A lot has been said about racism as of late, what with Princess Meghan and the British press coverage. Lots of bad vibes banded around willy-nilly. Lots of people said they thought the media criticism against Megham was because of the colour of her skin and unfair. However, I said that I thought that in the UK racism wasn’t a big problem, which was in my personal experience. Having lived in several different countries over the years I have always found that the UK is far more tolerant and accepting to different nationalities than the vast majority of other places.
However, I would say nonetheless, that I understand racism does exist, but is all the same an inevitable part of the more basic human condition. When a baby is born, it is only natural that it has a special attachment to its mother, and the mother in return to her offspring. As the baby grows the safe space slowly grows to other members of the family group, slowly expanding to include those from outside, etc. etc.
It is an important trait of the human race to distinguish the difference from friend or foe. From one group to another, tribe or nationality. Stereo-typing is obviously a vital part of being a successful animal species. Can you eat it? or is it going to eat you! And so it is always natural to distrust the other, the unknown, at first. Obviously, hopefully quickly learning to expand a knowledge of the world around. But its origins are a necessity for survival.
The dictionary definition of ‘racism’ is: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior, and the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”.
Whilst accepting that different races of people do have different cultures, habits and beliefs, to say that anyone could seriously argue that one race is ‘superior’ to another, in anything but a very superficial way, would go against any kind of logical modern thinking, and flies in the face of reason, and no one with a minimum of intelligence would even try to do so.
I would suggest then that a better definition of racism would be, “to not treat people with respect and dignity, because of their skin colour or place of origin”, and could only be because of an ignorance of acceptable behaviour and lack of empathy and bad manners.
And so to criticise someone for their treatment of others (for example women, children or other populations), or their beliefs or customs, and behaviour is not necessarily racism but should perhaps be called by some other name.