Racism and Xenophobia, while different, often stem from the same ideologies and oppressive systems. Racism and xenophobia are unavoidable, as ignorance and fear are basic human instincts. What can be done though is creating policies that limit these views, and permanently expel them from the political systems of the world. Racism is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior,” while xenophobia is the “dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.”
Both of these issues are prevalent in developed and developing nations alike. In fact, its ugly mark is laid most intensely on powerful nations such as the United States and South Africa, rooting from systems such as slavery, segregation and apartheid. In the past, these systems often arose from fear of the unknown, and desire to belittle and control.
Both these topics are widely discussed today, but with little to no explanations for how to prevent them and move forward. Influencing people’s problematic views is extremely difficult but dispelling them from political systems is a big step. Also, convicting people who perform racially or xenophobically motivated acts of violence with hate crimes will decrease the number of these. In the United States alone in the year 2012, there were and estimated 300,000 reported hate crimes. Immigration policies that deny people from a certain country that is primarily one minority, or another also need to be avoided. They contribute to the environment that people are raised in and eventually follow when they are not taught to ignore it.
Sometimes, people hold their views because of a lack of basic understanding and education. People grow and learn based on the environment and society that their mind is cultivated in. it was often thought that for someone to be racist, they had to be taught it. However, it is known now that someone has to be actively taught to not be racist. So, nations across the world need to educate the common people that certain ideals are problematic and don’t belong in our world.
The reason racism and xenophobia have become so deeply rooted in our world is because they have been part of political systems for a long time, teaching people to ignore what they see around them is one thing but changing what they see is another. Nations that are more closed off from the rest of the world can develop ideas about immigrants when they themselves have no personal experience with them. South Sudan urges all nations to exclude policies about race and country of origin. South Sudan believes that nations that have the power to exclude potentially racist or xenophobic policies have an obligation to. Nations such as South Africa have continued to allow xenophobic and racist attacks. Many of these nations have icons such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and allowing these ideas to flourish in their countries disrespects their legacy.
The United Nations has extensive research into the issue of racism and xenophobia and how to combat it. To eliminate racially oppressive systems such as the apartheid, the United Nations now classifies them as a crime against humanity. It has stated that all humans are the same species, regardless of race, gender, nation of origin, sexual orientation or anything else. All nations need to adhere to this rule for the world to make progress.
Racism and xenophobia are two complex issues and trying to decrease its prominence or destroy it entirely is often seen as in vain. The ways to do this is to 1) change the environment in which people are being taught these by taking racist and xenophobic ideals out of political systems. And 2) by teaching people that might be affected by the problematic views of society that those ideals are wrong.
1. Ingraham, Christopher. “The Ugly Truth about Hate Crimes – in 5 Charts and Maps.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 26 Apr. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/18/5-charts-show-the-stubborn-persistence-of-american-hate-crime/.
2. Adukata, John. “South Sudan Calls for End to Xenophobic Attacks.” The East African, The East African, 7 Sept. 2019, https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Juba-calls-for-end-to-xenophobic-attacks/4552908-5264042-qej9iy/index.html.
3. William Wan, Sarah Kaplan. “Why Are People Still Racist? What Science Says about America’s Race Problem.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Apr. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/08/14/why-are-people-still-racist-what-science-says-about-americas-race-problem/.
- Claire Martin