Social Humanitarian & Cultural Committee
Combating Racism and Xenophobia
Mattawan High School
Throughout the world, racism and xenophobia are present either through laws or through mannerisms expressed by citizens. Despite the similarities, there is a distinct difference between xenophobia and racism: xenophobia is a prejudice against people from foreign countries, and racism is a prejudice against people of a certain race. Europe and North America have a history of racism against those with African descent, but with recent terror events, racism towards those of Middle Eastern descent have risen. Xenophobia was exhibited during World War 2 when the United States sent Japanese Americans to internment camps due to the fear of a domestic Japanese threat. Some prejudices against groups are a combination of both racism and xenophobia, where some prejudice is due to race while simultaneously being paired with prejudice due to nationality. Throughout Kenya, there is a great diversity of African ethnicities.
Neither racism nor xenophobia is a raging problem throughout Kenya, but recently, a racist issue arose between Kenyans and Chinese. Chinese influence is spreading throughout Kenya, and just last year, a Chinese employer of a Chinese motorcycle company was exposed for blatant racism. The employer was caught on camera declaring Kenyans are primates and “like a monkey people.” Kenya is strictly against both racism and xenophobia. Kenya dealt with racism during its time as a British colony but hasn’t experienced racism since 1963. The newer generations of Kenyans believe racism is a phenomenon learned through history lessons because of the lack of racism. At a time when Kenya is seeking a closer relationship with China, Kenya is concerned by this individual issue, but an even greater concern is the work environment experienced by many Kenyans under Chinese management. Kenyan railway workers describe the atmosphere of “neocolonialism” under Chinese management. Kenya will not stand for racism and believes racism and xenophobia both degrade and dehumanize others. Kenya strongly believes racism must be eradicated for the betterment of the people.
A potential solution to the problem of racism is by providing a negative incentive to countries or individuals who exhibit blatant acts of racism in a professional environment. A mass negative incentive enforced by governments with well-defined definitions for racism will allow for a great reduction in racism in a professional environment.
- Adrian Heldt