If there were no race problems, this world would be a better place, but alas, there will always be race problems as long as there is human pride. But race problems could be minimized and humans of all races could learn to accept, love and live together in harmony. Race problems are the most sensitive issues of our modern time. America thought she has buried her race problems of the 60’s, but it was a sophisticated burial. Race problems are resurging back in an alarming rate in America, and are wrapped in racism or discrimination. Hidden under the volatile and fiery issues of racism are ignorance, pride, jealousy and fear. We shall critically and meticulously analyze what causes racism; origins of racism; who gets discriminated; effects of racism and how to solve the problem.
It is imperative now to find ways to solve race problems since America has become a cultural diverse country: a better understanding of race relations will help to enjoy our society and culture, and avoid rising racial conflicts and tensions pervading our nation now. It could explode to something we may not be able to handle until we begin to solve the core –the very cause of racism and eliminate them. We can no longer pretend it does not exist, but must seek genuine and practical ways to solve race problems in our society and all races live in harmony in America.
1 What is Racism?
An article in Alberta Report November 19, 1984 reports that: “Racism means you’re judged before you stand up for yourself.” Racism means more than that. Racism is despicable. It is another word for arrogance; and when you are arrogant, you lose touch with reality because you don’t have a total view of an event or a situation. Then you become foolish or ignorant; and that can have fatal consequences as your judgment becomes detrimental.
Racism says “I am better than you; you are my inferior.” But is that true? Nature tends to play tricks on the human mind. We approach anything unfamiliar with fear, or anything that intimidates, baffles or challenges us. Approaching unfamiliar things with care and understanding can lead to genuine knowledge and enrichment of the human mind, but often humans approach unknown territories with combative fear. When fear engulfs you, it blocks your ability to rationalize or think properly. Then ignorance sets in instead of knowledge. How many of us have done foolish and even fatal things out of fear. This is how racism works. Because we failed to understand those unlike us, our minds are “mumbled” and we conclude irrationally, and many times our conclusions are faulty.
Baffled at the success of the Jewish people in Germany, Hitler became jealous and instigated the murder of 6 million Jews. This is how racism works. You ask who is this person; I am better than her so why should she be more progressive specially, if they are from another race. Remember you who is jealous does not have the full knowledge of your object of jealousy; who they are and their capabilities: so in that way you become ignorant. Ignorance breeds revolutions and wars. Those who succumb to ignorance fall into the hands of shrewd demagogues. History records that when the American Black slaves got their freedom in the South, they rallied and began to build. They quickly became successful and progressive. But the “poor Whites” felt threatened and plundered, lynched, raped and burnt their homes. The free slaves lapsed back into oblivion and ventured North for human development. Jealousy was the root cause of this discrimination.
Racism - It is a tricky thing. Any time someone exhibits racism, he or she puffs up the negative feelings of pride, fear, jealousy, and ignorance. When you discriminate against someone, you affirm look, I am better than you; but are you really? Are you not afraid of them? Are you not jealous of the other person? Are you not ignorant of their capabilities? Look here, those are the things that motivate you to discriminate. It makes you look like the ugly toad whose body blasts its venom and ejects its poison on any object around – racism. In India millions of people are isolated because of their skin and prowled in poverty. How did it happen? Fear! If this people are given the opportunity to prove their capabilities, may be they will become more competent than their tormentors. So what? They are suppressed because their skin is feared. It symbolizes the embodiment of evil – fear of the unknown. Apartheid lasted for many years and destroyed thousands in the event. Underneath was fear; giving in to majority rule would deprive “minority Whites” their supremacy – fear. Watch out for fear. Fear has its root in pride, ignorance and jealousy.
2 Origins of Racism:
How did racism originate- this venom that poisons life and causes so much misery? Racism originated from the human heart. The Scripture says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the Lord search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17: 9&10. The human heart vomits a lot of garbage: envy, pride, bitterness, hate, anger, lust, etc. That means everybody has the potential to react this way. If this is so, all humans have the tendency to discriminate-white, black, yellow, red, brown, pink, etc. Let us carefully examine this matter - that all humans have the tendency to discriminate. During the times of the New Testament, the Jewish people were discriminating against the Gentiles. Until Paul vehemently opposed those who conducted such behavior like Peter. Paul warned that God had “engrafted” the Gentiles to be heirs of the kingdom, just like the Jewish people. That was discrimination coming from Jewish people.
Do the English people discriminate? There are numerous race problems documented in Britain. Time August 12, 1991 published an article, World: Europe’s Racism. As the ethnic mix changes, some countries are not as tolerant as they thought.” Those countries mentioned are Germany’s skin heads, France, Britain, Italy – these are World Powers. But one of the greatest proponents of race problems was English Scientist Charles Darwin. Darwin propounded his evolutionary theories, the most damaging on race relations. Darwin's theory of natural selection explains the origin and diversity of human beings. This theory has led to the conclusion that some races are inferior and some are superior. Some countries and statesmen have inculcated these ideologies into strong class systems. Says Paul Roubiczek, author of Existentialism, “For or Against”: “In fact, the philosophy based on Darwinism has exercised extremely strong influence, far beyond the realms of science and philosophy upon the whole development of European thought. The ruthless life and death struggle for survival has been translated into a new morality, as ruthless competition in the capitalist, as ruthless class warfare in the communist, and ruthless nationalism everywhere.”
Do the Blacks discriminate? If there was no discrimination among the Blacks, there would be no ethnic wars that date back centuries in Africa. These ethnic wars are entrenched in racism or discrimination. Each tribe claims to be superior and others inferior. Do the Arabs discriminate? Yes. Look at Iraq. They cannot unite and come together. If there was no discrimination among the races, be it Orientals, Russians, French, Germans, South America, etc, there would be no class system. Was socialism a success? No government of the world has become a model government because of strong class system, not even democracy. Charles A. Beard, author of “Economic Basis of Politics says this of democracy: “Nevertheless, the democratic device of universal suffrage does not destroy economic classes or economic inequalities. It ignores them. Herein lies the paradox, the most astounding political contradiction that the world has ever witnessed. Hence the question arises: Has political democracy solved the problem of the ages or wring the answer from the Sphinx? Is it a guarantee against the storms of revolutions? Does it make impossible such social conflicts as those which tore ancient societies asunder? Does it afford to mankind a mastery over its social destiny?”
Of course, we know that despite all the boastings of Karl Marx and Engels on the Communist Manifesto, Communism was a failure. Why? Because all these systems of government could not solve class struggles deeply rooted in discrimination. The reason is because class warfare is the embodiment of pride, which is the mother of racism. They will always be class struggles until the end of the world, but we can all learn to live together-poor or rich; black white, red or yellow, etc. We need each other. But racism is coined in the “Scriptures” –shame. First by men and women who can’t worship or tolerate others not like them in Churches. These kinds of people, black or white must learn first to worship and live together here on earth before they can ever hope to be in heaven. They must purge themselves of discrimination before they can get into heaven, or they will be no heaven for them.
Secondly, Feminism existed because some “godly men” interpreted the Scriptures that denied rights to women for centuries. They did not consider women equal to them, so what happened? They enslaved them to inferior disposition. It is only three years ago that women received equal pay with men since they got their freedom – “amazingly historical.” Apartheid stemmed from the Scriptures. The just solution” was heavily backed from the Scriptures, by a group of people who were threatened by their greed. The holocaust emanated from the Scriptures. Hitler promoted his fatal policies from the Scriptures. Long before Hitler came to the scene, Adolf Stocker, a Berlin court reporter and a pastor in the Lutheran Church laid the foundation for discriminative utterances that led to the slaughter of 6 million Jews. The partition of Africa and slavery were all led and sustained by Scriptures. Millions of people are discriminated against in India, a policy deeply rooted in Hinduism. A careful look at these events, reveal ignorance. There are those who feel they are superior and others inferior. How can you talk about God and still maintain racism? Contradictory, isn’t it? These people substantiate their evil policies through ruthless means. These are all the dispositions of the human “heart” – desperately wicked – be it black, white, yellow, red, etc.
When an individual develops, or rises above another materially, spiritually, intellectually, or otherwise, they discriminate against the person who is not equal to their newly acquired status. Those who perpetuate this tend to forget who they were before. They could even have been poor. But as soon as they feel elevated materially, they discriminate against those who are less fortunate. All races of people indulge in this kind of discrimination – white black, red, yellow, etc. This is why they are class systems. It is about “acquisition of wealth – materialism.” You acquire too much, you discriminate against those who have little. Those who acquire little are classified as poor. Those who acquire much, control the ones who have little. So those who acquire material fortune view others with less as inferior. Sometimes, the reversal of fortune favors those deem inferior. He or she could become one with material acquisition and will look in disdain on those with little material acquisition also. This is the human heart. It is deceitful. You ask how did discrimination originate? It originated from the sinful human heart. You and I, red, white, brown, black or yellow are fully capable of fomenting racism. It is a problem of the corrupt human heart.
3 Who Is Discriminated Upon?
Anybody unlike us -black or white is discriminated against. Discrimination is deeply rooted in color, the color of the skin. Why? Fear of what we don’t know. I went to a garage sale when I was living in Santa Monica, California, and I met a Law Professor. She told me she had gone to a Ghanaian Cultural Festival at UCLA and marveled at the cultural sophistication. I reminded her human civilization began in Africa. Long before the Whites arrived on the coast of Africa, the Africans had magnificent and rich cultures and empires. She said she has been taught otherwise. She has only known and heard of the jungles of Africa and the wild animals – ignorance.
This is the basis for discrimination: ignorance! It blurs perception of the genuine intention of the one discriminated upon. Many people discriminate against Africans because of the foolish and irrelevant tales they have heard for decades and which are lies. Those perceptions build rumors and innuendos, which in turn fuel discrimination. Some groups of people feel threatened by their greed and gains in the continent if they tell the true nature of things-fear. So they come to the Western world and tell of the worst scenarios about Africa. This ploy is used by political World leaders who are always “scrambling” for the rich resources of Africa. So you won’t believe this is actually the richest continent in the world. For example, Somali and Sudan are classified as the poorest nations of the world, but only few in the Western World actually know these two nations are extremely rich in oil wells – fear.
Who gets discriminated upon? Those who don’t have the same kind of skin like us; who don’t talk like us; who can’t reason like us; who don’t have the same cultural or world view; those who are poor; the elderly; those not materially, intellectually, physically or mentally like us and don’t dress like us.
4 What are the Effects of Racism?
The four deadly ingredients of racism are fear, pride, jealousy and ignorance. Anytime someone discriminates, one of these ingredients must be evident. It was fear, jealousy and pride that led Hitler to destroy 6 million Jews; it was fear that perpetuated the evil policies of Apartheid; it was fear that prevented America from stopping slavery earlier; it was pride and still pride that instigated the ethnic wars in Africa; it was pride and fear that made some “godly’ men subjugate women for decades and denied them rights. Discrimination has fatal consequences. It was pride and ignorance that caused the caste system in India
An article on “Human Rights Commission published in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1984 says this on Racism: “Racism is one of the worst things that can happen to a community. It poisons personal relationships; stunts economic growth, and can even lead to violence. But the saddest thing of all is what racism can do for our children. Defenceless kids have to suffer under ethnic slurs, unjust discrimination, and not so subtle hatreds. That hurts and the hurt doesn’t stop there. Racism affects racists too. Children who grow up hating others because they are different, lock themselves from a richer, fuller life. Not to mention how a reputation for racist behavior can get in the way of a person’s future career prospects.” Any time you feel you are better than another person, you create a barrier around you. You become a puddle without an outlet. The puddle accumulates so much dirt that it becomes a grave danger and threat to human survival. So is racism in the human heart. When it germinates, it can spread like a weed and choke the good plants and they die.
Racism is like an active Volcano. Without warning, it explodes and the hot lava can destroy tons of homes and people. For the past few years, America has erupted its ugly volcanic lava, ranging from Police brutality to an individual dragged to his death; a little black boy killed because he trespassed to a white neighborhood; and oil companies paying millions of dollars for discrimination, etc. A few years ago, California was mesmerized by the ugliest effect of racism. “It was thrilling to watch homes looted and people entangled in race war.” Californians crawled into their bed rooms or living rooms fascinated by fear, waiting for what could happen next. But God quietly put off the blaze and calmed our hearts. Did we learn a lesson? We did not.
The root cause of racism is pride: pride hurts you. It prevents you from learning and deprives you of genuine human development. People who are racists cause a lot of problems because they are limited in their outlook to life. They do not possess wholeness of reality: intellect and rationality. Such people should be avoided. They should not be allowed to lead – whether they be nations or individuals who disseminate hate or discrimination. Such people are the stuff that breeds political demagogues. Unless you have a total rational mind that could pierce through unseemly situations and render infallible judgment, that person should never be a leader. That person could become dangerous.
Jealousy can equally create bias. I think this is the most fatal aspect of discrimination – jealousy. I will always remember Shakespeare’s Othello – how he strangled Desdemona because Iago instigated him to jealousy. This is exactly what jealousy can lead to: when someone is jealous of what you have or possess, be it individual or nations. They are relentless until they have murdered you in order to avenge or strip you of your possession. It is the meanest spirit and it is devastating. This is one evil that has wrecked nations and caused wars. For centuries, World Powers have stripped or subdued other countries of their resources through wars, political maneuverings and shrewdness - Jealousy This is one thing that creates lack of “spiritual development” in our world- the tendency to dominate other nations through greed to possess their material resources. The root cause is jealousy. It is a form of discrimination.
Human beings discriminate because they are envious of others. When you cannot possess your object of envy, you create wars and destroy until you possess what does not by right belong to you. Discrimination or race relation, or racism slice it any way, it does not elevate the human mind to heights of human development, peace, tranquility, or joy that God calls humans to enjoy, but rather, it deteriorates human relationships and is the cause of major wars today and disintegration of societies all over the world. Most political wars are wrapped in jealousy and pride of the desire to possess “power and wealth”, but It is camouflaged in peace ventures by World leaders down the centuries. But behind it is pride, fear, and jealousy. Watch your motive in everything you do. Motive is the basis for judgment. John Stuart Mill, the great English philosopher and political economist warned decades ago that “race relations will hurt democracy.” It hurts it so bad because the inability to see genuine democracy in our world, even in America is caused by race relations or racism.
Can race problems be solved/ No, but we can all learn to live together in harmony like King said during the Los Angeles riot. We can no longer ignore race problems in America as we have witnessed the explosion of the past few months in Florida and Tulsa, Oklahoma, etc. We can no longer pretend it does not exist or the consequences could be detrimental and fatal. But how can we curtail race problems and learn to live together in peace- white, black, red, yellow, brown, etc., in America?
Let God clean your heart. The human heart is polluted with all kinds of filth. Everybody has this polluted heart – be it brown, black, white, red, yellow or pink. We all have filthy heart that “radiates” anger, pride, jealousy, lust, etc. You might think you can easily rid yourself of these things, but it is not true. Human beings are born with these tendencies. Only God can clean your heart and give you a new heart. You must conclude that you cannot control your wicked heart from these evil tendencies. Then like a sick person goes to the doctor to get healed, so you must go to God and get rid of your filthy heart. After the cleansing, you will receive a new heart and a new power that enables you to tolerate and love other people unlike you.
When you approach someone unlike you, don’t avoid, stereotype or make fussy conclusions about them. Be open to learn, watch, accept and tolerate. If God did not create “variety” of people and races, don’t you think if would have been a dull world? Is there no wonder in variety? Acceptance could elevate to heights of splendor if we are careful not to discriminate. Some people say opposites attract: someone unlike you can attract you and enrich your life. You can learn from other cultures or shut yourself from human growth and development. People who refuse to tolerate and learn from others create problems in society and foment ideologies and policies detrimental to peace and harmony in our communities.
Racism is learned at childhood. Children are born ignorant. They don’t understand much at birth They cannot formulate words or understand them. Then parents begin the infusion of ideologies, teachings, nurturing that stabilizes the children as they grow. Whatever is taught, or inculcated to the child is what he or she grows up with. If you teach your child to discriminate against others because they are of another color or race, your child will grow up with that. You may not verbalize this, but your child watches your reactions, your negative words against other races, your stereotype words, your child will grow and demonstrate the same attitude like you. It is amazing how children absorb like sponge the tendency to imitate whoever raises them.
When your children begin to ask questions about color of skin which all children do, don’t teach the child your color or race is better; don’t instigate or insinuate in any way that you are better. Remember children are very smart. Take time to train your child to accept and love someone of another race. Teach them not to make fun of someone different from them or stare at them. There are all kinds of people in the world.- beautiful and ugly. People come in different packages- beautiful black and white - ugly also. It is ignorant to feel you are the only one in the world intelligent, beautiful or your skin better. How do you prove the other person’s skin you discriminate against is not better? Are you sure you are not jealous of them? So teach with utmost care and indoctrinate when your child begins to ask questions about race. Failure to do so spells trouble later in life.
Once upon a time, people who disseminated racist policies were innocent children. They either learned from their parents of from their peers. Children are innocent and don’t understand bias, but they do when they are taught. A story is told of a missionary who went to Africa. His only son grew up a long side an African girl. The missionary tried to disassociate their little boy from playing with the little black girl, but could not. Little Jimmy seeks out Losa against his parent’s will. Ofcourse, he did not know what he was doing. He was only four. He did not understand racism. Finally, the missionary moved out with his family to another neighborhood in order to prevent the little ones playing together.
At last, the missionary went back to his country England. But unfortunately for him, Losa gained admission to one of England’s elite schools and fate brought Jimmy and Losa back together again: something each never planned. Both knew their parents objected to their relationship, but there was a supernatural force that crushed the cultural barrier that sought to separate them. They finally capitulated to this “evil spirit” if you wish to call it so, and got married. They remained married with two children. Children do not understand bias or racism. They do only when they are taught by parents or peers. It is time for parents to examine their conscience what they are teaching their children about race relation in America. Again, children don’t understand bias. They do only when they are taught by parents or peers.
Remember your culture is not superior to another’s culture. Culture relates to the world view in which people have been raised in. It is who they are – respect it. Whether it is the way they eat or dress or speak or think. Don’t desire anybody to be like you before you can accept them. If someone will not accept you; always criticizes and wants you to be like them, would you like it? “So treat others as you would like them to treat you.”
Don’t be envious of people or what they possess. This has fuelled individual antagonism and world wars. Accept who you are. Envy is a powerful, negative emotion and can lead to destructive tendencies. Don’t think you are more important than someone else. Be humble and don’t exalt yourself, even if you are a genius and very talented. Remember, someone gave you those talents and can be taken away from you any moment. Also, people will appreciate you more if you are humble. Examine yourself constantly and make sure you avoid these obsessive habits: pride, envy and fear.
Don’t envy what you cannot have or possess. This leads to covetousness. If you cannot obtain what someone else has, you will pursue it dubiously, especially, if you desperately want it. You will first slander and spread false rumors to belittle the object of your desire. Your intention is to reduce that thing to fear or intimidation so you can possess it. That is how World Powers and leaders have tactfully and ruthlessly dominated the resources of other nations and have failed to help poorer nations; and threaten them when they cannot do what they want. World Powers intimidate and spread rumors that hurt nations so they could dominate, rule and possess. The root cause is jealousy. When you cannot obtain object of your pleasure, you kill, plunder to possess. That was what King Ahab did to Naboth’s Vine yard in the Scriptures. The King desired Naboth’s vine yard, could not possess it. He spreads false rumors and got Naboth killed and possessed the Vineyard. God saw it and immediately rendered vengeance on King Ahab. That is the human heart. It is crooked and dangerous- it can do anything. Watch what transpires in your heart. Another person from another race can be more intelligent, more prosperous, more everything. Don’t envy them. Envy, fear, jealousy can all lead to murder.
James asks: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members. Ye lust and have not; ye kill and desire to have and cannot obtain; ye fight and war.” James 4:1&2 James says we desire something and cannot realize the object of our desire, so we fight…we war…Behind all the world wars and modern wars is the desire to possess raw materials -acquisition… be it in Europe, Middle East, Kosovo, Africa, Asia, South America, etc., they are camouflaged in peace ventures by World Powers. But the root cause is envy, pride, fear. Your motive will reveal that. Watch your motive in everything you do.
Don’t do things out of fear. Fear can intimidate you to do anything- even murder. Fear destroys the will to think coherently and rationally. At the heart of racism is fear: fear of the unknown; fear of competition, the fear of failure, inferiority complex or self image problems, etc., and so fear is camouflaged in pride. These are the ingredients of racism: fear, pride, jealousy and ignorance. Above all and lastly, try to learn and understand those unlike you. Rather than been frightened, determine to find out more information about them. Don’t withdraw from them or avoid them. Sure, you don’t take that kind of approach to learning. If we should, nobody will go to school. So why can’t we master and appropriate the same skill on those whose skin is different from us; or whose speech or culture is different so as to enhance human relationship. After all, there is nothing more valuable than human relationship- whether at home or Church, school or the corporate world. Failure in human relationship is failure every where. Human relationships are more important than all our rich intellectual or material knowledge and opulence that we possess. If we don’t cultivate our relationships, we become lonely in life and a lonely society.
A story is told of two bachelors black and white. 33 years of age who for some unknown fate shared a duplex against their will. They talked little and each went their own separate way. They did not know they had a lot in common. Both were from Boston, Massachusetts; lonely in the city; and shared a love for sports and writing. Then it happened. In the middle of the night as they slept in there separate rooms, they were trapped in a merciless fire that sent them scurrying and yelling for help. But pride had kept them from becoming friendly. They did not know each other’s name and the duplex was exclusively outside the town. They had barely seconds to live, and both desperately wanted to live to realize their goals. Hopeless in the midst of death, they heard a voice…a child’s voice…. “You have one choice in order to live.” Both were experiencing the same event in their rooms which were almost engulfed in flames. “Pass through the fire,” the child ordered. They wondered should they listen to the voice, their lives will be over. But they had no choice, but to accept the ruthless demand; they did not want untimely death; they were young. But how could they pass through torrid, scorching, and blazing fire…it sounded like a dream….to pass through the deadly fire; but it was real. Immediately they stepped into the fire, both hobbled into the only room that was not demolished by fire. They knew it was nothing short of an angel that delivered them. Tom and Harry looked at each other and talked for the first time. They discussed their miraculous escape and their stubborn, racist, negative idealism. Sometimes, it takes the purging of our murky heart to dismantle us of racism. Sometimes, it takes a fatal situation to rouse us from our racist outlook. Tom and Harry became the best of friends and recognized the great potential of a racial friendship.
Race relations, can it be solved? No, but we all can learn to live in harmony, love and accept each other. The ability to approach the unknown with boldness and excitement will enable you to overcome the fear that associates the unknown. As the nation grapples with race relations, we must not pretend any longer it doesn’t exit, but must take these steps to find solution to our individual bias – both black and white before it becomes too late for the nation to handle. If we don’t, our democracy will be questioned, and we will become a lonely nation because of race problems. It is all about building relationships with someone not like you, or like you. It can be exiting. Here is a poem written by the writer.
Relationships, relationships, relationships
We are born in it
We think in it
We move in it
We work in it
Whether our relations or others
The complex paradox
Of human nature
When we don’t try
Whether our relations or others
Relationships that remain
When every other thing fades
You will be happy you did
When every other thing fades
Rev. Uche ikpa
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