TED Conversations

Matthew Li

Student,

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Can racism truly be eliminated?

In Australia we live in one of the most multicultural nations, however every once in a while there are those people who publicly and abusively insult people from other races. I know there will always be those ignorant individuals or people who are scarred from people of other races (e.g wars, personal events or negative child rearing ), but can we truly eliminate racism in our world?

Possibly include jokes or stereotyping into this debate, are light jokes about other races or stereotyping racist?

Also take into consideration the media in movies or simply news. Are they doing a good enough job to tackle racism?

+5
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jul 22 2013: Yes.

    Racism must be learned.

    Do not teach it, and it will go away.
    • Jul 22 2013: But it is difficult to stop kids from being exposed to individuals who are 'racist' in nature. Or simply be exposed to people who classify individuals based on locality (which need not be from a different race). Classifying and treating people differently is something that should be stopped which I think is difficult since a lot of individuals stereotype people based on the individual's habit and treat them differently.
      • Jul 22 2013: When I hear difficult, I tend to think that more work will solve the problem. In this case, I think that is true.

        If we remove race form the statement, and give everybody a number. How would you distinguish between how number 5324 treated you and number 7001? If 7001 did something to you that was bad, and you had a similar experience with 7021, 7093, and 7321, would you see a pattern? If 5326 and 5789 were nice to you, and you had to pick the person you worked with next, would you tend to pick a 5000 series person or a 7000 series person?

        I do not think you can stop people from creating these patterns or acting on trends. I think this type of behavior comes from personal experience and is a highly influential factor in personal decision making, for everyone, including all sub-groups of the human species.

        You can remove the bias associated with race, gender, age, religion, country, or anything else from laws, government, and try to remove it from what is accepted by society. The last one is a big challenge.

        I think something everyone can do is to not teach or transmit personal biases to others. This will reduce racism or similar biases.

        People are different, and different people treat other different people...differently. Stereotyping and other biases will always exist, at some level. The trick I think is to continually reduce this level to just the biases based on personal experience and prevent people from conveying personal experiences or trends to others. In instances where this is observed, we should identify the unfairness, define what is appropriate behavior and practice, and see that the rules are followed in a manner that is fair for all.

        We should also not teach racism through promotion, exploitation, or sensationalizing of the racial misdeeds of others. These cases should be handled like any other crime.

        I think racism is being reduced, but slowly. I hope with time it becomes extinct.
      • thumb
        Jul 23 2013: 100% agree with Robert mate.
        Naveen, you stole those word right out of my mouth. I gave an example above this conversations about my earlier years as a child where I grew up in multicultural school.no one knew what racism was or of its existence and therefore no one was racist.
        Racism can spread like wildfire for young children who are ripe curiosity, and come times when the wildfire could fill that curiosity with the idea of thinking racism to others is ok.
        I think you just have to teach kids that different is good, being in a world were everyone was the same is boring. "Being someone your not is lame" as my old self would have said
    • thumb
      Jul 23 2013: What if we have been hardwired through millennia of evolution to have these biases and use these biases because for the majority of that time it ensured our survival and the survival of your family, group, tribe, clan, whatever? Just how realistic do you think it is that these things can be unlearned?

      There is recent evidence that children of all races, except black children in some cases, show prejudiced at very, very young ages:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324715704578483484282397490.html
      • Jul 23 2013: In my example of personal biases, I might believe that how you made your personal decisions and when you developed personal biases based on observed patterns or trends, might be part of the survival instinct innate at birth. I do not think you can unlearn this decision making bias,

        From the Wiki:

        The word prejudice refers to prejudgment: i.e. making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. In recent times, the word has come to be most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality or other personal characteristics. In this case it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include "any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence." Gordon Allport defined prejudice as a "feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prejudice)

        In the example I provided, the innate decisions made on actual experience are not prejudice, they are as you say "hardwired into us".. I think prejudice comes from being taught the personal or group biases of others that are not based on personal, group, tribe or clan survival, particularly if they are malicious in intent.
        • thumb
          Jul 23 2013: Interesting thoughts. I myself am on the fence about decision making biases. It seems one of the key reasons to practice meditation or mindfulness is to expand your awareness of such things as having these biases, perhaps not eliminating them, but recognizing them not judging them, and letting them go, without having to act on them.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.