Racism and Globalization – Learned
The premise of the debate is not a particularly viable one: what is learned must be taught in order to have been learned, unless, of course, the term “learned” relates to the act of being discovered in which case it would suggest that there is a premise present for racism, waiting to be discovered – which in itself is a fairly bigoted idea in the first place.
But let us explore an idea that we are biologically programmed to be racist to a degree. In the ability to perceive that someone appears different from ourselves, are we not already committing a racist act? It is from that first perception that we are already thrust into a position of judgment without actually even being able to consider it until after the fact. It is this tendency toward racism that will continue as long as there is a racial minority in any population in any part of the world.
However, the realization that someone looks different does not have to manifest in a negative way. That is the product of cultural racism, of prejudiced views and of stereotypes, and it is inexcusably taught. And anyone who has ever uttered the word “they” referring to any group, race, ethnicity, or nationality followed by some broad generalization is as guilty of perpetuating hate as Adolf Hitler. And there are not many who can claim to have never uttered such words. Racism always begins with the “they” and “us” concept, and only escalates from there.
But will we see the end of cultural racism until we no longer have separate nationalities and cultures? Some individuals foresee a future with a free world without borders, but that is doubtful and maybe not even necessary – but we should be able to at least pull together as a nation, and truly be “We the People” but how can we when we consistently enforce racist stereotypes in the media, in our homes, in our communities, and places of work, and indoctrinate our children to carry on with the division of “they” and “us”.
However, none of this means that we should readily give up our culture and heritage. It is through education that we can attain a healthy respect for cultures different from our own, and a world where globalization does not have to mean the death of culture. But there lies the crux of the matter: if we do not address racism to ensure the right sort of globalization, it will be a rude awakening for the world.
So, can we conclude that it is not as important to debate over whether racism is taught or learned and whether the premise of this debate is even legitimate – but rather, to learn to recognize the instances when it occurs, in ourselves, and around us in the hope that someday prejudice might erode from our society. Hardly any of us are not guilty of it, but awareness is the first step toward progress. We must learn to think and see objectively in order to coexist on this planet.