mutapa, and Zimbabwe; and The Mali, Songhai, Benin, Ethiopian, Aksumite, and Egyptian Empires. Native American studies should include teaching the history and culture of the Navajo, Cherokee, Sioux, Chippewa, Choctaw, Apache, Pueblo, Iroquois, Creek, Blackfeet, along with contributions made by many other indigenous American tribes.
• This effort will help to alleviate the "identity crisis" and the mental health issues that so many people in the African American and Native American communities are facing.
• Many immigrants from all backgrounds bring their racial biases, which often contributes to and rehash the problem of racism in the U.S. The U.S. naturalization test should include contributions and sacrifices made by African Americans and Indigenous American people.
• Programs that can reduce the cost of college education, dropout rate, and encourage in the pursuit of higher learning will be a good investment for the African American communities.
INCLUSIVE AND TARGETTED ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT:
• The U.S. economy should be one in which everyone who wants to work can find a job. This goal has been elusive for the majority of African Americans in many parts of the country. The majority of African-Americans are still struggling with poverty and unfortunate economic circumstances in the United States, for a variety of reasons, but racism remains the main culprit. The situation today, exacerbated by law enforcement and racial injustices, erodes the confidence of people of African descent in engaging their pursuits. This is profoundly troubling. The outcry of protesters on the street is the proof. To solve this problem once and for all:
• The federal government should support three separate programs for increasing employment in these high-unemployment areas. These are direct public sector employment, job training with job placement, and tax subsidies for employers who hire unemployed African American workers. Together these policies should significantly increase opportunities for African Americans to achieve American values.
• The federal government should provide more funds to local governments for job creation aimed at improving the quality of life in the community. The creation and maintenance of jobs paying a living wage would improve the quality of life of existing residents and make the community more desirable to middle-class families.
• New policies and investigative departments should be put in place to create a greater focus on improving access to homeownership by lowering the cost and eliminating discriminatory practices.
• Job training and job placement: Improving the skills of black workers is useful, but it is not always enough to lead to employment. Qualified organizations, academic institutions, and vocational schools should be encouraged to assist in job placement.
• Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income (U.B.I.): The first to develop the idea of social insurance was Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794). After playing a prominent role in the French Revolution, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death. Marquis wrote the Esquisse d' un Tableau Historique des progrès de l'esprit humain ("Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind"; published posthumously by his widow in 1795), the last chapter of which describes his vision of social insurance and how it could reduce inequality, insecurity, and poverty.
• Improve access to banking: a significant percentage of African Americans do not have bank accounts, making them more reliant on and vulnerable to predatory lending. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) such as banks, credit unions, and other local financial institutions that support small businesses and affordable housing must be financed, encouraged, and commissioned to provide financial relief to distressed individuals, families, urban and rural communities. They must be controlled and highly regulated to be representative of the communities they serve and be equipped to provide loans to support efforts such as opening local businesses and financing for affordable housing, among other initiatives. Greater access to affordable banking alternatives would help address the need that payday lenders, for example, currently serve. Better protections for prepaid cards and regulation of payday loans should ensure that companies compete to offer the best product—not on gouging consumers. Gouging must be punitive. Finally, consumers need access to safe, affordable financial products and services that build trust with customers who may be disconnected from the financial mainstream.
• Protect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis with a mission to protect consumers from fraud, discrimination, and abuse in the financial marketplace. Considering the disparate treatment blacks have received in the financial marketplace for decades, this agency is critical to protecting them from wealth-stripping products and policies. The agency has targeted discriminatory lending in the auto loan, home loan, and credit card industries. Since its inception in 2011, the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion to 29 million victims of financial wrongdoing, including more than $450 million to about 1 million fair lending abuse victims. The CFPB has also proposed collecting data to identify disparities in small business lending for entrepreneurs of color. This protective effort should expand.
• Penal labor is constitutional as punishment but not as a profit mechanism and access to cheap labor for corporations and the prison industrial complex. This activity is unjust and intolerable. It must be abolished.
• Diversity and inclusion should be a priority in all facets of Federal, State, County/Parish, and City contracting.
• Support and protect positive, intentional policy changes for fair housing: The rule requires any community receiving housing block grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) to decrease residential segregation, eradicate racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, reduce unequal access to community resources, and narrow gaps that result in disproportionate housing needs among vulnerable communities. While this is good, it may not be used to promote gentrification.
Institute a comprehensive set of rules to govern land installment contracts to ensure that unscrupulous sellers do not once again defraud black borrowers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must provide a set of clear and measurable guidelines for states to protect borrowers. Such rules should include the right to cure in situations of default, the recording of land contracts; the requirement for an independent appraisal; no liens on a property before entering into a purchase contract; and the establishment of an interest cap.
A bill passed in Portugal's parliament sets out a legal basis for housing being treated as a citizens' right. Under the new law, the Portuguese government becomes responsible for ensuring adequate housing for all citizens as "the guarantor of the right to housing." The United States should have been the first to implement this initiative. Let us not be the last.
African Views Organization
Nation Building Slides
Racism and Racial Conflict Slides
Most people don’t know what Racism is because of lack of knowledge of History and the confusion in the media have no clue what Racism is. Racism is a system of Advantage and Privilege distributed based upon "Race". This video compilation is designed to explain from a historical perspective what Racism is and how it differs from Bigotry, Prejudice and Discrimination. Those are 4 different things. African Americans as a group of people cannot be Racists but can be Bigots, hold prejudice and discrimination accountable. Be part of the solution.
Sustainable Solutions to African Problems (Theory and Practical)