by Daphne Holmes
Civil rights in the United States are only half a century old, according to the legislation that codified new social standards for traditionally downtrodden groups. And while the track record against racism in the U.S. shows incremental improvement over that time, many societies operate without any such advancement in universal human rights. In other words, recognizing the problem of racism in the United States also acknowledges the deplorable conditions faced worldwide by people of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Longstanding cultural imperatives and historical ethnic clashes account for many examples of global racial strife, furnishing significant obstacles on the path to equality. But regardless of their origins or self-fulfilling nature, instances of racism have no place in civil society.
Right to Self-Fulfillment
While the standard is absent in many cultures; each member of society should have an inherent right to improve his or her condition and fulfill basic human needs. Racism thwarts individual development, stunting each victim’s ability to advance his or her personal goals or place within society. Holding its members down is not the function of successful society. Rather, collective empowerment, enabling each member to excel, is a necessary element of equitable society.
Potential is lost when racism occurs. Whether for personal monetary gain and advancement or the greater causes of society; victims of racism are prohibited from realizing their potential. As a result, productivity suffers and cycles of poverty repeat themselves over and over. The costs of racism have secondary impacts too, as victims are displaced from jobs and other productive roles, creating liabilities within society.
Allocation of Resources Favors Racists
Resources are limited, in terms of opportunity and benefits to members of society. When civilization allows racism to prevail, resources are allocated unfairly, favoring racists and limiting opportunities for their targets. The resulting cycle results in self-fulfilling poverty, inequality and injustice for victims of racism. The only way to ensure equal access for all parties is to protect human rights universally, without regard to race and other distinguishing characteristics.
Racism Begets Violence
As minorities and other victimized members of society fall prey to racism, tension escalates within society, which can lead to violence when left unchecked. Feelings of privilege and entitlement among certain groups prompt oppression of others, so the conflict eventually comes to a boil, leading to violence in many cases. An additional detriment comes when members of oppressed classes turn on one another, in an effort to compete for scarce resources.
It’s Against the Law
Whatever your personal beliefs, simply being a member of society holds you accountable to the law of the land. To varying degrees across the globe, human rights laws protect people from racist practices. Each enforcing country or region maintains its own level of vigor policing racist crimes and punishing offenders, but most developed nations have provisions on the books protecting human rights and equal treatment of citizens.
Common sense and morality dictate that racism has no place in modern civilization, but there are tangible costs associated with racist practices, as well. The human toll aside, economic deficiencies and violence also characterize racist societies, to the detriment of each member of the social order. Until human rights are protected equally, with universal enthusiasm, certain groups within society will continue to operate at a disadvantage.
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.