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Suggested Results

Recommendations and Conclusions for Talking About and Centering Race

By:  NEA Center for Social Justice Published: 01/2021


1. expand our definition of racism beyond personal prejudice and hate to systemic racism.

Racism in the United States has been traditionally understood and portrayed as overt and/or intentional prejudice or hatred of a white person(s) toward black Americans or other racial and ethnic “minorities.” And while the media clearly concentrates its coverage of racism on particularly shocking incidents of alleged racism (see the admitted or exposed use of racial slurs by celebrity chef Paula Deen or the NFL athlete Riley Cooper in 2013), this overrepresentation of such individual-level racism obscures the way that racism has operated and continues to operate far more broadly at the systemic level, to drastically limit access to resources and opportunities for people of color. Systemic-level racism also takes the form of discriminatory policies and practices in the criminal justice and immigration systems. Our national commitment, to justice, fairness, and equality of opportunity cannot be realized without this expansion.

Expanding your definition of racism means engaging in conversations about the potential causes of racial disparities in our nation. That means examining what policies and practices create and re-create these disparities. The media should certainly increase the amount of systemically aware racism content that explores such policies, practices and impacts. Journalists and the general public could also re-examine stories of individual triumph — i.e., someone who overcomes many obstacles and barriers to reach success — with a racial justice lens. For example, why did a particular person and so many other people of color face similar or identical barriers in the first place? If racial justice advocates adopt a routine and robust use of a systems analysis to inform our work — and the way we publicly communicate our issues — we can be a model for other advocates and journalists to do the same.


One way to expand our definition of racism to the systemic level is to focus our attention on actions and impacts, rather than the attitudes and intentions of allegedly racist individuals, policies or practices. Intentions matter, but impacts, regardless of intentions, are what matter most. Racial impacts — whether negative or positive— are what have the most weighty consequences on people’s lives, and, thus, are where we can most usefully place our attention. Also, actions and impacts can be documented, whereas attitudes and intentions are debatable. We may not know what is in the hearts and minds of particular people, policymakers, or powerholders — and it’s not worth the energy to make guesses or assumptions. But we can hold them accountable for their actions, commitments, and decisions, since those have bearing on outcomes.

Silencing all talk about race — and prematurely declaring that we live in a “post-racial” society, or that class trumps race — will not eradicate the continued racial disparities in our society.

While the media tends to concentrate attention on whether or not an individual is truly contrite or apologetic about their racist expression or action, members of the public should ask themselves what impact such attitudes and, more importantly, corresponding actions, can and do have when perpetrated by others in positions of power. Instead of focusing on whether or not an individual or a policy intends to be “colorblind,” we should concentrate on how color-coded the results of that individual’s actions or that policy’s actions are. Silencing all talk about race — and prematurely declaring that we live in a “post-racial” society, or that class trumps race — will not eradicate the continued racial disparities in our society. Practically speaking, our media content analysis demonstrates that the media could do more to make the experiences of people of color more visible, including going beyond black and Latino populations to examine the impact of policies on the experiences of Native Americans, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Rather than use the “intent doctrine” often practiced by our courts, which narrowly and wrongly construes racism as that which involves provable intentionality, we need to use an “impact standard,” where disparate impacts are often the evidence of disparate treatment. We also can use tools such as Racial Equity Impact Assessments to guide decision-making in order to further equitable outcomes and avoid unintended consequences.


Political conservatives do not have a monopoly on calls to silence racial justice voices. There’s tremendous pressure from a vocal segment of political liberals to avoid talking about race, in part because the topic is viewed as too “divisive.” But given the overwhelming evidence of racial disparities, it only makes sense that we would want to give race and racism specific, distinct, and sufficient attention. Yet, while we recommend addressing race explicitly, it does not mean we must or should address race exclusively. Other factors (e.g., gender, socioeconomic status, immigration status, etc.) may be just as salient or even more so, at times. Often, these other dynamics are compounded by race, so they need to be considered together. When addressing racial equity, we certainly don’t want to undermine gender equity. We want to lift all people. Thus, we need to take the time to thoughtfully view our issues of concern from all angles, with consideration of different lenses and perspectives. This doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. To promote genuine inclusion, we can and must talk about race alongside those other factors if we are to fashion effective solutions to our policy and societal challenges.

How can we lift up the lived experience and expertise of people of color, their resistance and resilience, their intelligence and creativity, their role as change agents and leaders?

We should be explicit about race, and overcome our reluctance to say the word “white,” so that we can reveal, acknowledge, and address the similar and different ways that white people and people of color experience poverty, sex discrimination and LGBTQ oppression. We can all learn from people who clearly see and even embody the connections between race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and other salient dynamics. Racial and social justice advocates need to take the time to thoughtfully view their issues of concern from all angles, with consideration of different lenses and perspectives. The best way to do that is to include a diverse set of stakeholders in the process of analyzing and framing issues, so that a wide variety of people can see their interests and identities represented in the selected strategies, solutions and frames. By developing inclusive issue frames, our work becomes complementary, rather than competing, and we can widen the base of investment and engagement in proposed equitable solutions.


Our public discourse and conventional reporting on race-related stories, when it lacks systemic awareness or analysis, often ends up demonizing, pathologizing, or victimizing people of color. The result is a normalization of narratives and language that dehumanize people of color, who are too often viewed by more privileged white people as the perpetrators of their own plight or hapless victims. Even racial justice advocates can contribute to these portrayals when we are not consciously thinking about ways to correct and counteract them. How can we lift up the lived experience and expertise of people of color, their resistance and resilience, their intelligence and creativity, their role as change agents and leaders? If racial and social justice advocates don’t do this frequently and effectively enough in our own communications, how can we expect journalists to do this? While making sure that the full humanity of people of color comes through in our messages, we also need to use every opportunity to make sure more people of color have the opportunity to be the messengers — as spokespersons, experts, leaders, newsmakers. We also need to continue to advocate for more journalists of color and racial diversity, not just in the newsroom, but in media access and ownership, since the messenger has such significant bearing on the message.

We have seen how discourse that refuses to acknowledge the humanity of every person fosters an environment where racially discriminatory policies and practices advance with impunity. Coded language that equates people of color to animals, narratives that stereotype immigrant communities as inherently criminal for crossing constructed borders, or frames that simplify/dismiss the complex and painful history of indigenous peoples for the sake of white individualism as occurred in the Supreme Court ruling over the Indian Child Welfare Act, all exemplify the very real cost to people of color and the nation more broadly. Our dialogues, both public and private, must ensure that we humanize people of color through word choice, representative voices, diversity of perspective (i.e. include non-white perspectives), and recognition of the root causes of racial inequity.


We have described seven harmful racial discourse practices which, taken as a whole, reinforce the common misconception that racism is simply a problem of rare, isolated, individual attitudes and actions. We argue that racism is a cumulative and compounding product of an array of societal factors that, on balance, systematically privilege white people and disadvantage people of color. We have also offered everyday recommendations for how readers can help overcome these harmful racial discourse practices.

Racism is a cumulative and compounding product of an array of societal factors that, on balance, systematically privilege white people and disadvantage people of color.

In a companion report – Moving the Race Conversation Forward – Part Two – we go several steps further from the recommendations we specify here, to provide lessons through profiles from several interventions and initiatives led by racial justice organizations, artists, and others who are moving our nation’s race conversation forward toward racial justice.

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Measuring Racial Discrimination (2004)

Chapter: executive summary, executive summary.

M any racial and ethnic groups intheUnited States, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and others, have historically faced severe discrimination—pervasive and open denial of civil, social, political, educational, and economic opportunities. Today, large differences in outcomes among racial and ethnic groups continue to exist in employment, income and wealth, housing, education, criminal justice, health, and other areas. Although many factors may contribute to such differences, their size and extent suggest that various forms of discriminatory treatment persist in U.S. society and serve to undercut the achievement of equal opportunity.

In these circumstances, it is critically important to identify where racial discrimination occurs and to measure the extent to which discrimination may contribute to racial and ethnic disparities. The Committee on National Statistics convened a panel of scholars to consider the definition of racial discrimination, assess current methodologies for measuring it, identify new approaches, and make recommendations about the best broad methodological approaches. Specifically, this panel was asked to carry out the following tasks:

Give the policy and scholarly communities new tools for assessing the extent to which discrimination continues to undermine the achievement of equal opportunity by suggesting additional means for measuring discrimination that can be applied not only to the racial question but in other important social arenas as well.

Conduct a thorough evaluation of current methodologies for measuring discrimination in a wide range of circumstances where it may occur.

Consider how analyses of data from other sources could contribute to findings from research experimentation, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development paired tests.

Recommend further research as well as the development of data to complement research studies.


There is no single concept of race. Rather, race is a complex concept, best viewed for social science purposes as a subjective social construct based on observed or ascribed characteristics that have acquired socially significant meaning. In the United States, ways in which different populations think about their own and others’ racial status have changed over time in response to changing patterns of immigration, changing social and economic situations, and changing societal norms and government policies. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, some European Americans, such as Italians and Eastern European Jews, were regarded as distinct racial groups. Although these distinctions are no longer sanctioned by the U.S. government, some segments of the population may still act in ways that are consistent with such distinctions. For certain populations and in some situations, race may be difficult to define consistently; for example, many Hispanics consider themselves to be part of a distinct racial group, but many others hold no such perception. Because concepts of race and ethnicity are not clearly defined for many Hispanics and because of the discrimination they have faced, we include Hispanics, along with specific racial groups, in our discussion of racial discrimination.

The ambiguity involved in defining race has implications for how data on race are collected. The official federal government standards for data on race and ethnicity currently identify five major racial groups (black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and white) and one ethnic group (Hispanic) that may be of any race. These categories are used by federal program and statistical agencies to collect data through self-reports (preferably) or by assigning individuals to one or more categories. The federal racial categories have changed over time, in part reflecting the changing conception of race in the United States. The government standards are not always consistent with scholarly concepts of race or with concepts held by individuals and groups; as a result, it may be difficult to obtain data on race and ethnicity that are comparable over time or across different surveys and administrative records. Comparability may also be affected by differences in the data collection

methods used. Yet given the salience of race in so many aspects of social, political, and economic life, it is important to continue collecting these data.

Conclusion: For the purpose of understanding and measuring racial discrimination, race should be viewed as a social construct that evolves over time. Despite measurement problems, data on race and ethnicity are necessary for monitoring and understanding evolving differences and trends in outcomes among groups in the U.S. population. (from Chapters 2 and 10 )

Recommendation: The federal government and, as appropriate, state and local governments should continue to collect data on race and ethnicity. Federal standards for racial categories should be responsive to changing concepts of race among groups in the U.S. population. Any resulting modifications to the standards should be implemented in ways that facilitate comparisons over time to the extent possible. (Recommendation 10.1) 1

Recommendation: Data collectors, researchers, and others should be cognizant of the effects of measurement methods on reporting of race and ethnicity, which may affect the comparability of data for analysis:

To facilitate understanding of reporting effects and to develop good measurement practices for data on race, federal agencies should seek ways to test the effects of such factors as data collection mode (e.g., telephone, personal interview), location (e.g., home, workplace), respondent (e.g., self, parent, employer, teacher), and question wording and ordering. Agencies should also collect and analyze longitudinal data to measure how reported perceptions of racial identification change over time for different groups (e.g., Hispanics and those of mixed race).

Because measurement of race can vary with the method used, reports on race should to the extent practical use multiple measurement methods and assess the variation in results across the methods. (Recommendation 10.2)


This report adopts a social science definition of racial discrimination that has two components:

differential treatment on the basis of race that disadvantages a racial group and

treatment on the basis of inadequately justified factors other than race that disadvantages a racial group (differential effect).

In this report, we focus on discrimination against disadvantaged racial minorities. The two components of our definition—differential treatment and differential effect discrimination—are related to but broader than the standards embodied in case law in the U.S. legal system, which are disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination . An example of potentially unlawful disparate treatment discrimination would be when an individual is not hired for a job because of his or her race. An example of potentially unlawful disparate impact discrimination would be when an employer uses a test in selecting job applicants that is not a good predictor of performance on the job and results in proportionately fewer job offers being extended to members of disadvantaged racial groups compared with whites. 2

Because our intention in this report is to provide guidance to social science researchers interested in measuring discrimination, both components of our definition include a range of behaviors and processes that are not explicitly unlawful or easily measured. For example, many governmental actions that might fall within the legal definition of disparate impact discrimination would not be unlawful because the Supreme Court has interpreted the constitutional prohibition on denials of equal protection by government agencies to bar only cases of intentional discrimination—that is, disparate treatment discrimination. As a second example, discrimination would occur under our definition when interviewers of job applicants more frequently adopt behaviors (e.g., interrupting, asking fewer questions, using a hectoring tone) that result in poorer communication with and performance by disadvantaged minority applicants compared with other applicants. Even if such behaviors became the subject of a legal challenge, the difficulties in measurement and proof would likely mean that such behav-

iors would not be effectively constrained by law. Measuring them is important, however, to understand ways in which subtle forms of discrimination may affect important social and economic outcomes.


That racial disparities exist in a wide range of social and economic outcomes is not in question: They can be seen in higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and residential segregation and in lower levels of education and wealth accumulation for some racial groups compared with others. Large and persistent outcome differences, however, do not themselves provide direct evidence of the presence or magnitude of racial discrimination in any particular domain. Differential outcomes may indicate that discrimination is occurring, that the historical effects of racial exclusion and discrimination (cumulative disadvantage) continue to influence current outcomes, that other factors are at work, or that some combination of current and past discrimination and other factors is operating.

The panel evaluated four major methods used across different social and behavioral science disciplines to measure racial discrimination: laboratory experiments, field experiments, analysis of observational data and natural experiments, and analysis of survey and administrative record reports. Each method has strengths and weaknesses, particularly for drawing a causal inference that an adverse outcome is the result of race-based discriminatory behavior.

Because discriminatory behavior is rarely observed directly, researchers must infer its presence by trying to determine whether an observed adverse outcome for an individual would have been different had the individual been of a different race. In other words, researchers attempt to answer the following counterfactual question: What would have happened to a nonwhite individual if he or she had been white? Understanding the extent to which any study succeeds in answering that question requires rigorously assessing the logic and assumptions underlying the causal inferences drawn by the researchers. As was true in determining that smoking causes lung cancer, using a variety of methods implemented in a variety of settings is likely to be most helpful in measuring discrimination.

Conclusion: No single approach to measuring racial discrimination allows researchers to address all the important measurement issues or to answer all the questions of interest. Consistent patterns of results across studies and different approaches tend to provide the strongest argument. Public and private agencies—including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and private founda -

tions—and the research community should embrace a multidisciplinary, multimethod approach to the measurement of racial discrimination and seek improvements in all major methods employed. (from Chapter 5 )

Laboratory Experiments

Classically, laboratory experimentation in which a stimulus can be administered to research participants in a controlled environment and in which participants can be randomly assigned to an experimental condition or another (e.g., control) condition provides the best approach for inferring causation between a stimulus and a response. Such experiments come closest to addressing the above counterfactual question.

Laboratory experiments have uncovered many subtle yet powerful psychological mechanisms through which racial bias exists. Yet regardless of how well designed and executed they are, laboratory experiments cannot by themselves directly address how much race-based discrimination against disadvantaged groups contributes to adverse outcomes for those groups in society at large.

The major contributions of laboratory experiments are to identify those situations in which discriminatory attitudes and behaviors are more or less likely to occur, as well as the characteristics of people who are more or less likely to exhibit discriminatory attitudes and behaviors, and to provide models of people’s mental processes that may lead to racial discrimination. Such experiments can usefully suggest hypotheses to be tested with other methodologies and real-world data.

Recommendation: To enhance the contribution of laboratory experiments to measuring racial discrimination, public and private funding agencies and researchers should give priority to the following:

Laboratory experiments that examine not only racially discriminatory attitudes but also discriminatory behavior. The results of such experiments could provide the theoretical basis for more accurate and complete statistical models of racial discrimination fit to observational data.

Studies designed to test whether the results of laboratory experiments can be replicated in real-word settings with real-world data. Such studies can help establish the general applicability of laboratory findings. (Recommendation 6.1)

Field Experiments

Large-scale experiments in the field rely on random assignment of subjects to one or more experimental treatments or to no treatment, so that researchers can determine whether an experimental treatment (the stimulus) causes an observed response. Such experiments take longer and are more complex to manage and more costly to conduct than laboratory experiments, and their results are more easily confounded by factors in the environment that the researchers cannot control. However, their results are more readily generalizable to the population at large.

The most significant use of field studies to study discrimination to date has been in the area of housing, specifically seeking new apartments or houses. The results of audit or paired-testing studies—in which otherwise comparable pairs of, say, a black person and a white person are sent separately to realty offices to seek an apartment or house—have been used to measure discrimination in specific housing markets. Audit studies have also been conducted on job seeking. It is likely that audit studies of racial discrimination in other domains (e.g., schooling and health care) could produce useful results as well, even though their use will undoubtedly present methodological challenges specific to each domain.

Recommendation: Nationwide field audit studies of racially based housing discrimination, such as those implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1977, 1989, and 2000, provide valuable data and should be continued. (Recommendation 6.2)

Recommendation: Because properly designed and executed field audit studies can provide an important and useful means of measuring discrimination in various domains, public and private funding agencies should explore appropriately designed experiments for this purpose. (Recommendation 6.3)

Statistical Analysis of Observational Data and Natural Experiments

Observational studies are currently the primary tool through which researchers explore issues of racial disparity and discrimination in the real world. The standard way to explore the difference in an outcome between racial groups is to develop a regression model that includes a variable for race and variables for other relevant observed characteristics. The effect of the former variable on the outcome difference is identified as discrimination.

To support a causal inference from observational data, however, substantial prior knowledge about the mechanisms that generated the data must be available to justify the necessary assumptions. There are two particularly common problems involved in using standard multiple regression models to analyze observational data on outcome differences between race groups: Omitted variables bias occurs whenever a data set contains only a limited number of the characteristics that may reasonably factor into the process under study; sample selection bias occurs when the research systematically excludes subjects from the sample whose characteristics vary from those of the individuals represented in the data. Should either bias be present, it is difficult to draw causal inferences from the coefficient on race (or any other variable) in a regression model, as the race coefficient may overestimate or underestimate the effect labeled as discrimination.

Nationally representative data sets containing rich measures of the variables that are the most important determinants of such outcomes as education, labor market success, and health status can help in estimating and understanding the sources of racial differences in outcomes. Panel data, which include observations over time, are particularly valuable in this regard. There is also an important role for focused studies that target particular settings (e.g., a firm or a school), whereby it is possible to learn a great deal about how decisions are made and to collect most of the information on which decisions are based.

Evaluations of natural experiments are another way to exploit observational data in the measurement of racial discrimination. Such evaluations analyze data before and after enactment of a new law or some other change that forces a reduction in or the complete elimination of discrimination for some groups. Despite limitations, natural experiments provide useful data for measuring the extent of discrimination prior to a policy change and for groups not affected by the change.

Conclusion: The statistical decomposition of racial gaps in social outcomes using multivariate regression and related techniques is a valuable tool for understanding the sources of racial differences. However, such decompositions using data sets with limited numbers of explanatory variables, such as the Current Population Survey or the decennial census, do not accurately measure the portion of those differences that is due to current discrimination. Matching and related techniques provide a useful alternative to race gap decompositions based on multivariate regression in some circumstances. (from Chapter 7 )

Conclusion: The use of statistical models, such as multiple regressions, to draw valid inferences about discriminatory behavior requires appropriate data and methods, coupled with a sufficient understanding

of the process being studied to justify the necessary assumptions. (from Chapter 7 )

Recommendation: Public and private funding agencies should support focused studies of decision processes, such as the behavior of firms in hiring, training, and promoting employees. The results of such studies can guide the development of improved models and data for statistical analysis of differential outcomes for racial and ethnic groups in employment and other areas. (Recommendation 7.1)

Recommendation: Public agencies should assist in the evaluation of natural experiments by collecting data that can be used to evaluate the effect of antidiscrimination policy changes on groups covered by the changes as well as groups not covered. (Recommendation 7.2)

Indicators of Discrimination from Surveys and Administrative Records

Both self-reports of racial attitudes and perceived experiences of discrimination in surveys and reports of discriminatory events in administrative records can contribute to understanding the extent of racial discrimination. Survey data typically cannot directly measure the prevalence of actual discrimination as opposed to reports of perceived discrimination, but they can provide useful supporting evidence. Perceived discrimination may overreport or underreport discrimination assessed by other methods. As expressions of prejudice and discriminatory behavior change over time and become more subtle, new or revised survey questions on racial attitudes and perceived experiences of discrimination may be necessary. Longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data, including continuous and new measures, are important to illuminate trends and changes in patterns of racially discriminatory attitudes and behaviors among and toward various groups. Such data are also vital for studies of cumulative disadvantage. Administrative reports of discrimination (e.g., equal employment opportunity complaints) may also be useful for research, although the lack of completeness and reliability of such reports can limit their usefulness.

Recommendation: To understand changes in racial attitudes and reported perceptions of discrimination over time, public and private funding agencies should continue to support the collection of rich survey data:

The General Social Survey, which since 1972 has been the leading source of repeated cross-sectional data on trends in racial attitudes and perceptions of racial discrimination, merits continued support

for measurement of important dimensions of discrimination over time and among population groups.

Major longitudinal surveys, such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and others, merit support as data sources for studies of cumulative disadvantage across time, domains, generations, and population groups. To further enhance their usefulness, questions on perceived experiences of racial discrimination and racial attitudes should be added to these surveys.

Data collection sponsors should support research on question wording and survey design that can lead to improvements in survey-based measures relating to perceived experiences of racial discrimination. (Recommendation 8.1)

Recommendation: Agencies that collect administrative record reports of racial discrimination should seek ways to allow researchers to use these data for analyzing discrimination where appropriate. They should also identify ways to improve the completeness, reliability, and usefulness of reports of particular types of discriminatory events for both administrative and research purposes. (Recommendation 8.2)

Racial Profiling as an Illustrative Example

To provide a specific example of an area for which research on discriminatory treatment is needed but difficult to carry out, we discuss methodological issues in profiling. Racial or ethnic profiling is a screening process in which some individuals in a population (e.g., automobile drivers or people boarding an airplane) are selected on the basis of their race or ethnicity (and, typically, other observable characteristics) and investigated to determine whether they have committed or intend to commit a criminal act (e.g., smuggle drugs or blow up an airplane) or other act of interest. This definition excludes cases of identified individuals for whom race or ethnicity is part of their individual description. Many recent public statements (e.g., those made by police officials and legislative bodies since 2001) have recognized the unacceptability of racial profiling in police work. Even when such profiling is not explicitly racial, to the extent that it relies on characteristics that are distributed differently for different racial groups, the result may be a racially disparate impact.

Inferring the presence of discriminatory racial profiling from data on disparate outcomes is difficult for the same reasons that it is difficult to infer causation from any statistical model with observational data. We ex-

plore specific methodological concerns for improving the estimation of outcome rates (e.g., traffic stops for whites and minorities) and developing good statistical models for determining the contribution of discriminatory profiling as compared with other factors to differences in rates. Because of renewed interest in the United States in the use of profiling to identify and apprehend potential terrorists before they commit violent acts, we also examine briefly the challenges of identifying screening factors that could potentially select would-be terrorists with a significantly higher probability than purely random selection, as well as issues that must factor into the public debate if race or ethnicity (or factors that correlate highly with race or ethnicity) are considered as potential screening factors.


Much of the discussion about the presence of racial discrimination and the effects of antidiscrimination policies assumes discrimination to be a phenomenon that occurs at one point in time in a particular process or stage of a particular domain (e.g., initial hires by employers). This episodic view of discrimination is likely inadequate. Discrimination may well have cumulative effects, and it is therefore better viewed as a dynamic process that functions throughout the stages within a domain, across domains, across individual lifetimes, and even across generations. For example, discrimination involving teachers’ expectations during schooling may affect students’ later educational experiences or job opportunities; likewise, discrimination against prior generations may diminish opportunities for present generations even in the absence of current discriminatory practices.

Several theories of the processes by which discrimination may have cumulative effects have been developed, including (1) life-course theory of cumulative disadvantage in criminal justice research, which posits that such behavior as juvenile delinquency can affect certain social outcomes, such as failure in school or poor job stability, and thereby facilitate criminal behavior as an adult; (2) ecosocial theory in public health research (similar to the life-course concept), in which health status at a given age for a given birth cohort reflects not only current conditions but also prior living circumstances from conception onward; and (3) feedback models in labor market research. In such a model, for example, people who anticipate lower future returns to skills—possibly as a result of racial discrimination—might invest less in acquiring those skills. In turn, lower investment could perpetuate prejudice, limit opportunities, and sustain racial disparities in the labor market.

Only very limited research has been conducted, however, to test empirically the various theories of cumulative disadvantage and to measure the importance of cumulative effects over time and across domains. Longitudi-

nal data are a necessity for such research, as are methods for credibly identifying initial and subsequent incidents of discrimination.

Conclusion: Measures of discrimination from one point in time and in one domain may be insufficient to identify the overall impact of discrimination on individuals. Further research is needed to model and analyze longitudinal and other data and to study how effects of discrimination may accumulate across domains and over time in ways that perpetuate racial inequality. (from Chapter 11 )

Recommendation: Major longitudinal surveys, such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and others, merit support as data sources for studies of cumulative disadvantage across time, domains, generations, and population groups. Furthermore, consideration should be given to incorporating into these surveys additional variables or special topical modules that might enhance the utility of the data for studying the long-term effects of discrimination. Consideration should also be given to including questions in new longitudinal surveys that would help researchers identify experiences of discrimination and their effects. (Recommendation 11.1)

Our report emphasizes the challenges of measuring racial discrimination in various social and economic domains. Establishing that discriminatory treatment or impact has occurred and measuring its effects on outcomes requires very careful analysis to rule out alternative explanatory factors. In some research to date, the data and analytical methods used are not sufficient to justify the assumptions of the underlying theoretical model. Moreover, many analyses never articulate an explicit model, which makes it difficult to judge the adequacy of the data and analysis to support the study findings.

Just because it is challenging to measure discrimination does not mean that sound, adequate research in this area is not possible. To the contrary, existing methods and data have produced useful results on particular types of discrimination in particular aspects of a domain or process. To make further progress, we believe it will be necessary for funding and program agencies to support research that cuts across disciplinary boundaries, makes use of multiple methods and types of data, and studies racial discrimination as a dynamic process. To be cost-effective, such research should be focused and designed to maximize the analytical value of existing bodies of knowledge and ongoing surveys and administrative records data collections.

Agencies with programmatic responsibilities (e.g., to monitor discrimination, investigate complaints, and operate programs that may be affected by the presence of discrimination and by antidiscrimination laws and regulations) will need to single out priority areas of concern and develop detailed research plans for them. This may require studies of key decision-making processes, combined with theoretical models of the ways in which discrimination might occur. For this purpose, the existing literature of laboratory experiments about the kinds of situations in which discriminatory attitudes are most likely to lead to race-based discriminatory treatment should be reviewed and additional experiments commissioned, if the laboratory results are not sufficiently revealing about the decision processes of interest (e.g., employer decisions about job training and promotion, to take a labor market example). In turn, experimental results can help guide focused case studies of decision processes that may be needed to provide the requisite depth of understanding to permit subsequent statistical analysis with appropriate data and methods. To facilitate data availability and use, program agencies can not only support the addition of relevant questions to ongoing cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys but also work to improve the research potential of agency administrative records data.

Research agencies, both public and private, can best leverage their resources by addressing important areas of research on racial discrimination that are less apt to be considered by program agencies. In particular, they are better positioned to support innovative, cross-disciplinary, multimethod research on cumulative disadvantage. They can also usefully consider ways to augment ongoing and new panel surveys to provide relevant data for basic research on racial discrimination, particularly over long periods of time. The kinds of multifaceted studies that have been conducted in recent years of changes in the well-being of low-income populations following major changes in welfare policies may offer useful guidance for discrimination research, which could similarly make use of multiple data sources and perspectives from economics, psychology, ethnography, survey research, and other relevant disciplines. Such complex research will be difficult to conceptualize and carry out, but it offers the promise to expand knowledge about the role that current and past discrimination may play in shaping American society today.

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Many racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and others, have historically faced severe discrimination—pervasive and open denial of civil, social, political, educational, and economic opportunities. Today, large differences among racial and ethnic groups continue to exist in employment, income and wealth, housing, education, criminal justice, health, and other areas. While many factors may contribute to such differences, their size and extent suggest that various forms of discriminatory treatment persist in U.S. society and serve to undercut the achievement of equal opportunity.

Measuring Racial Discrimination considers the definition of race and racial discrimination, reviews the existing techniques used to measure racial discrimination, and identifies new tools and areas for future research. The book conducts a thorough evaluation of current methodologies for a wide range of circumstances in which racial discrimination may occur, and makes recommendations on how to better assess the presence and effects of discrimination.

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Racism Essay | Essay on Racism for Students and Children in English

November 4, 2020 by Prasanna

Racism Essay: Racism can be defined as the belief that individual races of people have distinctive cultural features that are determined by the hereditary factors and hence make some races inherently superior to the others. The idea that one race has natural superiority than the others created abusive behaviour towards the members of other races. Racism, like discrimination towards women, is a form of discrimination and prejudice.

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Long and Short Essays on Racism for Students and Kids in English

We are providing children and students with essay samples on an extended essay of 500 words and a short piece of 150 words on the topic “Racism” for reference.

Long Essay on Racism 500 Words in English

Long Essay on Racism is usually given to classes 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Racism is the illogical belief that a particular race has distinctive cultural traits endowed due to the genetic factors that make individual races inherently superior to the others and give them the right to exploit the inferior races. When we openly state the meaning of racism, we can see how inexplicable and unimaginable, such a thought is. But, racism is so deep-seated in our consciousness and subconsciousness that we have long bowed down to such infuriating ideals.

Such instances of subtle racism within a society are rampant and lead to inexcusable behaviour of people towards others. Such unjustifiable behaviour and actions are things like mental stress, social harassment, and even physical assaults. Since we have let racist comments and activities unnoticed, it is left untreated and leads to more division and anger between the two different people of different backgrounds. It is a never-ending, vicious cycle and a massive crisis in today’s world.

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We should never judge others for the way they look for the way they speak. All people are born equal, and nothing can change that. Narrow-minded thoughts like racism should have extinguished with the increase in educated people and the intermixing of various races. Still, sadly, such behaviour is the blatant reality and shows no signs of toning down.

Racism makes people feel sorry for being born a certain way, of having a particular skin colour. Racism has no scientific explanation, and the racist people are entirely ignorant about the feelings of other human beings.

No one can choose to be black, white, dark, fair, or anything in particular. God has made us, and there is nothing that should make us feel guilty for that. It is ridiculous and inhumane to make fun of people due to their cultural background or colour of skin.

We keep talking about how modern society embraces diverse cultures and diverse people. We try to accomplish gigantic things like World Peace, eradicate hunger and poverty, but we are not ready to unite to make such changes happen.

Racism is a barrier between the social advancement of our society. It is impossible to achieve something great with such narrow-minded and exclusive ideals. It is a delicate topic and requires people to have an open mind and embrace the changes.

It is possible to eradicate racism in our society if we are more open about such sensitive topics and give simple matters like this a thought. Most of us are way too self-centred to think about such obstacles. It is so commonplace a behaviour that we forget its adverse effects. It is high time we made a change.

Since racism is such a deep-seated belief, we will need some time to change. But, we can achieve anything if we put our mind to it. We do not need racism to divide us. People should acknowledge the fact that to achieve anything significant. We need to let go of narrow-minded beliefs. Only then can we advance as a society of the world.

Short Essay on Racism 150 Words in English

Short Essay on Racism is usually given to classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Racism is the prejudiced belief of people that a particular race is superior to others. The idea has resulted from years of neglection and oppression on some races for their traits and skin colour. Racism is a critical social barrier, which prevents our society from advancing.

Racism is a type of discrimination which makes the recipient feel bad about where they were born and how they look. It is an unscientific method of judging people.

Racism is so deep-seated in our culture that we think it to be the norm. The need to eradicate racism has come to highlight after a series of violent activities against people for their race.

We, as a society, need to let go of this narrow-minded thought that some people are inferior to others only because of what their skin colour is. Racism can only be removed by spreading awareness and correcting people when they make a racist comment. Together, we can fight against racism. Let us unite and eradicate racism once and for all.

10 Lines on Racism Essay in English

1. Racism is the wrong belief that some people are better and superior to others due to their genetic trait corresponding to their skin colour and race. 2. It refers to the thought that inherent physical appearance has a link with personality and intelligence. 3. Many corrupt people use racism as an excuse to justify horrific behaviour towards others. 4. The beginning of racism is somewhat unclear but might have originated when migration began. 5. People think that passing casual comments that link people’s work with their ethnicity is a joke. 6. Racism comes in several forms like symbolic, ideological, structural, interactional, etc. 7. Ideas and assumptions about racial categories dictate the behaviour of some people towards others. 8. Racism is a baseless and unscientific method of judging people. 9. Racism is a discriminatory process of thinking which is unacceptable. 10. We must correct people and not let casual racist comments pass when we hear them.

FAQ’s on Racism Essay

Question 1. What is racism?

Answer: Racism is hate towards people simply because of their differences. It is the enemy of freedom and should be washed away from society. Racism continues to grow alongside the technological advancements and education.

Question 2. Why do people pass racist comments?

Answer: Many people are unaware of their discriminatory behaviour towards their neighbours or peers due to apparent differences in their race. We have become so used to facing racism that we deem it as normal behaviour and let go of it.

Question 3. Why should we try to wipe out racism?

Answer: Racism is the barrier between the modernization of our society. There is no place for such unjustifiable behaviour in our community.

Question 4. What are the types of racism?

Answer: There are seven forms of racism. Some of them are symbolic, ideological, discursive, interactional, institutional, structural, and systemic racism.

Essay About Racism

conclusion to racism essay

Racism : Racism And Racism

Covert Racism Introduction Racism; ‘the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others’ (Collins English Dictionary 2012) and thus leading to ‘abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief’ (Collins English Dictionary 2012). Over time, racism has transformed from a blatant and overt form into a passive style of prejudice and discrimination

Racism in America “Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and it deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.” - Pierre Berton Racism is the unjust hate for any people who are simply different for a various array of reasons. It is all around us and always will be, but that does not give us the right to be passive on the subject. This discrimination against culturally diverse people is hurting our “ land of the free”, one racist remark at a time.

This issue of racism is popular by name but tends to be sugar coated by the way people see it. In order to truly understand racism you need to take a bite into the topic in order to get a taste of what it is really like. Racism comes in many different forms and can be seen many different ways. But why even care about racism at all? Why does it even matter? One would think that with such a harsh background regarding racism in America it would no longer exist in society today. But sadly that is not

Racism in America Racism discrimination has been one of our society’s most horrible social problems. In the words of the famous Martin Luther King judging an individual by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character can be a very dehumanizing experience that can have lasting effects on an individual life. Racism in America has not come to a cease. Racism promotes negative personal relations between people of different cultures. I believe slavery started around the 1500s

Racism has been an issue that has caused controversial debates for years. It is a topic that stirs up lots of emotions within people and continues to be an argument for all. When there has been a shooting between a white and a colored or a cop and a colored person, people blame it on racism. They state that since the white cop shot the black man it simply means the cop was racist. Then the people want to speak that justice needs to be served and the cop needs to be put in prison or released from

To understand whether or not racism is learnt, we first have to divulge into the nature of racism. It is usually assumed that racism has been a part of civilisation since civilisation started, that it is embedded into how people work and that no matter what, it will always exist. Another assumption is that racism derives from the capitalism of the slave trade by white elitist men seeking to dehumanize people for economic gain, and used racism as a way to mask their financial motives to justify enslavement

Racism has come to be a very important topic in today’s society. Many are talking about the injustices when it comes mostly when it comes to African-Americans and Caucasians in authority. Many have deemed the incidents of Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, the Spring Valley High School video, and even the Charleston Shooting to name a few as reactions to racism. Out of the people talking about these events, only a few really know the meaning of racism

Racism And Racism

Racism has been around for many centuries and it has affected many people around the world. Racism affects people mentally and emotionally and can cause many terrible actions to happen to people. Racism happens to every race around the world but the most common and frequent race being affected by racism are the African Americans. African Americans have been affected by racism very harshly throughout centuries and have caused many to have mental and emotional issues. African American women and children

Racism, a topic which has become especially touchy in modern times. It is quite clear that racism is alive not only in the United States, but across the globe. Though the topic is widely talked about, nobody really does anything to stop it. People will be quick to elaborate on the fact that it should be stopped, then make no changes themselves. Yet do they truly understand the concepts of racism and what it really means to be racist? Granted everybody understands that it is racist to hate a group

racism: Racism-“the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” Imagine, 5 black men. Singing a church song still faithful for hope. Chained and cuffed together. Flies follow them as they walk by in the dry hot desert. With the white oppressor behind them yelling nasty words that poison their brain. Yet they still sing and wait and keep faith. In some states

Racism is a serious social menace not only in the US, but also the world over, including Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The situation has escalated to a new high, especially in this twenty-first century where technological advancements have necessitated mass and quick sharing of information (Nairn et al. 188). Indeed, social media elements like Facebook, Snap Chat, Twitter, Instagram, and What Sapp has been core in enhancing globalization and its effects, some of which affect and influence racial

Racism is defined as ‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior’ according to Oxford Dictionary. When talking about racism and discrimination, many people think back to the time of the Jim Crow laws. These laws allowed racial segregation in the southern states of the United States of America. Having separate restaurants, drinking fountains, and even different schools for whites and blacks was all common

Racism Racism

Do you believe that everyone in this world has equal rights? Well if you think that everyone in this world has the same rights your wrong. Racism has been going on for years and still to this day racism is a big part in today’s society and will forever be a part of history. Throughout the years not much has changed from having African American slaves to having immigrants. In the beginning of the sixteenth century when there was more then ten million African Americans who were forced to become

Racism In Racism

Racism may very well be the biggest crime in the criminal legal system. This goes beyond Canada. Globally, racism has imprisoned minds and physical beings, alike. Let us look at how this issue hits home and how the threat of being imprisoned continues to grow; we may be the next victim. Where does racism in the justice system begin, well through colonization, Indigenous People’s, now considered a minority, were stripped of their liberty and rights by European settlers tactically implementing Eurocentric

contrasted, but the street was alive. Filled colors, filled with lights... fueled by anger. Race. Only four letters, r-a-c-e, but it affects billions of people. It affects all, no matter what race, no matter what you look like, no matter where you are, racism is always going to be around. It will never be forgotten, nor stomped out completely, because one head comes off, two more will take its place. But why? Maybe it’s a race, one to see who is the best. The first one to reach the top wins, and is superior

has rapidly changed. Americans are more likely to consider racism a big problem today than they were 20 years ago. When polled in 2016, 49% of Americans said racism is a big problem in the country, up from a mere 28% four years ago. While only 43% of white citizens consider racism a big problem, 66% of blacks and 64% of Hispanics consider it to be an issue, most likely because they are the ones who are affected by the increase in racism. The percentage of those who see racial tensions increasing

proven that the media has a big impact on the way that we think and feel. Americans are in denial, and refuse to believe that racism in any form is still prevalent in the United States. However, while we have shifted from traditional to modern racism, race is still a major factor in how we view the world. The way the media portrays African Americans plays a part in this. Racism is not the only thing that the media can influence in our society. modern television conventions have been shown to alter the

stereotyping. Years before the 21st century racism and segregation was a problem that African Americans and other ethnicities dealt with segregation from the white community, some still question whether racism still exist in schools, on the job and especially in communities where they live. Accepting others as they are is very difficult for most of society to deal with. Segregation and racism can still be found in many parts of the world today. When people think about racism and who suffered from it, they would

In our everyday life, we see some form of racism being portrayed in movies, tv shows, and media. For many of us, it is hard to distinguish and truly uncover the racism being portrayed. There are forms of racism that one can easily see, but it is hard to reveal full insight. For instance, in the film The Help, racism was portrayed because the women working as maids were African American whom worked to pay for their necessities. This film showed how women of color suffered double the hardship because

Race has been a sensitive topic in America for many decades. This issue is deep rooted because of a long history of racism and discrimination in the United States. While the amount of racism present in the US has declined, the issue of race will never completely go away. Race continues to be a controversial topic even today, and this can be seen in various aspects of American life. The importance of race has always had its place in American history. Ever since the first slaves were brought over

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conclusion to racism essay

conclusion to racism essay

Ending Racism Is Still a Civil Rights Issue

After the horrific murders in Charleston, Michelle Asha Cooper writes, will higher education and American society be ready for honest discussions about race?

conclusion to racism essay

Racism exists in American society. This fact may be an inconvenient truth for some, but for millions of Americans it is an ever-present, inescapable aspect of their reality. And while racism -- or its persistent threat -- characterizes the lived experiences of so many, there are still those who will dismiss civil discourse on the topic of race until tragedy strikes, thrusting these societal ills into the spotlight.

And once again that has happened -- this time in my beloved hometown, Charleston, S.C. The news coming out of Charleston has left me crestfallen. As I watch this chapter in America’s racial history unfold, I am saddened beyond comprehension. Saddened by the loss of lives -- people and families whose lives are intertwined with my own. Saddened by the cruelty that was unleashed on the innocent. And saddened by the pockets of our society unable to see the existence of racism until a hate crime surfaces.

As president of an organization committed to increasing college access and success, reflecting on racism in the broader society has made me acutely aware of the manifestations of racism on college and university campuses. While racial diversity in higher education has improved, instances of overt racism still exist and hurt students of color directly but also affect everyone on campus, white students included.

Two of the individuals killed in the Charleston shooting were members of the higher education community. DePayne Middleton Doctor was an admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University, and Cynthia Hurd was a librarian at the College of Charleston, my alma mater. Because of this racist act, a cloud of sadness and grief now hangs over both of these institutions. Other overt acts, such as the incidents at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Mississippi , also elicit a collective disdain that transcends the color line. Yet, despite general disapproval of such acts, rarely do they propel sustained collective action to address race and racism.

In addition to these overt acts, insults and ignorance leave many minority students feeling unwelcome on their own campuses. For example, Asian-American and Pacific Islander students, viewed as a monolithic group, constantly must confront the model minority myth. Also, all across the nation, campus buildings and symbols, such as Amherst College’s mascot , honor individuals whose historical legacy is disconnected from the current campus’s mission and student body. And far too few colleges are providing education and training on how to be an inclusive campus.

However, the more systemic instances of racism that permeate higher education are rarely acknowledged. Our failure, for example, to really talk about race manifests in a growing trend among higher education professionals and advocates, like myself, to use the more mainstream term of “equity.” While race is often implicit in these conversations, “equity” is quickly becoming a catchall phrase that could easily, once again, marginalize the issue of race.

Equity does prompt attention to a range of marginalized populations based on markers such as socioeconomic status, gender, etc. -- important lenses for addressing discrimination -- but discrete attention to race is often lost in the process. I also recognize that the term equity is more palatable; after all, initiating a conversation by talking about race is often a nonstarter. But just because we are uncomfortable with the word, or more specifically, uncomfortable with our country’s racial past and its lingering effects, does not mean that the blemish is not there. To the contrary, our discomfort allows these wounds to deepen.

In higher education, when we do talk about race, we highlight growing college enrollments fueled by communities of color, which now represent 42 percent of the student body. But too often we fail to ask the hard questions about whether colleges are serving and educating students of color well. Failure to do so -- and then blaming poor outcomes on the student’s native language, academic preparation or family circumstances -- further demonstrates how accustomed we have become with racial judgments. Even well-intentioned people -- free of racist or malicious intent -- unconsciously reinforce these notions.

Too often, politicians, policy makers and higher education leaders couch calls for an improved higher education system solely in economic terms. Yes, for our economy to succeed, we will need to better educate our increasingly diverse society. And yes, a college education pays off in tangible economic benefits. However, by allowing this economic narrative to dominate, we have subjugated the crucial social justice and civil rights justifications for racial diversity and equity. In doing so, we have once again minimized the historical injustices and everyday lived experiences of people of color in America.

I recognize that higher education alone cannot undo or address all of the issues of racism and hatred that stem from our country’s racial legacy. But we can do our part. And doing so begins with recognizing that our words and approach are reinforcing -- not remedying -- the problem. Honest, race-centric conversations are hard, but nowhere near as hard as facing decades of oppression, discrimination and unequal access to educational opportunity. College faculty and administrators should foster inclusive learning environments on their campuses , where historical and current-day issues of race and racism can be discussed and interrogated civilly and provocatively.

We should tackle these issues for the sake of our economy, but we must tackle them for the sake of our national values. Ending racism is about civil rights. It is about social justice. Higher education leaders must embrace these racial realities to catalyze real change and hold true on the promise of equality and opportunity that we have made to all Americans.

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Michelle Asha Cooper is president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), an independent nonprofit organization that is dedicated to increasing access and success in postsecondary education around the world.

Michelle Asha Cooper

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conclusion to racism essay

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Racism is a moral issue.

In my job as Race Discrimination Commissioner I am often asked how you should respond to an incident of racism. Imagine being at work and overhearing a colleague making a disparaging comment about someone’s racial background. Or imagine being on a train carriage where a fellow passenger has started abusing another passenger because of their race. What should you do? Or, maybe more to the point, what would you do?

Such questions take us into the province of moral psychology. They concern moral judgment, reasoning and development. We are interested here not only in what is the right thing to do – but also how it is that we can come to do the right thing.

When it concerns racism, after all, very few people would be in dispute about right and wrong. With the exception of extremists, no one would wish to endorse racism; just about all of us know nasty racist behavior when we see it. Yet there is not always clarity about the best way to respond, and not necessarily confidence about whether we may have the courage to respond appropriately.

It may surprise you to learn that not everyone would accept us speaking about racism in terms of moral psychology, or in anything that approaches moral terms. For example, some on the left of the political spectrum would say that racism is fundamentally political. Manifestations of racism are an expression of a society’s hierarchy: a means for a dominant group or elite to maintain its economic and social power. To refer to racism in any other term is apparently to miss the point.

Some on the right, meanwhile, maintain that speaking about racism – as opposed to racial prejudice or discrimination – involves an unjust repudiation of one’s fellow members of society. You may call out racist acts or behaviour, but you should refrain from calling someone a racist. The suggestion is that the latter involves condemnations of moral character, which supposedly place someone beyond the pale of civilised society.

Clearly, I do not subscribe to either of these views. While racism will have structural qualities, it seems puzzling to reject the attitudinal dimensions of racial discrimination. For then, it becomes too easy merely to blame “the system”, whatever that system may be. There can never be any responsibility attributed to racism – you could never hold anyone accountable for racism – because it is all a product of intangible social and political forces. Those who insist attitudes play no role ignore the power of attitudes in shaping social reality.

As for the idea that calling another person a racist constitutes a grave crime against one’s fellow citizens, there is also a strange logic at work. At best, there is at play a pedantic concern with avoiding the word “racist”. At worst, there is something more disconcerting. Why exactly we should be apologetic for calling out racism as morally bad is far from clear. We do not, for example, go to the trouble of making fine distinctions between hooligan behavior and hooligans; or between criminal behavior and criminals. Why must we take such care to avoid offending those who engage in racist behavior?

Let me be clear at the outset about the moral quality of any honest conversation about racism. There is something moral, because the question of racism involves how we treat others. When an act of racism occurs, it harms the social standing that another person or group of people enjoy. It can also harm the freedom and well-being of its target. Any society concerned with combatting racism will necessarily be interested in promoting certain dispositions among its members: tolerance and decency, respect and fairness.

This afternoon I would like to expand a little on the moral psychology of racism and how it informs the development of public policy on matters of racial discrimination. Naturally, psychologists have important contributions to make. Research in social psychology can illuminate the social, cognitive and affective processes behind our moral judgment and behaviour. This can, in turn, assist in the development of policy that promotes racial tolerance and cultural understanding. My remarks today will include some explanation of how the National Anti-Racism Strategy, particularly the “Racism. It Stops with Me” campaign, draws upon ideas about the moral psychology of racism. I will also offer some remarks about the current debate about the Racial Discrimination Act and freedom of speech, and some of the moral and political questions that it raises.

The psychology of racism

If it can be hard to talk about racism, sometimes the problem is the manner in which the word is defined or understood. The dictionary definition of racism is not necessarily helpful. For it can lead many people to believe that racism is strictly about a belief that a race or some races of people are superior to others – that races possess certain qualities, which define their place in a hierarchy. This is one reason, I suspect, why many people have an aversion to the word. They believe that the word should be confined to the most extreme expressions of racial superiority.

Racism should not, however, be defined so narrowly. So-called scientific theories about race have long been discredited. In its ordinary usage today, racism refers to anything that has the effect of unfairly disadvantaging someone on the basis of their racial background. This can be expressed not only through belief, but also through behavior. It is not only about doctrine but also about practice. Racism is as much about unjust discrimination, as it is about stereotypes and prejudice. [1]

It is important to understand something of the psychology of racism – the assumptions and motivations behind stereotypes, prejudice of racism and discrimination. Typically, we have understood the basic structure in terms of hatred. But not all racism stems from hatred. It is important to understand the many bases of racial prejudice and discrimination.

There is a general point here to be made. As the philosopher Immanuel Kant argued, the roots of bad behavior are ingrained in human nature. [2] There is something about us, which almost guarantees that we will, under some circumstances, disregard moral laws about treating others equally and kindly. Whether it is overweening pride, addiction to power, or other malignant inclinations, our moral disposition is always liable to corruption – and it isn’t always because of hate.

Racism can be born of fear and anxiety. Fear is, as you would know, a primitive emotion. All animals can exhibit something resembling fear when confronted with perceived threat. And it is not merely a primitive feeling. Fear can also be tied to reason. Though fear in its most immediate sense involves a heightened concern about the immediate safety of one’s own body and life, it can also extend to one’s culture and community. This has been one thread that has run consistently through the historical fabric of racism: the fear that a certain other poses a danger to a national identity or way of life.

Then there is envy and resentment. Racial hostility can be connected with feelings that members of some groups may possess goods that one does not. It is established, for instance, that general levels of racism can be heightened during periods of economic downturn or recession. But even in more prosperous times, feelings of resentment about the perceived advantages of others can arise. To name one example, it is striking that many of the negative stereotypes rehearsed about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involve a view about the injustice of perceived special treatment that they receive.

Racism can also be the product of ignorance and arrogance. It may not necessarily be the case that those who say or do things with racist implications mean to inflict malicious harm. Sometimes the damage can be done innocently or incidentally – because one simply may not know better. This is the case with so-called casual racism, where someone can make something like a throwaway comment that has the effect of denigrating or humiliating another because of their race. What one person may regard as harmless may in fact inflict some injury on another.

Fear and anxiety; envy and resentment; ignorance and arrogance – these are some of the psychological roots of racism. But they all share one thing in common. They all involve, to varying degrees, a withholding of sympathy or compassion from those who are subjected to racist behaviour.

The American scholar Martha Nussbaum, in her recent work on political emotions, writes about the structure of compassion. [3] While Nussbaum frames the matter in terms of what people feel towards those who are in a situation of suffering, I think her insights are instructive with respect to what people feel towards those they may be subjecting to racist prejudice or discrimination.

According to Nussbaum, there are four conditions of the emotion. First, there is a thought of seriousness: in experiencing compassion, the person who feels the emotion thinks that someone else is suffering in some way that is important and non-trivial. Second, to feel compassion typically means that we do not believe a person’s predicament is chosen or self-inflicted. Third, a person who has compassion will think that the suffering person is similar to them in some important way. And finally, where there is compassion, a person will consider the suffering person as one who is connected to their own well-being or goals in life. [4]

These conditions are not met when racism occurs: there is a withholding of sympathy or compassion. Thus, victims of racist abuse can be treated as subhuman. It is no accident that racist speech can often be accompanied by animalistic language or reference to filth. Victims of racist abuse can also themselves be blamed for warranting abuse in the first place. Even when things may not be so ugly, there can often be a failure to understand the impact of one’s behavior on another. This is, in turn, something that comes from an inability to see things from the perspective of another, perhaps because that other person is not regarded as similar to oneself or as important to one’s own life. This helps to explain why racism is not confined to those who are merely filled with hate, fear or envy. When it concerns racism, those in positions of social privilege commonly dismiss or underestimate the harm of discrimination. And they frequently fail to understand that sometimes fighting back against racism is not as easy as it may seem. They can fail to understand that the power to which they are accustomed to exercising may not necessarily be exercised by those less powerful.

Public policy: the National Anti-Racism Strategy

Let me turn to the matter of public policy, particularly to the role that psychological understanding can play in shaping our policy responses to racism. In 2012, the Federal Government launched the National Anti-Racism Strategy, an initiative of its multicultural policy, The People of Australia . [5] The strategy involves a partnership of organisations. This currently includes the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Attorney-General’s Department, Department of Social Services, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Australian Multicultural Council, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils, and National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. [6] I chair this partnership in my role as Race Discrimination Commissioner.

The Strategy calls on all members of the Australian community to respond to racism. It is based on the belief that racism requires individual and collective action. Its aims are to create awareness of racism and its effects on individuals and communities, to promote good practice in combating racism, and to empower people to take action against racial prejudice and discrimination when it occurs. The Strategy identifies a number of key areas where sustained attention is required, including sport, media, employment, the internet, education, policing and government service provision.

The Strategy includes the “Racism. It Stops with Me” campaign. This campaign invites individuals and organisations to take a stand against racism. In a little over a year-and-a-half, more than 230 organisations have joined as supporters, from business, sport, education, government and civil society. Among other things, the campaign has highlighted the importance of bystander anti-racism. It has encouraged people to consider the role they can play in responding to racism that occurs in settings where they are a witness or a stranger.

Bystander behavior has been a long area of interest in your field of social psychology. There is, of course, Rosenthal’s classic study, involving Kitty Genovese, who was murdered in a New York City street in the presence of 38 witnesses, none of whom offered any assistance to Genovese or contacted police. [7] As cases such as this one unambiguously highlight, personal responsibility in bystander situations cannot be taken for granted.

While the data remains surprisingly limited, some studies indicate that bystander behavior in situations of racism may not be as forthcoming as what we might hope. One study of women’s responses to anti-Black racism, anti-Semitism, heterosexism and sexism found that while three-quarters of participants considered making an assertive response, only 40 per cent in fact did so. [8] Another study found that in 44 per cent of incidents of race-based bullying at school, some or all of the bystanders did nothing, with one quarter in fact encouraging the bullying. [9]

Such insights have informed some of the messaging of “Racism. It Stops with Me”. The very message of “It Stops with Me” can be regarded as a direct response to bystander complacency. The idea is that we can and should do something when we see a racist incident. Bystanders do, of course, evaluate the costs and benefits of an intervention: many can quickly conclude that the potential price of speaking out against racism outweighs the benefits of doing so. But when bystanders speak out against racism, it can have profound effects. Hearing or seeing a bystander intervention can foster increased expressions of anti-racism. It can also combat some of the conditions of racial prejudice, given that those who racially abuse others tend to believe that their attitudes are shared by those around them. That is to say, bystander action stops someone committing an act of abuse from thinking that the community accepts their behavior.

Fostering bystander action does require attention to skills in intervention. People will only stand up when they believe they are well equipped to act. This may involve knowing, for instance, just what it is that you can say or do when confronted by racist behavior. One consistent theme of the “Racism. It Stops with Me” campaign is that one should always consider actions including the reporting of racist behavior, or offering support and comfort to a victim of racism. We are also mindful not to encourage people to take action, if they do not believe it is safe to do so.

The body of psychological research on bystander behavior will continue to inform the work of the National Anti-Racism Strategy. It is fair to say the work of bystander anti-racism has only begun. There remain many barriers to bystander action. As much of the existing research indicates, group identity is a key variable: under most conditions, bystanders are most likely to help those they regard as similar to themselves (reiterating my earlier point about sympathy). There is also more that can be done to identify conversational strategies for dealing with racist speech. This is especially important as racist speech frequently serves to maintain social relationships. If this is truly the case, as researchers such as Guerin [10] argue, interventions from bystanders may need to counter this social function more directly.  Social psychologists may be able to play a valuable role in devising or refining strategies on this matter.

Racism and the law

Changing social attitudes on something like racism requires time; the task is generational in character. For this reason, it is sometimes said that you cannot legislate for virtue, that you cannot eradicate racism through laws. This is true in one sense: it would be naïve to believe that legislation alone can solve society’s ills. Yet it would be even more naïve to believe that laws should therefore be no part of the solution at all.

This is, of course, the position of the libertarian, who typically believes that anti-discrimination laws are unnecessary. In its purest form, the argument proceeds along the following lines. Combating discrimination is best left to the market. Since discrimination is economically inefficient, all that we really need to do is step back, and let the forces of competition do their work. In the case of racist abuse and harassment – namely, those forms of racism that fall short of violence – it is said that hate speech can be best fought with good speech. If people wish to air their prejudices and bigotry, so it is argued, then let them be censured or ridiculed with the speech of others.

This view is wrong for a number of reasons. Not least, the marketplace of ideas is not one of perfect competition. As with all markets, it can fail. It is simply not reasonable or realistic to believe that racist speech can be fought with well-reasoned rebuttal – for the simple reason that that racist speech often is not rational in the first place. When confronted, for example, with a racist rant on a bus, a burst of rational speech may do nothing to change the mind of the one doing the ranting.

Moreover, it can be unrealistic to prescribe that those who are subjected to racist abuse should only fight back with speech, and speech alone. One of the effects of racist speech is that it can impair the ability of its targets to exercise their freedom of speech. Racism can silence its targets. Only those who do not understand the profound wound inflicted by racist words can overlook this effect. It is one thing for someone occupying a privileged social position – whether through social background or education or other attainment – to speak back when confronted with abuse; they are coming to the situation from a position of power. It is another for someone who may be speaking from a more marginal or vulnerable position to do the same. For such a person, the only consolation they have from the libertarian is the paternalistic comfort that one’s fellow citizens can come to one’s rescue – though not the law.

The law should have a role in this. The law regulates many aspects of our social life, after all. Why should it not also have something to say about abuse and harassment that violates another person’s dignity and freedom? Why should it not play a part in setting a civil and tolerant tone in a liberal democratic society? And if we do affirm that racism is abhorrent, and that we should endorse actions designed to ameliorate behaviour, why should we not use the law to set civil standards?

Here, Nussbaum again makes some pertinent observations, referring to the impact of laws on race relations in the United States: Laws and institutions protect us against the damage of bad civic passions, and law often precedes and guides the creation of decent sentiments. We certainly don’t want to wait until most people love each other before we protect the civil rights of the vulnerable … the force of the law was essential in starting, however painfully and slowly, a process of emotional change that is still taking place. The armed federal guards who protected the young men and women who integrated the universities of the South preceded emotional change in the southern states. But they were a beacon of hope and a protection for the oppressed, and in this way they contributed to a gradual change of sentiments. All this seems obvious enough. [11]

You would think that this were obvious enough. But judging from some of the current debate about racial vilification laws, it may seem far from the case. As you would be aware, the Federal Government has put forward an exposure draft of proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act – namely, to Part IIA of the Act, which prohibits forms of racial vilification. I will say more about this matter very shortly. What is striking, though, is the manner in which some of those supporting these proposed changes have characterized the existing law.

Namely, it has been argued that Part IIA of the Act, which came into force in 1995, has failed to eradicate racial vilification in Australia. This is used to suggest that there is cause for repealing the Act’s current provisions concerning vilification. That such an argument could seriously be made in public debate is, at one level, absurd. For instance, we have laws that make murder a crime. No one, though, would argue that the mere persistence of murder in society is therefore a reason for getting rid of our law against murder. It is nonsense to judge the success of one piece of law against whether it succeeds in eliminating a social ill – particularly if, as discussed earlier, a capacity for bad behaviour is indeed embedded in our very human nature.

In the case racial vilification laws, they have, during the almost two decades they have been in operation, done a number of things. Not least, they have influenced the “emotional climate of the public culture”, setting the tone for our multicultural society and signalling what is unacceptable behaviour in public. They have provided all Australians with a legal means of holding others accountable for public acts of racial vilification that have the effect of degrading them. They have bolstered the assurance of security to which every member of a good society is entitled – the sense of confidence that everyone will be treated fairly and justly, that everyone can walk down the street without having to fear abuse or assault.

The Racial Discrimination Act – Exposure Draft

Let me say a little in more detail about what has been proposed in the Attorney-General’s exposure draft. I do not support the proposals to amend the Racial Discrimination Act. There is no good reason for changing laws that have been in place for close to 20 years, and which have worked well to provide legal remedies for racial vilification. The law should stay as it is. Now is not the time to be weakening legal protections against racism. Now is certainly not the time to be elevating a right to bigotry over a right to be free from bigotry’s effects.

The main proposed changes concern the removal of the current sections 18C and 18D of the Act. Section 18C makes unlawful an act done in public that is reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group of persons on the grounds of race. Section 18D protects anything that is done in the course of artistic expression, scientific inquiry, fair comment or fair reporting of an issue – provided it is done reasonably and in good faith.

The proposed amendment would make unlawful anything that is reasonably likely to “vilify” or “intimidate” on the grounds of race (though as I will explain, these terms are narrowly, even capriciously, defined). Whether an act is reasonably likely to vilify or intimidate is “to be determined by the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community, not by the standards of any particular group within the Australian community”. The exposure draft also contains a wide category of exception covering anything that is communicated “in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter”.

These changes would constitute a radical departure. “Vilify'' is defined as the incitement of racial hatred, rather than in terms of its ordinary meaning (speech that degrades or denigrates). The law would no longer be concerned with the harm that racist behaviour inflicts on its target, no matter how severe the vilification. The consideration would instead turn to the effect of the behaviour on a third party or public audience – that is, whether it could incite feelings of racial hatred. Such an incitement test has proven extremely difficult to satisfy under existing State racial vilification laws. Under the proposed law, one could be abused by co-workers, customers or strangers in public as a “filthy coon”, “stupid boong”, “slit-eyed gook”, “shifty Jew”, “sand-nigger” or “Arab terrorist”. But unless such abuse is capable of inciting a third party, the target would have no avenue for legal redress.

The definition of “intimidate”, meanwhile, is confined to situations where someone apprehends physical harm. This is again concerning, for it fails to capture the harms that are caused by racial vilification. There has been for some time now a considerable body of research that has highlighted the adverse physiological effects of racism. The psychological harms of racism are also well-documented: victims can feel not only anger, but also humiliation and self-loathing. [12] No matter how much victims of racial abuse may resist, they can often end up absorbing messages of hate and inferiority.

The introduction of a test based on an “ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community” would be another significant departure from the status quo. As the courts have interpreted the current law, whether something is reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate on the basis of race is to be judged according to the reasonable member of the particular group of the community that has been maligned. But under the proposed changes, the reaction of the target of racial vilification would not be considered. There are a number of questions worth posing about the ordinary reasonable member test. Who exactly is this person? What kind of cultural background does this person have? Is this person someone who embraces cultural diversity, or someone who is skeptical of it? Does this person have prejudicial thoughts about some or all ethnic minority groups? Professor Simon Rice of the Australian National University, a leading authority on anti-discrimination law, has described this new proposed test as “a double whammy to a victim of vilifying conduct”, as it involves a “blithe assertion of a dominant cultural perspective”. [13]

The most disturbing deficiency of the exposure draft concerns its remarkably broad category of exception. This exception covers anything that is done in the course of participating in public discussion. But the draft changes remove the current requirements in Section 18D for protected speech to be conducted with reasonableness and good faith. The proposed exception is so wide it is hard to imagine what, if any, conduct the law would prohibit.

The effects of having such an exception would likely be profound. For example, under the proposed law, a case such as that involving Frederick Toben [14] , who published on his website material denying that the Holocaust had ever occurred, together with derogatory generalisations about Jewish people as a group, could enjoy the exception outlined for participation in “public discussion”. It would be immaterial that Toben could not demonstrate that he acted reasonably or in good faith (as the Full Federal Court found, in light of his proven lack of bona fides and deliberately inflammatory language).

Or consider the circumstances in Clarke v Nationwide News [15] . In that case, commenters on the website were found to have racially vilified Aboriginal people. Such commenters could claim under the proposed new law that they were making comments in the course of participating in a public discussion – namely, about whether the people of Perth were “fed up of” the crime, drunkenness and bad behaviour of Aboriginal Australians, and whether or not Aboriginal Australians could behave themselves at their children's funerals. Such discourse may be of no real value to public life in Australia, but it would nevertheless constitute “public discussion” of a social issue.

Such examples raise a particular question that is worth asking. Earlier this week, the Liberal federal Member for Reid Craig Laundy spoke about his objections to the exposure draft, which he believed would permit acts “that have no place in our wonderfully multicultural communities”. His motivation, he said, was that as an elected representative, he “should always seek to add value for our children, not take value away”. [16] One potential danger with the exposure draft is that its enactment may have the effect of exacerbating racist speech, particularly online, which may be defended in the guise of “public discussion”. Were this to happen, there may be especially destructive consequences on children and young people. Children and young people may end up being exposed to a higher level of racial hate speech on the internet. Recent experience warns us against any complacency. Last financial year, the Australian Human Rights Commission received a 59 per cent increase in racial hatred complaints under section 18C – an increase largely driven by cyber-racism on social media and video-sharing websites. The prospect of a change in the law intensifying racial discrimination is well within the bounds of possibility.

Indeed, the overall practical effect of the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act may be to permit a wide range of behaviour that has the effect of offending, insulting or humiliating another person or group of people on the grounds of race. If the proposed changes were enacted, they may also protect a wide range of behaviour that may incite racial hatred or intimidate others, given they remove the requirements for protected free speech to be reasonable or to be conducted in good faith. As long as something is done in the course of participating in public discussion, one could use racial epithets or be acting in bad faith, but invoke the protection of free speech and enjoy an exception. There would be no distinction, then, between venting racial hostility and conducting legitimate public debate about ideas. Yet it remains far from clear, at least to me, how the use of racial epithets or slurs contributes to the ends of public debate that free speech in a liberal democracy should serve.

Conclusion: a moral debate

There is, as I have said, a clear moral dimension to racism. Of course, there is a moral dimension to racism. Morality, at its essence, concerns how we treat others. At times of late, this aspect of the phenomenon has been lost. Some have been sheepish about using the word “racist”, for fear that they will be regarded as moralists merely seeking to find fault with the behavior of fellow citizens. The situation is not helped by those who may too readily level the charge of racism, without also debating the merits of a given case.

Too often, we end up with a perverse debate where sometimes calling out racism is regarded as a bigger moral crime than the perpetration of racism itself. Those who deign to speak up about racism are labeled as purveyors of grievance politics, as though people would revel in the victimhood of racism. There is an irony in this, given that the same people who would dismiss racism in such terms are also those who accuse others of bad faith and assuming the worst of their fellow citizens. But there is also a moral blindness at play. Those who are inclined to regard complaints about racism as mere identity politics fail to understand one thing. For those on the receiving end of racism, the experience of racism is not an excuse for political posturing; it is an experience that wounds and diminishes one’s quality of life. Those who experience racism would prefer not to be talking about it at all. They would prefer that it never happened in the first place.

Discussing the issue of racism in terms of moral psychology allows us to shed some light on the assumptions and motivations behind prejudice and discrimination. It is on this point that I would like to conclude this afternoon – namely, on some of the assumptions of our ongoing debate about bigotry, free speech and the law.

A lot has been said about liberal values and free speech. But while those advocating a change to the Racial Discrimination Act have often invoked liberal political philosophy, one liberal principle is rarely mentioned: the exercise of one’s freedom should not inflict harm on another. The liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin once cautioned against privileging liberty above all other values. “Equality may demand the restraint of the liberty of those who wish to dominate,” he wrote, because “total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.” [17]

Indeed, there has been something deeply conservative in the moral assumptions behind the case for repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. In the calls for change, and for greater freedom to express one’s bigotry, we hear not so much the voice of liberalism but the voice of reaction. It is a voice that gives expression to a psychology of loss. In those celebrations of free speech, including a freedom to abuse and harass others on racial grounds, what we are really hearing is a longing for a time when Australians could give expression to their prejudice; a time when Australians could be bigots without having to worry about social disapproval.

There is something also deeply reactionary in the idea that Australians who experience racial vilification in public should accept denigration as part of the price of living in society. The seminal conservative thinker Edmund Burke wrote about the “delightful horror” of the sublime. [18] He celebrated the extreme emotions one felt when confronted with pure danger or terror. While we may be diminished by the experience, we may also swell when conversing with “terrible objects”. This explains why some believe minorities who experience racism should simply develop thicker skins. Apparently there is something edifying, after all, in having someone call you a “boong”, “nigger”, “chink” or “sand-nigger” in public.

Racism is not, however, about political ideology. One major reason why Australia has succeeded as a nation of immigration, as an emphatically multicultural society, has been the political leadership exercised on matters of race. Racial tolerance has been one of the pillars of contemporary Australian public morality. We have been fortunate that leaders in this country have regarded racial tolerance not as a prudential or political requirement, but as a requirement of morality. There is an urgent need to affirm this. As the debate about bigotry and free speech continues, we should make sure we are asking the right question. It is not, “Do we have a right to be bigots?” The question is rather, “What kind of society do we want Australia to be?”

[1] See T Soutphommasane, Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From: Why Multiculturalism Works (2012), chapter 3. [2] I Kant, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793). [3] M C Nussbaum, Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice (2013). [4] M C Nussbaum, Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice (2013), pp 142-46. [5] Department of Social Services, The People of Australia – Australia's Multicultural Policy , at [6] The original partnership organisations were the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Attorney-General’s Department, the then Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Department of Family, Housing and Community Services, the Australian Multicultural Council, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils, and National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. [7] A Rosenthal, Thirty-Eight Witnesses (1964) New York: McGraw-Hill, as cited in VicHealth, Review of bystander approaches in support of preventing race-based discrimination , November 2010, p 6. [8] L Hyers, ‘Resisting prejudice every day: Exploring women’s assertive responses to anti-Black racism, Anti-Semitism, heterosexism, and sexism’, Sex Roles, 56(1) (2007), pp 1-12, as cited in VicHealth, Review of bystander approaches in support of preventing race-based discrimination , November 2010, p 9. [9] F Aboud and A Joong, ‘Intergroup name-calling and conditions for creating assergive bystanders’, in S Levy & M Killen (Eds.), Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood , New York: Oxford University Press, pp 249-260, as cited in VicHealth, Review of bystander approaches in support of preventing race-based discrimination , November 2010, p 9. [10] B Guerin, ‘Combating Prejudice and Racism: New Interventions from a Functional Analysis of Racist Language, Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology , 13(1), pp 29-45, as cited in VicHealth, Review of bystander approaches in support of preventing race-based discrimination , November 2010, p 16. [11] M C Nussbaum, Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice (2013), pp. 315-16. [12] VicHealth, Review of audit and assessment tools, programs and resources in workplace settings to prevent race-based discrimination and support diversity (2010), pp 14-15. Studies also highlight the negative consequences of racial discrimination such as difficulties accessing housing and health care and significantly lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians: see Y Neto and A Pedersen ‘No Time Like the Present: Determinants of Intentions To Engage In Bystander Anti-Racism On Behalf Of Indigenous Australians’ (2013) Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology 7(1) 36 at 36. [13] S Rice, ‘Race act changes are what you get when you champion bigotry’, The Conversation , 26 March 2014, at… [14] Toben v Jones (2003) 129 FCR 515. [15] Clarke v Nationwide News Pty Ltd trading as The Sunday Times [2012] FCA 307 (27 March 2012). [16] H Aston, ‘Liberals break ranks against George Brandis race hate law’, Sydney Morning Herald , 10 April 2014. [17] I Berlin, ‘The Pursuit of the Ideal’, in H Hardy and R Hausheer, The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays (1998), pp 10-11. [18] E Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1756), for commentary, see C Robin, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin .

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conclusion to racism essay

The Impact of Racism on The Society

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conclusion to racism essay

Plenary AM Meeting



The President and the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Conference against Racism this morning urged delegates to continue their work in a spirit of give-and-take to ensure a successful conclusion to the Conference. Their remarks followed an announcement yesterday by Israel and the United States that they were withdrawing their delegates from the Conference. (Speaking later at a press conference, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the World Conference against Racism Mary Robinson announced that she had been informed by the United States that it had not withdrawn from the Conference, that it would continue to participate in the Conference, but that it had withdrawn the delegates who had come from Washington, D.C.) Conference President Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma stressed that the gathering was important for millions of people across the world who faced racism, xenophobia, and intolerance on a daily basis. Those people are looking to the Conference for the tools and weapons to fight such discrimination. At the end of the Conference, she predicted, there will be a document that is a product of tolerance, a product of negotiations, a product of give-and-take. The results, she said, will even be useful to the United States in Israel in the fight against racism. "Our work goes on", Mrs. Robinson said. The time was now for delegations to show determination and commitment, she said. If the challenge is not met, the Conference will not just have failed in reaching agreements, it will have failed those who needed the Conference most -- the marginalized, the excluded and the hated. "We will have let down those who are looking to this Conference to be a breakthrough in how we related to each other as one human family in the twenty-first century", Mrs. Robinson said. But with courage and flexibility, the Conference can send out a strong signal of united determination to do away with the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Mrs. Robinson condemned some of the words and actions that have been heard in Durban, saying that they "were themselves intolerant, even racist". Still, she said, there had been significant progress in drafting a Declaration and Programme of Action, which would help the Conference realize its mission of devising ways to ensure improvements in the lives of those discriminated against. During this morning's plenary, delegates addressed a number of issues before the Conference, including the link between poverty and racism, efforts to mainstream a gender perspective in government policies and programmes, and pledges to effectively follow up decisions of the Conference. Mohd Khalil Yaakob, Minster of Information of Malaysia, noted that the two previous racism conferences adopted documents that specifically referred to the Palestinian conflict. Not referring to Israel's half century of occupation in the Declaration and Programme of Action, he said, would be doing a grave injustice to not only the Palestinian people, but also to the history of the Conference. Several speakers referred to the need for effective follow-up mechanisms if the Conference's aims were to be realized. Frene Ginwala, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said although members of parliaments will have little to do with the drafting and adoption of the Declaration and a Programme of Action, they will remain but little pieces of paper unless parliamentarians ensure their implementation at the national level. Jean de Dieu Mucyo, the Minister of Justice and Institutional Relations of Rwanda, pledged that his country would implement the mechanisms adopted at the Conference, with the hope that such programmes would never again allow the discrimination that led to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Victims of discrimination, he said, needed effective measures of justice. That not only meant the prosecution of the perpetrators, he said, but also assistance to the victims so that their reintegration into society can be smooth. Lalla Ben Barka, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said the struggle against poverty was the struggle against racism. Its efforts to eradicate all forms of discrimination, she said, were inextricably linked with its programmes to eradicate poverty and marginalization and promote development. The outcomes of programmes spurred by the recently adopted New African Initiative will certainly assist in the dissolution of racial discrimination as economic development on the continent will be dramatically enhanced. The representative of Sierra Leone noted that xenophobia was not only prevalent in industrialized countries, but also in Africa. As the economies of the African countries worsened, he said, the traditional African value of the community gave way to intolerance and violence, leading to the phenomena of Africans accusing Africans from other countries of stealing their jobs. "What is the point of talking about an African Union if we as Africans cannot tolerate each other?" he asked. One of the causes of conflicts in Africa today was due to tribalism and ethnicism, he continued. Some politicians used the tribal card purely for their selfish end. Ratu Epeli Nailatikaw, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Fiji, urged the delegates not to loose sight of the challenges in moving forward global and multicultural collaborations. Sectoral or focused issues which could leave by the wayside the majority of ember States concerns should be avoided, he said. "It is our sincere and humble plea, that our approach and strategy today for addressing the issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance should be much broader, more practical, even generous and with a scope of applicability across cultures and religions", he said. Earlier in the meeting, it was announced that Nobel Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu has been invited to address the Conference. No time or date was announced. The Conference, which opened on 31 August and is scheduled to run through Friday, 7 September, provides the first opportunity in the post-apartheid era for the global community to deliberate a broad agenda to combat racism and related issues. Also speaking today were Awa Bah, Attorney General and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Gambia; Ri Yong Ho, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; Alyaksandr Sychov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus; Munkh-Orgil Tsend, Deputy Minister for Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia. The representatives of Colombia and Cambodia also spoke. The representative of Armenia spoke in exercise of the right of reply. Other speakers included the representatives of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat). A representative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union also spoke. The Conference's plenary session will continue its general debate at 3 p.m. today. Statements NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, ( South Africa ) President of the Conference: We received news that the United States and Israel were withdrawing from the Conference. It is unfortunate that they decided to leave, but this Conference to us, and to millions and millions of people across the globe who deal with these problems, is very important. They are looking up to us. They are looking for the tools and weapons to fight with in the struggle against racism. The millions of combatants in the fight against racism are looking for a decision. It is important for all of us to bear that it mind. They are what drove us to attend this Conference in the first place. All of us should continue in that spirit, because we have a big responsibility. South Africa offered to host this Conference because of its history. Nothing is beyond discussion. That is the beginning of a tolerant society: one that can sit down and negotiate; one that can listen to another point of view, even if you don't agree with it. We cannot build the kind of society that this Conference seeks to build with ultimatums. We have to build a spirit of talking until we agree to disagree. At the end of the Conference, there will be a document that is a product of tolerance, a product of negotiations, a product of give-and-take. It is unfortunate that the two countries left, and in the long run, I think, they will be the losers. Still, what we produce will be useful to them, and they can use it in their countries to fight racism. No country can stand here and claim that they have been able to conquer racism. MARY ROBINSON, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the Conference: We are at the half-way point of the World Conference. Negotiations have not been easy. That is because, as I said in my opening remarks, the issues we are grappling with are among the most sensitive and difficult which the international community and the United Nations have to face. I think it is worth recalling that the role and dynamics of United Nations conferences is to provide an opportunity for the international community to reach consensus on difficult issues. Though the process may be difficult, with agreement reached only at the very end, to achieve a result, those involved must persevere to the very end. There has been progress here -- significant progress -- progress in agreeing, cleaning up and condensing texts for the final Declaration and action plan. Texts already adopted here are insightful and constructive. Our work goes on. In the cases of the three groups of difficult issues -- claims relating to past injustices, the situation in the Middle East and recital of grounds of discrimination -- serious informal processes are under way, in some instances, at the highest level. And that is not all. Durban is about more than the painstaking work of seeking political consensus. This Conference is about people -- people who are discriminated against in ways that only human ingenuity at its worst can devise. Over the past four days, I have seen how Durban has brought together people from all walks of life to address issues of central importance to all our lives. I have been moved by what I have seen here. Young people from all corners of the globe have reminded us that it is their future we are discussing here. They have committed themselves to carrying that message forward in their own networks when they leave Durban. Civil society, in all its richness, has brought its combined energies here to the cause of making the world a place where dignity and equality are not mere hopes, but realities for all people. The United Nations family and agencies have made it clear that the struggle against hatred and prejudice is at the very heart of our work in the United Nations. Durban has enabled the voices of the victims -- those who have been silenced for too long at home -- to be heard around the world. It is inevitable at conferences such as this that controversy will make the headlines. I am aware of and condemn those whose words and actions in Durban were themselves intolerant, even racist. But I strongly wish that more of the media focus could be on the constructive seminars, workshops and gatherings such as I have seen over the past days -- of indigenous peoples, Roma and Traveller children, those of Africans in the Americas, and other victims of discrimination, including a Jewish man who was listened to and applauded when he spoke of his experience with anti-Semitism. Meeting with those people and hearing their stories has brought home to me forcefully what the true focus of this Conference is. Durban has a historic mission: to bring the plight of vulnerable groups to the fore and devise ways of ensuring that lives which at present are lived in fear and pain will be better. Racism and discrimination exist in every country and every community. That is why I deeply regret that the United States and Israel have chosen to withdraw. All States should be present and active here. Now is the time for delegations to show determination and commitment. If we do not rise to the challenge, we will not just have failed in reaching agreement at one conference. We will have failed those who need this Conference most -- the marginalized, the excluded, the hated. We will have let down those who are looking to this Conference to be a breakthrough in how we relate to each other as one human family in the twenty-first century. If, on the other hand, all sides display courage and flexibility, we will send out a strong signal of our united determination to take on the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. AWA BAH, Attorney General and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Gambia : The watchwords, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are so familiar to Africans that they are like the white blood cells in our blood streams, ever ready to defend our systems against intruders. Blacks have suffered throughout the centuries from racism and racial discrimination from whites, Arabs, Indians and Latin Americans, among others. The brutalization and enslavement of the black race was one of the most demeaning indictments of the human race, indeed the high point of centuries of racial discrimination, which exacerbated the universal perception that men and women were worthless other than as servile domestics or labourers. That situation lasted as long as it did because of the social, economic and religious structures put in place to preserve, perpetuate and justify the crimes. There were attempts to justify the egregious practice of discrimination against the black race intellectually, scientifically, economically, politically, religiously and culturally. We are dealing here with the greatest genocide the world has ever known. Something terribly wrong has been done, the repercussions of which will be felt by blacks throughout time -- particularly in the forms of poverty, underdevelopment and retrogression -- unless something is done. Not until we put that into the proper perspective can the world do justice by the Africans, black people and people of African descent. Let us not be too worried about who will be compensated and how. That can certainly be worked out in due course. Let us resolve that, as a result of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, millions of Africans and blacks in the diaspora were maimed, brutalized or killed. Let us recognize that it is immaterial that some of our own people were involved in the slave trade: two wrongs do not make a right. Let us also agree that no African plan or initiative can be successful until compensation is in place. Let us resolve that reparations should be commensurate with the magnitude of the crimes that were committed. Let us ensure that the world's financial and donor institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, are not hijacked by those whose views foster or encourage more subtle forms of racism or intolerance. JEAN DE DIEU MUCYO, Minister of Justice and Institutional Relations of Rwanda : Rwanda was the victim of the worst forms of discrimination, culminating in the 1994 genocide which resulted in more than 1 million victims. People of Rwanda, abandoned during the genocide by the international community, are familiar with the dramatic consequences of discrimination. They are aware of the importance of the hopes that will come out of this Conference. Effective justice for the victims is needed. That means not only prosecution of the perpetrators, but assistance to the victims to help them reintegrate into society. Switzerland and Belgium should be congratulated for not allowing the perpetrators of the genocide in their territory to escape with impunity. Rwanda urged countries to cooperate with the United Nations Tribunal. This Conference has to make efforts on behalf of all members of society who suffer through discrimination. Following 1994, many leaders who planned the genocide escaped without punishment, and moved elsewhere in the continent where they still pose a threat. That is the case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where those people are still trying to continue their dirty work. Rwanda signed the Lusaka Peace Accord to end the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it is hoped that all other parties will agree to it as well, without reservations. The resolutions that come from this Conference must be followed up at the national level, and Rwanda hopes that all countries pledge to implement effective mechanisms. RI YONG HO, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Democratic People's Republic of Korea : We strongly condemn all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance as crimes against humanity. We expect this Conference to give a clear concrete definition of all forms of racism and racial discrimination. The key to removing the root cases of racism is to properly solve the issue of past discriminatory practices. The remnants of colonialism indeed underpin the contemporary forms of bigotry witnessed in several countries today, where some believe that their races are superior to others. We can pave the way for appropriate future actions only after we have examined what happened in the past. We urge States that systematically committed acts of racism and racial discrimination to acknowledge their responsibility and make commitments to repair and compensate the wronged States, communities and individuals. While most African, Latin American and Asian countries generally faced discrimination based on colour, Korean people suffered extreme national discrimination under Japanese military occupation. The policy of "Japanization" of Korean names and "oneness of Japan and Korea" -- under which all Koreans were forced to change their names and to speak and write only in Japanese -- were evil and aimed at eradicating an entire nation. Six million, out of a Korean population of 20 million, were forcibly taken to Japanese workplaces. Millions more were killed and hundreds of thousands of women were sexually enslaved. Even though decades have passed since those evil acts were committed, Japan still refuses to settle those past crimes. Today in Japan, Korean schoolgirls continue to be attacked by ultra-conservative gangsters simply because they wear the national costume "chimachogori". The United Nations Human Rights Commission and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have urged Japan to correct its policies against Koreans living there when those bodies consider reports on the implementation of international human rights instruments. We also urge the Government of Japan to end its racist practices and promote stability in the region. In order to eliminate racism, we must recognize the equality of all races. Each race and nation has its own unique cultures and traditions. It is essential to create an atmosphere in which all races and diversity are respected. ALYAKSANDR SYCHOV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus : Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance all exist throughout the world. They are a way of seizing power and hanging on to it. They are also part and parcel of globalization, which contains in it the threat of inequality. Countries of the United Nations should establish measures that ensure equal opportunities for those who find themselves marginalized. Xenophobia against immigrants is becoming an integral part of many societies. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance require radical measures. We all need to take effective measures to protect every individual from racial discrimination and to make incitement to racial hatred a crime under the law -- showing that same attitude towards migrants and foreigners. It is important that United Nations principles should be enshrined in all national legislation to create the kind of climate where equality is enjoyed by all. Belarus under its Constitution, bans all kinds of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, language or religion. Belarus is a multi-ethnic State with more than 100 ethnic groups who live together in harmony. The reason for that harmony is the mindset of the people and their culture and history. Belarus is alarmed to see an upsurge of neo-nazism. This Conference will have an ongoing effect on the international regional and local level and have an impact on those most affected by discrimination. The outcome documents should include practical measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. MUNKH-ORGIL TSEND, Deputy Minister for Justice and Home Affairs of Mongolia : With our ancient culture of nomadic traversing and curiosity, we firmly believe in the creative dynamism of diversity and the curing effects of tolerance. We have a proud history -- to have at one time united under the roof of one empire the cultures, nations and civilizations of Asia and Europe. In today's Mongolia, we strive to maintain and enrich the traditions of the past and fulfil our obligations under more than 30 international human rights conventions to which we are party. The 1992 Constitution contains a separate sub-chapter on human rights. The prejudices of racism and discrimination originate in poverty, ignorance and the subconscious culture of domination. Eradication of poverty and giving power back to the people are the twin pillars of the human rights policy of successive Mongolian Governments. In a follow-up to this Conference, we plan to stage a wide range of national educational and awareness programmes aimed at preventing and eradicating racism and discrimination. In that, we count on the cooperation of non-governmental organizations, educational institutions and media. For us, this Conference symbolizes our condemnation of the crimes of the past, our acknowledgement of the problems of the present and our resolve for a better future. We have gathered here to take stock of the complex and intertwined nature and causes of racism and discrimination, ranging from poverty, social inequality and ignorance to deep-rooted psychological and cultural prejudices. We see the Conference as a milestone event in nurturing a common intellectual and practical strategy to combat racism and discrimination. MOHD KHALIL YAAKOB, Minister of Information of Malaysia : Racism is abhorrent, not only on its own, but as a root of many other more egregious forms of human rights violations, such as genocide and ethnic cleansing. Indeed, the history of the promotion and protection of human rights is, to a large extent, a history of the struggle to eliminate racism. The first human rights convention was against genocide, the most extreme manifestation of racism. It is important to note that this Conference is not being held in a historical vacuum. This Conference constitutes the third attempt by the international community to banish the scourge of racism. We should seize this opportunity to adopt a Declaration and Programme of Action that will provide us all with a clear road map and practical measures to eliminate racism and related forms of intolerance. Malaysia believes that at the national level, governments could and should exert greater efforts to combat racism within their midst. We share the sentiment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations that every country draw up and implement its own national plan to combat racism. Malaysia has always been committed to eradicating racism. In our multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious society, the development of a united Malaysia is, above all, characterized by peace, harmony and mutual respect. We are able to enjoy the fruits of development and progress, thanks, in no small part, to the appropriate and effective strategies developed and implemented by the Government, with the participation of all segments of the population, regardless of race or colour, and achieved through consensus-building. We believe that anywhere in the world, inclusiveness lies at the heart of any government's efforts to eradicate racism. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories for over half a century is clearly more than a political conflict. During the course of negotiations on that issue, arguments were put forward to the effect that the inclusion of the plight of the Palestinian people in the documents of this Conference is unnecessarily provocative and will not facilitate the process of finding a durable peace there. Malaysia cannot subscribe to that. The Conference would be doing a grave injustice, not only to the Palestinian people, but also to its own history, since there were explicit references in the two previous conferences against racism. Malaysia urges the international community to assume its responsibilities to end the conflict and ensure the restoration of the right to life, liberty and self-determination of the Palestinian people. ALHAJ FODE M. DABOR ( Sierra Leone ): Xenophobia is not only prevalent in industrialized countries, but also here in Africa. As the economies of the African countries worsen, we see the traditional African value of the community giving way to intolerance and violence. We see Africans accusing Africans from other countries of stealing their jobs, a misconception that has resulted at times in deaths and/or serious injuries. What is the point of talking about an African union if we as Africans cannot tolerate each other? The root cause of racial discrimination today, especially against blacks, can be traced to the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism. The perpetrators must show remorse by apologizing. My delegation supports the call for reparation. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are diseases which must be fought with all the vigour at our disposal in the same way as we are now fighting the AIDS pandemic. We must be prepared to have open, multicultural societies where every human being lives with respect and dignity, and accept that it is evil to discriminate against a fellow human being. Our societies need to be more tolerant towards each other. All States must introduce legislation making racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance criminal offences. One of the causes of conflicts in Africa today is due to tribalism and ethnicism. Some politicians use the tribal card purely for their selfish end, which at times has resulted in serious consequences, such as the genocide in Rwanda. We must stop the exploitation of tribalism and ethnicism for political gains. The media has a great role to play in preventing or discouraging racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The Western media should stop painting a bad picture of Africa and be encouraged to be more positive. The international community must also intensify its effort to fight poverty, because poverty is one of the causes of contemporary racist attitudes. JAMIE GIRON DUARTE, ( Colombia ): We are a proud country of mestizos, indigenous blacks, whites and Latins. We are a rich, diverse union with a mix of reciprocal influences that have formed a multicultural society. We now have some 34 indigenous organizations, as well as 141 traditional authorities. As regards the Afro-Colombian population, statistics show that they represent some 25 per cent of the population. Considerable progress has been made to ensure their rights and freedoms. There is now legal recognition by the State, despite the lack of structures which hamper equal opportunities. Affirmative action and anti-discrimination measures have been enacted on their behalf. The gypsy population in our country has constitutional rights which preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity of that unique community, as well as the whole of Colombia. Women, gays, diverse religious communities and victims of HIV/AIDS all share equal rights and protection. In pursuing our objective for peace, we realize that there is a lot left to be done. Indeed, we note with particular concern the rapid progress of internal displacement of persons within our borders. Programmes must be put in place that guarantee their rights and freedoms equal to the level of other people in our country. We must have studies on the links between poverty and discrimination. Education is also a key factor for promoting diversity in our society. We would like for this Conference to support the introduction of diversity programmes in schools. We would hope that such an initiative could be followed by a suggestion for creating a mechanism to punish mass media organs that subtly promote racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The Conference should also seek to right the wrongs of the past. The Declaration and action plan under consideration should constitute a solid foundation on which we can build a global society free of racism and racial discrimination. We agree on the proposal for an effective follow-up mechanism to ensure the implementation of the agreements we reach here. HOR LAT ( Cambodia ): Cambodia deeply appreciates the brave struggle of the South African people against apartheid. We applaud the strides they have made towards equality, justice, democracy, the rule of law and the respect for and promotion of human rights. We would like to affirm our commitment to cooperate fully with the global community in the creation and implementation of any new international policies that aim to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Indeed, we stand ready to adopt the Declaration and Programme of Action that are currently under negotiation here in Durban. Based on the Conference's goal of identifying concrete recommendations to combat racism and discrimination, we support the call for improving the effectiveness of relevant United Nations organs and international instruments in that regard. It is our hope that following the adoption of the action plan, all of us will undertake to put its provisions into practice. FRENE GINWALA, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, on behalf of the Inter-Parliamentary Union: Parliaments and their members have a crucial role to play in this Conference and in ensuring that its intentions and programmes are realized. Last year, 150 presiding officers committed their parliaments to contribute more substantively to international cooperation and the work of the United Nations. Accordingly, the Union has encouraged parliaments to take an active interest in this Conference and its preparations. Our appeal has been heard -- around 300 members of parliaments from more than 50 countries came to Durban to participate here. It should be noted that members from the United States Congress and the Israeli Knesset participated here. On Sunday, at an Inter-Parliamentary Union-organized meeting, there was a debate on the tension between freedom of speech and incitement of hatred. While freedom of speech is indispensable to enable us to fulfil our parliamentary mandate, we also have a responsibility to promote a society based on tolerance, in which incitement and hate-speech has no place. As elected representatives, individually and collectively, parliamentarians are both the product and custodians of the democratic values, processes, and systems in our countries. Institutionalization of racism begins when rights and resources are unfairly allocated to particular groups, while other groups are excluded. It is in parliaments that this happens through legislation and changes in constitutions, and it is in parliaments that executive action can be monitored. This Conference will adopt a Declaration and a Programme of Action, which parliaments may have had little opportunity to influence. However, these will remain but little pieces of paper unless we intervene to ensure their implementation. It is parliaments that have to ratify international conventions, treaties and other human rights instruments, and it is in parliaments that reservations are expressed. It is in parliaments that legislative provisions must be made for the implementation of such international agreements, and to regularly monitor compliance and progress in implementation and outcome. Parliaments also have a key role to play in developing national strategies and plans of action. Parliaments should lead in setting the national tone for tolerance, non-discrimination, inclusivity and equality, and thereby building political support for an expansion of human rights and an extension of international agreements. MARIAM AL-AWADHI, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA): ESCWA's aim to improve the quality of life in the region is accomplished by assisting the member States to overcome the root causes of discrimination, redress disproportionate and uneven income distribution and integrate marginalized and vulnerable groups into society. The ESCWA has embarked on a comprehensive programme to address the advancement and empowerment of women and gender issues in the region. That programme is also designed to assist member States in mainstreaming a gender perspective into their policies and projects for gender equality. In addition, a media campaign continues to raise gender awareness and to identify the means to overcome the main obstacles hampering the advancement of women. The ESCWA is also engaged in teaching blind girls to use information and communication technologies and ensuring accessible and barrier-free environments for the disabled. However, despite efforts to address gender discrimination and social exclusion, especially of refugees and the displaced, much more must be done to combat all forms of racism and discrimination. The occupied Palestinian territories are witnessing extreme deprivation in the living conditions of the Palestinian people. Human rights are being violated daily and discriminatory measures affect the lives of all concerned. MARTIN HOPENHAYNM, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC): Today, between 33 and 40 indigenous peoples live in Latin America and the Caribbean, divided into some 400 ethnical groupings, each with its own language, social organization and economic system, adapted to the ecosystem. There are about 150 million people of African-Latin and African-Caribbean descent, around 30 per cent of the total population in the region. After three centuries of exclusion and domination, the indigenous people and people of African descent today show the poorest economic and social indicators, and have little access to the decision-making process. Moreover, ethnic and racial discrimination form the basis for xenophobic feelings in countries of the region, which is transferred to other foreigners coming from poorer countries. Facing those problems, we have to make progress in ratifying and implementing international instruments in that regard. We have to promote the public and political debate about the demands for rights from those groups. That has to go hand-in-hand with the promotion of equal opportunities for social development, through multicultural and bilingual education in regions where indigenous people live, and affirmative action to remedy historical discrimination, among other things. The reversal of a history of discrimination requires effective collective rights for minorities. The historical effects of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are deep, and deeper still, therefore, are the means required to reverse and repair them. LALLA BEN BARKA, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa: We at the ECA, the regional economic arm of the United Nations in Africa, are conscious of the fact that the struggle against poverty is indeed the struggle against racism. Our efforts, together with the international community, to eradicate poverty and extricate the African continent for marginalization in a globalizing world are, in fact, efforts against racism and racial discrimination. Combating racism by promoting development in Africa could prove to be one of the greatest achievements of the third millennium. We urge States and international organizations to recognize the links between the two. As Africa enters the third millennium, it is facing daunting new development challenges, namely the effects of globalization. While the developed world enjoys unprecedented prosperity, African countries face special difficulties responding to that overwhelming challenge. We cannot embark on a serious struggle against racism, racial discrimination and existing economic apartheid unless Africa and other developing nations are no longer marginalized. We at the ECA are determined to combat racism by creating opportunities for trade, economic growth and sustainable development, particularly through the use of new information technologies. We also believe that there is a need for increased inter-cultural exchange through the preservation and promotion of all civilizations and cultural diversity throughout the world. The new efforts aimed at reducing poverty on our continent recently put forward by African member States represents a formidable endeavour that will move Africa forward. The Commission is joining with member States to assist in the implementation of those efforts. Rather than constituting a wish list of projects which require funding, the New African Initiative squarely focuses on policies and programme for sustainable development. Most importantly, the Initiative recognizes that success is only viable if its principles and suggestions are owned by the African peoples. The Initiative recognizes that the onus for long-lasting change remains on African governments, which need to put their houses in order. Africans must take responsibility for their own destinies. The outcomes of the Initiative will certainly assist in the dissolution of racial discrimination as economic development on the continent will be dramatically enhanced. JOSEPH IGBINEDION of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat): An unprecedented 50 per cent of the world's total population currently lives in cities. Nobody can fail to notice that urban density -- and the physical proximities implied -- have reinforced a human need to seek comfort and protection from in-group cultures. Increasingly, that is leading not only to urban spatial segregation, but also to conflict on the basis of variations among such groups. Rather than utilizing variations to create multicultural communities building on each community's aggregate knowledge and wisdom, the world is sliding deeper into patterns of polarization. The spatial concentration of population groups is not a new phenomenon. Societies have segregated their inhabitants for thousands of years, most commonly along socio-economic lines. Sheer lifestyle differences between social groupings make it inevitable that central cities will be demographically different from suburbs. However, spatial segregation between social groupings may facilitate the building of urban communities, by strengthening group identity without necessarily raising questions of equity. Segregation can be a major factor in reinforcing disadvantage and exclusion. It may lead to the formation of underclass ghetto or slum communities with restricted geographic and social mobility. Thus, urban spatial segregation is the first step on the way to societal breakdown, socio-cultural fragmentation and divided cities. We have much more to understand regarding the social problems in and among segregated areas. There is an urgent need for multidimensional urban policy responses that promote economic adaptation to globalizing economies, while cushioning social dislocations caused by economic decline. Even in some countries where multiculturalism is declared a national policy, indifference, xenophobia and outright segregation can still be a problem. It is critical that we place housing and discrimination within the context of the indivisibility and universality of human rights. With a majority of the global population living in cities, our urban environments are central to the realization of human rights. A future of cities without slums, but of livable neighbourhoods and healthy communities, is not possible if our cities do not function. Cities will not work if they are not inclusive or if they are politically, economically and socially divided. We cannot continue living in segregated cities. RATU EPELI NAILATIKAW, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Fiji : We acknowledge South Africa's immense power of redemption and magnanimity, despite the injustices it has endured. Fiji has seized on that as a healing tool for the misgivings and suffering that our people have sustained in the last attempted coup of May 2000. Hence, the formation of the Ministry of Reconciliation and Unity. At the same time, those responsible for the attempted coup are now facing charges of treason and their trial is currently in progress. As we celebrate changes, diversity and differences, we should not lose sight of the, seemingly endless, discriminatory attitudes. Nor should we lose sight of the challenges they bring us to move forward through global and multicultural collaborations. In doing so, we must avoid sectoral or focused issues which could leave by the wayside the majority of Member States concerns. It is our sincere and humble plea that our approach and strategy today for addressing the issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance should be much broader, more practical, even generous and with a scope of applicability across cultures and religions, which can sustain human development into the next decade. It is not our intention to come to Durban for reparations, compensation or finger pointing. But at the same time we understand fully why reparations and compensation are being demanded. Although the problems we have today are products of the making of generations that were less privy to the enlightenment and the greater insights we now possess, we believe they should be addressed. Right of Reply Exercising his right of reply, the representative of Armenia said his comments would address the statement made by the representative of Azerbaijan yesterday. It was disturbing to hear the same old falsifications, which always seemed to create new history for Azerbaijan, time and time again. Azerbaijan evidently does not want to be a young State and had succeeded in creating a false history in which it now appeared to believe. So much so, that they have started to present that history to others. Still, to present such a history to others was one thing, to convince them of its reality was another. Azerbaijan seemed to forget that whatever it said about its past was not documented in history books or represented on maps and could only be found in its own literature or Web sites. To be clear, it was Azerbaijan that responded to the legitimate demands of Armenians, living in the occupied territories, with violence, aggression and sophisticated military force. It even used arms against the civilian population. When Armenia had no other choice but to respond, Azerbaijan decided to call itself the victim. He called on all sides to stop blaming each other and look to the future in order to find a solution. There was a need to ensure that truth and justice could be won. The world could not be lied to for all time. * *** *


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Together, we must work to end racism and promote equality through global health research and training: Opinion by Fogarty Director Dr Roger I Glass

May / june 2020 | volume 19, number 3.

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Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

We have seen painful reminders in the past few weeks that the fight against racism and the struggle for equality are far from over, either here at home or in many other parts of the world. We must use this time of heightened awareness to consider how to make meaningful progress and we must not stop until all people have equal rights, social justice and access to medical care.

We at Fogarty condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms and remain committed to our mission to work toward achieving equity for all the world’s people. The continuing issues of social justice, the importance of diversity, alongside the racism and police brutality that persist in our society have again come to the fore and been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted minorities and vulnerable groups far more than others.

This is a time for all of us to reflect on what more we can do to address these continuing problems, to determine how we can contribute to meaningful solutions, individually and through our collective efforts, so that one day all people will live in a just and equitable world. We must channel our outrage, grief and frustration into positive change.

At NIH, I was encouraged to see our director Dr. Francis S. Collins issue a statement calling on our community to foster a culture of inclusion, equity and respect for one another, including working to enhance and nurture the diversity of our workforce and fighting to end health disparities. As he sagely noted, our different perspectives, backgrounds and cultures are what fuel our creativity and drive innovation.

The NIH leadership is also continuing its efforts to end sexual harassment , including closing loopholes that had allowed some grantees to escape repercussions for their egregious actions by changing institutions.

We know there is much more to be done before there is truly a level playing field in science but we are making progress. Because some of our grantee institutions in low-resource settings do not have regulations and processes in place to deal with harassment or bullying, we are making some resources available for that purpose.

For us at Fogarty, we will not rest until all scientists are able to fully participate in biomedical research as equal partners and all the world’s people are equal beneficiaries of research discoveries. This has been the overarching principle that has guided the Fogarty International Center and its staff for more than 50 years. It has never resonated more than today.

I call on you, our partners in these endeavors, to join us in our quest for peace, equality and social justice. This is a time when we must band together, to help each other, to repair and remake our society for the next generation, even as we address the physical and economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot, we must not, fail.

We have indeed seen that progress is not automatic or inevitable. It falls on all of us to shoulder the burden together, so that real and enduring progress can be achieved.

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  13. Dimensions of Racism

    The United Nations Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination ended in 2003. One of the Decade's educational activities was a workshop that brought

  14. Together, we must work to end racism and promote equality through

    Together, we must work to end racism and promote equality through global health research and training: Opinion by Fogarty Director Dr Roger I Glass.