Racism – the magic word

Racism - the magic word 1

Racism was originally about ideologically opposing certain ethnicities, demanding special legislation that disadvantages them, threatening them or even using violence against them.

But the concept of racism has a much wider meaning today.

It can be about a privately owned company not hiring someone of a certain skin colour, a doorman not letting in a certain ethnicity, or that a stroller moves to the other side of the street when encountering a group of people with a different appearance. Racism can also include criticising political decisions on migration, or advocating for stricter citizenship laws.

Criticising certain religions and destroying their writings can also be racism. Racism can also occur in speech and writing, if you say that certain groups of people are lazy, criminals, etc., that they dress differently, or that you simply dislike certain groups or cultures for whatever reason.

Systemic racism is also a concept, that involves the social structure itself favouring certain groups at the expense of others; it is difficult to address and also difficult to identify. It is usually the majority of society that is responsible for racism against the minority or those who are considered deviant. And this can happen by working against minority culture, consciously or unconsciously, or by not taking an interest in it. Ignorance can be perceived as racist, as can excessive attention. It is a balancing act. Often it is considered to be white people who are racist towards others, which is a racist concept in itself.

Many things are racist. It is a broad concept.

From originally referring to the act itself (i.e. to physically oppose certain groups), the concept has slowly been transferred to the world of ideas, that people speak out against certain peoples, or think bad thoughts.

At the same time, a little racism might be a good thing; if we know from statistical studies that certain groups are more criminal than others, it might make sense to avoid them? For reasons of survival. And, yes, avoiding certain ethnic groups can be considered racism. But who wants to be robbed, beaten or murdered? In real life, that is, beyond the linguistic and purely academic exercises?

There seems to be no end to the fluctuation of the concept of racism. And one can imagine that the word – which once only referred to the initial explanation – has expanded in order to control and limit people? After all, it’s a powerful term – racism – and who wants to be associated with it? Nobody. The fear of being called this evil word, of having the curse thrown at you, and the attempts to avoid it can go a long way.

At the same time, almost everyone is a racist according to the broader definition. And that’s what happens when words are overused. What should we now call those who actually murder and expel certain specific groups? What should we call those who demand legislation that apply differently to various ethnicities?

Maybe we need to invent a new concept?