We have built vast cities, connected by a global nervous system of roads, shipping lanes and optical fibres. We have sent thousands of satellites spinning around the planet. Even seemingly simple objects like a graphite pencil are the work of thousands of hands from around the world, as the wonderful essay I-Pencil , quoted below, describes.
I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe … if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolise, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because — well, because I am seemingly so simple.
Yet we can also be surprisingly intolerant of each other. If we are completely honest, there is perhaps a little bit of xenophobia, racism, sexism and bigotry deep within all of us. Luckily, we can choose to control and suppress such tendencies for our own wellbeing and the good of society.
Most human attitudes and behaviour have both a genetic and an environmental component. This is also true for our fear of others who are different to us — xenophobia — and intolerance of their viewpoints — bigotry. In premodern times, it made sense to be fearful of other groups.
They might be violent, steal our resources, or introduce new diseases we are not adapted to. Conversely, it was beneficial to trust those who look similar to us — they were more likely to be related. And when we helped these kin , our own genes were more likely to be passed to future generations.
Beyond such genetic influences, our human culture strongly influences our attitudes and behaviour, modifying our human drives — either suppressing them or encouraging them further. Whether we tolerate and trust someone or fear and reject them depends a lot on this culture. Modern civilisation in general encourages the extension of attitudes such as respect and tolerance beyond those who look similar to us, to those who we have no relation to.
We reinforce and codify these values, teaching them to our children, while some religious and secular spiritual leaders promote them in their teachings. Deep in our evolutionary history, there may have been some value in being wary of outsiders to your own group - but in modern society that fear is misplaced Credit: Getty Images.
This is exactly what has made us such a cooperative species. But sometimes our cultures can be less progressive. What people around us say and do subconsciously influences the way we think. We soak up this cultural context like a sponge, and it subtly shapes our attitudes and behaviours.
If we are surrounded by people that stigmatise those different to themselves, this also encourages distrust or aggression in us. It presses the buttons of certain deep-seated xenophobic attitudes within us. Movements such as Nazism have openly promoted xenophobia and bigotry. Things seem to be moving in this direction today. Leaders with nationalist leanings are more frequently taking centre stage around the world, from the US, to Brazil, to India.
China caused this nightmare. When people and organisations we trust talk in such a way, it has a profound effect on our receiving minds. It can even shape our beliefs about what we might think are purely rational issues. For example, the belief in whether humans are causing climate change is strongly associated with US political party membership.
This is because we tend to adopt a common position on a topic to signal that we are part of a group, just like football fans wear certain colours or have tattoos to show their tribal loyalty. Even strong individuals who stand up to oppressive regimes typically have shared ideals and norms with other members of a resistance movement.
Football fans wear the colours of their teams to show affinity with their "tribe" Credit: Getty Images. This tribalism can all feel very visceral and natural because, well, in a way, it is. It fires up the primal parts of our brain that evolved for such responses. Yet, there are other natural attitudes, such as compassion and consideration for others — and they can be suppressed in such circumstances. This combination of nature and nurture shaping our attitudes and behaviour is apparent in many human characteristics, and unpicking some of these examples can help us see opportunities to steer the process.
Consider the tendency to become overweight in modern society. In premodern times, sugary and fatty foods were rare and valuable for humans. Now, they are everywhere. A biological trait — the craving for sugary or fatty foods — which was adaptive in premodern times, has become detrimental and maladaptive. Surely our modern cultures can protect us from these innate drives when they are unhealthy for ourselves and society? After all, we effectively suppress violent behaviour in society through the way we bring up children, policing and the prison system.
Instead of acknowledging and protecting us from the innate drive to binge on unhealthy food, however, our modern cultures in many countries at least actually exacerbate that particular problem. In the case of obesity, this might mean less marketing of junk food and altering the composition of manufactured food. We can also change our own behaviour, for example laying down new routines and healthier eating habits. Some of them receive good grades, while others perform quite poorly. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy.
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Well this widespread conscious.
To what extent, for example, were racial beliefs of Western origin? Did similar belief systems emerge in non-Western societies independently of Western influence? And how did these societies adopt and adapt Western racial beliefs once they were exposed to them? Up to this point, the few monographs or edited collections that exist only provide students of the history of racism with tentative answers to these questions.
More importantly, the authors of these studies tend to ignore transnational processes of exchange and transfer. Yet, as this volume shows, these are crucial to an understanding of the diffusion of racial belief systems around the globe. Berg is a specialist in the history of the African American civil rights movement and race relations and has published numerous books and articles on American and international history.
He is currently working on a history of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Racism, as a dictionary term, is the belief that a person or group of people are meager because of their ethnic background Webster, n. If one thought about it, the definition of racism can mean more than just a hatred for a specific race or races. The word could imply the discrimination of religion, gender, or sexual orientation. And from this conception, a fixed yet illiterate belief of how certain factions behave, develops.
It has enveloped almost all aspects of our society. Many people today live their lives oblivious to what is happening in the world around them, often trying to convince themselves that racism is not a problem in their world. One of the main problems of racism is that many people live in racist conditions, without even seeing it.
Some people thinks of it is a way of life. Others think of it it as an offensive expression that shows closed-mindedness. Racism comes from different ethnicity, cultural morals, beliefs, and the physical appearances. The foundations of these explanations are based on the common misunderstanding of the definition of race. This judgement leads to the establishment of a system of inequality between a superior race and inferior races.
Racism is contempt for people who have physical characteristics different from your own Nanda and Warms 1. This concept is often combined with what is called racialism. Racialism is an ideology based on the following suppositions: There are biologically fixed races; different races have different moral, intellectual, and physical characteristics Nanda and Warms 1.
This is the ideal that many people engage in consciously and the way some people think without even realizing it. The only way to overcome this derogatory belief system is to define the meanings and misunderstandings of racial differences. Blacks, or African Americans.
Open Document. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. The Continuance of Racism and Stereotypes in Our Modern Day Society Racism, as a dictionary term, is the belief that a person or group of people are meager because of their ethnic background Webster, n. These established interpretations are known as stereotypes, which have a wide range of topics they are used to define. However, the topic up for discussion does not involve relinquishing the false beliefs about sexuality or religion, nor does it focus on gender discrimination.
Rather, the subject at hand deals with the modern day issue of racism and stereotypes concerning ethnicity. Many assume that, when regarding this explanation of racialism, it relates only to the past dispute between African-Americans and Caucasians. But, contrary to this common judgment, racism does not only occur between these two ethnic groups.
Discrimination can develop in any set of persons. Society sees it happen everyday; from small, un-diverse towns to big, cultured cities. Yet, so many people are stuck in the idea that this circumstance is a deadened dilemma. Others use denial as their forefront, shoving the issue under the rug because in reality, no one wants to talk about it.
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