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GP Model Essays – Racism

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Q1: Is a world without racial conflicts an impossible dream?

 

When we consider man’s war-torn history, his cur rent actions and his nature, a world without racial conflicts seems an impossible dream. For such a world to evolve, would mean that man had controlled his baser instincts completely and all the problems of the world had vanished. Even then the evolution of such a world could not be guaranteed.

 

A race will become hostile to other races when they are not doing as well as the other races and have lost every source of national pride. They will then turn in ward and convince themselves that the other races are responsible for their plight. This describes the situation of the German people immediately after World War I exactly. At that stage, they had lost their proud navy and the army was vastly reduced, they had to spend a lot of money annually to service a war indemnity so large they could never hope to pay it and their government had proven to be an ineffective one. Hitler took advantage of this, convincing them that they, the Aryans had natural dominance over the other races and this started one of the most horrifying wars in the history of mankind.

 

Since one race will always be ahead of another and jealousy is always inevitably present, the possibility of a racial conflict is never far away. If the jealousy between the races becomes too strong, all it takes is a glib-tongued, power-hungry man to turn the relatively harmless situation into a racial conflict.

 

A world without racial conflict is an impossible dream because of man’s basic desire to have control over others. of his kind. This has been proven historically by the existence of slavery, in which the race of the master has absolute power over the race of the slaves. Even when slavery was made illegal, the “slave race” was still con trolled by the “master race” and when this balance was upset, racial conflict ensued. This is shown by the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States of America, against the African-Americans in the early half of this century. It is shown by the numerous lynchings of black people in the southern states of the USA whenever these men tried to improve their lot. It is apparent even today when a Ku Klux Klan member was recently elected as governor of Louisiana, with the public knowing fully whom they were electing.

 

One of the reasons why racial conflicts are unlikely to end is the fact that almost every person has been raised believing that his race is better than the rest. This form of racial prejudice can be so subtle that the person may not even realize it himself. These half-submerged attitudes arise once people feel that they are being discriminated against and they fight back against the perceived attacks. For instance, Chinese-Indonesians feel that they are dis criminated against because they are Chinese, while native Indonesians feel that they are exploited by their middle-class Chinese employers. It is a no-win situation. No matter what is done to help, the action may be seen as an added insult to either party and the possibility of conflict becomes even higher. In Singapore, this is clearly illustrated in the racial riots of the 1950s. Even today, the prejudice and conflicts are still present, though much more subtle. Malays are still stereotyped as lazy, the Chinese, as materialistic beyond redemption and the Indians are still generally looked down upon. I am not saying that the situation is explosive and ripe for conflict but I am just saying that the various prejudices are still present.

 

Evidence of racial conflicts is rampant today. For many of these conflicts, their reasons stretch back many decades. For instance, the carnage in Rwanda started when the French colonialists long ago allowed one race, the Tutsis, to rule the other. When the French left, civil war broke out with one race, the Hutus, wanting to avenge the wrongs done to it by the ruling race during the years of French colonialism and to gain power and with the Tutsis trying to keep their power, even at the cost of sacrificing their own people to win sympathy and support. The hotspot in Bosnia can be traced all the way back to the beginning of this century when the breakup of the old Ottoman Empire left many smaller states hungry for more land and power. The “forgotten war” in the Nagorno Karabakh area can be traced to the former USSR’s policy of resettling people away from their native homelands to alleviate its problems with the various nationalities.

 

As can be seen, the roots of these racial conflicts lie deep in history. It would take a long time and a lot of sustained effort to resolve these problems. Meanwhile, the seeds for future racial conflicts would be sown and these would erupt in the future.

 

To conclude, living in a world devoid of racial conflicts does seems to be an impossible dream. It is inherent in man’s nature to want power over others and to be prejudiced against other races or jealous of their progress. This was obvious even at the very dawn of mankind when one tribe would routinely attack another for the simple reason that they were different and there was plunder to be had. The roots of such conflicts are also too deep and complicated to be resolved. It would take too much time and effort from too many parties, most of which would be reluctant to help unless it was to their direct advantage. Thus, I do think that the possibility of such a world existing is a very dim one. Even if it were to exist, it would be only in the very distant future.

 

 

(This GP model essay on Racism represents a perennial issue for Global & regional issue, International Affairs, Human Rights, etc.)


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