Historically, racism was first used as a way to describe a worldview of the powerful. Basically, elites that dominated Western societies, had a sense of superiority. But in modern day, those with political or economical power rarely express it through race divisions. That’s why racism began to take a negative connotation, little before world War II, because it was starting to be used as a weapon to spread fear and hatred of others.
Perhaps the most recognized cases of widely spread racism were the ones in the USA before Civil War, bringing discrimination of black people, Nazi Germany, where a supposedly superior Aryan race was propagated, or Apartheid in South Africa. Almost everyone will agree that racism has cost mankind a lot; but there was also a sort of consolation after the revolutions at the end of 20th century that these dark days of humanity were now left behind. Was this optimism based on any real grounds?
Apparently no. The transition to the 21st century was celebrated as the start of a new age, with much less conflicts and with an united goal to achieve world peace and improvement. Many of the feeding factors for world conflicts were now thought to have settled down, with many historical ethnic and religious clashes now being negotiated. Not much time had to pass, before we realized that these but conflicts didn’t in fact disappear, but only changed their shape. That is what exactly happened with racism.
From the aggressive, prejudicial and often institutional racism, we have suddenly switched to a modern version of racism, where aggressive factor was just replaced with a subtle one. This type of subtle prejudicial racism has evolved in such a way that it is hard to notice, but is considered more dangerous than its predecessor. For example, creating an image of political correctness, companies promise an equal opportunity, but there is a great doubt that this is actually a fraud. Then, we have division of races, by specific abilities. So basically, black people are considered to be naturally more athletic, Asians are seen as intelligent, and Hispanics, on the contrary, as unintelligent. The problem is that this, as a consequence of mass media influence, easily gets embedded in the minds of most people. And therefore, people are often walking down the street and unconsciously discriminating the ones that are not similar with themselves.
The rapid rise of right-wing and ultra racist parties in European countries such as Germany, Poland, Great Britain, The Netherlands and Greece, is yet another alarming fact showing the resurrection of racism.
Now that we know the type of racism the society is currently facing, perhaps we should try to answer the question, is racism actually increasing or decreasing? The question doesn’t seem to have an easy answer. Basically, because the institutional aggressive factor has been banned, we could come to a conclusion that racism has a much less impact on society. Besides, younger people tend to care less about colors or races, and actually educate themselves on different cultures, trying to ignore little groups that are trying to spread hatred. Taking the position of black people for example, it could be assumed that they are much better than 50 years ago, when they couldn’t get education and find work easily.
But there are also many signs showing that the black people are not still being treated equally. For example often a black man, doing the same job with others, earns less wage than the white one, and is having a much harder time trying to get promoted. On the other hand, black people and Hispanics usually attend lower quality education programs, as there are still segregations in the schools. Talking about the USA, we see more often the incidents in last a few years, where white policemen are killing black people.
As it could be well understood from the flourishing of new anti-racist movements, such as Black Lives Matter movement, the debate about racism is far from ending. Same is true with Europe, which is facing immigrants coming from Arabic states. The rapid rise of right-wing and ultra rightist parties in European countries such as Germany, Poland, Great Britain, The Netherlands and Greece, is yet another alarming fact showing the resurrection of racism.
All in all, the rise of Neo-racism could be thought to be on the yellow light for the time being; but nobody can be sure, whether or not another disaster could come and hit the humanity. While the fight against racism will extend to the future, raising awareness is the urgent action to be taken.