Finding an Excuse for Racism #BlackLivesMatter
Written by Donna T. Darantinao
Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
As one is born into a specific culture, it is automatically presumed that he or she is to follow its requisites in order to be accepted through and through in every aspect. Of course, in these said cultures, we cannot deny the constant reformation of individuals to be acceptable according to social norms, most of the time, unwelcoming of modified or progressing behavior.
This is true in any culture, because in some way, regardless of what culture you are a part of, you have the tendency of thinking that your group is potentially superior in comparison to others, otherwise known as ethnocentrism, which does not necessarily mean you view these cultures in a negative way. And that’s okay. What’s not okay, you ask? Racism.
As you delve through this article, the main point is to find an excuse for racism. Why do a lot of people, may they be in posts of authority or just ordinary citizens trying to live out their day-to-day lives, simply put down cultures and colors they do not belong in? And it is not only casual racism, but it goes to lengths of violence, even worse, genocide.
For more than a hundred years, racism has always been present. One notable example is the Catholic church’s splitting of the world between Spain and Portugal. Because of this, many European countries also sought after geopolitical powers, thus resulting to the largest forced migration in the world, which according to one of New York Times’ stories for ‘The 1619 Project’ (examining the legacy of slavery in America), some 12.5 million people including children of African descent (who in fact had developing economies before they were captured to be slaves) were forced into the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Colonies were propagated from the limitation of freedom and definition of social class as to maintain the enterprise of slavery and ensure power.
Even races of the same color, who share a culture in many ways, could be able to dive into the fits of racism, as they are identified into the same group. This is true during the Rwandan Civil War, specifically between the Hutus and Tutsis, in 1994, that took the world aback. Domestic violence and sexual abuse were prominent that no one would even want to relive the incident again.
And just recently, the story of Houston-born George Floyd Jr. being a victim of racial discrimination and police injustice sparked a movement worldwide, the ‘Black Lives Matter’, which had already existed in 2013 and was founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi who are all black activists in their own right. The movement gained international attention and allowing #BlackLivesMatter to trend worldwide. Protests have become evident where Hollywood celebrities also took part in, some even arrested.
Here, the question resurfaces: “Is there an excuse for being racist, then?”
The answer should be none. There will never be an excuse for extreme abuse just because one belongs to a different race from others. No color is more supreme than the other as it will only be a result of drastic measures to continuously keep the world divided.
This is one of the many reasons why humans should be above any belief system and that is the aim of humanism; and, one of HAPI. Humans should flourish without the fear of being put down for belonging in a group different from others. After all, we can never change what we are or how we look. We can never say we are of the same color—but we can always learn about where one came from and what one believes in order for us to know how we are able to command tolerance.
As we are brought up in a world of differences in color, belief, and cultures, it is not new that we may be able to think or say every once in a while that in a few aspects, we are superior from another. Nevertheless, this is to remind everyone that there is no excuse for racism and that we always have a reason to ‘not be’ racist.