In simple words racism can be described as poor treatment and judgment of people based on their race. The root of racial discrimination is in ignorance and lack of knowledge and experience of some people. Modern world offers a huge variety of different resources where people can find information, read other opinions, experiences but, unfortunately, it didn’t eliminate racism. Some people remain shallow and continue judging others by the color of their skin. Racism became an issue because it has spread to all levels of life and even expanded. It is important to understand, that racism is inevitable, however, people should remember that it is not natural, as well. Historical evidence shows that different racial and ethnic groups used to live peacefully with each other. There were times, when African culture was the most developed and advanced, and citizens of European civilization looked up to them and learned a lot from them. The same situation was with Chinese civilization. Those were the times, when cultures interacted with each other, and the skin color did not make much of a difference. However, the situation changed over the years and now we find ourselves in the world, where skin color and ethnic membership became triggers for discrimination.
There are a lot of different causes of racism: stereotypes, selfishness, unfamiliarity, ignorance, the wish to be superior to others, historical patterns etc. Most common of all is stereotypes. The majority of people gain their knowledge and information from mass media. It is well known that mass media can easily manipulate people, especially youth. Therefore, young people can be caught in the net of stereotypes, imposed by mass media. People trust and believe in what they see and hear, and it became quite easy for them to judge others only because that’s what they have seen on TV screens. Selfishness might direct people to wanting to be superior to others. When person is selfish, he doesn’t pay too much attention to being tolerant to others, especially, when others are different. Historical patterns of discrimination, slave trade and many other historical reasons contributed to modern racism. All in all, each of these reasons finds their roots in people and it is important to explore an issue from the inside to find out how to resolve it.
There are 4 different types of discrimination: racial discrimination, institutional, economic, and symbolic/modern. Racial discrimination means social differentiation of groups of people for different (better) treatment. It occurs in everyday life, and the fact that white people are more likely to get a job is a bright example of it. Institutional racism is discrimination by large institutions that have the power to influence others. Large institutions, such as, governments, educational institutions often impose their beliefs and opinions on many individuals. Thus, they can manipulate with the social views on many subjects, including racism. Economic discrimination is caused by historical reasons, which influence the present generation of people through racist attitudes and actions. Symbolic racism can be explained as prejudice towards black people in America. Some people believe that Black people don’t deserve all of the rights that they have now and that they are demanding too much while not working hard enough.
Racism has been a problem for a long time and it continues to bother society now. It can appear in absolutely diverse ways, cruel and harsh. With the development of technology developed cyber racism. Cyber racism is explained as racism, which most commonly occurs in the cyber world (racismnoway). International network opened up the gates to anonymous hating and racism propaganda. More and more people are exposed to cyber racism daily. The consequences sometimes are drastic and tragic.
Cyber racism developed over the last 20 years and it is practically impossible to control it. Websites, images, videos, post, tweets, messages, all online content, including racist comments are a part of cyber racism. Les Black was the first author, who defined “cyber racism” in his work “Aryans reading Adorno: cyber culture and 21st century racism”. He also defined common features of cyber racism groups: “a rhetoric of racial and/ or national uniqueness and common destiny; ideas of racial supremacy, superiority and separation; a repertoire of conceptions of racial Otherness; a utopian revolutionary world-view that aims to overthrow the existing order” (Black 632). Cyber racists feel secure on the Internet, as it is an autonomous space to participate in the racist activities online. There are racist websites and even games. Cyber racists use new technologies to reach their goals, they send out viruses and malware, which fills email boxes with junk emails. These groups exist in the cyber world, but there is a possibility, that some individuals exchange their addresses and meet in the real world. This brings cyber racism on another level.
The fact that anyone can post online whatever he wants further developed an issue of cyber racism. It also became a real problem because government has basically no power over it, it is impossible to control every message on the Internet. Studies have shown that there is a huge percent of young people who are exposed to cyber racism, in a way of cyber bulling (racismnoway). They were getting “hate” messages, had pages written about them, things that were put up on the Internet were simply cruel. Victims of cyber racism are usually internet users, it means that especially high school and college students are exposed to discrimination.
I have a friend of African-American origin, who was exposed to cyber racism. My friend got into a fight with her classmate and when she came back home after school she found out that there is a page on the social network about her. Her classmate put up pictures of my friend and all of them had horrible comments written underneath, most of them saying that she does not deserve to study in the same room as white people and that she needs to go back to her country. She told me that she felt absolutely miserable and that she hates the fact that she cannot change her skin color. A couple days later, we found out that she switched schools. It is a bright example of the consequences of the cyber racism. Not only she was too embarrassed to come back to school, and had to switch them, this situation led her into deep depression and she had to visit psychiatrist to cope with this problem.
The biggest problem of cyber racism is that it is online, therefore, racist message or post is immediately all over the internet and people from the other corner of the world are reading it. The range of cyber racists expand and reach younger audiences, making it an all age problem. Racist behavior can have a lot of effects and consequence’s. First of all, victims can become angry, sad, depressed or even violent. It can have negative influence on victim’s whole life. Youth who report experiencing prejudice are less likely to feel that opportunities are equal to anyone willing to work hard. (Flanagan, Syvertsen, Gill, Gallay, & Cumsille, 2009). People exposed to discrimination are often mentally unwell as it is very stressful to bear racism. Racism pollutes society and spreads hatred. It should not take place in the world at all.
There are different organizations that try to change the situation and make the world better. They are working with victims of discrimination, and they are raising the awareness of this issue. One of the biggest ones is International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism. Its main objective is to fight racism and help victims. Besides this one, there are thousands of other anti-racist organizations with the same purpose. It is especially important to provide help to students at schools and colleges, regardless of their race or ethnic origin. School psychologist plays an essential role in supporting mental health of the students through professional responsibilities. They need to provide equal possibility for all students to benefit from schools programs. If every school psychologist follows this, then it is possible to say that there is a chance to build racism-free future.
Racism No Way. NSW Government, Education and Communities. Web. 2013
Flanagan, C. A., Syvertsen, A. K., Gill, S., Gallay, L. S., & Cumsille, P. Ethnic awareness, prejudice, and civic commitments. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 38, 500–518. 2009.
Black, Les. "Aryans reading Adorno: cyber culture and 21st century racism." Ethnic and Racial Studies. Vol. 25 No. Web.4 July 2002.