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Reflections of the Phenomenon of Racism to Today: The New Racism

Racism is a political ideology that emerged especially in the political field at the end of the eighteenth century and has deep ties to modernism as well as capitalist ideology. When we look at the dictionary meaning, racism is defined as the doctrine that suggests that one race is superior to other races by reducing the social characteristics of people to their biological and racial characteristics. The marginalized community is seen as having unchanging negative qualities, and these negative aspects serve to reinforce the idea of racism by feeding on prejudices. Political and socio-economic factors are among the other causes of racism.

Race, on the other hand, is defined as a group of people who have acquired certain or distinctive physical characteristics as a result of biological inheritance. With the intensification of studies on “race” in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; The idea of racism began to emerge, and with the twentieth century, with the increasing interest in genetics, the concept of “race” began to lose its scientific character. The events during the Second World War, the idea of a pure race that became widespread in Germany at that time, and the transformation of racial discrimination into a policy of expulsion and even annihilation of races, which was initiated to suppress and suppress all non-pure races, especially Jews, and spread over time. It has been an important experience for people about the dimensions that the thought can reach. Therefore, both the scientific validity of the concept of “race” and the experience of the Second World War made us think that racism could disappear after these processes. On the other hand, it is assumed that people’s thoughts and perspectives will be developed with a modern worldview, self-development skills and education; Even though people were born different, it was believed that these differences would be closed with civilization and education.

However, the discourses of politicians and political parties to protect differences and the actions to prevent immigrant groups from mixing with society show that racism is still alive today. However, when we look at the main reasons why racism continues to exist from the past to the present; The production and dissemination of this concept, the studies on race, the normalization of the exploitation system established in line with this idea by seeing the non-whites at a low level, and the fact that immigrants are seen as a threat in some societies. The new concept of racism emerged as a product of the new social and political life formed by the reversal of the population movements between the colonial and colonial countries after the end of the colonial era. What matters for this “new racism” is not biological factors, but differences such as culture and lifestyle. In other words, the “new racism” is an approach that replaces the racial factor with the cultural factor. According to this approach, cultural differences should be preserved and different cultures should be kept separate. This approach, where there is more cultural discrimination, creates xenophobia, as individuals who migrated from Third World countries for certain reasons adversely affect the indigenous people of the country they migrated to and distort their identities.

The ideological background of this “new racism” is “racism without race”, which has immigration and immigration as its main theme. However, immigrants, who are the target of this ideology, are used as the labor force at the bottom of the society, which ensures the continuity of capitalism. To put it in the words of Balibar (2003) “It is not difficult to understand that in the new racist teachings the theme of hierarchy has only seemingly disappeared”.

When we look at history, the Holocaust and the subsequent discrimination against blacks in America and the colonial conquests and wars that followed, racism has constantly found a way of self-actualization depending on politics and economy. This is why the identification of racism with anti-Semitism serves as an excuse because it allows denying the racist character of xenophobia targeting immigrants.

Today, those who perpetrate this racism not only express their belief in the equality of all people, but also treat individuals of other ethnic origin and religion as separate and inferior beings (Bernasconi, 2007). This type of racism expresses a behavior that argues that the other party, who is not like himself, should live within their own or other geographical and social boundaries, and under the discourse of respecting different cultures lies an invisible belief in intercultural inequality.

Reactions to intercultural fusion and mixing, the emphasis on difference and separation cause any universalist attempt to be seen as threatening. In the new discourse of racism, there is an opposition to the universal and this stance forms the basis of an ultra-conservative idea that differences should be preserved (Taguieff, 2001). This is the basis of the most invisible, and although this idea may seem incompatible with racism, it is immediately clear that the purpose here is to keep different cultures separate from each other, even to overemphasize the dominant culture.

In the new view of racism, it is concluded that each individual will want to live in the culture they belong to and will be reactive and shy towards those from different cultures, based on the fact that cultures are different from each other. This is the renewed version of racism. The new racism does not emphasize cultural superiority, but acts on the argument that those coming from the third world distort the indigenous identity. It aims at cultural discrimination, not biological superiority. What is in question is not the naturalized characteristics of races, but negative feelings such as uneasiness, prejudice and hostility towards the different. In addition to the natural acceptance of being afraid of the different, aggression is also made naturally acceptable. It is thought that such feelings will naturally prevent different groups from living together.

When we look at the appearances of racism today, it can be seen how racist ideology is shaped according to social and theoretical changes. In addition, classical racism’s belief that racial mixing would bring corruption has evolved into a belief that cultural mixing will bring problems. Despite all these changing discourses, when looked closely, it is seen that the essence of racism is the same. Despite the changing discourses, the aim of being against equality, creating new distinctions, preserving existing differences and keeping groups where they are, is preserved.

In conclusion, “Is there a solution or an end to racism?”. The European Union, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and states should be sensitive to this issue. This thought can be reduced by sanctions, laws, public education, and raising new generations free from these prejudices. As Balibar (2003) states, while the object that is the victim of racism rebels, the racist subject must also be dissolved. In short, the disappearance of racist thinking lies in the self-questioning of both sides of racism.

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