A recent study revealed that 81% of bias crimes in Australia were rooted in racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination between 2013-2016. Professor Gail Mason from the Sydney Institute of Criminology (University of Sydney Law School) based his findings on data from the New South Wales Police Force, the primary authority on bias crime in Australia. He concluded that hate crime was ”under-reported and under-recorded." Professor Mason assumed a lack of trust of minorities in the police was one reason for them not reporting biased crimes that made them vulnerable.
The E.U. Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reported that 9 out of 10 hate crimes went unreported in Europe. Around 22% of hate crimes in Europe were against victims from ethnic minorities. FRA’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, shared that many victims of hate crimes didn’t file reports, and even when they did, the system in many E.U. countries did a poor job of recording hate crimes. The report by FRA suggested third-party/ anonymous reporting, police training, and hate crime units as potential solutions for handling hate crimes in Europe.
Nearly 62% of hate crimes in the United States were motivated by race, ethnicity, or ancestry, according to a 2020 report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). There was a 32% increase in this kind of hate crime from 2019-2020. In instances where the majority is affected by poor policymaking, racial minorities still suffer more than white people. Women of color already have limited access to reproductive healthcare in the United States, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade has harmed them disproportionately. They don’t have the same access to sexual health services for pregnancy planning as white women are privileged to receive
The United Nations is concerned about vigilante groups in South Africa, like Operation Dudula, targeting migrants from African states and South Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by anti-immigrant violence that sometimes takes the form of riots and mob violence. In May 2008, South Africa witnessed the worst wave of hate crime recently, leaving 62 dead and hundreds injured. The South African government began to work on its National Action Plan Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in 2019. A 2022 Human Rights Watch review shows that little progress has been made.
How Are Racism And Hate Destroying Society?
On closer inspection, we can see just how deep the cracks made by racial discrimination are in society. Many aren’t aware of personal prejudices rooted in racism and continue to live in ignorant privilege while racial minorities struggle to survive. Structural racism has infiltrated primary institutions and society, making racism seem "normal."
In the U.S., the Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and the significant exclusion of Black workers in the New Deal's Fair Labor Standards Act (1938). Racial minorities don’t enjoy white people's economic privileges and get stuck at the bottom of the ladder. In South Africa, foreign nationals and refugees remain undocumented, restricting their access to asylum status, making them vulnerable to deportation, and putting them at risk of arbitrary arrests.
In countries where migrants aren’t given opportunities, they are forced to live in high-crime neighborhoods. Some laws and policies surrounding American residential areas show racial bias as many underdeveloped neighborhoods have non-white populations. “Redlining” limited the access of Black people to mortgages and home ownership, while segregation seriously affected their quality of life, restricting their access to necessities.
Living in segregated neighborhoods that lack basic facilities and don’t receive the attention they require from the state harms the academic prospects of children belonging to racial minorities. They find it difficult to get higher education and apply for high-paying jobs. Many come from humble backgrounds and risk going into debt with heavy student loans. Fees for international students are pretty high compared to those demanded from nationals, limiting access to higher education.
It’s difficult for racial minorities to rise within political ranks due to prejudices and discrimination worldwide. The system discourages racial minorities from trying to bring a change by entering politics and even suppresses diverse voices during voting. Those who aren’t white face enormous challenges if they wish to pursue a career in American politics. In Mississippi, the law that prevents people with certain felonies from voting disproportionately affects Black people.
The economic oppression of racial minorities in many countries results in them facing major health issues with limited access to healthcare. A UK study reported, "The intersection between ethnicity, race, and health is a product of this systemic discrimination." Since American healthcare is expensive, people who need it the most often suffer without medical assistance. Racial bias of healthcare workers is one reason racial minorities don’t get the medical care they require.
A World Bank report claimed that South Africa's economic inequality had roots in racism. It stated that 30 years post-apartheid, racism profoundly influenced education and labor in South Africa. The racist economic system of the United States ensures that families that aren’t white rarely accumulate generational wealth, unlike white families. Having adequate healthcare and quality education leads to economic growth that extends to future generations. The opposite happens in families that aren’t white all because of racist policies.
South Africa shut down its Refugee Reception Offices in 2020 led to refugees being at high risk of arbitrary arrests and deportation. Some believe that convict labor in the United States is simply a replacement for slavery. Research shows that police brutality is one of the primary causes of men of color dying between the ages of 25 to 29 years old. The prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years has highlighted this issue.
What Are The Causes?
A quick look at history reveals the significant causes of racism and the factors that sustain racist beliefs in modern times. Racial inequality seems downright absurd in an age where humans are working towards life on Mars. Once you look closer, the threads of racism lead back to the following causes:
Greed For Power
Time and time again, we've seen strong nations conquer weaker ones. Technology and strategy are two primary factors contributing to such victories. Nations never won because one race was superior to another, but that’s what the victors have repeated until racism became firmly rooted in people's minds. Powerful nations that thirsted for more power often used slavery justified by racism to build their economies.
Countries, where racial minorities suffer the most, have in-built racism in their essential institutions. Moreover, their leaders and influential figures have taken measures to prevent other races from gaining any power that could lead to them losing power to other races. The irony is that model minorities are often supported to suppress voices against systemic racism. Racist leaders outright deny the existence of systemic racism or justify it with more racism.
Racism Is The Norm
When you have racists running a system or country, racism becomes the norm. Challenges against racist systems are seen as attempts to disturb the peace, and those trying to bring a change are labeled "criminals ."It is no surprise when law enforcement agencies are unfairly directed to use violence and aggression based on racial bias. In turn, oppressed races develop a deep mistrust of the authorities, which means they have little support from those running the system.
Racism In Science
Colonial powers and those who sought to rule other nations for self-interest always controlled the narrative while actively silencing their victims. As science gained more prominence in the modern world, the mainstream ideas surrounding race came from racists. Oppressed individuals were even used as guinea pigs in scientific experiments by well-known scientists. They used science to justify and spread racism worldwide.
Lack Of Self-Awareness
Racism is so deeply rooted in humans that we sometimes fail to recognize our prejudices influenced by mainstream media or those around us. People who aren’t affected by racism might not see the damage they do and unconsciously support racist beliefs. They create more hurdles for those fighting to end racism. Meanwhile, internalized racism continues to plague racial minorities already struggling for fundamental rights.
Growing up in a racist family, going to a racist educational institute, living in a racist neighborhood, and working at a company with racist policies can contribute to an individual's racism. On a larger scale, having proud, elected racists running your country can make you comfortable with racist ideologies. The more your mind is exposed to racist speech and actions, the more you may believe their justifications for racism.
Bad times can even spur centrists into action, and those who weren’t actively racist before may begin to show signs of racism due to political influences. Politicians are notorious for playing the blame game, and it’s perilous when racial minorities are targeted. Angry people need someone to blame, and politicians cleverly find convenient scapegoats in races already suffering because of negative stereotypes.
What we see, hear, and read significantly impacts our view of the world, including personal judgments. Many of the opinions we hold about other races are driven by prejudices rooted in racism. Race might be the first thing we notice when we look at an individual, and other opinions about them might be stacked on top of racial stereotypes. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’re judging a book by its cover.
The only thing worse than a lack of representation is poor representation, especially the use of negative stereotypes that may lead to hate and fear in the minds of consumers. Even the model minority trope is harmful because it pushes unreasonably high standards onto an oppressed group of people. Poor representation in books, movies, T.V. shows, music, etc., often results in appropriation that makes discrimination worse.
It’s uncomfortable for those unaffected by racial bias to explore the devastating effects of racism on the daily lives of racial minorities. It’s not uncommon for systemic racism and racially motivated hate crimes to result in wrongful deaths. The stark contrast between the lives of people from privileged and oppressed races is difficult to digest. A privileged person may not wish to dive into the horror of racism and outright deny that it’s a big problem.
Voices For Action Against Racism And Hate
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is the United Nations' contribution toward ending racism on a global scale. Several international and national organizations are linked to various communities, including African, African American, Asian, Hispanic, and indigenous people living in different countries. Many grassroots organizations are working with racial minorities that require social, political, economic, medical, and legal support the system has failed to provide.
Since 2015, the Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) has been working to support local anti-racism movements and connect them to global efforts to tackle racial discrimination. In 2006, the Coalition of African Cities against Racism and Discrimination was established in Nairobi (Kenya) to counter all kinds of racism in urban areas. Besides encouraging inclusion, this coalition also promotes diversity in African cities. The African coalition helps make social, economic, and political changes for progress more accessible to marginalized groups.
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) consists of more than 150 NGOs spread all over Europe. ENAR aims to promote diversity and inclusion while combating the continent's racial discrimination and hate crimes. It also works for the economic empowerment of racial minorities in different European countries. Established in 1998, this organization helps improve cooperation between anti-racist organizations all over Europe.
The Hispanic Federation (H.F.), established in 1990, is fighting racism and empowering the Hispanic community by running different programs. The H.F. is providing education, assisting in immigration, working on green initiatives, contributing to healthcare, helping increase civic engagement, and uplifting the Hispanic community through economic means. Many other small and large organizations are combating racism against the Hispanic community.
All Together Now was established in 2010 to create racial equity in Australia. The organization works to fight racism through education and awareness, including the use of media campaigns. It focuses on building positive social norms to combat racial discrimination and shares its data with others who have taken up the anti-racism cause. Racism: It Stops With Me is an Australian national campaign launched by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Besides raising awareness of racism, it provides people with tools to address racism.
Indigenous tribes are supporting their community and taking action to end racism. The National Congress of American Indians has been active since 1944. It encourages civil engagement with the Native Vote and runs campaigns like the Indian Country Counts in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, among other activities. Indigenous organizations have been active in speaking out against state governments trying to silence their community's voices. NDN Collective is one organization working on "creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms."
Many organizations are working to support those Asian Americans who have been the target of brutal hate crimes in recent years, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19. The Asian American Federation is one such organization having a Hope Against Hate campaign. Meanwhile, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans runs a #WhoWeAre digital campaign focused on demanding fair representation of their community and calling out poor representation, which may support racist stereotypes.
Black Lives Matter has been a prominent voice against the violence inflicted on Black people by the state and groups or individuals. Since 2016, BlackPAC has been working on economic, justice, and political change using the Black vote. The Grassroots Law Project is fighting racism and bigotry in the United States to bring structural change at a fundamental level. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is working to end racial discrimination and ensure equal rights for people of all races.
There are diverse voices against racism focused on intersectionalities, such as the Black Women's Blueprint, the African American Roundtable, the Brown Boi Project, the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center, the Banyan Tree Project, and the Hispanic Women’s Corporation, and more. Many organizations collaborate to speak up against racial discrimination in the world and take action to support oppressed minorities.
What Can You Do?
Awareness regarding racism can only come through education, and one must be motivated to seek authentic resources on the subject. Federal and state governments worldwide can take measures to include material that highlights racism and its impact. Unfortunately, the voices of racial minorities are being suppressed by elected officials, which is why supporting the minority vote is so important. Most racial minorities are having a hard time having their stories heard.
At an individual level, you can donate to international and national organizations that are trying to uplift different communities that are facing racism. If a donation isn’t possible, you can sign up to be a volunteer and spread the word about the work that they're doing. Social media can be a great tool to support activism against racism. The more you can elevate the voices of racial minorities, the more awareness they can achieve in your social circle. Whether you’re a student or work at a company, there are always ways to speak up against racial bias and support oppressed groups. You can sometimes intervene and stop a racist act or hate speech. The higher your authority, the more you can do for those around you who’re affected by racism and hate. You can also reach out to your higher-ups and make a case to protect individuals who’re victims of racial discrimination. You can help victims of racism find legal resources if they wish to file a police report.
If you are of voting age, you can play a role in ensuring that those who’re working against racism are being elected. Urge those around to use their vote to make a difference in the fight against racism and hate. Make sure to discourage voting for candidates with a history of supporting racist policies or engaging in racial discrimination. Using your vote to end racial discrimination can help weaken systemic racism in the country.
Foster Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Intersectionality is vital in the discussion about racism and human rights. No one in the community should feel excluded because of their class, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or any other factor. Racial minorities are also struggling to heal from internalized racism while dealing with racial discrimination from the outside. We must recognize the need for empathy, build understanding, and take action to ensure equity at every level.
The fight for diversity and inclusion will not end until racial bias has been removed from all forms of mainstream representation. When discussing diversity, we shouldn’t forget that intersectionality is essential in accurately representing any race. Inclusion should be applied to every industry, especially when it comes to the stories and causes of racial minorities. They need a voice in places where they matter the most. You should call out whitewashing along with unfair representation.
How We Can Make A Difference Together
Different communities should work side by side to create a more significant impact in the fight against racism in the world. Networks created within a country, state, province, or continent can play a significant role in unifying voices against racism. Collaborations between organizations and individuals of different races help build bridges between various racial minorities.
When people support each other's causes, their voices get louder, and their allies begin to gather more significant numbers. Intersectionality is like the glue that binds people from various races and communities. People can find common ground and develop deeper relationships to uplift oppressed minorities using their combined resources and power. There’s so much we can learn from each other if we focus on tolerance, peace, and harmony.