Can Racism Be Defeated?

Despite the good intentions of those who wish to create a common identity, the recognition of a person's race is paramount in overcoming the growing racism.
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Racism and racial tension continues to prevail around the world. The notion that globalization has quelled these issues is inaccurate, in fact it is becoming clearer that as societies grow closer, racism becomes more prevalent.

Racism, for many, was the result of the misinformed and unsubstantiated theories of racial superiority. Dating back to the colonial era and extending up to Nazi Germany, the racist ideals that had spread were due to the belief that one race was superior to the other, and as such, equality was not an option.

With the abolishment of slavery, the defeat of Nazism and the eventual desegregation of America, many assumed that racism had come to an end.

However, this assumption was not correct, and once again racism is rearing its head around the world, from Asia through Europe and on to America. While not having the support of state institutions, modern day racism is building momentum once more, leaving those concerned wondering whether this can ever be truly defeated.

Before racism can be overcome, its cause must be identified. No longer does growing racial tension appear to be fuelled by the bigoted notion that superiority is determined by a person's skin color. Instead, it is becoming apparent that those fighting in support of the racist ideas are doing so based on their insecurities towards their own identity.

As globalization spreads and racial identities are replaced with a "global identity," societies around the world are beginning to fear the loss of their unique nationalities. With the reduction of the significance of national borders, the desire to maintain that independence from other nations grows around the world.

Sri Lanka, a country that suffered through a 30-year civil war based around racial tensions, is once again falling prey to the growing racism amongst the nationalist groups. On the surface, it is not clear why racism is growing in the country. The majority Sinhalese successfully defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and liberated the country, allowing them to maintain their positions of prominence in the country.

Since the end of the conflict the government, and in turn the majority Sinhalese, have come under intense criticism over allegations of war crimes and persecution of the Tamil minority. The loudest critics have been those from Tamil Nadu in India. While the Sinhalese are the majority in Sri Lanka, they are facing opposition from Tamils around the world.

It is difficult to pinpoint the start of the racial tensions in Sri Lanka, with many claiming it began with the passing of the Sinhala Only Act in 1956. The law replaced English with Sinhala as the official language of the country, failing to take in to account Tamil. Opposition to the law claimed it was a way of ensuring the Sinhalese maintained control over the country while systematically sidelining the minority groups.

While this may have been the case, an argument can also be put forward that the Sinhalese majority were looking to reaffirm and protect their identity following the downfall of colonialism in the country. The insecurities on the part of the Sinhala majority in the realization that they were in fact a majority to a minority that outnumbered them globally played a significant role in the racially biased law.

While Sri Lanka's situation may be argued as on offshoot of the conflict, other developed countries are also seeing a rise in racism. In Australia, a modern day melting pot, racial tensions are growing with incidents on the rise. Back in 2009 several Indian students residing in Australia were attacked for reasons unknown. Despite the authorities taking the attacks seriously, the fact that these were not isolated incidences highlighted a deeper racial issue facing the country.

Often racism in the developed world is linked to economic reasons. Australia, however, has enjoyed a relatively stable economy in the face of a global depression. So why is racism on the rise in the country?

Australia, for the better part of a decade, encouraged an open door policy in terms of their immigration. This has seen a sharp increase in the number of immigrants arriving in Australia from all over the world. With this increase, the identity of the white Australian is being lost. For many in the country, this diversity of culture is being welcomed, as Australia is building itself an image of a global metropolitan. However, sections of the society fear the encroachment on their way of life and are responding by looking to exert a sense of dominance over the "newcomers." While immigrants are flooding to Australia, many of them are refusing to assimilate in to mainstream Australian culture.

While racism appears to be backed by the insecurity over the potential loss of identity, the question remains as to how can this be defeated.

With the advances in globalization and the idea that soon nationalities built on race will be replaced by a single collective one feeding in to the racial tension, the notion that a regulated segregation of society on the basis of equality should be given serious consideration.

In the United States, racism was seen as having been defeated through the civil rights movements that resulted in the desegregation of the country. African-Americans, along with other minorities, were given all the rights that had been enjoyed by White Americans. However, sub-cultures have appeared in its society ensuring that the identities of these groups are not lost.

Through music, films and even food, American society remains equal but also sectioned off and belonging to the different racial groups. To some this may seem as though America has not progressed since the 1950s. But in fact it has taken the next step, ensuring equality for all races while recognising the importance of maintaining separate identities.

This maintenance of individuality has allowed the collection of races to co-exist with one another whilst continuing to develop an "American" identity. Despite the good intentions of those who wish to create a common identity, the recognition of a person's race is paramount in overcoming the growing racism.

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