Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
Combating Racism and Xenophobia
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Forest Hills Eastern High School
Racism can be defined as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” according to the Oxford Dictionary. Racism has been around since people have been distinguishing different races and skin colors. Xenophobia is the “dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries”. Xenophobia has been occurring ever since discrimination has been prevalent. Countries did not like when foreigners or strangers came to their country to take their land or wealth, so they chose xenophobia as a response. Racism and xenophobia are two related terms, but at the same time are very different. They both have created discrimination around the world. Varied countries have put in hierarchical systems based on race, such as South Africa and the United States. Xenophobia and racism can lead to violence, and in the past, even genocide. This problem should be addressed as xenophobia and racism are extremely prominent because of social media. Racism is a problem in The Bahamas as the country is divided by race. According to the The College of The Bahamas Research Journal “The Tribune points out that our Bahamaland is ‘…very much a race-driven colour conscious society’“.
The Bahamas has been battling racism and xenophobia since the country was formed, and it is an issue in the country. The Bahamians were enslaved by the white people (Americans) hundreds of years ago. Most of the Bahamians were Africans. After the abolition of slavery, on August 1, 1834, the emancipated Africans were forced into servitude for a fixed period. The Bahamian government had a chance to sue the United Kingdom in 2013, but on October 23 of the same year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell stated “the government has made no decision to sue the United Kingdom over reparations for slavery”. The Bahamas has not made any effort against this national problem, and do not have a policy on it because the violence has not been recent. A Bahamian delegate speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), stated that “racism, discrimination and xenophobia were being perpetuated under the guise of nationalism and patriotism” Sheila Carey, who also spoke on behalf of CARICOM, “expressed concern about the intellectual legitimization of racism and xenophobia by scholars, the media and, in some cases, leaders expected to act as societal examples”. These statements were made at the UN General Assembly meeting on October 31, 2017. The Bahamas have been divided between the Black Bahamians and the White Bahamians. They resorted to violence between the two because the hate came in between, and so did their racist and xenophobic ways. But The Bahamas has not done anything in particular to try to end racism and xenophobia. Since there are both black and white people in The Bahamas, the government has created a constitution in which everybody is more equal, and have the same opportunities.
The Bahamas believes that any action taken for xenophobia and racism would be helpful. It could be on a national level or even international. Since NGOs only have limited influence on most actions taken, working group should be created. These groups would influence people, businesses, and organizations so NGOs are not working alone. Groups such as the Civil Solidarity. This group is coordinated by Konstantin Baranov, International Youth Human Rights Movement, Balint Josa, UNITED for Intercultural Action according to their website Civil Solidarity. Since discrimination is such a global problem action should be taken even though our country has not done much since the issue is not very current for us. We as as a United Nation should solve this issue. Because of racism and xenophobia the world has had slavery. So all countries suffering from racism and xenophobia should take action.
- Jaisal Chopra