Today I am going to talk about Racism and its impact on our lives. First I want to discuss theterm itself, the connection between Human Rights and racism and what we can do againstracism. Later, towards the end I want to tell you about discrimination and harassment in theUSA and some facts about immigration and why people have racist prejudice.The Oxford English Dictionary says, which is, at least in my opinion, the most reliable sourcewhen it comes to definitions, that “the belief that all members of each race possess charac-teristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race , especially so as to distinguish it as inferioror superior to another race or races” (OED online). This means, that each race has certaincharacteristics so that we can distinguish from each other and lead us to judge whether oneis better or worse than the other. The concept of racism has change over the years. Once, they demonised the blacks tojustify slavery. Then they demonised the coloureds to justify colonialism. Today, they de-monise asylum seekers to justify the ways of globalism. But how can people judge? Biologically speaking, there are no clear differences, and especially no significant dif-ferences that matter. Recent research shows that race is an imagined entity. Race has nobiological basis. The word racism is used to describe abusive or aggressive behaviour to-wards members of a so-called inferior race. Racism takes different forms in different coun-tries -, according to history, culture and other social factors.A relatively new form of racism, sometimes called ethnic or cultural differentiation, saysthat all races or cultures are equal but they should not mix together to keep their originality.There is no scientific proof of the existence of different races. Biology has only determinedone race: the human race.Connections between some Human Rights and Racism • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. • Everyone has the right to a nationality. • Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. • Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or reli- gion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
What can you do against Racism?All organisations, large and small, can contribute in their own way to the *Action Week,which is in March every year. The European campaign aims to raise awareness in all relevantareas of society.Two main targets are the media and the general public.Student organisations and teacher unions frequently take up the occasion of this week to or-ganise special lessons, campus meetings, petitions, etc. Media may be inclined to work withpeople to produce special issues, tv programs and radio shows. Especially community mediaoften get in contact with local organisations to produce special programs. Public debates,round tables and conferences provide places for reflection and brainstorming.People can take up the occasion of the 21th March International Day for the Elimination ofAll Forms of Racial Discrimination to write petitions to politicians or publish media releases.Many organisations publish their annual report during the Action Week. People can take thisweek to show their anger. Removing graffiti and other visible actions can alert the public tothe existence of the Action Week. Activists will organise activities as for example "Sportagainst Racism" and street theatre. *Action Week = event in the USADiscrimination & Harassment (in the USA)It is illegal under both Federal and State Law to discriminate in the "terms or conditions ofemployment" on the basis of a persons race or color."Terms or conditions of employment" means just about anything relating to someones job:their position, pay, title, hours, vacations; everything is a term or condition of employment.Whether or not a person is hired is also considered a term or condition of employment.Race is generally defined as a persons ancestry or ethnic characteristics. Everyone is somerace or color. This means that it is illegal to discriminate against anyone, if the basis is theirrace or color.Racial discrimination of employees who have relationships with people of a particular race isalso prohibited. For instance, if an employer fired a white employee because she had blackfriends, or was dating a black man, the white woman would have a discrimination suit,whether or not the employer is prejudiced against whites.It is also illegal to discriminate on the basis of "color". In one case, an employer hired a"light-complexioned" black applicant with "Caucasian features" over another black applicantwho had a "dark complexion" and "Negroid features". This was also against the law, eventhough in a strict sense one race wasnt being preferred over another.There are two types of race discrimination in the workplace: "disparate treatment"and "disparate impact"."Harassment", standing alone, is not illegal. The harassment in the workplace must be basedon an illegal factor, like those listed above under "discrimination in the workplace." In otherwords, the employer cannot harass the employee because of his race. But he can harass himbecause he just doesnt like him.
If an employer treats an employee badly because of race, it is racial harassment. If it is be-cause of sex or gender, it is sexual harassment, etc. But there is no law against general "har-assment" or bad treatment of an employee.Some Organisations which can help in these cases: CARL = Campaign Against Racist Laws CRE = Commission for Racial EqualityNo one is illegal – Immigration in CountriesImmigrants face numerous criticisms and challenges; it is often difficult to get into anothernation as mentioned above. If one succeeds, then additional struggles are faced: • Living in a new country can be daunting, especially when the cultural differences are great. • As a result it can be expected that an immigrant would try to maintain some semb- lance of their own culture in their new country of stay. • Or, due to fears of racism or due to the culture shock it would be expected that im- migrant communities would form as a way to deal with this and as a means to help each other through. • By doing this, sometimes they face criticism of not integrating and of “sticking with their own kind”; • Yet, on the other hand, if they do integrate in some way, they face critique from cer- tain types of environmentalists and others of contributing to environmental degrada- tion by increasing their consumption to the high levels typical of the host nation.Why do the People have Racism Prejudice?Prejudice is an attitude, opinion, or feeling formed without prior knowledge, thought orreason.People are often afraid of something new or something they don’t know.
Some people want to come into power of somebody or rather put them down.Nobody really knows why there is still racism, but a kindergarden teacher from Jever, whoworks in the Christian church kindergarten, works with children every day and thinks that ra-cism is acquired and comes from the adults.In this kindergarten there are about 100 children and only seven of them are foreigners. Thekids play with each other and make no distinctions.But when they want to meet out of the kindergarten their parents say that they dont wantthem to play with foreigners because they are "filthy", would "steal" and were "Kanacken"(swear word). The children do not understand them and so they say, "My parents say youare a “Kanacke” (it is a swear word) and Im not allowed to play with you." This hurts verymuch.When parents dont make any differences between foreign and their own children, the chil-dren start asking about the colour of skins, the other language and so on at the age of fiveyears. Then the kindergarten teachers try to explain it to them.On some days there are meetings for the children and parents, but the German parents donot make a step forwards to the "foreigners" and the foreign adults are too afraid, becausethey often dont speak German so well.So there is no chance to get to know them better, to fight against prejudices.Children are dependent on adults, because they learn everything from them.Thus racism is acquired or passed on.Many adults make distinctions between humans and I think that this is the biggest mistake.We are just humans and only this. It wouldnt be so difficult to fight against racism if peoplewere more open, tolerant and made a step towards "foreigners", would try to know themand then to form their own opinion. I think everybody has deserved a chance - not prejudice.Words / 06.06.05 1/2the origin Ursprungthe exploitation Ausbeutungto condition bedingenthe imperative Befehlto negotiate austragento demonise verteufelnthe exclusion Ausschlußthe rationale Grundprinzipthe guise Aufmachungthe xenophobia Fremdenangstsuperior überlegenthe ancestry Abstammungto distinguish unterscheidenrecent neuerlichthe entity Gebildeinferior minderwertig