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Prejudice against the black race

By Albert Olawale Oyedokun
13 November 2016   |   3:38 am
Currently, the world population can be divided into four major races namely; white/Caucasian, yellow/Asian/ Mongoloid, black/Negroid, and brown/Australoid/ Australian Aborigines.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Condoleezza Rice, the first female African-American ‘Secretary of State’ in the United States, said her father instilled in her while growing up, that the black race would have to prove themselves worthy of advancement; they would simply have to be “twice as good as a white” to overcome injustices built into the system of the predominantly white society. This she said had been the driving force behind her success story. The human races are group of people with certain common inherited physical features, which distinguishes them from other groups. All men were originally created equal (as stated by Religion), and to buttress this, all men of whatever race are classified by anthropologist as belonging to one species, Homo sapiens.

The distinction process originated over thousands of years ago when some Homo sapiens population, due to environmental changes, migrated thousands of miles away from their origin to other habitats; they encountered new environments and adapted their lifestyles to suit their new-found circumstances. The vast distances covered, and the encounter of physical barriers that once surmounted was unlikely to be crossed again, sometimes resulted in the practical isolation of populations. Some populations were isolated sufficiently long in their new habitats to develop inheritable characteristics that distinguished their members from those of different provenance.

Although there was no clear evidence of racism found in other cultures or in Europe before the Middle Ages (5th to 15th century). However, race awareness came about during the historical process of exploration and conquest, which brought Europeans in contact with groups from different continents, they speculated about the physical, social, and cultural differences among various human groups. This was then followed by the rise of Atlantic Slave Trade (16th to the 19th century), which further created the incentive to categorize human groups in order to justify the subordination of African slaves. Similarly, the Industrial Revolution pioneered by Britain, brought about some significant changes by inventions of; machines, steam power, and the adoption of the factory system. This placed the Western World on a higher influence than other groups of people in Knowledge.

Currently, the world population can be divided into four major races namely; white/Caucasian, yellow/Asian/ Mongoloid, black/Negroid, and brown/Australoid/ Australian Aborigines. Today, conventional assumptions have often placed the Caucasian race at the zenith, while others races have been assigned progressively lower notches in the intelligence scale with the Africans condemned to the lowest rung. Liberation from colonial rule did not come cheap for most African States. The people revolted against tyranny, resulting in loss of lives; for example, the Mau-Mau group fought for Kenya independence, likewise the African National Congress (ANC) revolted against oppression from apartheid in South Africa, where Nelson Mandela narrowly escaped the hangman noose in 1964, but was incarcerated for 27 years.

Radical racism ended and led to emancipation, nationalism, and imperialism, in the 19th century, giving birth to ideological racism in West. Racial ideology saw its extreme in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust where blacks were persecuted and men sterilized. Despite the ‘emancipation proclamation’ declared by Abraham Lincoln, the ‘free’ citizens (black Americans) were given second class treatment, having separate facilities for whites and blacks. White children were taught that the black race is inferior and these children grew up with that believe. The passage of racial segregation laws and restrictions on black voting rights reduced African Americans to lower caste status.

The famous ‘I have a dream’ speech by Martin Luther King (Jnr.) and the civil right activities in the 60’sinfluenced passage of the Civil and Voting Right Act. These have brought about changes as a black man became President of the United States; but in-spite of this the U.S. remains a residentially segregated society. Obama is concerned about sufferings of the Black community, but like all crossover Black elected officials who need whites vote to be in office, he downplays his “color” and realities of racism.

In Europe Blacks are hated, humiliated, maltreated and killed. A Nigerian youth, was allegedly killed by four unruly British youths in London. After years of legal battle by the parents, the culprits were sentenced by the Judge, and the verdict was not commensurate to the level of crime committed. Prejudice has resulted in – hatred, murder, schizophrenia etc. Recently in America a white male armed with a 45 caliber handgun, went into an African-American Church during a bible study and shot dead 8 people. Investigation is ongoing (as claimed!), but the Caucasian may end up getting a ‘light’ sentence, or the jury may argue that he’s ‘mentally unstable’ and send him to a rehabilitation home.

If such a crime were committed by an African-American, he possibly by now would be counting days to his execution. The racial bigotry which the superstar with unparalleled dance steps, Michael Jackson, endured while growing up, possibly resulted in his psychosis, which may have led to him undergo multiple surgeries to change his facial structures and his skin colour. There have been incessant reports of maltreatment of citizens of our Country by various foreign companies scattered in different parts of Nigeria; many of these establishments are owned by Chinese, Indians and Lebanese. A Lebanese employer kicked a pregnant Nigerian woman on the stomach in Lagos causing complications and miscarriage during an argument at work. In another plastic factory an employee was beaten to coma by his Chinese boss. These expatriate create a special canteen and other amenities for their nationals only.

The evils of racism oblige its abolition at national, regional and international level and as such: our lawmakers should come up with strong legislations to protect our citizens against disenfranchisement from foreigners doing business in our country. The international community should do more to spread the message of love. We should believe in our self-worth and ability to solve problems in our Country and stop looking up to others countries for aid. UNESCO should do more in advancing human rights, education and enlightenment campaigns across the world, as Education remain the most powerful tool to avert racism. Every religion talks of God’s love in creating mankind; hence ‘people should not be defined by the color of their skin or race, but by their acts’ – (MARTIN LUTHER KING (Jnr) I have a dream speech!).

• Oyedokun (Engr.) MNSE; COREN Regd.