Matthew Li


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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?

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      Jul 25 2013: Thank you Carolyn for sharing your story to us, i cannot imagine what you are going through. I do hope he will have a change of heart someday and see the people for who they really are instead of as you said false models of history.
    • Jul 25 2013: you are going through a tough situation but still you can find solution to change your dad's mind is prity stupid but may work -just go to him ask him for his pardon first(?) then try to give him some ral life examples those would be proving your point in right way...........
      now its up to you how do you make your mind coz i believe you have done "harder "studies than him so best of luck Carolyn!
    • Jul 29 2013: Wow....Carolyn you are brave to admit that your father is a racist. Continue what you are doing and do pray for him to change. He's miserable! Anyone can change.
  • Jul 29 2013: In my Humble Opinion, in this day and age, we cant speak about racism the way our great grand parents were talking about it.
    200 Years ago, Racism was: some people, White of skin, using other people with brown / black skin as slaves, and telling that they did it because, those brown skinned people were "untermenschen" (animals, sub-peoples ... )

    Nowadays, except for retards, we all know that we all are made of the same fabric even if our skins aretn the same color.

    What i do see, around me, as racism, expressed by white, brown, yellow, red skinned people, is akin to educationnal racism (more Xenophoby thant racism):

    - they dont act in community the way WE (the peoples born in this community) do.

    We are racists with those people coming from that far away land, because, they eat like this, or talk in public like that, or move around ths way , and al lthe people coming from that land do act the same way (The intelligent part of our brain knows its not true, but , the animal part is more prompt to act)

    And WE ( the community) dont like them, we want hem moved far from us...
    but take a look at us
    WE, the community, we are people from different background, but we were all raised in the same land, with the same educatonal grounds.

    So in my really humble opinion, the more people mixes, the more we interact with the others, the more mixes there will be in school, the less we will grow fearing the other, and the less we will act as retards, and Xenophony / Racisml will become something of the past.
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    Jul 24 2013: Yes, it' can be "eliminated." For it to happen, though, we need a new paradigm. The old one is passé. The old one insisted that we're separate, apart, and different. Actually, genetically, and metaphysically, we are one. When we accept that reality, and start living that reality, "racism," the belief that one race is superior to another, will be seen for what it is--a lie.

    The lie has allowed humans to oppress, suppress, and exploit other humans--to do them bodily or psychological harm to satisfy a perversion, or to exercise power over designated others, using whatever criterion they choose: color, tribe, race, ethnicity, place of origin, language, class, caste, or what have you.

    The New Paradigm says: We Are All One.
    • Jul 24 2013: You miss a fundamental survival perspective, whom ever says that first (country for example) with the current mindset, will be perceived as the weaker. It's why we've had terrorism for so long, and I'm talking as far back as if not further than the dark ages, to fly under a flag, to unite, aids in survival, and stops one being oppressed. I'ts the same logic that says countries with nukes, the US does not mess with.

      Or as I posted below, when will the Olympics not have nations but rather celebrate human achievement, who's going to be first in lowering the flag? The US? China? Britain? France?

      It's all very well saying the new paradigm says... but history teaches us different, and until we understand ourselves, that paradigm has a much chance of happening as every house in the US burning the flag.
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        Jul 24 2013: "that paradigm has a much chance of happening as every house in the US burning the flag."

        I understand your pessimism, but the only thing we need "understand" about ourselves is that we are one, not in theory but in fact, and act accordingly. It's not how we group ourselves--nation-states, neighborhoods or families--but that we don't use these designations to say that we're "different" and therefore better than, and treat those who are deemed less than, differently.

        Unless we bring this New Paradigm to the fore, our survival as a species becomes more doubtful.
        • Jul 25 2013: I not pessimistic, more realistic, as defined in the psychology mentioned in the post further below.
      • Jul 26 2013: I do not believe that insisting we are "one" will ever fix racism. People have already been babbling such platitudes for decades and it hasn't helped much.

        The root of racism is scapegoatism: the desire to blame others for your problems. Addressing this psychological failing would put an end to racism. We need to teach kids to be strong enough to accept blame when they deserve it, or to accept that sometimes there is no one to blame.
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          Jul 27 2013: I find it interesting that you link racism with scapegoatism........and that you state "We need to teach kids to be strong enough to accept blame when they deserve it, or to accept that sometimes there is no one to blame."

          Many years ago I heard a white teacher tell an African American student, "when you are older, make sure that you do not blame the way people treat you on your being African American. Today you are in trouble because of your actions. If you continue to follow this pattern of behavior, you will continue to get into trouble. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. It has to do with what you are doing. Change your attitude, and change your behavior, or face the consequences."

          I thought back then that it took real grit for that teacher to speak that way to his student.

          Your comment reminded me of his words.
    • Jul 24 2013: You miss a fundamental survival perspective, whom ever says that first (country for example) with the current mindset, will be perceived as the weaker. It's why we've had terrorism for so long, and I'm talking as far back as if not further than the dark ages, to fly under a flag, to unite, aids in survival, and stops one being oppressed. I'ts the same logic that says countries with nukes, the US does not mess with.

      Or as I posted below, when will the Olympics not have nations but rather celebrate human achievement, who's going to be first in lowering the flag? The US? China? Britain? France?

      It's all very well saying the new paradigm says... but history teaches us different, and until we understand ourselves, that paradigm has a much chance of happening as every house in the US burning the flag.
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    Jul 23 2013: Racism is eliminated the moment I understand and accept the truth that we all belong to one race: human.

    I found wonderful inspiration at:
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    Jul 23 2013: part of our brain uses stereotypes to think fast.
    We cannot change or override that aspect.
    So as long as there are groups of people that show difference (which will also not change), we will make those fast judgement calls based on stereotypes.

    Applied to cultural and racial differences: will always remain.
    Unless culture is independent from race. Then there might be no reason to be racist, as it is uninformative for group-division and such.

    The problem is that groups and people need to avoid aggression towards other groups... not racial stereotypes as such.
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      Jul 25 2013: Thanks Chris i didnt know that about stereotyping i thought that stereotyping could be like prejudice, making it possible to voluntary rid our mind of common stereotypes. If we began recognizing that everyone is an individual and that no two people are alike will we then be able to get rid of these fast judgement?
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        Jul 26 2013: no, fast judgement overrides reason when you need to think fast... Besides, seeing things as belonging to the same class (like birds, chairs, trees, violence,...) is needed.

        I can't imagine (I really can't) a way of thinking that can't group or stereotype and still able to operate functionally (as we do, or better). I think We would be off far worse without this function.

        As for individuals: the moment you talk to a person: realizing it is an individual (when talking, while you have time to switch to your slower rational thinking), is essential, and probably a lot of the stereotype will be false for that individual...

        I think we can't get rid of them, and we shouldn't wish for it either. But thinking about it and when in contact with someone: please handle him as an individual.
        • Jul 29 2013: There is a diffrence between the stereotyping you describe and racism. We need to split and group our world in understandable units e.g. we will always think of an asian person when we see someone with asian features. Racism starts when we associate information with this group that are based on specifc experience with one member of that group.
          So Racism starts when we use induction on groups of humans. Especially when there are negative characteristics. So we need to stereotype, but we decide to which extend or which stereotpyes we have.
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    Jul 29 2013: I can't say for others but I don't believe in Racism neither in Religions nor in casts, I am with Humanity, Mankind and Peace.
    But in my opinion this discrimination will never be eliminated because we all know that our ancestors are responsible for this and this behavior is still passing through generations because our parents teach us to make an image of other peoples who are different either on the basis of your skin(Black or White) or by your birth cast.

    But there are some things like Business, Education and others that can work as a bridge between these two far ends and can convince peoples to get closer and this is why we are seeing decrements in racism, but it is like a social disease that will never be eradicated, because some of us don't want to...
  • Jul 29 2013: The elimination of racism in the US is already underway, thank God. It just takes education and understanding of other races. And it will take time. Each generation produces fewer racists. I think my grandchildren....who hopefully won't arrive for about 10-15 years...will live in an evolved United States where racism is effectively eliminated.

  • Jul 27 2013: Education, whether through traditional classroom instruction, reading and studying on your own, experiences with family and friends, among many other avenues, all directly contribute to the solution of this and every other world issue that plagues us.

    I had an encyclopedia set growing up and while it gave me access to information I needed to research for school, it does not compare to the internet capabilities of today. This thread of ending racism was non-existent in 1990. There is so much 'learning' going on in this very thread. Others are learning by the minute as they see a Facebook post or YouTube video. (Mind you there are some who gain nothing from Facebook posts or YouTube videos). Still, the fact is we are learning. (Others who are calloused and 'set in their ways' are dying which helps some, however unfortunate). The internet allows learning to take place in more unconventional and maybe more efficient ways. (Classroom instruction still highly valued).

    To answer to the question... yes. I am certain racism can truly be eliminated and we're all well on our way.
  • Jul 25 2013: Yes, I do. Perhaps, I am racially optimistic, but I definitely believe it is possible. I believe it is a multidimensional approach. One dimension is to acknowledge, accept , account, and reconcile any past or current offense from one race to another. This is vital. Another dimension is teaching, learning, and practicing core values consistently and soulfully. Some values are: kindness, compassion, humility, generosity, honesty and love. If we truly master core values, we will live as a single unit. The fact is, no matter how physically beautiful, accomplished, successful the human is, we are always interacting with the character of the said person, their essence. The goal is to fine tune the character, and race becomes irrelevant.
    • Jul 29 2013: Good comment. The magic word or remedy is Accountability! For example people in the workforce should stand up for anyone that is treated unfairly.
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    Jul 23 2013: WORTH WATCHING
    Here's what the most important Americans say about it today:
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      Jul 24 2013: I am wondering why you don't have at least 100 thumbs up by now Juliette.

      The best line from the video....."If you are a racist, just DROP IT!!"

      We humans belong to one race, the human race. :)

      Thank you for sharing this lovely video.
      I will pass it on to others.

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        Jul 24 2013: The old world is over. Its a new Earth now.
        This is the era of wholeness in human history.
        We are at the dawn.
        Have a good day:)
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          Jul 24 2013: I'm afraid the old world is still here Juliette.

          There are many enlightened humans, but this old world has not changed.

          Perhaps it will soon............the question is, will we live to see it?

          Schwartzberg's talk is one of my favorites.
          I have seen it many times.
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      Jul 25 2013: It seems, children are taught racism. They don't have this concept on their own.

      With this in mind, don't you think that the very video that you quoted, despite its seemingly anti-racist intent, introduces children to racism? The children did not see anything wrong with the commercial. Period. Why even ask them the question: "Hey, do you know that there are people who are angry at interracial marriages?" Why plant the idea in their innocent minds that this is even a possibility? The more we repeat that there is an issue, the more we seem to perpetuate the issue.
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        Jul 26 2013: Mandy Patinkin - what a beautiful tenor voice - what an amazing song!! Because of him, I always remember “ the Cliffs of Insanity “and the “ RUSes “ (in the same movie: Princess Bride) which, racism is a “Rodent of Unusual Size”.

        It is true “ Children are taught racism. They don't have this concept on their own.”

        Not knowing about the pitfalls (on the path to civilization) wont remove the pitfalls. History proves disconnection wasn't the cure. We produce doctors by teaching them everything we know about every disease, if they can’t recognize disease how could they cure it!
        -Similarly- not introducing the IDEA of disease (racism) into children’s minds would be supporting ignorance (opposite of education) and perpetuating ignorance.

        The cure comes from knowledge and education and freedom to become who we are.
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          Jul 26 2013: Juliette,
          Interesting... I did not realize that Mandy Patinkin played Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Birde". Inconceivable! I don't recall him sing in the movie. Now that I look through the cast, there is Billy Crystal as well playing the Miracle Max. "You rush the miracle man - you get rotten miracles" And the soundtrack is written by Mark Knopfler - also hard to recognize. This movie is full of surprises.
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      Jul 25 2013: Just a sidenote i love the FineBrothers, and yes their experiment with this was really cool to see. Good to see children dont have that prejudice.

      Thanks for sharing this Juliette, and thanks for the other guys that contributed to this discussion
  • Jul 22 2013: I do not think we will ever completely eliminate racism from people. We can eliminate racism from our institutions.

    People are just people, and much of our behavior is based on experiences and emotions that have little or nothing to do with our thoughts, and particularly our thoughts about ethics and morality. Just by chance, there will always be a number of people who have a series of bad experiences with people some particular race. Even if such a person knows and understands that this race is composed of people just like every other race, those experiences will shape his/her behavior.

    People who have bad experiences with dogs at an early age are sometimes afraid of all dogs for the rest of their lives, in spite of first hand evidence that specific dogs love all people. I have had people admit that their fear makes no sense, even to themselves, but they could not stop being afraid. If it can happen with dogs, it could very well happen with people of a specific race.
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      Jul 23 2013: What do you think about us having racism if there came a time when there were no easily distinguishable races? I'm asking not so much theoretically, just with an eye to the very far future.

      Although did you know, that apples if planted by seed will not inherit their 'parents' DNA and in a couple decades will start producing fruit that is totally different than the fruit from which the seed originally came? Thinking about how quickly our races might blend made me think of extreme heterozygotes like apples.
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks Barry, I totally agree with your concept about bad experiences. Horrible events will always happen and theres not much we can do about it, but sadly some people will see others that are of the race resembling the incidents and ........... You get where I'm heading with this.

      And responding to Daniels comment, I think life will be boring if we lived in a world where there were no distinguishing races, because you have to taking to account the lovely culture that each race brings along with it.
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      Jul 23 2013: Barry, you express something that is very true........

      "People are just people, and much of our behavior is based on experiences and emotions."

      Racism and prejudice are not even mutually exclusive to being from different countries, or different skin color.
      There are groups of people from the same country, and with the same skin color, and "still", they are always putting down those from another part of town, or another part of the country.

      To eliminate racism, you have to change the human.
      We must change the way we see each other.

      And is this possible?
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    Jul 29 2013: Depends. Stereotypes will never be eliminated, and there is such as thing as "Unconscious Stereotyping". Where even if you are consciously not racist, you can be unconsciously racist in your decisions. Also the theory of "Cognitive Dissonance" shows that it is very hard to get rid of people's prejudices. A funny experiment is "Why don't you eat Snails?". Most people can't come up with a logically valid reason as to why they won't. They just find reasons to serve their Intuition. This is the same effect which happen with Racism.
    However Conscious Racism I think can probably be got rid of, via increasing empathy or changing the image of certain groups.
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      Jul 29 2013: If Love thy brother as thyself ever comes to fully exist in this world then yes we will not be racist.
      • Jul 29 2013: Well said, Helen. When we learn to put into practice what Jesus taught then racism would be eliminated.
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    Jul 28 2013: I wanted to thank everyone that has contributed this this debate or discussion so far, i know that this debate does continue for a few more hours. I have read everyone's comments and i think i have a better perspective on the issue of racism, then before i started this debate. I did my best to respond to most of the Tedsters who have commented, if i have missed you i am sorry, but thats mainly because this is my first TED conversation i have started and i didnt think that so many people would have commented.
    Overall with the comments so far i think that most people believe racism can be eliminated, but with a lot of changes and adjustments into the factors that influence racism, as well as giving it time.
    So i hope you guys keep on debating this topic and really learn from and understand other people's perceptions on this issue.
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      Jul 29 2013: Matthew, a lot of us have enjoyed reading each other's perspectives.
      Thank you for starting the conversation.
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    Jul 27 2013: When we first meet someone or even see them near by, naturally the first thing we notice is a difference in appearance. The obvious is difference in skin color, then differences in facial features, maybe what they are garbed in, a different accent, language, etc., etc. We do this every day and how we interpret and emotionally react to these differences is the key to ending racism. If one is truly honest with one's immediate thought and/or emotional reaction, it will probably be influenced the news media, a movie or tv show, family, community etc. racism will end when these conjured up thoughts / emotional reactions are met for only a nano-second. and one day eradicated. Hopefully, The realization that we truly are one in the same will take president. racism, a ridiculous and ego feeding emotion will be a puzzling conversation of the future as to what the heck we were thinking !
  • Jul 27 2013: It would help the project along if we all stopped talking about "Racism", since scientifically there is only one Race. What is really meant is "Culture" or "Ethnicity", i.e. shared group characteristics, habits, and attitudes. Which of course are what makes the differences that are at issue. So do you really want to eliminate cultural differences? Better not be too quick to do so (Of course, we can all fake it, but there may be a social cost, just like trying to eliminate other differences, such as right or left handedness) Of course, especially in cities, there is no excuse for making people feel bad. Politeness, or even hypocrisy can help. Forced "Social Engineering", such as everyone pretending that cultural differences don't exist ,is probably fatally counter productive. Politeness, or the oriental idea of "Face" would be helpful. A lot of what you are complaining about is the result of forced "togetherness" on people who don't want it. Especially in stressful times when it may be even hard to identify one's own "group". It would help to stop trying to demonize people for noticing that everyone is not "the same".
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    Jul 27 2013: In my humble opinion, Racism is result of ignorance/insecurity and jealousy of a racist person. Maybe if next generations are educated it can end. Racist media (e.g.: Fox News etc.) should also be held responsible for spreading it.
    • Jul 29 2013: You are so right. Fox news is fueling the fire and should be taken off the air. They're all very insecure and have nothing better to do. Seems the more ignorant they become the more people they get to sign-on. Shame on Fox news!
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        Jul 29 2013: Every country got its own version of 'Fox News' with a twisted agendas, and it won't surprise me if major share-holder of all these channels is same.
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    Jul 26 2013: yes
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    Jul 26 2013: Mr. Li,
    I have visited your country and found your diversity as exciting as we have in the US...
    I am sorry to say that in my evaluation of this question, the answer is NO.
    It is probably true there as here and lets not considered the ignorance, or other irrational outbursts for racism... There is too much money to be made in promoting it. Again here, you have to see what happens there.
    We have people who go from city to city with good speaker's fees talking about racism in America. People write best selling books touting the racialism in America. Journalist insure racism by using appropriate phasing in news articles to inflame racism and improve their bylines. Even if incidents are only vaguely implied that race was a factor, you can wager any amount and know that race will be placed to the forefront.
    Yes sir, a lot of money to be made selling racism and it doesn't even mean you have to be a minority to sell racism... majority members even do well lamenting racism. It's not racism... it's money...
    • Jul 27 2013: Man, I agree with you. And I wonder, when we are going to free ourselves from being slaves of the money. Every single issue in the world like this one, has something to do with money. money is important to make a organized world, but when we become slaves, everything messes up.
    • Jul 29 2013: I don't think racism is solely driven by money but it's certainly a factor especially in the workforce. If you plot to prohibit one from gaining employment or manipulate the process you can surely damage a person's ability to be independent. This is what is done all across America. There are ways around Civil Rights laws and once the racist find them they act and move persistantly and collectively. I believe this has a profound effect on the high unemployment numbers for people of color. We should keep the discussion going in hopes of finding a solution.
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        Jul 29 2013: There are some people with such low self esteem that they can only be comforted by thinking they are better then someone else...

        However, Business want capable employees with skills that can be used to make them a profit. Most business people I know are not interested in race creed or national origin... all they want are responsible employees that will do the work and make them a profit so the business can among other things make payroll. Civil rights laws did clarify legal standards, but in hindsight I am beginning to believe it caused more [problems then it was designed to resolve.... The degradation of the American Black Community seemed to have started about the same time... I don't know why it is just a correlation I find disturbing..
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    Jul 26 2013: Matthew, I don’t see the media, or just about any sector in society, “doing a good enough job” when it comes to bigotry of any sort. We are social animals, for sure, so we hang in groups, but this grouping often leads to discriminatory, if not downright exclusionary behavior, which cuts both ways. The challenge for all societies, it seems to me, is to recognize, even welcome, diversity, while at the same time, being “blind” to it, at least when it comes to the values of justice and equality. This is somewhat difficult to do, as there are so many attributes beyond race that divide us—but that shouldn’t prevent us from striving to build a more broad-minded civilization.
  • Jul 26 2013: Of course it can. Babies are not born racially prejudiced, they must learn it. Watch some toddlers playing together, none of them actually "see" say skin colour in the racist way at all, again they must be taught this by their parents. They trust their parents and want to be like them, and so racism is perpetuated. This is also true of ethic hatred. One thing, for example, I've noticed here in the UK is that whether you are black or white, no one cares as long as you are British. Its very different when a group of people artificially separate themselves from the society surrounding them, this builds mistrust.
    • Jul 29 2013: Frank, You're right. Racism is taught. People are not born racist or prejudice. It is learned from family, friends, co-workers, the media, movies, and society.
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    Jul 25 2013: I speculate that yes, racism will be a non-factor at some point in the future. How far? That's difficult to say, but at some point, if we make it that long, there are theories that human beings will begin to resemble each other quite closely as far as race is concerned. Even if not, the vast diversity of people living, loving, and socially interacting is erasing the old lines of them and us. Now, don't get me wrong- although I believe racism will disappear, prejudice will always remain among human beings. Upper class, lower class, nationalism and pride- I mean for god's sake, look at a typical football game! What a perfect example of a prejudice that is overlooked. Feelings of hate, competition, and anger toward another based solely on a pereference for teams? Indeed, even if one prejudice is eliminated, we clever humans will find something to separate us. Just remember Dr. Seuss and his book " The Sneetches" , although he had a more optimistic outlook then I.
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    Jul 25 2013: Harvard has a test so you can see how prejudice you are. Race is probably the deepest..well second to gender I guess. I think prejudices go psychologically deeper in order of most obvious when at looking at another person naked.

    Well I'd have to flip disability and sexual preference there at the end of the line.
    Here's the link for your eyes only

    I read a study where they found out the only way to switch prejudice mindsets is by spending time around people you are prejudice against. Petty tall order for a people who are "free" to do what they want.

    Not impossible-especially for a race of people who made it it to the moon and back and created life altering technologies which changed the natural course of existence. We'll have to turn a lot of that energy to create and solve internally in order to accomplish it tho.

    Well yeah..that's going to be close to impossible.
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      Jul 25 2013: Yes there are ways to reduce prejudice, as you said the only way to do it is to surround ourselves with people of that specific background or with just more multicultural people to see them as individuals instead of grouping them into a category.
      I think in psychological terms its inter-group contact and sustained contain, etc
  • Jul 24 2013: When falsely accusing someone of racism has consequence, we might be on the way. When all races abandon self pity and replace it with an unwavering sense of pride and tireless commitment to pursuing happiness, perhaps we will be close. I look like a racist, guess my race.
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      Jul 24 2013: "I look like a racist, guess my race."

      The HUMAN Race?
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    Jul 23 2013: Look at all the conversations that have been held on the topic of racism on TED.........

    This conversation we are having now seems to have a lot more participation than others.........well, with the exception of the conversation on the second page of my link, that connected the idea of nationalism with racism.

    And, have you seen this?

    I think racism can be eliminated.
    But, first, we must change the individual human.
    And who has the power to change a human?
    • Jul 24 2013: And Mary when the oil starts to run out, and you for the very first time start to freeze, and cant drive to work, and you see those 'others' have it, who look different, who follow another flag, believe in a different religion, have completely different values and a different morality - what will you do, what do you think others will do - when you ask your government to do what?
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        Jul 25 2013: I think racism can be eliminated.
        But, first, we must change the individual human.

        And, who has the power to change a human?

        I've changed, so have many others that I know.

        Now it's your turn...........will you change.........

        I do not follow a allegiance is to a superior being, his ways are loftier.

        Perhaps you haven't perceived who I am and what I stand for from reading my comments Tify.
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    Jul 23 2013: Can racism be eliminated .... no. It can however be drastically reduced and maybe even minimalized. The problem that I see ... thus my opinion ... is that the media and leaders at many levels continue to stir the pot.

    When we achieve good parenting .... responsible leadership ... and reporting the event instead of directing emotions and thought ... then the opportunity to reduce racism to the few.

    I have stated before that we as a nation in the USA are more openly divided than ever before. We have lost the ability to think for our selves .... news should report the event .... leaders should be capable of influencing without the resort to violence. Leaders must stop using the term US and THEM and start using terms of WE. When a leader at any level refers to a event as racist ... he is giving permission to radicals to promote violence.

    IMO media and leadership must change in order for racism to be reduced or eliminated.

    Thanks. Bob.
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        Jul 24 2013: Perhaps .... The part I was against was that he placed a US versus THEM value on the conversation. As a leader I thought he should have addressed the WE. That NO ONE should be placed in that position ... not just blacks. As a leader he should care about ALL the people.

        Riots in the streets are not the way to bring it to the front.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
    • Jul 24 2013: I'd agree with that Bob.

      Only as I saw so many parallels between the film/book "Bonfire of the Vanities" and the Zimmerman trial.

      And consider that film/book was 30 years old... people just haven't changed.
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      Jul 25 2013: Thanks for your contribution to this discussion Robert, i see from your comment there are a lot of factors that influence racism and even though you think racism cannot be eliminated, if we continue to mitigate some factors that contribute to racism then hopefully in the future we can say that racism has been eliminated.
  • Jul 23 2013: Racism is somewhat like the Catheter Religion.
    What is the Catheter Religion?
    It's another word for Catholic.
    Once it's been embedded in your psyche it's almost impossible to eradicate and defecate it completely
    out of your system. Some of the poison remains, although protected in a kind of sac within the body of the
    psyche. When pricked however, it sometimes spills out.
    Racism is like that and everyone can learn to not react to it, especially when they think it.
    What we think is one thing. How we react or respond is another. It would be wonderful if we could and we
    should continue to think we can in order to shoot for the stars and fall short, but into a much more inclusive and loving world. Eventually that kind of behavior will bring about change in the psyche. It starts there first.

    I worked for many years with African-American men who were trying to put their lives together while coming out of prison. They had serious doubts, some that centered around being black in a white (racist) society.
    While racism is in us all (a horrible evil perpetrated by those who did so), sometimes the way arises to not react. For instance, if these guys have a hammer and think that every time racism rears its head, they must slam it back down, then it still owns them because they are still reacting to it. Eventually, unless it is very serious and life-threatening, they learned that if they too wish to be free of it, then ignoring it in most cases takes away its power over them. Having, feeling and owning your own personal power is more important than almost anything else. We must keep that for all and eliminate evils that threaten it.

    An overlap may exist for some time but those who overlap will eventually die and with them their racism.
    We must not allow leaders to keep it alive, which they do.
    Facing fear, ending fear by changing our world will help immensely.
    Racism is like most other strong and unhealthy emotions and beliefs.
    It is based on and founded in fear.
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      Jul 23 2013: Ha, I think there is only a random chance you might be right! Get it? Or have you heard that already. I'm just kidding, anyways.
      • Jul 24 2013: Daniel.
        No, I haven't heard that one yet, but today I did.
        Took me 3/4 of my life to get it that there is no 's' on the word anyway.
        Been waiting to tell someone that for almost as long. :)
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    Jul 23 2013: This being a debate I would normally mull the topic over for a minute or two and then give it a go. It's a good topic, but reading your proposal, Matthew, I was reminded of a spot-on article that appeared in WSJ in the not so distant past. It's by Alison Gopnik. It's as short as it is awesome. And it's all about the latest studies in how children exhibit racism at an incredibly young age. The following quotes are the juiciest bits. The article, it's a column really, explains the experiments some, but would be a good jumping-off point if you wanted to do a more in-depth internet search.

    "A raft of new studies shows that even 5-year-olds discriminate between what psychologists call in-groups and out-groups. Moreover, children actually seem to learn subtle aspects of discrimination in early childhood."

    "In a recent paper, Yarrow Dunham at Princeton and colleagues explored when children begin to have negative thoughts about other racial groups. White kids aged 3 to 12 and adults saw computer-generated, racially ambiguous faces...Even people who would hotly deny any racial prejudice unconsciously associate other racial groups with anger."

    "But what about the innocent kids? Even 3- and 4-year-olds were more likely to say that angry faces were black. In fact, younger children were just as prejudiced as older children and adults."

    "Was this discrimination the result of some universal, innate tendency or were preschoolers subtly learning about discrimination? "

    "These findings show the deep roots of group conflict. But the last study also suggests that somehow children also quickly learn about how groups are related to each other."

    "The studies of early altruism show that the natural state of man is not a war of all against all, as Thomas Hobbes said. But it may quickly become a war of us against them."

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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks for commenting Daniel. About discrimination at a young age, coming from a teenager and not long ago being a child myself. Discrimination and racism to a child was simply the fact that he or she was different. You see all those cartoons (e.g ugly duckling) where there's always the odd one out. But talking about children and discrimination specifically, it could account for many things like weight, lack of intelligence and etc, to children, it's as long as you were different.
      In my case, my school we were very multicultural and had people from many races. Because there was such diversity, at a young age, there werent many negative comments about other peoples skin colour or race. If I was think about the behaviour changes, I could say that once we were old enough to understand the concept of racism and the usual "I want to fit in attitude", that's when people started using it to attack others. Before that it was never used as a weapon.
      But very interesting article you found there, I never would have guessed that there would actually be discrimination from such a young age.
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      Jul 23 2013: I saw a video of a different study, or perhaps one to which this article refers, in which children of such young ages were shown pictures of faces that were identical except for skin color. They were all children of parents who were adamant at having expressed no racial messages at home.

      When the researcher asked the kids "Which is the good child?" or "Which is the bad child?" or "Who would you most like to look like?" children regardless of their own race answered as if the darker one was worst and the lightest best.

      This was less true for older children.

      The parents were appalled.
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        Jul 23 2013: The parents were appalled, but they're probably ashamed some, as well. After all, to whatever degree these racial prejudices are a product of nature or of nurture, the parents would seem to take up a large space in the latter.

        (And speaking of shame... I referred to you as 'Fritzie my man' in comment two days ago and it has sense been brought to my attention that you are a lady, a professor, and very intelligent. I am none of these things, least of all intelligent. I wanted to apologize if I offended you in any way.
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          Jul 23 2013: I don't think gender or credentials matter at all in conversations here. Because of my name, people often assume I am male. I have taught at a variety of levels, kids through grad students, over a long career but no longer do classroom teaching.

          Of course I take no offense.
  • Jul 23 2013: I grew up in Hawaii. Since no race had a majority, everyone was in a minority. At first the races worked together and key was can you do the job? Race was secondary. The races did not socialize except during large "required" social events, wedding, funerals, birthday parties, etc. and business type socialization. Being invited into the home of another race was done very rarely. I guess people respected the others space and did not violate it. If someone did, they were ostracized.

    This changed as I grew older. For example, churches that were only for Chinese now had Japanese, Korean, White, etc. Similarly white churches now had different races. The rate of inter-racial marriage became over 40%.

    Is there still racial prejudice - yes but I guess I would say muted.
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      Jul 23 2013: What if the trend you're experiencing in Hawaii continued? Can we hold out hope that racism might at least become some less virulent strain of prejudice? For instance, interracial marriages breed interracial children who enter into de facto interracial marriages, because at least the bride or the groom is from interracial periods, and so it possible, even if it takes many years, that in an increasingly globalized society, with an increasing number of people living and working in a country that they are not native to (220 million), and with the gene pool starting to resemble more of genetic jacuzzi, won't a homogenous quality arise within the population. We are, after all, but one single species regardless of our race.
      • Jul 23 2013: We can only watch and learn. One thing that we need to be careful is the loss of culture and language - a linguist at Yale is concerned with the loss of human languages with the globalization. Think we need to try to keep the good or are we willing to lose the good to eliminate the bad?
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          Jul 23 2013: Of the 7,000 languages spoken today, half are expected to be gone by the end of the century.

          I can understand preserving the culture and language. But at the same time, it's making room for new cultures, at least, if not languages.

          What concerns me is the homogenous nature of cultures seem to be taking, like a monoculture where all you see is one plant to the horizon in every direction. I don't want to be able to go anywhere in the world and get McDonald's and Starbucks.

          And what I recognize as inevitable, not to be redundant, is that all cultures will go. You ask me if we need to try and keep the good or are we willing to lose the good to eliminate the bad? Even if we keep the good, it won't be the same good, it's not a static thing. And the elimination of the bad doesn't necessitate the introduction of the bad in another form.

          Back in the T'ang Dynasty, Zengetsu, a Chinese Zen master, gave some advice to his pupils, one piece of which was: "Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave an immediate appreciation." Now, one might hold instead to some Platonic idea of Good as a perfect Form, but I personally would choose a path of acceptance, or as Zengetsu would have put, living in the world but not forming attachments "to the dust of the world." Culture is another kind of dust. Everyone that ever lived felt just as passionate about the immediate and overwhelming experience of being alive as we do. Yet where is there passion, their experience, their culture now? What is it to us? What good did it do them to cling what they liked and reject what they didn't?

          From a different translation of Ecclesiastes than I used earlier: "The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there by an remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them."
      • Jul 23 2013: Have to think about this. 1/2 of me agrees that we must let go but then apply that logic to endangered species - nature has been killing off species since the dawn of this planet - should we be saving endangered species? again 1/2 of me says yes.
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          Jul 24 2013: Of course, we should be saving endangered species. Forget that for a moment.

          Imagine holding a pencil in the following two ways. In the first, you hold your pencil tightly by making a fist. That is attachment; it is like grasping, clinging, It takes effort and will resist any other force that acts upon the pencil. The hand, like the mind, is closed. In the second way you open your hand, palm up to the feeling with the fingers straight and the pencil gently rests there. There is no attachment, but there is acceptance. The pencil is there, but gone is the sense of possession, of having to maintain our hold on the material world. The mind is open.
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    Jul 22 2013: I don't believe racism will be eliminated as long as ignorance and stupidity is present. As this is likely to be true for the rest of our species existence—since there is no 'survival of the fittest' since even stupid people can survive— I would say racism or any other -isms will still be present.

    I think the media is pretty messed up. The people involved mainly want to get more hits and viewers than truly spread the news or be honest. I don't think they should feel compelled to tackle racism, because I think there needs to be a movement throughout a society to adequately tackle racism. A short PSA or quick mention (all I think the media would devote to racism) will not change anything. People need education, and now that I think about it schools could address this issue in places where it's more prevalent—I live in an area where it doesn't happen much (as far as I can tell).

    Thanks for the question and feel free to reply!
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks for the imput Kai, I think overall there is just too many factors in the world that might influence people to be racist, especially media which is both adding to the fire and putting it out at the same time. (if you know I mean)
  • Jul 22 2013: Eliminating racism is a difficult task. Let's assume that people may not be racist if they are exposed to all kinds of people in their normal environment. Creating such an environment is something that is difficult if not impossible for under-developed / developing countries.
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      Jul 23 2013: I think you and I could agree. Is there a future where exposure and integration reach such a level that being racist doesn't make sense to people and doesn't help them to function in society or justify any of their fears and insecurities and slowly, but surely, racism dissipates into the past? All I'm asking is if you think it's possible.
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    Jul 22 2013: When people stop taking sides and lying to themselves and to others and start working together for a common good. That is when they will see what they have been missing for too many years.
  • 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.
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        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 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
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      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:
      • 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." (

        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.
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          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.
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    Jul 22 2013: I think the answer to your question is NO. Racism comes from stereotyping and stereotyping is just a human reflex to make sense of the world. For example, you once were robbed a person that comes from Asia. Then your brain actually takes in that information and stores it, not just the race or nationality but also the body type, the kind of voice and appearance, so that the next time when you meet someone of the similar race, appearance or voice, you will automatically be aware of the possible danger. It is a human natural instinct that we have developed over the years.
    So stereotyping is not always necessarily bad. However, stereotyping taking to an extreme level can cause major damages.

    I don't think the media is helping to erase racism. Take Hollywood, most of the beautiful or handsome or you know, the best protagonists are played by white people. And as you can see, most of the raps are popularly associated with neggro. In some countries the government sets law for each business to employ a certain percentage of different races to achieve a balance in nationality and ethnicity.

    I read that one of USA's most famous high school has around 80% of Asian and less than 5% Hispanic or African. The school is considered to be imbalanced in terms of races and ethnics but we cannot really blame them. School is a business and they have their criteria which certain group of students meet the requirement and some others don't. The those who cannot make it can't be accepted. In some other school, for the entrance exam, the passing grade for Asian is less than that of other races. Would that be fair? But then the Asian students will feel offended. Is that racism too?
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      Jul 23 2013: I think it's as bad as you think. And probably worse. But why focus on racism? If it isn't that it will be some other form of prejudice for the very reasons that you gave in your opening paragraph. We will form pre-form judgments about a given individual based on past experience and knowledge of similar people and this often works to our advantage. Because it is difficult to discern sometimes when it is and when it isn't to your advantage, and because we are so habituated to, or find it necessary to, make such 'stereotypes' as you call them, then no....
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        Jul 23 2013: "We will form pre-form judgments about a given individual based on past experience and knowledge of similar people and this often works to our advantage."

        What would you tell someone that lacks the ability to pre-form these judgments? Would they be at a disadvantage or an advantage?
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          Jul 23 2013: I don't know, both, I guess. We can move about a room or a city because we can extrapolate from past experiences. Without the ability to pre-form judgments you would go into every situation without knowing what to expect. The lack of the ability to pre-form these judgments would be a far different thing than the ability manage one's expectations and preconceptions to flow with their own best interests.

          In other words, what I meant was that if you touch a hot stove and get burnt, you probably won't do it again, because you can judge from experience what would be the outcome of you touching the stove again, when it is turned on, at any point in the future.
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks Son for commenting i thinki I've actually seen your name pop up a lot in other conversations

      About sterotpying, I agree that it is almost like a automatic response, but I think if you were willing to get rid of that prejudice you could by sort of force your self to say that the sterotpying thoughts are not ok. I think the example you gave would be under personal experience, I think sterotpying is a prejudice thought that the general population thinks of. But yeah your right those sorts of things do happen and they can have a negative mental impact on the individual, especially when it comes to their future prejudice against other races.

      Media, well I can say a lot, especially in social media with the inclusion of memes and easy communication. But just mentioning those two aspects of social media should sum up how I think social media is contributing to this fight.

      With race and education that's all on culture. I think for Asians, the culture or theory in a parents point of view is that if their children grow up to be smart, and go to university, and get a good high pating job, then they are set for live and forever happy. But this lower entry score for Asians, that's not fair and I'm pretty sure that's discriminating against other races. Asians won't feel offended because it's in their favor, but overall it's is not fair to everyone else
  • Jul 29 2013: It seems to be part of "being human" that we look for someone, anybody, that we can claim to be inferior. This tendency seems to have developed in social evolution, in that we tend to group in such a way as to always have a minority we can look down upon, or blame for all the short comings of our society. So long as we feel this need, either personally or societally, some form of superiority, be it racism, intellectualism, classism, or most any ism, will always out. Although there are some that see racism, or would like to see it, as an American affliction, all you need do to get past this silly contention is look at Africa to see nonwhite involved genocides, racism and other stupidities occurring everyday. For the time being, there is racism and it will continue until there is some real inclusionism, a belief that it is better for me to see others as at least equal to me in value in my society and life. Until then, the dog will get kicked.
  • Jul 29 2013: To discuss racism we need to define the term which my dictionary states as "the theory that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, qualities etc., specific to that race, especially distinguishing it as inferior or superior to another race or races; prejudice, discrimination or antagonism based on this"
    Clearly there are physical differences between races: it may sometimes appear there are different abilities and qualities between races but whether these differences are based on race or something else like environment, education, upbringing and culture is wide open for discussion.
    The pernicious corrosive effect of racism occurs when these differences are seen as being inferior or superior which lead to prejudice and discrimination. This corrosion lies in the hearts of those who feel superior and those who feel inferior.
    Differences between people whether based on personality, talents, race or culture should be recognised and celebrated. No human being is intrinsically inferior to another.
    Prejudice and discrimination based on race will not be 'eliminated' as a task set by the great and the good according to a set of objectives and a timetable. But they will, over time, become less and less relevant and ultimately disappear though the actions and beliefs of ordinary people who realise such prejudice is childish and rather nasty.
  • Jul 29 2013: Racism is a disgusting flaw in human character, and many of us suffers from it. Its like a illness that has no cure.
    There are however good people who are not racist or are actively anti-racist. But what happens when such an anti-racist person is contantly targeted and hammered by racist. How long will they hold back?
    Eventually, the revenge instinct kicks in " we hate you because you hate us".
    Thus the racist community keeps increasing.
    Racism is a communicable disease; without any cure, I'd say.
  • Jul 27 2013: This was posted on Huffington 7/26

    Think this has some interesting points
    • W T

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      Jul 29 2013: I found this insight from the article to be right on the money:

      " when people belong to many overlapping groups, they are more likely to think broadly, as cosmopolitans. When they work together in mix-and-match structures and depend on the performance of people from other groups for their own success, they are more likely to empathize with differences rather than mistrust them"
      • Jul 29 2013: i agree except i had great hopes in 1990 but the Bosnian War/Balkans War 3 made me question that insight. You had those groups living/working together for 80 years and fought the Germans during WW II. They were educated, played together, etc. the national soccer team was totally integrated. But during the war, everyone went back to the tribes and terrible things were done.

        i am not sure why the trust that had been built for 80 years was replaced with hate and mistrust in a very short time.
  • Jul 27 2013: extreme capitalism, extreme competition, cheating and agro; cheating and agro> paranoia; paranoia, tribalism etc ad nauseum. people have to stop being so damned, unreasoningly, ideological (idiotic)
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    Jul 27 2013: Segregate, Educate and Populate. The positive stigma on your people will garner in popularity unlike, the negative fear tactics of the racists. People will follow the mass, not the few.
  • Jul 26 2013: first of all, there are no human races. this term is no long used by scientists. What makes a person being white or black is not the race, it's the environment from where they have been living for a long long time ago. It is called evolution, we are able to be adapted to our environment, the black people are black because of the amount of melanin in their body, melanin is made to protect our skin from the sunlight, that's why people from the hottest places are black, because their body are adapted for that climate. Melanin changes the color of eyes, skin and hair. People from cold places don't need so much melanin, that's why they are white, their eyes are blue and their hair are usually blond. There's a scientific research that proves that we all (human beings) came from Africa billions of years ago. The term that the scientists use nowadays is Ethnicity.
  • Jul 26 2013: So long as a man needs a dog to kick, racism will flourish.
    • Jul 29 2013: Please explain.
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    Jul 25 2013: In my opinion,
    Racist jokes are done between friends and whatever, we laugh it off together and then forget about it. No one holds a grudge against it generally as it was purely a joke. I make racist comments with my black friends, asian friends, Indian friends and whatever but its not wrong as we as humans make even worse jokes occasionally. Its fun, not hurtful. These are generally stereotypes and its funny just because the stereotypes are funny.
    What we should be tackling is the injustice done racially not the light jokes/humor. I'm not supporting racism, I'm just saying the truth as we all have done small jokes and laughed about it. Don't deny that. We have all made small racist jokes and not known it.

    Anyway, what should stop is these:

    1. Racial Injustice to members of other races.
    2. Racist jokes in public and to unknown people.
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    Jul 25 2013: Have we ever heard "I take it from where it comes from"??
    Racism does not exist. It is only ignorance. Unfortunately there will allways be ignorance.
    • Jul 29 2013: Yes. Racism do exist and it's IGNORANT.
  • Jul 24 2013: I believe it can be alleviated but not eliminated, alleviated when the human race is in danger of destruction by some extraterrestrial species. Other than that, I don't think it's possible to even alleviate it.
  • Jul 24 2013: Yeah why not if we really want? Impossible is nothing
    • Jul 25 2013: A succinct answer to a simple question. It is not impossible, therefore it is possible. The rest of us were distracted by our mental baggage.
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    Jul 24 2013: I should have thought of that. Still 'new' to this....
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    Jul 23 2013: I would think never entirely because each generation born has strengths and problems, we will never give birth to 100% perfect creatures. Nor are we ourselves static, fixed characters; even if we eliminate racism in ourselves today, a new situation tomorrow may cause it to re-arise.
  • Jul 23 2013: No wont get rid of racism, and it's not solely; intellect,upbringing, learning, those are only factors - not reason.

    Understand psychology and dynamics of groups, as well as the fundamental impulses such as the flight or fight response. What you, and in fact everyone does is look at people who are different, firstly with suspicion, the reason for that is, as pack animals which we are, our very survival depends on spotting (eyesight design) threatening interlopers.

    We constantly differentiate our-self's from one an other, irrespective that 99.9% of us is the same. All we ever do is focus on that 0.1%. That 0.1% is the color of ones skin, the physical attributes, the religion we choose, the language we speak, the food we eat, etc.

    The reasons we have jokes and stereotypes, is to remind us that we belong to a successful group, ie we are not the victims. In fact that's why 'Every' group has them.

    We have flags at the Olympics, not to celebrate humanities achievement, but ours, (our countries success). At European football games, you often see violence spill out as the two groups battle each other. Individually they may not have, but the dynamics and psychology change when one is in a group. Same for right wing extremist groups, it should be clear and apparent what they are doing and why, people have to understand the factual causes, not the rhetoric.

    In every country including yours, I'd surmise that the immigrant population is one that is condensed into a certain area, again the reasons are clear and can be directly equated to life on the African planes, in that you define a territory which you (over) populate, to make it easy to spot interlopers into that territory, and thus feel safer because of dominance, even if you are the minority in general, in that locale - you are not.

    So no we wont get rid of racism, nor the way we all do it - sometimes extremely subtlety, until we over come many fundamental traits of the species.

    That's a long time coming.
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      Jul 23 2013: I dig what you said about group dynamics in the second and fifth paragraphs of your comment. I have a question concerning the third paragraph: The 99.9% versus the .1%, is that referring to the genetic variation across our single species of homo sapiens, OR are you implying something more along the lines of say, we might speak different languages, but that fact that we even have spoken and written languages and an instinctual sense of a universal grammar suggests its really language is more a large similarity, OR where the figures 99.9% and .1% being used hyperbolically?

      What about self-deprecating stereotypes and jokes. Those are everywhere and serve a purpose directly counter to reminding us we belong in the superior group, because they serve to humble us and remind us that it is possible to make jokes and stereotypes about everyone, ergo they can't really have anything to do with racial groups. When I make a joke about my own racial group that doesn't apply to me, doesn't that lead me to realize that jokes and stereotypes about other racial groups may not be accurate either?

      I made similar comments regarding how we've evolved to have biases and that having them has been beneficial to our survival as individuals and species. But can I predicate my answer regarding the future existence of racism on the assumption that, being something we've evolved into, it's not something we won't evolve out of?

      Isn't it possible that like the tails we longer have, racism is something we evolve away from? I mean, isn't there at least chance that racism could assume the largely innocuous and vestigial quality of tailbones? Or for that matter, of appendixes, wisdom teeth, erector pili, body hair, and male nipples?
      • Jul 24 2013: What about self-deprecating stereotypes and jokes, they implicitly are amusing, as long as it's the same racial group, because we know that -really- that is not the case.

        As for the 99 vs 1% that's actual, it's dna, not hyperbole, we don't like to focus on what makes us similar, but what makes us different, and any difference will do. It's the same reality that does not allow certain people to accept that man and are dna wise are just as nearly similar, if i remember it's about a 4% difference.

        To 'evolve' out of it, wont be driven by societies politically correct stance, that does not change the feeling, it just suppresses it, which can be far more dangerous - see going Postal - schools, cinemas, workplaces.

        Further what races, colors exist today, I dont see evolving away, unless there is a specific race virus, that wipes out a whole group, these do exist, but I've never heard of them being rampant, like SARS.

        What will eradicate it, probably only a change of us, with respect to understanding ourselves, where we have come, from where we are going, and a level of spirituality that is as far from the norm.

        Viz I say, that any change will be a long time coming, because at the moment we're not prepared for that change.
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          Jul 24 2013: We know it's not the case with our group and that allows us to see that the jokes we make of others are likewise not the case. At least there is the potential for that recognition.

          Concerning, genetics: We do not focus on what makes a similar, because the genetic variation between what makes one 'race' is greater within that 'race' than the genetic variation between that 'race' and another 'race.' To biologists, 'race' is an increasingly meaningless. And genetic drift eliminates genetic variants which reduces genetic variation.

          You made a mention of colors, but it is important to remember that race is can be defined using a combination of anatomic, cultural, genetic, ethnic, geographical, linguistiic, religious, historical and social variables.

          'Race' as we speak of it in the modern world, is a social construct, a cultural category.

          A globalized society, growing increasingly interconnected and interdependent will further erode that already outdated use of the word and concept "race," hopefully to the point that racism is no longer the prejudice of choice. Not that it will be better if people are prejudiced in more particular ways, prejudiced against speakers of a certain language, or that hail from certain geographies, etc., but those people will find that 'traditional' racism is unaccessible and vague. They will look for a sharper distinction, (as you said, we focus on differences), something more demonstrable than a outmoded and hollow thing as 'race.'

          A major point of my argument here and in other comments I've made in this debate is that it is important to distinguish between racism in specific and prejudice in general and then to realize that 'race' on which the concept of 'racism' relies is very, very, very vague thing with myriad definitions, all of which are important to consider before beginning to address whether or not 'racism' can be eliminated.
      • Jul 25 2013: But Daniel, I think you're forgetting the reality of xenophobia, which is on the rise in many countries.

        And how an event like 9/11 further pushed it along. That's not only true for the Islamic population in the US and overseas, but for people's of alternate ethnicity.
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          Jul 25 2013: But Tify, I think you're confusing racism with xenophobia.

          "A xenophobic person has to genuinely think or believe at some level that the target is in fact a foreigner. This arguably separates xenophobia from ordinary prejudice. In various contexts, the terms "xenophobia" and "racism" seem to be used interchangeably, though they can have wholly different meanings (xenophobia can be based on various aspects, racism being based solely on ethnicity, and ancestry). Xenophobia can also be directed simply to anyone outside a culture. Basically, a completely biased opinion regarding foreign matters."

          "In Part II, para 20, the VDPA urges all governments to take immediate measure and to develop strong policies to prevent and combat all forms and manifestations of racism, xenophobia or related intolerance, where necessary by enactment of appropriate legislation, including penal measure. and also appeals to all States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to consider making the declaration under article 14 of the Convention."

          And quoting directly from the U.N. Assembly's publication of that document, Part 1, article 15:

          "15. Respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms without distinction of any kind is a fundamental rule of international human rights law. The speedy and comprehensive elimination of all forms of racism and racial distinction, xenophobia and related intolerance is a priority task for the international community. Governments should take effective measures to prevent and combat them. Groups, institutions, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations and individuals are urged to intensify their efforts in cooperating and coordinating their activities against these evils."
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          Jul 25 2013: Note how both 'race and racial discrimination' are treated as similar to but different from 'xenophobia.' Xenophobia isn't a prejudice against people for their race, so much as it is against them for their foreignness and their strangeness.

          9/11 was a good example to use. After the attacks there was, unfortunately, a huge rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and Arab-speaking individuals, but the way that it was directed blindly towards anyone wearing a turban, or speaking with an Indian accent, or women wearing veils, this shows that it was xenophobia not racism. Americans felt a fear towards the foreign and the strange. And this fear of anything foreign and strange made them view whole subcontinents like India as possible terrorists if one such Indian from New Delhi were to get in line behind them at the airport. People that didn't have the prejudice before 9/11, but had one after, and then have slowly returned to not having one at all, signifies xenophobia and not racism, as well.
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      Jul 25 2013: Thanks to both you guys for your input to this discussion, this debate with you two was very in-depth. I like how you guys include DNA and genetics into this discussion its given me another perceptive into reason and factors of racism.
      • Jul 25 2013: It's a pleasure Matthew.

        I glad that you have gotten to take something away from the debate, it's why in my original post I tried to include as many legitimate factors, as well as where we have come from, our psychology, the very makeup and similarities and differences defined at the core level - dna.

        I think that if you can take anything away from all of this, and in general too, it's not to limit oneself when thinking about a subject, or try to over simplify it, based on initial gut reactions.

        Best with your studies.
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        Jul 25 2013: I have posted this on TED before, it is from a magazine article I read a while back.

        Discoveries in genetics have confirmed the fallacy of racism. Researchers studying people from different continents have found that the differences in DNA between any two randomly chosen individuals from virtually anywhere in the world amounted to about 0.5 percent. And 86 to 90 percent of those differences occurred within any one racial group. Therefore, just 14 percent or less of the 0.5 percent variation occurred between racial groups.

        Because “humans are genetically homogeneous,” says the journal Nature, “genetics can and should be an important tool in helping to both illuminate and defuse the race issue.”

        Such thinking is not new. Beginning in 1950 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization published a series of statements intended to combat racism. The statements were authored by anthropologists, geneticists, and sociologists. Yet, racism persists.

        But, then, the magazine article went on to state:

        "Clearly, an awareness of the facts is not enough. The heart, or the inner person, must also be reached. “Out of the heart come wicked reasonings,” said Jesus Christ.—Matthew 15:19, 20."

        Matthew, this is why, in my original comment I stated that "racism can be eliminated, but to do so humans must change. And, who can change a human?"
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    Jul 23 2013: Racism can be eliminated from my heart , your heart but from the world ??

    Racism may end from the world,

    only when we all look alike and speak the same language.

    If that is possible racism may end.
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      Jul 25 2013: If everyone was to look alike and speak the same language it would be a very boring world to live in. And i hope we wont end up in a world where everyone is similar, it would be like living in a world of robots, were everyone was programmed the same
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    Jul 23 2013: Are you talking about "true elimination" from the world or Australia in particular ?
    If your question is about the world then don't see it's "True Elimination" in next 100 years even.
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      Jul 23 2013: He's giving Australia as an example, because he's from Melbourne and he's probably at work right now.

      And, dude, a 100 years would be awesome! In America it took nearly a 100 years after we declared all me were created equal to free the slaves, and another hundred years after that end segregation and enact civil rights. Getting rid of all the rest of the racial prejudice in our country (which just had a 100-city protest relating to racism) would be unbelievable. I could tell my children, if I had any, that when they have children, their children's children will live in a time where they won't be racially discriminated against.
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        Jul 23 2013: I just wanted to be a bit optimistic my friend that's why talked about 100 years :)
        Moreover with your US example think about the technological development , speed of communication at that time when it was declared in US .....we definitely achieved lot of progress in technology & communication that should drive changes at much more faster rate ....ha ha I am just trying to defend my 100 years ....

        Well the main challenge is eliminating from Psyche....we can have laws and many countries have such laws including Australia against racism....what law and it's implementation does in this respect is, it just can reduce the visibility but it's there, deep rooted in psyche which though not visible due to the law the victim can feel it....
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          Jul 23 2013: Thanks for your comments Salim, as Daniel said i was talking about the world and using Australia as an example.

          With your idea about technology and the speed of it, I don't think that adds to the cause of eliminating racism. I think if anything that might adds to the fire because going on your Psyche theory, racism could spread even faster like a virus. In this case not the aggressive racism but the light jokes and stereotyping.
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          Jul 23 2013: No, I think Salim is onto something. "progress in technology & that should drive changes at much more faster rate" like through exposure to other races/cultures and the development of global, interdependent identities.

          The comment he made about law reminded me, however, about how societies might not seem racist on the surface with the placement of laws, social mores, and political correctness, but underneath on a person-to-person basis, there is still a lot of it going on. In other words, racists are less aggressive, but more passive (adapting to the shift in legal and social pressures to at least appear unprejudiced.)
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        Jul 23 2013: Hi Matthew
        I don't disagree that technology can be abused and it has been being abused since long, but it can be also used for good reason.

        One advantage this information technology is offering that its not easier now a days to keep people limited with in boundaries like religious belief , cultural norm or country practice claiming that to be the best or only truth. Now with a click away anyone can check the validity of such claims it one wants to , earlier such validation was not that easy ....

        What are your thoughts about it ?
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          Jul 23 2013: Ha, technically you just replied to my comment not Matthew's. I dig what you're saying, though. Information technology and subsequent practices of validating, means more facts, less opinions. As the Dude said in 'The Big Lebowski': "Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
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        Jul 24 2013: Hi Daniel
        Sorry for hijacking your "REPLY" button as Matthew didn't have one in this chain of conversation :(. Have a good day.
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    Jul 22 2013: Human behavior fits into one of three categories: Creators (C); Users (U); and Destroyers (D). If an inordinate percentage of a given race is represented in the D category then ALL members of that race will be subjected to bias, prejudice, suspicion, and racism. Let's say Race no. 1 represents 12% of the nations population but represents 44% of the convicted criminals (D) in the nation. All members of Race no. 1 will generally be regarded as being D's even though they may actually be U's, or even C's. I'm not saying this is proper, I am simply saying it is the way things are. If a high percentage of Blue people are socially destructive then ALL blue people will be subjected to the specter of racism.
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      Jul 23 2013: Questions, Mr. Long. I have questions:

      1). Is this model of human behavior with three categories representing creators, users, and destroyers something of your own devising?

      2). What about Non-users (N)?

      3.) Why will "ALL members of that race be subjected to bias, prejudice, suspicion, and racism" "if an ordinate percentage of a given race is represented in the D category? Can you give an reasoning or evidence that this is so? And if not, how I can rely in your theoretical statistics?

      I'll leave it at three questions. I'm wondering now if your argument might be better formulated using Pareto's Principle, commonly known as the 80/20 rule. A high percentage of effects in a large system are caused by a low percentage of variables, very often at approximately 80% effects by 20% variables. 80% of crimes are caused by 20% of the criminals; 80% of the use I get out of my smartphone comes from 20% of its functions, 80% percent of a companies profit is generated by its flagship products, that encompass about 20% of its total line.

      Might it be possible in this C, U, D and (maybe) N model of human behavior that Pareto's principle could help to explain the continued existence of reasoning? And why?
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        Jul 23 2013: 1) No. I read it years ago, I do not know the source. 2) Users are not bad people. They are productive folks who utilize the technology and products created for them by the Creators. A Creator, or a Destroyer may Use now and then, but their classification indicates their dominant trait. There are no non-Users.3)You should not rely on my opinions, you can only consider them and process them by Critical Thinking. Profiling is an example of an individual being suspected of destructive behavior simply because they fit a racial profile. In a racially specific neighborhood a member of a different race will be regarded with suspicion. As far as reasoning goes it is a simple syllogism: Most criminals are Blue; That person is Blue; That person is probably the perpetrator. Regarding Pareto analysis. It might be shown that only 27% of Blue people are Destroyers, but non-Blue people know that 80% of the crimes are committed by Blue people so they do not care about the 27% figure nearly as much, if at all, as the 80% figure.
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          Jul 23 2013: 1) Don't know the source? Hasn't anyone told you if its not on the internet it doesn't exist? Just kidding.
          2) What about L for Luddites? Or if not N, then T for Transformers, people who neither create nor destroy, but transform one thing into another. Transformers would represent energy, since energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only transformed from one form into another. It's like turning a U into a N. Watch: u n. Watch again: n u. See? I just flipped a User into a Non-user and back again.
          3) I prefer critical questioning as opposed to critical thinking at times like this. If I were smart of head and pure of heart I would employ the Socratic method, but I'm neither.
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        Jul 23 2013: RE: "Don't know the source?. . . " 1) Interesting proposition to redefine reality as whatever is on the Internet. Someone would set about listing, on the Internet, all the information that is not on the Internet. Once completed we could stop thinking altogether! If you put my feet to the fire as to the source, I would hazard a guess it was Linus Pauling. 2) There is nothing new under the Sun. Without pre-existing material nothing could be created. So, in that sense, all Creators are Users by virtue of their dependence on existing material. Even Destroyers must use existing material to do their harmful work. To live is to use. 3) Now there's a conundrum. . . It is a smart person who knows they are not smart. Also, you are talking fly crap versus pepper when you differentiate between questioning and thinking. New question: Is everything which involves consideration of race considered racism? If I ask, "Are you Hispanic?", is that racism? If I say, "The suspect is a white male.", is that racism? If I say, "There are more Blue nuclear physicists, or more Green brain surgeons, or more Orange professional basketball players, than any other race, are those all racist remarks?
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          Jul 23 2013: 1)Okay, if it's not on the internet it might exist, but if it is on the internet than it is definitely true!

          2)"There is nothing new under the sun" is a phrase from Ecclesiastes, the ninth verse: "Tthe thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." I would interpreted that (and I'm neither Jewish or Christian) to say that we are all T, Transformers, and U, Users since nothing is really happening, 'existing material' is just being transformed and labeling one action a creative one and another a destructive one is arbitrary and pointless. If it's pre-existing material, nothing is really being created or really being destroyed, and if we are focusing instead on the form the material, then every act of creation is simultaneously an act of destruction and every act of destruction is simultaneously an act of creation.

          3) Hahahaha...'fly crap versus pepper', I'm writing that one down. As for the idea of a smart person who knows they're not smart, look to Socrates. His friend goes to the Oracle at Delphi and asks who's the wisest guy in Athens, Oracles replies: Socrates. Word gets back to Socrates, he thinks it's ridiculous, wonders why the Oracle said it. He knows for a fact that there are plenty of smarter people all around him. He thinks it over some more. Comes to realize that none of those people can admit when they are wrong. Or that they even know when they wrong. And that's it, he thinks, they know all these things but they no know nothing about what they don't know, and that must be what makes wisdom separate from knowledge. Since all I know is I know nothing, he thought, I must be the wisest one.
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          Jul 23 2013: New Answer to New Question: No. It is difficult for me to see how, in and of itself, asking someone if they are Hispanic would be offensive unless it were at an inappropriate context. The term itself could carry with it cultural connotations.

          If the suspect is indeed a Caucasian gentleman than you are simply stating a fact. It would be totally different if you said, 'The suspects are usually white men" which might be statistically verifiable but it's a hair away from saying "he's a white man, so he's probably a suspect."

          And the Blue, Green and Orange are just harmless observations based upon demographics.
          The opposite would be if you saw the names of guest speakers at a conference your attending: the first is a physicist, the next is a brain surgeon, the next is a pro ball player; and then said, well, the first guys Blue, the second guys Green and the last Guy is Orange. Why? Because you don't know that and are using a statistic to make an assumption about someone you have never met. You know what happens when you assume right?
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        Jul 23 2013: I am well-schooled in the results of making assumptions. I think a majority of people believe that the very mention of a specific race, no matter what the context, constitutes racism. These folks avoid, and are offended by, the use of racially specific terms. They would like to change the race block on forms from "RACE?" to "Species?", only then would we be all the same. Distinction is not racism. Statistically verifiable observations are not racism. Without a precise definition of racism the answer to the posted question must be NO!
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          Jul 23 2013: Ah, so you're saying that racism can be defined or interpreted in a variety of ways, but that there are also times when either...

          a) something is decidedly not racist but someone for whatever reason thinks it is


          b) lacking a precise definition of racism or any definition, just saying 'that's racist' means racism exists. Even if all I did was walk up to my vacuum cleaner (not to be confused with someone who cleans vacuums) and said "You're racist," then it would impossible to refute that racism exists, even if it only exists in a home appliance I'm not particularly pleased with to begin with.
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        Jul 23 2013: RE: "Ah, so you're saying. . . ". I like to believe I construct my sentences with sufficient clarity to eliminate the need to paraphrase my meaning. But, alas, you have found it necessary to rewrite my comment. Regarding your a): Without a precise definition we can not know what is being said. If racism is precisely defined and we agree to use that definition exclusively then, and only then, can we advance in our understanding. Regarding your b): When a person shouts "racism!" we do not know for sure what they mean. If we are using our mutually agreed upon precise definition of racism we can investigate their accusation and make some determination as to its validity. Anyway, to get back on topic,racism, as I define it, will never be eradicated from the human drama.
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          Jul 23 2013: I only 'rewrote' your own comment so that I could be sure I understood it correctly. This has been interesting exchange. Ultimately, we must agree to disagree. I think that racism will one day be rendered genetically irrelevant and prejudices based on nationalities, politics, whatever, will succeed it. Thanks for keeping me thinking over the past day.
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      Jul 23 2013: Maybe we can all get together and form a digital seance to see if we could summon up and then sense the presence of Matthew Li's electronic ghost. "Are you here, Matthew? Can you hear us? If so, do something. Tap the space bar."
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          Jul 23 2013: I'm the one that'll be jumping down that rabbit hole of a conversation about conversations about conversations about conversations in a few hours, because I'm all typed out and tired now. The intent, I will tell you, varies. I believe that, because it varies within me and although that doesn't mean the intent varies amongst others, I do have an good understanding of how and why the intent varies within me.
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      Jul 23 2013: So...I did just realize he probably only started this conversation ten hours ago. He's probably sleeping or at work. What time is it in Melbourne? And to think, I was just about to nominate you to take over the conversation, because I thought he hadn't been around in days. But don't tell edward long or Barry Palmer I said that.
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      Jul 23 2013: Thanks kate and sorry to Daniel, I didn't know TED suddenly became Facebook where we had to reply to everyone's comment immediately. And good guess Kate I had morning training and then school and then after school training and then eating and etc...... (you know the classic teenager schedule)

      Yeah, so getting back on topic, this is an complicated issue. I personally would say racism will not be eliminated, but thats taking to account all the stereotyping and minor jokes about other races.

      I love that message about standing up against it, but if you lived in Australia, you would have seen all the news of people standing up against the public racism, but another racist incident just keeps popping up. Do we have to be persistent and stand up against it till there's no more? How long would that take, I guess this is when media has a good impact and spread the message that this is not ok
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          Jul 23 2013: i guess its the small things that make the difference
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          Jul 23 2013: For the record, I don't use Facebook. I want that clear to everyone; I'm just new to TED and it still easily overexcites me. Technical disclaimer: I do have a Facebook account set up for when I come across a musician that offers a free song if you like some part of their website. I be bribed by a song, it's true.

          And in a conversation about racism are we really showing prejudiced against social media sites?