Racism is a humanitarian problem that is happening in our developed countries. As developed countries or first-world countries, they become models of development for other countries and their policies and practices also set the precedent for other countries. Unfortunately, even the negative practices, especially racism, also become assimilated in developing countries. Thus, racism is slowly spreading across the world like an outbreak of a disease. The problem of racism is bigger than we initially thought. It isn’t just practiced or manifested by a few or several individuals, but even practiced and fostered among different institutions in developed countries.
The big problem of racism is its power to affect people. Because it is a line of thinking, racism can influence people in many different ways. It stirs the curiosity and thoughts of people who witness acts of racism or racist slurs and speech. Thus, media can have a big role in the awareness of racism. When talking about racism, we immediately come to think that it is the oppression and discriminatory practices of the White races against Blacks of African Americans, Latinos or Hispanics, Asians or any other racial or ethnic minority. It can also be the other way around. Ethnic minorities and colored races may engage in racism internally (towards other minority groups or races) or externally (towards Whites or other colored races).
The effects of racism can be damaging to every aspect of human life. It can be physically, emotionally and psychologically damaging to the parties at the receiving end of racism. The racially discriminated parties get physically abused, receive racially charged remarks, get substandard and sub-humane treatment, and they are economically misappropriated and misrepresented to name a few. Not only is it damaging to the receiver or the oppressed, but it is also damaging to oppressors themselves. The practice of racism warps their morality, ethics and principles. They get temporary confidence boosts from the acts of bigotry and racial insensitivity which get immediately replaced by guilt and denial. Being labeled a racist is damaging to the reputation and social standing of the oppressors.
The problem of racism is so prevalent that it is sometimes considered a norm of some societies and institutions. Different government and private institutions have in one way or another practiced racism in one of its many different forms. Racial preference or bias may have been practiced by one or several institutions in the hiring, recruitment and admission process of employees, civil servants and students. One race may get preferential treatment, advantageous position and more benefits from the other when it comes to the workplace or any other setting. Access to basic and statutory benefits may vary among races, with particular difficulty on the part of the colored citizens. We may not see racism today as that of the slavery era, but we are experiencing it through subtle means and varying practices. As mentioned before, racism is spreading like a disease and has spread across other nations. A recent example is the ongoing humanitarian problem in Myanmar concerning the Rohingya people. They are considered as an unwelcome ethnic minority by their own country and a discriminated race by other neighboring countries. The fate of their refugee status and citizenship lies precariously in the balance as the concerned countries deal with other pressing problems and the spreading problem of racism.
The proliferation or eradication of racism depends on three factors: awareness, tolerance and action. We first need to be aware of the scope and status of racism within our community and the country as a whole. The role of media is essential to the spread of awareness of racism, and it also entails a great responsibility from the media community. The situation of racism should be presented as objectively as possible and should not be sensationalized in any way. Human rights and racial equality groups should also spread the awareness of the problem of racism. The situation and message should be clearly sent across to the people without the portrayal of any race in a negative light. Once we know about the situation or racism, we have to decide on where we stand in the situation. We can either tolerate or not tolerate racism. From then on, our actions will correspond according to our decision. We either don’t act against racism and condone it or we do something about racism to stop it. As humans with the capacity for critical and moral thinking, the decision to foster or stop racism is within us. We need to decide on what we think and believe is right.