Syed Usman Ali; a final year student of IoBM has written this article in the guidance of his course Social Marketing.
To gather an understanding of what racism is, and how did the concept of it coined up, we need a deeper look into what we consider as ‘race’, and where it comes from and why?
Race could be an individual’s background, to say the very least. It is one’s culture, tradition, heritage, his or her birth place, color of the skin and all other things which sets him apart from the people all around the world. It is really a social construct to give you an identity by which you are recognized by other people, it is what sets a person apart. Though there is no scientific research to back any of the concepts of race, it has just become a part of our culture to form in groups and out group among people living in the same society, or even country. It is just put up in order to have dominance over the other party in terms of institutional leverage and structural discrimination.
Now that we have gathered the understanding of what race is and what importance it plays in human lives, lets jump to gain an understanding of what racism is and where did it come in our lives. The actual meaning of racism is to discriminate between the people depending where they come from or what their skin color is, for example, it might be black, brown, deep, olive, peach, white or any other for that matter, in order to gain an upper hand on other people, you set a standard for a better life, for dominance, control and power or the other races. Let’s consider the example of white privilege. Sure enough by now everyone must have heard of the white supremacy, meaning that they get an upper hand in everything, starting from jobs, schooling, livelihood, politics, pay, power etc, they just get the best of everything only because of the color of their skin.
Not only that, they feel as if they are entitled to better treatment just because of the color they were born with, as ridiculous or absurd as it may sound, it is very true and still prevails amongst most societies in the west. When really, it should be the other way around considering how the people of the west had come way back to the east side, meaning east of Asia and Africa for colonization, and had literally robbed all of us from our resources as well as from our people. They had taken our people as slaves to the west, only to make them work endlessly without pay for their own profit. Which means that they were the outsiders who had come into our countries, robbed and then they were also the ones who had let our people enter their lands, so if there is anyone to blame for the mixed societies in the west from which they have such problems, its them, it’s their own white skins. But even so, they have still found a way around that to blame us for what they originally had started, and even decades later, people are fighting for what is rightfully theirs. To form a whole structure of politics, education and dominance surrounding your race is the height of stupidity that they have been unable to identify, no matter how literate or how powerful they might claim themselves to be.
Not very long ago, we saw the resurface of the Black Lives moment, in which they talked of how Black lives matter too, just as much as the white ones or any other lives, to which most white people were angered and started saying that all lives matter, except when have they paid equal rights to everyone belonging to a different race or religion, when have they given equal job opportunities or pay, or health benefits, or the literal minimum to survive in their state? This dates back to history when they would kill, murder, rape, enslave, jail, loot, bully, pull scientific experiments on them just because they had a different color from them, to this date when a guy got brutally murdered by the police. People even today suffer from so much just because of their white color supremacy.
Their white color is so glorified today that in Pakistan, and other eastern countries, companies are selling millions of dollars worth whitening creams, injections and what not, just in order to lighten up the skin color of the people, only so they could feel good about themselves. Even today, people suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, bullying just because they were not born white, and these whitening industries make millions of dollars off their insecurities. Not being a tone of white is such a problem in Pakistan that it will affect your social life, your work life, private life, and even your marriage life. If you aren’t the right tone, nobody would even want to marry you, this happens even in the most educated and elite families of Pakistan, where you are encouraged to take pills, put on creams, take injections, anything and everything which would just make you seem more appealing. Only a few months back, the company Fair and Lovely had to go under a law suit for using mercury in their products and advertising dark skin as some disease while making millions worth profit off of it. Even then, the company did not seize the making of the product or stopped adding mercury to their products; instead, they only changed the name for the brand, to something else. The people of the east in other words, worship the color white as if it were the second God, and maybe they aren’t as wrong in doing so, considering the materialistic world of today which runs under the dominance of white old men.
To say the very least, we are still ages away from getting rid of racism, we still need a proper structure of everything which does not revolve around white people only and is inclusive of everyone, without looking at what race they belong to.