I have read numerous articles, most of which I will provide links to at the end of this post, which promote the fact that humans are born with the direct tendency to recognize differences and to stick to those with similar features and traits.
So if this is true, is racism something that is biologically defined or simply a social construct? The truth is that it is, in fact, both.
Toddlers are biologically inclined to spot differences, physical and emotional, between different groups of people. But is spotting differences the same as discrimination ? This is where the idea of racism, being a racial construct comes in.
If humans are born with the ability to differentiate, then it is society that undoubtedly takes these differences and creates dichotomies and binaries, which in a sense lead to racism and discrimination.
So, if white baby Sally can tell the differences between people, such as Joe the black kid, and Amy the Asian kid, it is highly unlikely that she will discriminate solely based on her ability to spot differences and similarities. It is in fact, how society depicts and treats these groups that will affect Sally’s decisions.
I mean even those of us who are not racist, we have many friends of all colors and ethnic groups. I can still spot the differences and similarities. We were born with this ability, but society has harbored it and put so much emphasis on it that it leads to primitive racism.
Let us even discount the ideas of patriarchy and hegemony, and simply deal with individual racism. If Sally grows up to be a racist, it was not because of her ability to spot differences, rather because her mother and society around her put so much emphasis on those difference in the first place.
So why is this important? Well, because racism is not something that is merely biologically there. Also, it is not something that is created by society. It is the product of both biology and society.
Instead of asking the question of “Are we born racist?” would it not be better to first deal with “Why do we become racist”?
And let’s be honest, there is no simple answer to that question. It cannot be answered with saying that it the cause of ignorance, when in fact it is the cause and product of many complexities.
Do you know one of the best ways to eliminate racism? Stop trying to be less racist. Sounds stupid? Trust me it is not.
I am the product of a mixed marriage, and I am mixed-race. Also, most of my family is made up of different ethnic groups form across the world. Do you know how we never offend each-other? We just don’t care.
I don’t care if you are Black, Asian, White, or whatever. As long as you are not an asshole, or a jerk.
And you know how this apathy becomes complete? Never ever try to be less racist, or pretend you are sensitive to people’s ethnicity. They see right through that. You know what you are doing? You are highlighting differences that really do not matter.
If I go around treating people’ better’ because they are a different race than me, than I am highlighting differences that mean nothing in the first place. I have met people in this world that made fun of all races ever imagined, but when it came down to it he/she was the most caring and less racist people known ever.
I am by no means saying that we should become completely oblivious to the discrimination in our society and culture. That would be extremely pernicious. However, what I am saying is that at an individual level we should try to stop caring about race to this degree.
It is usually the ones who try the hardest to not discriminate, that are usually the most racist out of all of us.
You want to end racism? Do not care about racism, or race. It is the most trivial thing in this world.
So, Are We Born Racist? No, we are born with the ability to spot differences and similarities and become racist due to society.