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Why Racism is a Cancer within Society

The problem of racism is a rampant cancer in society. It is something that has been in existence for centuries, has elevated tyrants, made slaves of nations, and taken humanity to its lowest point. Racism is surrounded by several concepts. Firstly, it results where one group of people hate another group. Secondly, it is founded on the idea that one particular group of people are better or more superior than another by virtue of birth, color of skin, language, or where a person originates from. People’s lives have been changed by racism. It has divided whole countries, led to wars, and given rise to various constitutional and human rights issues. The most infamous type of racism is, perhaps, the form that exists between white people and black. A colonial-type mentality evolved in Caucasians and has spread like osmosis. Essentially, this mentality says you are better if your skin is white. The remainder, all black people and those with brown skin from mountainous regions and other places, are considered savages, slaves, and unfit to lead or rule. 

Black Americans and Africans are those who are bullied most. Various works of literature have made clear that Africans suffer racism and apartheid. “The Bench” (a story by Richard Rive) captures perfectly how Africans feel. There are seats designated to white and black people in the story. Is it possible this only exists in stories? The real picture could be more horrendous than in fictional stories because races have been clearly segregated in the past.  

For example, natives with brown skin in the Philippines were referred to at one time as indios, a term that is derogatory and often linked to the word “slave.” By contrast, it was high-ranking officials, those who belonged to the elite classes (known as ilustrados), and the mestizos (those who of half-Filipino and half-European origin) who were treated civilly and respectfully. The perverse mentality of those with racist views still has a big impact on people. For instance, there are those who try different creams to whiten their skin coloring to distance themselves from darker-skinned peers.

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It is not just Filipinos who suffer racism. The USA and many European countries are home to various minority Asian groups and yet, the line dividing these groups and Caucasians has not fully vanished. Think of how poorly supported immigrants are and about those restaurants where Asians are not accepted. Moreover, indeed, racists still view blacks as subhuman and certainly inferior. They are a soft target for authorities willing to abuse or disregard due process, often the victims of accusations and the receivers of unwarranted subpoenas.

This far in history too, Jews have been discriminated against by others. The Holocaust is a constant reminder of Hitler’s atrocities and mindset, and it evokes memories of how the Jews suffered and were treated by the Nazis and those who supported them.

Even the political satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo, came in for criticism for Muslim-related racism. While the slaying of their editorial and journalistic staff was an unforgiveable act, readers must admit that many of the headlines and images are and were in bad taste. There was considerable online debate last year after the paper published an image of the drowned Syrian boy with a distasteful caption.

Where should the racism line be drawn? When should something be seen as racist or simply a right to freedom of expression or just use of artistic license? Clearly, racism is more than the identification of differences, or the open mockery of people perceived to be inferior. The act of racism occurs as soon as one sees themselves as better than others, as soon as one group begins segregating themselves from others in the belief one is wealthier, more powerful and more intelligent that the other. A culture of violence, disgust and shock results from racism and it leads to other atrocious acts. There are those who would kill, oppress and make slaves of a nation as a result of racism. There really seems no cure for this cancer.