Racism is a complex socio-psychological phenomenon. Usually, it is understood as discriminatory actions that offend people only on the grounds that they are members of a particular racial group. Racism and prejudice are indispensable for each other.
Nationalism is a similar phenomenon. If in the case of racialism, a person is discriminated against because of skin color, nationalism is expressed in discrimination against people because of their nationality. Racial dislike is more deeply rooted in human psychology than the national one. A person’s nationality is not always recognized at a glance. Therefore, signs of nationality are not necessarily perceived as sharp incentives, which, at least, raise attention and vigilance, and in extreme cases – fear and hatred, as is the case with racial discrimination.
White racism is the most widespread in regards to African Americans. But racial discrimination is practiced by all races, so there is a reason to argue that there is also black and yellow (red) racism and that they all are worthy of each other. White racialism has deep historical roots. In the historical period of the New World, the Europeans, who carried out the unprecedented military, economic, religious, cultural expansion, became the dominant race and began to impose their own cultural standards, moral and religious norms and values and rules of conduct, along with their exploitation of other races. This formed the position of superiority. It gave the possibility (and until recently it was also perceived as a legal right) to consider the rest of the races as “backward,” “underdeveloped,” “wild,” “inferior,” etc., and therefore treat them haughtily, disdainfully and cruelly.
State racist policy and ideology also contributed to this. For example, in the Republic of South Africa, where immigrants from Europe dominated, until 1991, the racist policy of apartheid was carried out. There was the separate residence of the white ruling minority and the overwhelming majority of black Africans. The government encouraged the propaganda of racism and prohibited any criticism of it. This example can be classified as the extreme. In other countries, for example, in the United States America, there was also a state racist policy, however, not in such a total version as in southern Africa.
Today there is no state racialism. Nevertheless, even deprived of institutional support in the form of laws prescribing racial segregation and apartheid, the prohibition of racist propaganda, it continues to exist at the individual level in everyday relationships. American social psychologists, who probably more than others demonstrate concern about the problem of racism and who conducted the largest number of studies of racism prejudice, believe that now in the US traditional frank and rude racialism was transformed into modern, so-called symbolic racism, which is expressed in discrimination in hiring, choosing a place of residence, with the establishment of public order and social relations.
The decision of the Supreme Court in 1954 was the first step to combat racism. It recognized illegal racial segregation in schools (separate education of black and white children) and confirmed the equal political and civil rights of all US citizens regardless of the color of their skin, either in the country itself or elsewhere. However, the social division is supported behind the scenes. And since now it is considered reprehensible and criminal from the point of view of the law to manifest frank racialism, modern racism has acquired more subtle, disguised forms of expression.
I believe that anti racism views should begin from each of us. Everyone must make a personal struggle against racialism in one’s head and rethink this concept in order to make these views really public. This is the only one step towards creating really conscious society.