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What is racism?


There are at least two approaches when it comes to defining racism. The first one is believing in the existence of races within mankind, the second is believing the superiority of some races compared to others. Obviously, the second definition requires the acceptation of the first one. However, someone who believes in the existence of races doesn’t necessarily believe that some are superior to others. Instead, he or she agrees on the fact believes that some populations share some traits and characteristics and which others don’t. Racists according to the first definition do not associate value with one or other of these traits.
Why doesn’t the academic world use the term of race? Principally because of the second world war and especially Nazism. Moreover, during the colonization period in the 18th century, Europeans were using the term of race in order to justify their political action and underline the superiority of the Western Civilization over a more primitive humanity, and even sometimes a non-humanity. It is said that believing in the existence of races leads to believing in the superiority of some compared to others, so the two definitions are inextricably linked.

This being said, does being politically correct prevent us from being rigorous or scientific? Not necessarily. Indeed, the whole scientific community now uses the term population rather than race which is actually a semantic adaptation. The academic world rejects the concept of races as it is seen as too dangerous and shameful. Can we use it today? Is it accepted or scientifically correct? The short answer would be yes, if you compare humans with animals, we could draw some comparisons. Indeed, there exists a subdivision of species, also called subspecies, which is familiarly called race. A group of animals who grow up apart from other animals of the same species develop particular traits after a few generations have passed. This phenomenon is much slower in humans.

However, there is a much is the cultural adaptation, or acculturation. A group of humans placed in much higher social group of humans will naturally to the new social environment. If the two groups are of the same importance, they will be mutually influenced. This process is incomparably much quicker than genetic mutations.

In conclusion, one can believe in races but he or she misses what makes us human, our cultural bonds which overpass superficial genetic adaptations.


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