Racism existed in societies long before modern societies were developed and territories were defined. It started when people lived in clans and tribes. Foreigners (strangers) coming from tribes or lands, speaking different languages with different cultural norms and religious beliefs were seen as a threat to one’s clan. That is when it all started; people’s sense of security was compromised. But even in today’s modern and civilized societies this stereotypical belief still exists. We are all familiar with the term slavery, especially black slavery that was finally ended in 1863. I would say that the actual slavery and trade was abolished, but a type of slavery still exists in our societies around the globe in different forms and terms.
In developed and developing countries, racism exists and in its worst possible ways. People from Africa and Asia are exploited for being from a different race, having coloured skin, speaking a different language. Black lives never mattered in the past or even presently everyday a lot of people are harassed and tortured mentally and physically due to their race or religions. A black person is six times more likely to be incarcerated than a white man. These racial disparities are rooted in a narrative of racial differences; the belief that black people are inferior was created to justify the enslavement.
Country thought to be the safest and modern in the sense of acceptance and liberation is going through the chaos due to racial injustice, the voice raised now probably should have happened long before so there might be some racial justice in societies. In this era of technology and internet turning the world into a global village it is easy to raise voice against these beliefs by using social media and other platforms nothing is hidden. In this year 2020 when every possible disaster has come upon humanity this issue has also arisen from the death of George Floyd whose death was the result of racism who became a victim of white supremacy. That started protests in several countries and millions of people came on streets to raise their voices against racism probably not the worst year in this cause.
If we talk about this specific issue in our Pakistani society ignorantly we are also racist in many ways toward minorities on the bases of racial features or religion. Due to underdevelopment of some areas or provinces in Pakistan students from other provinces and small cities come to bigger cities to get education. But unfortunately they are widely discriminated because of belonging to other cities or provinces and having different languages and cultural norms. Hazara community is the biggest example of this brutality they are killed with no questions asked and people and judiciary being quite over this is racial injustice.
Racial discrimination still exist in Pakistan in some subtle as well as apparent forms, and unfortunately, in state policies as well. We can choose to turn blind folded, but the price will be social conflict, crimes, underdevelopment and political instability. We have to choose between continuing to live in a society fragmented on the basis of caste, color, descent, ethnicity and language, or make efforts to ensure equality, justice and accountability through internal and external scrutiny according to international standards of human rights. The earlier choice will leave us with the status quo the on the other hand, the latter can deliver rule of law and better governance. The choice rests with.
“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” – Angela Davis.
This is the most powerful quote at these hard times. It’s the time to raise our voice as in all it’s the most important thing to do to sustain our society and sustain our youth and its potential irrespective of their color, language or caste.