By: Joseph Pafumi

The idea of racism has been around for many years. Racism is the belief that genetic factors which determine the traits of a human can produce a superior or inferior human. The effects of racism are called racial discrimination. Institutional racism is when certain groups of people are denied certain rights or receive better treatment. It points out differences between different groups of people. People could be discriminated depending ethnicity or culture depending on their differences and views. Racism can mean many things in the world today. There are also many different types of racism depending on the way people use it. Racial discrimination is when people are treated differently in society. This could be a certain group of people being denied a service or public facility because of their race, culture, or other beliefs. Researches at MIT and the University of Chicago found that there was widespread discrimination in the workplace against job applicants whose name had “Black origins”. When a “black name” was found, they were 50 percent less likely than white candidates to get a callback for an interview. This is strong evidence of unconscious racism in America.(1) Institutional Racism is when a certain group of people is discriminated by the government, corporations, religions, or an educational institution. The term was defined in the 1960's by Stokely Carmichael who said that organizations can fail to provide professional service's to people because of their color, culture or ethnic origin. Economic Racism is a form of discrimination which is caused by racism in the past that affects the present generations views of a certain race. An example of this lies with Black American farmers. They claimed that for years they were being treated incorrectly by being denied farm loans or had to wait longer because of their ethnicity. (2) Racism has been around from the beginning of time. We can look through the history of human beings and see racism from all corners of the earth. From the Holocaust to ancient Rome, racism was a part of everyday life. Because of racism, modern society has had a very positive view against racism which I believe is the correct thing to do. Things like having a specific ratio of certain cultures being accepted into jobs, schools, and law enforcement, among other things have been implemented to try and end racism in our society. America has seen its fair share of racism throughout the years, but it is

not the only country on our planet that deals with this ideology. Racism was around durring the years of the Ottoman Empire, and endured an endless nationalist movement which led to World War I. In the 1940's Ethnic nationalism was associated with the NAZI party thinking that the jewish people were an infiore race which led to the NAZI's killing around 12 or more million people. (3) Throughout history, many scientist have had the notion that African Americans were an inferior race. Owen 'Alik Shahadah once said that "Historically Africans are made to sway like leaves on the wind, impervious and indifferent to any form of civilization, a people absent from scientific discovery, philosophy or the higher arts. We are left to believe that almost nothing can come out of Africa, other than raw material." (4) A Scottish philosopher by the name of David Hume said “I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilised nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or in speculation. No ingenious manufacture among them, no arts, no sciences." (5) 19th century philospher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said that “Africa is no historical part of the world”. He also said that “sense of personality; their spirit sleeps, remains sunk in itself, makes no advance, and thus parallels the compact, undifferentiated mass of the African continent”. Before World War II, a German by the name of Otto Weininger said “"A genius has perhaps scarcely ever appeared amongst the negroes, and the standard of their morality is almost universally so low that it is beginning to be acknowledged in America that their emancipation was an act of imprudence". A German conservative named Oswald Spengler said "the 'happy ending' of an empty existence, the boredom of which has brought to jazz music and Negro dancing to perform the Death March for a great Culture". These are just some examples that show racism against African Americans closer to our modern time. In truth, none of these men were correct. African Americans are not inferior in anyway. Because of what these men experienced during their time in history, they began to think that their race was the superior one. In our modern world, the view of race was developed in the 19th century with scientific theories. The actual term of racism has been around since the 18th century. The theory of racism was used for the

first time by the Europeans who believe they would take over the world. They used the theory of survival of the fittest along with racism to help explain their views of ruling the entire planet. Charles Darwin, who invented the theory of evolution, actually opposed racism and racial difference in a book called The Descent of Man, in which he said all humans were one species and had a common descendent. In the book he did recognized differences between humans but pointed out that close similarities between all people of every race in the factors of mental use, tastes, and habits. (6) Human zoos are an example of racism in the 19th and 20th century’s. They were usually showing the differences between western Europeans and non-western Europeans. These zoos were not only in Europe. The first known zoo was in Mexico which had a large number of animals as well as unusual humans that had deformities like dwarfs, albinos, and hunchbacks. During the Renaissance, Cardinal Hippolytus Medici had a collection of exotic animals as well as exotic races of humans. This included Barbarians, Moors, Tartars, Indians, Turks, and Africans. These zoos were all private. The first public human exhibit was that of a Siamese twins which was in 1835. These human zoos thrived all the way to the 1900's. Human zoos before World War II could be found all over the world, even in New York. Many of these zoos showed native people such as Nubian's and Inuit's in an exhibit showing their native habitat. The 1889 Worlds fair displayed 400 indigenous people as the main attraction. The 1900 Worlds fair show diorama living in Madagascar. Many future World fairs showed people as an exhibit. (7) Human zoos continued and thrived for many years. In our current time, Human zoos are no more. In Antiquity, racism was found everywhere. The Greeks said that all Greek men were free by nature and all Barbarians were slaves by nature. Antiquity does not specify any specific race but does focus on many different groups of people. The Greeks were much into the idea of slavery against people of other cultures. In the middle ages, Europeans were racist against many people from Africa. Ibn Khaldun said "beyond [known peoples of black West Africa] to the south there is no civilization in the proper sense. There are only humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings. They live in thickets and caves, and eat herbs and unprepared grain. They frequently eat each other. They

cannot be considered human beings." "Therefore, the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because (Negroes) have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals, as we have stated." (8) In conclusion, Racism is an ideology that has been around since the recorded history of man kind. It has been seen in Antiquity and all the way until modern society. Racism is something that will indefinitely hurt us as a race of people. Racism has been shown to bring us to war amongst other things that have hurt us as a people. Racism has been seen and taught by modern schools to be against the African American race but in actuality, racism has been against many different races of humans. Many theorist and scientists have tried to prove that all humans are extremely similar genetically. Hopefully in the future, we as a human race can find a way to overcome racism. I believe that if we do, we will be able to accomplish even more things than we already have.


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William C. Kidder “History of African American, Latino, and American Indian Law School Admissions “ Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal Spring, 2003 Jasmin Melvin “Black farmers win $1.25 billion in discrimination suit” WASHINGTON Feb 18, 2010 Donald L. Niewyk “The Columbia guide to the Holocaust” Columbia University Press 2000 Owen 'Alik Shahahdah “REMOVAL OF AGENCY FROM AFRICA” 2005


(8) Minoo Southgate “West Asian views on black Africans during the medieval era” 1984