Racism is now and probably always has been a persistent feature of human civilization. It has always had negative effects on society and has never brought about anything particularly good. It’s an evil that almost all of us agree needs to go away, but few people seem to really want to address the root cause. They only want to address the symptoms.
At the heart of racism is the belief in the notion of race. It’s the belief that there is value in the recognition that certain randomly-chosen sets of physical features have some sort of relevant meaning. It’s a belief or set of beliefs based upon artificial collectivist groupings that are mostly arbitrarily decided, and actually have fluctuating and fuzzy definitions.
How dark does a person’s complexion need to be in order to be perceived as “black”? Many people of the Russian Federation live within the continent of Asia, but are not referred to as Asian. Generations of people with lighter skin colors have resided on the content of Africa, but if they move to the US, are not referred to as “African Americans”. How much of certain features does one need or how much of a relationship to a geographical area does one need for these identification markers? It’s arbitrary and irrelevant, and yet we have assigned these things relevance. That belief in relevance is racism.
So, if the belief in the notion of race is itself racism, then the antidote to racism is the elimination of that notion. For some reason, that is the thing which people want to hold to the most. A person’s race or region of origin is standard protocol for government questions no matter where one resides in the world. There is a fixation on making use of artificial race as a determinant for assistance or as a measure of successful governance.
Very well-intentioned efforts to make use of governance as an enforcer of rectifying racism, by their existence, also encourage the notion of race. There is a difference between enforcing legislation that is intended to protect individuals from harm, and with legislation intended to offer protections on the basis of perceived race. Quotas and enforcement of measurements of race to determine whether it exists are not useful. We can’t properly define what constitutes each race. Therefore, how can we possibly determine whether any race needs additional assistance or is being overtly and institutionally advantaged?
How do we really measure whether a particular race is being discriminated against with statistics? It’s impossible. We can know in individual circumstances if some idiot posts a sign to purposefully discriminate, but we can’t tell that from statistics, because we can’t define what each race is. People who overtly discriminate upon the basis of what they believe is race are stupid enough that they will eventually do themselves in of their own accord.
What has been the biggest contributor to racism throughout history, and what is the primary reason it persists so strongly? The answer to that is the nature of government and government’s attempts try to counteract racism. Once well-intentioned legislation comes from the government to regulate things regarding to race, the notion of race has become institutionalized. There is now something that acts as a constant and persistent means of reinforcing that race exists. Racism is institutionalized because we try to use the force of government to eliminate it.
There has been a history of discrimination in the US toward those people who were deemed to be “black”, along with many others. These discriminatory practices were fostered and encouraged more by government than by individuals. Had government not created laws which enshrined segregation, it is doubtful that such counterproductive thought would have persisted. There is nothing about segregation or discrimination along racial lines than is beneficial to an economy, and businesses tend to follow money. They can’t afford racism, and those that are foolish enough to pursue it tend to get overtaken by those that don’t. People who practice racism in their private lives tend to find isolation, which is also counterproductive. However, once that isolation is institutionalized, it becomes forced upon people.
However, instead of eliminating racists ideals from laws and regulations, the US has chosen to enshrine such ideas by efforts to use government to eliminate them. When we consider race first, rather than consider the individual first, that is racism. Racism will always persist as long as we are forced to consider race and collectivism over individualism. If we truly want to eliminate racism, then we have to restrain ourselves from institutionalizing it within our institutions. That is, government must enshrine the protection of individual rights over the protection of group rights.