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Are You a Racist? Understanding the evils of Racism to Eliminate it

In a progressive world, global society must eliminate racism

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Black Lives Matter protest, Pixabay

By Saksham Narula

  • Racism exists even today as we move towards a global society
  • In order to eradicate this evil, it becomes important to understand what it is

July 01, 2017: Racism is an age old phenomenon. It is so historic that people actually believe racism is innate in human nature. This is false. Racism has developed over time. Its evolution has been consistent with the evolution of human society in general. Racism exists in different forms over a period of time; Slave trade, feudal serfs, labor, etc.

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Simply put, racism is the discrimination of an individual or a group on the basis of their racial identity. The United Nations (UN) also puts ethnic discrimination under racism. Flipping through the history books, we will come to understand the instances during which racism was practiced and how. Romans used the Jews as forced labor. Adolf Hitler’s atrocities were committed against people of the Jewish race. The slave trade from Africa against the African race. The appalling system of ‘Apartheid’ in South Africa where racism was blatantly institutionalized. The ethnic cleansing of Rwanda and Yugoslavia was an extreme act of violence. These events are dark moments in the history.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) hence was a move by the UN which was later adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. Racism was gradually abolished, however, its elements still exist today. The UDHR promoted political, social, cultural, economic equality regardless of the race, identity, ethnicity, descent of the individual.

 

Martin Luther King was a strong advocate against racism. Pixabay

In the 1968 Olympics, the famous Black Power Salute incident took place when two Afro-American athletes raised a black gloved fist high in support of black freedom movement in America.

Racial discrimination on the basis of color became popular during the European conquest in different parts of the world. Today, it can be observed in the form of ‘Black Lives Matter’ in United States of America, which was a huge uproar in the Presidential Elections of 2016. Black Lives Matter highlighted a certain myth. The movement began with good intentions. However, when some violent incidents took place, it was heavily criticized. The critics stated that discrimination against an individual or group from white race is equal discrimination.

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The practice of racial discrimination can be seen in work, society, sports, entertainment and media. It can be said that the long history of racism is embedded in the modern day society and institutions. Surely it is not as violent or radical in its approach as it used to be, but it still aims against the inequality of a certain section of society.

It is indeed complicated to deal with the evils of racism. The issue cannot be tackled overnight. But it is the community as a whole that can show solidarity as one common race.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

  • Nikita

    Racism is in the roots of the world.We may think that we are not a racist but at some point in life,we do discriminate amongst people on certain basis and this fact can not be denied.

  • vedika kakar

    Now if after reading this article you feel you are somewhat stuck in between let me help you out.Where you are stuck – it is called pseudo-racism. You may not be against black or jews but probably against Muslims .You are probably only able to culturally accept the differences between your surrounding cultures, that too is not healthy. Pseudo racism is also racism and it should be stopped too. Every culture is different, that makes their thinking different.
    Deep down everywhere and anywhere it is just LOVE, HAPPINESS & POSITIVITY that matter.

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  • Nikita

    Racism is in the roots of the world.We may think that we are not a racist but at some point in life,we do discriminate amongst people on certain basis and this fact can not be denied.

  • vedika kakar

    Now if after reading this article you feel you are somewhat stuck in between let me help you out.Where you are stuck – it is called pseudo-racism. You may not be against black or jews but probably against Muslims .You are probably only able to culturally accept the differences between your surrounding cultures, that too is not healthy. Pseudo racism is also racism and it should be stopped too. Every culture is different, that makes their thinking different.
    Deep down everywhere and anywhere it is just LOVE, HAPPINESS & POSITIVITY that matter.

Next Story

1,700 Child Soldiers Reunite With Their Parents In Myanmar

In September 2018, the Myanmar government released 75 children and young people who were recruited and used by the military in the only discharge to take place last year.

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Myanmar
Colonel Tun Tun Win of Myanmar's Ministry of Defense speaks at a workshop on the creation of a complaint mechanism to report instances of forced labor, in Naypyidaw, Jan. 17, 2019. (RFA)

More than 1,700 child soldiers in Myanmar have been reunited with their parents, and about 800 military officers and other army personnel who recruited and used them have been punished, a defense ministry official said Thursday during a workshop in Naypyidaw to discuss the creation of a complaint mechanism to report instances of forced labor.

Colonel Tun Tun Win of the Ministry of Defense said that the army has taken action against the use of child soldiers in Myanmar based on regulations of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency that sets global labor standards and promotes social protection for workers.

“In response to the ILO’s regulations, the Tatmadaw [Myanmar military] has taken action from 2007 to 2018 against a total of 379 military personnel, including 64 officers and 315 other ranks in accordance with military discipline,” he said.

Soldiers
Child Soldiers, Representational Iamge

At the same time, the U.N. Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR), co-chaired by June Kunugi, UNICEF’s representative to Myanmar, and Knut Ostby, the U.N.’s highest representative and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, to report on grave violations committed against children during times of armed conflict, has taken action against 448 military personnel, including 96 officers and 352 other ranks, he said.

The punishments included sending military personnel to both civilian and army jails as well as demotions, Tun Tun Win said.

Besides sending nearly 1,730 child soldiers home, the army is addressing the issue in a transparent manner, he said.

Saw Tin Win, a lawmaker who is a member of the Farmers and Workers Affairs Committee in Myanmar’s lower house of parliament, said his committee receives about 40 complaints about the military’s use of child soldiers every month, though only two or three have been returned.

un human rights council
U.N.’s highest representative and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar

“Some underage children were allowed to resign from the service, while other cases remain under investigation,” he said. “And some children were not allowed to resign during their recruitment period.”He also said that the committee had gathered evidence of underage children being used as child soldiers and then sent complaint letters to the defense ministry.

Thein Swe, Myanmar’s minister for labor, immigration, and population said that the Myanmar military is cooperating with both the CTFMR and the ILO on the child soldier issue.

“It also has taken action if complaints were submitted under the Supplementary Understanding agreement,” he said.

The February 2007 agreement between the Myanmar government and the ILO provides for a complaint mechanism under which individuals can submit cases of forced labor under the ILO Convention 29 concerning forced labor, and including underage recruitment, to the ILO liaison officer in Yangon.

“For instance, if the Tatmadaw cooperated on the issue of child soldier recruitment, then it took action against those who recruit underage children and notified us once the issue had been resolved,” Thein Swe said.

He also said that the ministry would address the issue of forced labor by ethnic armed groups in Myanmar, but did not elaborate.

Widespread use of child soldiers

troops
Besides sending nearly 1,730 child soldiers home, the army is addressing the issue in a transparent manner, he said.

The use of child soldiers in Myanmar has been widespread since the country’s independence from colonial ruler Britain in 1948. For decades, the national military has engaged in hostilities with several ethnic armies fighting for varying degrees of autonomy in their states.

Some of the ethnic armies that are fighting against Myanmar forces, and some of the forces allied with them, also have recruited and used child soldiers, though the numbers have been much lower than those recruited and used by the Myanmar military.

In 2007, Myanmar and the U.N. began negotiations on ending the use child soldiers that culminated in a joint action plan in June 2012 to stop the recruitment and use of children by the armed forces.

Three years later, Myanmar signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC), also known as the international child soldier treaty, but has yet to ratify it to make it fully binding.

Also Read: Reuters Journalists’ Appeal Gets Rejected by Myanmar Court

In 2017, the country signed the Paris Principles and Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces and groups and to reintegrate those who have been associated with armed forces into civilian life.

In September 2018, the Myanmar government released 75 children and young people who were recruited and used by the military in the only discharge to take place last year.

(Reported by Win Ko Ko Latt for RFA’s Myanmar Service.)