By Yamamoto Momoka | Rising Sun
Vol. XCI No. 8
Oct. 4, 2019
Have you experienced being racially discriminated?
Recently, Senator Nancy Binay expressed her support for the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act of 2019 authored by Sonny Angara, a fellow senator. A victim of discrimination herself (for having dark skin), Binay calls for a universal anti-discrimination bill that protects every citizen from any form of discrimination.
Racial discrimination happens when a person is treated less favorably than another person in a similar situation because of his/her color, race, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status.
Going back to history, some wars and fights broke out between races. In South Africa, there was the apartheid — a constitutional policy that segregated Africans based on their skin color. It ensued violence and maltreatment to children born from interracial parents. The US also had a similar situation until Martin Luther King Jr. stood up against such discrimination. His actions nevertheless cost him his life after he was assassinated in 1968.
In France, despite its roster of anti-discrimination legislations, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia still persist with Jewish and Muslim people as primary victims. People with Chinese lineages living in France have also been subjected to discrimination that has further affected other Asians who have Chinese-like features. A Japanese friend of mine who is currently studying in Paris has experienced a similar situation. When she went to a supermarket and tried to use her points card, she was denied because her name resembles Chinese characters. According to her, in most instances, French people would categorize all Asians as Chinese people.
With racism being present across different geographic locations, a question of whether it can be eradicated or not is at stake. According to social psychologists, racial discrimination is social in nature, not biological. Thus, it is not something that can be genetically inhereted. Furthermore, humans have the instinctive nature wherein they biasedly categorize each other. For example, when entering a new school, students would naturally try to figure out who’s weird, who’s cool, and who’s not fun to be with. While this categorizing of people is usually safe and generally accepted, some would turn harmful, developing into bullying and racism.
Racism continues to persist around the globe and it is a difficult challenge for everyone to learn how to stop the notion of “us-them.” However, if the new generation starts to change the environment, the culture of racism might end.
“The only way to change bias is to change the culture.”