Anti-racism includes beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose
racism. In general, anti-racism is intended to promote an egalitariansociety in which people do not face discriminationon the basis of their race, however defined. By its nature, anti-racism tends to promote the view that racism in a particular society is both pernicious and socially pervasive, and that particular changes in political, economic, and/or social life are required to eliminate it.
American origins of modern anti-racism
Many of founders of the
United States of Americadid not exhibit anti-racist tendencies, and many were owners of black slaves. In fact, protections of the legal practice of slaverybased on racism were written into the text of the original Constitution of the United States.
This was despite implicitly anti-racist founding statements such as "
all men are created equal" from the American Declaration of Independenceof 1776. Although such inconsistencies were pointed this out by black westerners, such as Olaudah Equiano, and whites, such as Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, serious political change on the issue would have to wait until the American Civil War.
The first great successes of anti-racism were won by the Abolitionist movement, both in
Englandand the United States. Though many Abolitionists did not regard blacks or mulattos as equal to whites, they did in general believe in freedom and often even equal of treatment for all people. A few, like John Brown, went further. Brown was willing to die on behalf of, as he said, "millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments...." Many black Abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass, explicitly argued for the humanity of blacks and mulattos, and for the equality of all people.
American Civil War, anti-racism in the North became much stronger and more generally disseminated. The success of black troopsin the Union Armyhad a dramatic impact on Northern sentiment. The Emancipation Proclamationwas a notable example of this shift in political attitudes, although it notably did not completely extinguish legal slavery in several states. After the war, the Reconstruction government was often explicitly anti-racist, most notably in passing the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution to guarantee the rights of blacks and mulattos, but also in its general support for black and mulatto rights and in its commitment to equal treatment. As a result, many ex-slaves had access to educationfor the first time. Blacks and mulattos were also allowed to vote, which meant that African-Americans were elected to Congress in numbers not seen before -- or since.Fact|date=October 2007
Due to prolonged racist resistance in the South, however, and a general collapse of idealism in the North, Reconstruction ended, and gave way to the
nadir of American race relations. The period from about 1890 to 1920 saw the re-establishment of racist Jim Crowlaws and a general abandonment of anti-racist ideology. President Woodrow Wilson, who regarded Reconstruction as a disaster, resegregated the federal government.Fact|date=July 2008 The Ku Klux Klangrew to its greatest peak of popularity and strength. D.W. Griffith's " The Birth of a Nation" was a movie sensation.
Racial equality proposal of Japan in Paris Peace Conference, 1919
:"(For more detailed information, see
Paris Peace Conference, 1919)." Japanfirst proposed articles dedicated to the elimination of racial discrimination to be added to the rules of the League of Nations. This was the first proposal concerning the international elimination of racial discrimination in the world.Fact|date=October 2007
Although the proposal received a majority (11 out of 16) of votes, the chairman, U.S. President
Woodrow Wilson, overturned it saying that important issues should be unanimously approved. It is said that behind the scenes, Billy "Sea Otter" Hughes and Joseph Cookvigorously opposed it as it undermined the White Australia Policy.Fact|date=October 2007
The revival of anti-racism in the United States
Anti-racism showed signs of revival in the 1920s and 1930s. At that time, anthropologists such as
Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Ashley Montaguargued for the equality of humans across races and cultures. Eleanor Rooseveltwas a very visible advocate for minority rights during this period. Socialist organizations like the wobblies, which gained some popularity during the Great Depressionwere explicitly anti-racist.
Beginning with the
Harlem Renaissanceand continuing into the 1960s, many African-Americanwriters, including James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin argued forcefully against racism.
Anti-racism won its most notable and lasting victories in the United States during the
Civil Rights Movement. Jim Crow lawswere repealed in the South and blacks finally re-won the right to vote in Southern states. Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.was an influential force , and his " I Have a Dream" speech is an exemplary condensation of his anti-racist ideology.
Anti-racist ideology has been hugely influential. It has been a catalyst for
feminism, anti-war, and anti-imperialist movements. Henry David Thoreau's opposition to the Mexican-American War, for example, was based in his fear that the U.S. was using the war as an excuse to expand American slavery into new territories. Thoreau's response was chronicled in his famous essay " Civil Disobedience", which in turn helped ignite Gandhi's successful campaign against the British in India.Fact|date=May 2008 Gandhi's example in turn inspired the American Civil Rightsmovement.
James Loewennotes in "Lies My Teacher Told Me": "Throughout the world, from Africato Northern Ireland, movements of oppressed people continue to use tactics and words borrowed from our abolitionist and civil rights movements."Fact|date=July 2008 In East Germany, in revolutionary Iran, in Tiananmen Square, in South Africa, images, words, and tactics developed by anti-racism, or pro-human rights supporter, or supporters of self-determination and national freedom have been used regularly and repeatedly.
Many of these uses have been controversial. For example, the
pro-lifemovement often draws connections between its goals and the goals of abolitionism. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabehas used anti-racist rhetoric to a land distributionscheme which resulted in widespread starvation. However, it has been argued that President Mugabe himself heads a racist government due to his blatant acts of hostility and oppression toward White Zimbabweans (see Land reform in Zimbabwe). [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/698175.stm UK anger over Zimbabwe violence] ] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/zimbabwe/article/0,,2048032,00.html Corrupt, greedy and violent] ] [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2970781.ece Sentamu urges Mugabe action] , "The Independent", September 20, 2007]
Nonetheless, anti-racism's success, at least in one sense, has been overwhelming.
Cultural Peace Groupscriticise many human rights campaign run by International rights organizations as the front of ethnic discrimination] ) [ [http://culturalpeace.blogspot.com/ Cultural Peace Groups] ] . Not so long ago, racism was the explicit ideology of the West. Today, on the other hand, it is eschewed, at least in name, by almost every prominent figure of note. In recent years, no major public figures, including Strom Thurmondand David Duke, have defined themselves as white supremacists.
Despite anti-racism's successes, some peoplewho? feel that racism is still a powerful force in Western societies. Some proponents of anti-racismwho? point to ongoing differences in quality of life among different races as examples of the effects of underlying racist attitudes and point to phenomena such as the
drug war, the prison system, ongoing segregation of housing, racial profiling, police brutality, U.S. imperialism, and the immigration reductionismmovement.Fact|date=October 2007 Many political commentatorswho? have also noted that politicians play on racially biased fears when advocating policies associated with the War on Terrorism, such as those policies relevant to the current Iraq War.Fact|date=October 2007 Anti-racists have advocated various responses to this perceived underlying racism, from constitutional changes (for instance, changes in drug laws or in school funding) to greater individual sensitivity. A few of the more controversial programs advocated by some anti-racists include reparations, affirmative action, diversity training, and the antifamovement.
Critics of contemporary anti-racismwho? say that
ethnicityamid some degree of ethnocentrismis legitimate and beneficial and that there are non-discriminatory explanations to most racial differences in social and economic position. Other critics feel that an automatic presumption that racism is to blame for such differences is corrosive to society as a whole, in that members of the majority group become frustrated and resentful as they find themselves accused of having racist attitudes regardless of their efforts to be "color-blind", and members of minorities lose any sense of personal responsibility for their well-being, replacing it with an inveterate hatred for the larger society ["Cultural Whiplash: the Unforeseen Consequences of America's Crusade Against Racial Discrimmination" / Patrick Garry (2006) ISBN 1581825692] Manywho? consider anti-racism to be fueled by a leftist coalition between white guiltand identity politics, and have stated that anti-racism, as practiced in the contemporary Western world, is essentially racism against white people.Fact|date=October 2007
In recent years the belief that race has no effect on
intelligenceor potential -- a basic tenet of anti-racist philosophy -- has been challenged by scholars such as Charles Murray, Michael Levin, and J. Philippe Rushtonand defended by other scholars such as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Levinand Richard Lewontin. They claim that, in light of the slight but definite effect that racial origins have on physical traits like medical risk factors or athletic abilities, there is no reason to suppose that such effects do not extend to mental traits. [ [http://www.euvolution.com/articles/racematters.html "Does Race Matter? - Recent Developments"] ] [ [http://www.geocities.com/race_articles/rushton_view_race.html "Race is More Than Just Skin Deep: A Psychologist's View"] ] In October 2007, Nobel laureate and discoverer of the DNA structure James Watson caused an uproar by stating that there probably is a link between race and intelligence and that tangible evidence can be expected within about ten years.
Color blindness (race)
Race and intelligence
Racism in the United States
Teaching for social justice
*By Any Means Necessary (
BAMN) (United States)
Aktion Kinder des Holocaust(Switzerland)
Anti-Racist Action(North America)
Anti-Fascist Action(United Kingdom)
Campaign Against Racism and Fascism(United Kingdom)
* (United States)
Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism(Belgium)
FightDemBack!(Australia and New Zealand)
Institute of Race Relations(United Kingdom)
National Assembly Against Racism(United Kingdom)
Newham Monitoring Project(United Kingdom)
One People's Project(United States)
Red and Anarchist Skinheads
Residents Against Racism(Ireland)
Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice
Roots of Resistance(Canada)
Southern Poverty Law Center(United States)
The Night Watch(United Kingdom)
UNITED for Intercultural Action(European-wide Anti-racist Network)
World Conference against Racism(United Nations)
Alistair Bonnett(1999) "Anti-Racism", London: Routledge ISBN 78-0-415-17120-5
* Wright W. D. (1998) "Racism Matters", Westport, CT: Praeger.
* [http://dmoz.org/Society/Issues/Race-Ethnic-Religious_Relations/Anti-Racism/ Open Directory] category
* [http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/sseal/aracism.htm Keele University Political Science Resources anti-racism link directory]
* [http://www.csse.ca/CJE/Articles/FullText/CJE19-4/CJE19-4-08Mansfield.pdf A Critical Examination of Anti-Racist Education]
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