Nieuws - 22 mei 2015

Blog: Do you have a racist gene?

‘Do you judge people by their colour, ethnicity or race?’ Without second thoughts everyone would answer: ‘No. Everybody is equal’. But in reality, I think this discrimination is encoded in our genes.

Let us imagine some situations:

Situation 1: You are in a train station and suddenly somebody shouts ‘Bomb!’ Wouldn’t your eyes unintentionally look for a person with a long beard? And still you call yourself non-racist.

Situation 2: It is night time, you are alone and walking back to your home while you notice that there is a black guy behind you. He is probably also just going towards his home, but wouldn’t you be less scared if it was a white man walking behind you? How would you feel? Your gene has encoded ‘black’ as danger. And still you call yourself non-racist.

Situation 3: You are searching a partner for your assignments with short deadline. There are three guys: from Asia, Africa and Europe. Wouldn’t you try to work with the European guy? Your gene has encoded white skin to be intelligent. And you call yourself non-racist.

No matter how hard we try to be non-racist, in the fight-or-flight-situation our genes make us racist.

All the white skinned people immigrating to Europe are termed expats, whereas brown and black skinned people are called immigrants. Isn’t that the height of racism?

Another example of racism can be found in the words used to describe the working people from different regions. They have invented different words: Expats (expatriates) and Immigrants. All the white skinned people immigrating to Europe are termed expats, whereas brown and black skinned people are called immigrants. Isn’t that the height of racism? To not sound racist, they have defined ‘expats’ as the ‘skilled persons immigrating’ and ‘immigrants’ as ‘non-skilled persons immigrating’. Now, the question arises what skill is and the obvious answer to this is ‘what white skinned people do’. Have you heard the highly skilled person from Africa and Asia being called expats? I believe these kinds of people with very good skills do exist in these developing worlds also. And no, these kinds of people have never heard somebody calling them an expat.

Today, we may be highly aware of the global issues, trying to save the world in our differentiated but collective efforts, but have we not made our different perceptions in treating someone different than the others who are actually similar? And who is to blame for encoding our genes with such bias? Media, our surroundings, the way we are brought up or the way we are made to think and believe? And how long will it take to delete such deleterious genes?