What is racism?
Racism is a form of bullying and intimidation driven by fear. The Britain I arrived in of the 80's was not what it is now. At the time, all ethnic minorities were misunderstood and often derided. It was accepted that to be called derogative names was the norm and it would be laughed off (in some cases). It was clear that there was (and still is to some degree) an inherent racism within British society. I believe this attitude is not necessarily a racial issue but more of a cultural issue and would apply in any country.
Once we can see the cause, we can deal with the effect and to see the cause one must look back in history and seek out the patterns that shape our society.
Lessons from history
We must never forget the horrors of our past. The slave years can only be described as horrific as was the holocaust of world war two, South African apartheid, the continuing oppression of women in all countries and countless other regimes across all nations. It is our duty to remember these dark periods and learn from them. Only through understanding and acknowledgement can we as a species progress.
In America, during the times of slavery in the southern states, lynching was considered a social event where photographers would attend and turn pictures in to postcards as keepsakes. Being made a slave because of the colour of your skin is unthinkable today yet this is the sort of atrocity that people were subjected to in the not too distant past.
Remember, racism is a product of fear so the next time any of you feel you are being bullied or intimidated because of your race or religion or sex, it is being fuelled by fear. Look to those inspirational individuals for direction and motivation. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are just a few great leaders that you should take the time to research and get to know.
A better future
History, despite its wrenching pain,Maya Angelou, from "On the Pulse of Morning"
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Look to other great icons of change and learn from them. John Lennon, Ghandi and more... Keep going and you will see a pattern emerge. All of these remarkable people were just like you and I once. Idealists and dreamers who acted upon their dreams and brought about change in the world.
We should all want to bring about change. We should all want to see the end of bad behaviour. We should all want to aspire to be better human beings. It's something we can all achieve with very little effort. Being nicer to others is just the start. Instead of being afraid of our differences, take the time to get to know others. What will start to happen is you will understand that just because someone is of a different colour, gender or culture, it doesn't mean they don't have feelings or dreams just like you. When we can all begin to change, we will understand that the horrors of the past cannot be repeated.