Image by Melk Hagelslag from Pixabay 

Nose-diving into the newspaper, one’s eyes generally catch hold of one of the pages in the newspaper known for classified stuff where matrimonial advertisements are discovered commonly. In all such ads, the term which finds solid mention is ‘fairer complexion’. Mankind is in the 21st century, and scarcely a year passes without us stumbling upon any new technology or innovation, but it's appalling that we still find ourselves deeply entrenched in the vicious trap of racialism. The impreciseness regarding the origin of the word ‘racism’ makes it a bit difficult to interpret it. This word may trace its origin either in the Arabic language or Hebrew language. Simply defining racism will have us as someone who is racist. This belief leads us to the notion that advocating for the classification of the human population into groups (races) based on different biological traits. Later on, this classification may influence the political setup of the concerned place by demanding privileges and rights. At times, racism breeds from superstitious beliefs and myths which may lead to the victimization of a person. Such superstitions lead to the formation of a sense of prejudice which may, in turn, take the form of preconceived unreasonable feelings against someone. Ultimately, a sense of discrimination may raise its ugly head, enough to destroy social tranquility. If one flips through the pages of history, one can come across several instances where racialism had led to fatal blows. Let’s go through some of them:

1. The Horrendous Holocaust:

Who can forget the genocide perpetrated by Adolf Hitler during his anti-semantic movement which ended up claiming the lives of around 6 million Jews? This mass massacre was affected by mass shootings, pogrom and forcefully locking Jews in concentration camps equipped with gas chambers. To purify the German land from Jews as there were considered ‘impure’ by Hitler; this ghastly misdeed was taken up. Around two-thirds of the total Jews belonging to Europe were massacred following the dictator’s gruesome motive. The ethnic cleansing of Jews was carried out piecemeal. It all began with Hitler becoming the chancellor of Germany in 1933, which was followed by the passing of Enabling Act which made him a dictator and granted him infinite power through which the work to alienate Jews took place. Gradually yet effectively the Jews were robbed of their business while the construction of concentration camps was being taken up in a full-fledged manner. Transgressions as such are beyond condemnation. A simple discussion on it is enough to send spine-chilling waves down through someone’s body. Mass killings are frequented in modern times also, but not as heinous as this one.

2. Racism in the African continent:

The whole African continent had been reeling under the haunts of racism till the 20th century. The Europeans who began colonizing ‘the dark continent’ to further their imperialistic mission, introduced racism to the Africans. The Africans were enslaved and were discriminated against on several grounds, skin color being prominent of all. The natives of Africa had convinced themselves with the fact that they were inferior to the whites as they were dark. The dark people to earn respect equivalent to that of the Europeans began imitating the lifestyle of the latter. Until South Africa had not attained independence, racialism (apartheid) was quite common there. India as a believer in equal rights irrespective of the factors had severed diplomatic ties with South Africa, only to be restored following the petering out of racism from the country. In 1994, South Africa completely abolished racism and the election of Nelson Mandela as the first black president of the nation bears testimony to the fact. Since 1994, South Africa has been committed to supporting the cause of the anti-racism movement.

3. Black Lives Matter (BLM):

Until recently a social movement backed by people from all walks of life had been going on in the USA. The movement was a result of the custodial death wherein a police officer had knelt for around 8 minutes on the neck of a handcuffed prisoner named, George Floyd with their face lying against the road which resulted in the death of the latter one. The police brutality saw people thronging the streets with placards in their hands demanding the arrest of the policeman. The promises made by the American legislators regarding taking steps to stop racism in the past rang hollow as the movement unfolded. Soon the movement was spread to other corners of the world where people defying Covid SOPs hit the streets in large numbers echoing the same demand as were being made in the USA. The black lives matter movement which started in 2013, aims to highlight the incidents of police barbarity and savagery against black people who are a part of the African-American community. The BLM movement of 2020 following the death of George Floyd had cosmetic brand Fair & Lovely change its name to Glow & Lovely. The USA, which boasts itself as the oldest democracy in the world, witnesses such incidents of racism frequently. In recent times, the prevailing ‘gun culture has been taking a toll on human lives.

4. Mahatma Gandhi and Racism:

Racism is such a vicious anti-social element that our father of the nation too couldn’t escape its brunt. Gandhi Ji who had moved to Natal of South Africa to fight a legal case in 1993 was once traveling from Durban to Pretoria on a train. A white man, upon seeing him seated in the first-class carriage turned red and asked Gandhi Ji to abandon the carriage owing to rampant racial segregation. When Mahatma Gandhi refused to obey his order he was thrown out of the train at Pietermaritzburg station where he spent the rest of his night. This incident strongly influenced Gandhi Ji's mind and would shape his thoughts in his fight against racism and inequality. The discrimination hurled upon Gandhi Ji based on race and ethnicity in South Africa gave birth to his ideology of satyagraha.

5. Racism in India:

The world’s largest democracy, India is also not bereft of racism. In western India, particularly in Maharashtra, till recently, North Indians who had migrated there for better employment opportunities faced atrocities by several political outfits. Their homes were vandalized and they were forced out of the state. During election times, our leaders make promises about the reservation of a lion’s share of job opportunities for the localities. Electoral promises as such, too encourage racism as the outsiders to the state do not get ample job opportunities to showcase their talent and skills, hence being deprived of jobs.


The above instances of racism should act as an eye-opener for us. When the whole of mankind is busy raking up the innovations and trying to get riddance from social evils, we as human beings should bring ourselves together to shoulder the responsibility of shedding this ill practice and work in tandem to further the cause of sanity and humanity.

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