TED Conversations

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 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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