Forum: gc5 Culture Agenda Item

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Forum: GC5 - Culture

Agenda Item: Taking actions to develop understanding on racial discriminations and preventing racism

Student Officer: Deniz Aralan (President Chair)
Race, is a powerful concept, which is directly invented by society itself. It has lead to inequality and discrimination between societies, groups and people for centuries. It is seen that throughout human history, the value of a human being is not determined by his or her characteristics and individuality but, instead, determined by their well defined and stereotyped racial groups, which are specified by physical traits and ethnicity people are born with. This ideology creates the concept of racism. Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities are inherited biologically and can simply be established by their race. It also supports the fact that one racial group can be superior then the other in the society. This belief causes the unequal distribution of privileges and rights among the society. This has been a topic that encourages feelings such as fear or hatred towards others, which resulted in damaging cultures and ethnic believes globally. There has been huge steps taken to prevent racial discrimination but it is still a key issue that needs to be handle in the 21st century.
Key Terms
Race: Is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics.

Racial Discrimination: When a person is treated less favorably than another because of their race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status

Segregation: Is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life.

Prejudice: is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of relevant facts of a case.

History & Major Events

There is no clear evidence of racism has been found in the world before the Middle Ages. The first sign and probably the start of racism in the world was the act of identifying Jews as witches and servants of the devil in the thirteenth and fourteenth century. The official outset of such attitudes and ideology came in the sixteenth century in Spain. Jews who choose to change their ethnicity to Christianity and their descendants became the victims of discrimination.

Slavery in Europe & “Civil Rights” in USA- The period of the Renaissance and Reformation was also the time when Europeans were increasing contact with people of different pigmentation and culture in Africa, Asia, and America. This lead to discrimination determined by skin color and culture and slavery. The reason given for keeping Africans in bondage was that they were pagans and the fact that they had pagan ancestors. This knew concept changed the idea of racism from religious status to something approaching race. In the late seventeenth century discriminative laws were also passed in English North America such as forbidding marriage between whites and blacks. During the Enlightenment, eighteenth century ethnologists began to think of human beings as part of the natural world and subdivided them accordingly to the varieties of a single human species. However, in the early nineteenth centuries, an increasing number of writers, that defended slavery, believed and supported that the races were separate species. The Nineteenth century was an age of nationalism and imperialism. This characteristic of the century helped the growth of ideological racism in Europe and the United States. In these years, the blacks were freed and Jews from the ghettoes received support from believers for human equality. The consequences of these reforms were that it intensify racism by making them less oppressive but more competitive. The competition also claimed, based on scientific facts, that Europeans had the right to rule over Africans, Asians and other races. The climax of the history of racism came in the twentieth century in the rise and fall of public racist regimes. The regimes included extreme discrimination and status differences. In South America, the racial segregation laws reduced and restrictions were made on black voting rights. Slavery and lynching of African-Americans continued. This was rationalized by extreme racist propaganda that represented black males as beasts running after white women. Explicit racism also came from the new nations resulting from the declarations of Africa and Asia independency and their representatives joining in the United Nations. All these racist acts lead to the Civil Rights movement in the United States. The movement succeeded by making racial segregation and discrimination illegal in the 1960s.
Apartheid in South Africa- The one racist regime that survived the Second World War and the Cold War which was enforced in South Africa from 1948 to 1991. Under this system of racial segregation, people were legally classified into racial groups of four; White, Black, Indian and Colored. The laws passed banning all marriage and sexual relations between different racial groups and residential areas for families to live in and transportation was segregated. Non-whites were not allowed to run business.
Anti-Semitism & Nazi Germany- The growth of racism and racists in Europe influenced the society in Germany. This created the concept of “anti-Semitism” in Germany in late 1870s. This concept meant that to be Jewish in Germany was not simply to believe in a set of religious beliefs but meant belonging to a community that was against the race to which true Germans belonged to. This racist ideology was carried to its extreme in Nazi Germany. Hitler, leader of the Nazi Germany, and his companions attempted to exanimate an entire ethnic group, which was Jews. Nazis killed over millions of Jews in concentration camps in the bases of racist ideology.

Japanese-American Internment- During World War 2 the American government decided that Japanese people were a treat because of the different skin color and ancestors from an enemy nation they had. Because of this idea they deported all Americans with Japanese ancestors to internment camps where they were kept under “control” and, according to some references, tortured.

21st Century Racism

  1. Europe: Europe is a complex area with many cultures in a small area. Europe is alarmed by the rebirth of racial hatred in the 21st century. Extreme racist groups have gained more power in countries like France, Germany, and Austria as a result of the remains of the Nazi Germany. There have been violent racist attacks to Arabs and Jews, as a result of the increasing hatred towards enemies in the Middle East. In countries such as Greece, Italy and UK, racists groups are developing hatred towards the immigrants from other countries such as Tunisia, Albania and Poland, which build the idea of anti immigration.

  1. Australia: Australian Aborigines are the native peoples of the continent and they were mistreated because of the social status they had in the community in the past. In the 18th century, Great Britain took control of Australia and the laws passed did not offer full citizenship to the Aborigines. Today, Aborigines have lost a lot of their lands and are still the poorest group in Australia and have been the victim of segregation.

  1. Africa: Many African countries have been in long-term civil wars since they gained their independence from colonies. There has been strong racism in the area towards the non-Africans that migrated during Europe’s colonialism and imperialism over Africa. In Zimbabwe, there has been increasing racism against white farmers due to the poverty.

  1. Middle East: The major consequence of racism on the area is the Palestine and Israel crisis. The tension between the Arabs and Jews is still increasing because of the two races’ religious and cultural differences. There is also a high-rate of racism in Lebanon towards foreigners. The Lebanese system follows different laws for each community. The terrorist attacks that took place in America and Europe lead to a violent racial hatred towards the Middle East. Additionally, the majority of the worlds’ population has been labeling people that look Middle Eastern as terrorist.

  1. Asia: Cambodians Indonesians show extreme prejudice against the Vietnamese and Chinese and blaming them for economic problems. India is still dividing society to statuses from low two high and treating them according to the Hindu system.

  1. North America: There is an extreme and still increasing racial hatred towards the Middle East. In the United States, is still dealing with the traces of the racial competition between Americans and African-Americans. The country is still trying to prevent the racial generalizations and issues such as police brutality and the history of slavery.

Major Parties Involved
-IMADR (International Movement Against Discrimination and Racism): The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) is an international non-profit, non-governmental human rights organization devoted to the elimination of discrimination and racism. It is founded in 1988 by one of Japan’s largest minorities, the Buraku people. It has grown to be a global network of concerned individuals and minority groups with regional committees and partners in Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America.
-ENAR (European Network Against Racism): is an EU-wide network of non-governmental organizations in all European Union Member States and Iceland. ENAR stands up against racism and discrimination and fights for equality for all in Europe. It voices the concerns of ethnic and religious groups in European and national policy debates.

Evolution of Previous Attempts
A UN Global Conference (also known as Durban 1) was held between August 31 and September 7, 2001 in South Africa. The conference discussed racism racial discrimination and prejudice. The conference was a challenging one for UN to handle because some countries were against criticism and discussion on specific topics, because of their policies, such as United States, India and Israel. At the end of the conference the delegates voted to reject the final documents language that was found accusing Israel of racism. The conference was followed by Durban 2 in Geneva and Durban 3 in September 2011 in New York. Over 10 countries boycotted both conferences. That is why there was no effective resolution developed as a result of the discussions and the delegates’ decisions.

Possible Solutions
As a solution for the issue, the first thing that can come to mind is education of the society. If the community is educated about different races, ethnic and cultural groups they will have awareness on the topic. Tools that can be used for the education can be media, schools and culture groups that share their cultures and believe to each other. Another possible solution can be the passage of laws, in countries, which are dealing with extreme acts of racism that can include a variety of punishments including fines and arrests if violated.

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