Published On: Mon, Nov 5th, 2012

Are Europeans fundamentally racist?

Switzerland has a unique form of democracy which allows for referendums to be held on any issue so long as the proponents gather a minimum of 100,000 certified signatures supporting the referendum.  The Ecopop group of environmentalists have recently gathered 120,700 certified signatures supporting their referendum demand: a cap on population growth via immigration.

Ecopop’s argument is that Switzerland’s population is getting too large – it has increased by 15% since 1990- and that the bulk of that population increase has been due to immigration.  They argue that their views are not anti foreigner, but rather they are against the destruction of Switzerland’s countryside due to the increased urban sprawl caused by a larger population.

This concept of a country  being “full” is not a new one and Ecopop’s call echoes that of the flamboyantly gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn in 2001 and 2002 who claimed that “Nederland is vol” (Netherlands is full) and called for an end to the Netherlands’ liberal immigration policies that had seen the population explode in the post World War 2 period, making it one of most densely populated country in the world.

While both Ecopop and Fortuyn’s calls to restrict immigration explicitly claimed that they were not racist it is almost impossible to have an anti immigration policy and not fall into the racism trap.  At root, this is a question of “other” – who is in and who is out.

In this article History Future Now looks at the concept of European racism through the lens of religion, race/ethnicity, power and economics.  The conclusion may be surprising.

 

Does religion provide the blueprints for racism?

Prior to the 1400s it was almost impossible for Europeans to be racist as they hardly ever encountered other races.  Religion, however, had established a sense of “other” from the 300s AD.

Prior to that, mankind worshiped many gods and they were universal.  Many of the gods developed out of the observable world: gods of water, fire, earthquakes, thunder, floods, sun and moon. The early classical world of the Mediterranean turned these animist spirits into anthropomorphic gods with human like personalities, captured so dramatically in Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey.  Many of the gods from one part of the classical world were almost identical to those in other parts, but with different names and customs.  One of the geniuses of the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire was their ability to synthesise local gods and to give them double barrelled names – with a reference to the Roman version and local version of the god.  This allowed new Roman subjects to worship their old gods and the new Romanised version of their old gods at the same time.

Judaism was an anomaly.  The Jewish god had morphed from a household god into what they believed to be the only god.  This was particularly controversial when Jewish lands were incorporated into the Roman Empire in 6AD.  On the one side you had a group – the Romans – who believed in lots of gods and were flirting with emperor worship and on the other side you had a group who believed in only one god – the Jews – and who, by extension, denied the existence of all other gods, including the emperor.

The Jews were ahead of their times.  In the same way that the Romans recognised that their old gods had different names in other parts of the Roman Empire, they started to experiment with the idea that perhaps their different gods were, in fact, one god with different attributes.  Perhaps spurred on by the new Jewish Christian sect, Sol Invictus (the unconquered sun), became one of the dominant new Gods within the Roman Empire, especially during the reign of Aurelian in 270-275AD.  Emperor Constantine, who famously converted to Christianity on his deathbed, was a great fan of Sol Invictus and Christ was frequently depicted with many of the characteristics of Sol Invictus.

The Roman Republic’s inclusive polytheism would eventually be replaced by the Roman Empire’s exclusive monotheism.  But even this monotheism was not monolithic as divisions rapidly emerged in the early Christian Church about the true nature of Christ and his relationship with God and the Holy Spirit.  Regular church goers will be familiar with reciting the Nicene Creed, which laid out official doctrine as to this relationship, first in 325AD and then amended in 381AD.

Early Christianity was plagued by infighting between various parts of the religious spectrum.  While the religious arguments were probably genuine in many cases, what really was happening was a fight over the authority over the Church. With the loss of the Western Roman Empire in 476AD the centre of imperial Christianity firmly moved to the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople.  Christianity in the West became heavily influenced by the German dominated tribes who carved up the Western Empire into the dukedoms and kingdoms that would eventually become Spain, France and northern Italy.

The Church in Rome developed supra national authority thanks to the crowning of the Frankish King Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in 800AD.  However, by that stage neither the Church in Rome nor the Church in Constantinople recognised the authority of the other. Relations were so terrible that during the Fourth Crusade, in 1202-1204, Crusaders attacked and sacked Constantinople on their way to Jerusalem. Constantinople never recovered and was already on its knees when the Turks conquered it 250 years later.

Meanwhile, the third monotheistic religion exploded out of the Arabian peninsula in the 630s and 640s.  Like Christianity, Islam is a derivative of Judaism.  As a result, it shares the same fundamental problem -if there is only one God and you claim to have the most accurate interpretation of God’s word and will, everybody who disagrees with your interpretation must be wrong.  If those that disagree with you are relatively weak politically and economically, it is probably sufficient to let them worship their incorrect ways without too much harassment: they are not a threat.  However, if they are politically, economically and militarily strong, they are a threat.

Which brings us to the next Christian split, between Protestants and Catholics. Early Protestants were Catholics who simply disagreed with the Church in Rome.  Martin Luther initially thought that he was strengthening his Catholic Church by highlighting its deficiencies.  Only with the deficiencies fixed could Catholicism regain its rightful place at the centre of the spiritual world. Pushed to the extremes by an unrepentant Church worried about loss of indulgence revenues, Martin Luther then triggered a second movement, of independence from traditional church control by introducing first a New and then an Old Testament version of the Bible, in German, in the 1520s.

Catholic Church power had never been fully independent and had a symbiotic relationship with the families and rulers of the lands that surrounded Rome.  By the 1520s the Habsburg control of the Church in Rome triggered defections by northern German states and the defection of England by Henry VIII, when the Pope refused Henry a divorce from his wife Catherine of Aragon, the aunt of the Habsburg Emperor Charles V.  This was ironic as Henry had been given the title “Defender of the Faith” by the previous pope for his vigorous attacks on Protestants.

In the meantime, the Jews who had started the whole shift to monotheism had been scattered all over North Africa, Europe and the Middle East.  Their fate in Muslim lands was mostly tolerable.  Islam clearly acknowledges the parallel stories of Islam and Judaism. In Christian lands their existence was a permanent reminder that they did not believe that Christ was the son of God.  If Jews were right then Christianity was wrong.  If Christianity was right, then how could Jews really be trusted when they denied the self evident truth?  They faced centuries of hostility.

Islam would also fracture, between Sunni and Shi’ite.  Their split also revolved around the central question of who had the right version of their religion.

But ultimately the religious question of who was right or wrong can be condensed down into a question of power.  If you have power you can control people. If you can control people you can control tax revenues and expenditures.  Polytheism does not have this problem as everybody is right.  The fight for power is fought on a different basis.

 

The opening up of the world and racial superiority

While religious splits in Europe really stem from the 300s AD onwards, race problems are relatively recent.  In part it is because most of the world was cut off from each other until the late 1400s, with the occasional bout of interaction along the Eurasian landmass prior to that.  In addition, most of the first successful large empires, such as the Roman, Persian and Mongol Empires, were explicitly multi ethnic, rather than being dominated by one racial or ethnic group.

  • The Americas were cut off from the rest of mankind for several thousand years prior to Columbus’ arrival in 1492 in the Caribbean.  They were cut off from each other as well due to the north south axis of the two continents.  The Incas had little, or nothing, to do with the Aztecs. Ethnically, they were all from the same group that had crossed the Bering land bridge thousands of years before.
  • Africa was mainly cut off from the rest of Eurasia due to the vast expanse of desert from the Atlantic, across northern Africa and into the Arabian Peninsula.  Europeans knew about blacks but the desert kept their numbers down, mainly interacting with Europe through Egypt.
  • Australasia had been cut off from Eurasia for tens of thousands of years – even longer than the Americas – and so they remained apart until the voyages of Captain Cook from 1768.
  • The two ends of the Eurasian landmasses did know about each other, vaguely.  Spices and silks did head west during the Roman era and silver headed east.  Nomadic tribesmen such as the Huns and the Mongols battered themselves against one or both ends from time to time, bringing destruction, disease and trade.

From the early 1500s, however, many of these worlds began to be thrown together and modern racism was born.

 

The birth of modern racism

In early 1492, Christian Spain finally defeated the Muslims on the Iberian peninsula after hundreds of years of conflict. Muslims and Jews were given permission to stay and to convert to Christianity, or to go into exile.  Most stayed and converted.  The Catholic monarchs believed that religious harmony was key and religious groups that did not follow the Catholic church were a potential destabilising threat to their power.

Over a year later, in March 1493, Christopher Columbus returned from his first voyage across the Atlantic.  He had landed in the Caribbean Islands of Hispaniola and Cuba in late 1492, mistakenly thinking that he had arrived in the East Indies, China or Japan.  This triggered a series of new expeditions, followed by landings in Mexico and the take over of the Aztec and then Inca Empires by the Spanish.

These conquests were critical in establishing a sense of white Christian superiority over the “other”.   Eurasian diseases such as small pox helped to wipe out most of the native population, establishing the Europeans’ sense of physical superiority.  Spanish horses, guns and steel body armour helped to establish the Europeans’ sense of military superiority. Despite high levels of illiteracy in Europe, no writing even existed in the Inca empire, helping to establish the Europeans’ sense of intellectual superiority.  Human sacrifice by the Aztecs helped to establish the Europeans’ sense of moral and religious superiority.

So at a stroke, Europeans had established themselves physically, intellectually, militarily and morally superior to the peoples of the Americas. And they were clearly of a different race.  Had Columbus landed where he had wanted to land – China – none of this would have happened.  The Chinese shared the same diseases and so would not have succumbed to European diseases. The Chinese were militarily the equals, if not superiors, to the Spanish. Literacy levels in China were higher.  China had the moral codes of Confucianism and Buddhism, which were at least the equals of Christianity.

There were two reasons why Columbus had failed to get Portuguese support for his trip west to China and Japan.  First, the Portuguese were very good navigators already and simply did not believe that it was possible to head west and reach China after a few weeks’ sailing.  They calculated that the Earth was far larger and that no ship could hold sufficient supplies to get there and back. They were right, of course. Second, the Portuguese explorer Bartolemeu Dias had successfully sailed to the southern tip of Africa in 1488.  It was a short hop and a skip from there to reaching the Indian Ocean and beyond – which Vasco da Gama would do in 1497.  There was no need for a risky trip west, when going south and then east seemed almost a certain bet.

Portugal had a very good knowledge of the western coast of Africa, first kicked off by Henry the Navigator in the 1420s.  Africa was appealing due to its gold – especially that of the empire of Mali.  There is a wonderful map drawn in 1375 with the king of Mali, Musa Mansa, depicted as a European style monarch holding a sceptre and orb.  There is not a hint of his being depicted as an inferior.

And yet the death of millions of native Americans, a desire for the sugar, cocoa, tobacco and coffee produced in American soils, a knowledge of west Africa and the infighting of its people there brought about the next huge racial shift in world history – African slaves.

Slavery has existed throughout history.  Abraham, the patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was a slave owner. Noah, he of Ark fame, condemned his grandson and all his descendants to slavery.  Muslims in Africa were enormous slave traders, capturing not only black slaves but also European slaves on raiding trips around the Mediterranean and as far north as Iceland.

Along the west African coast the main slavers included the Oyo and Kong Empires, and kingdoms of Benin, Fouta Djallon, Goura Tooro, Koya, Khasso, Kaabu, Ashanti and Dahomey.   Europeans – initially Portuguese traders up until the 1630s when the Dutch challenged the Portuguese for the role of slave traders – rarely entered the interior of these countries and waited for the slaves to be brought to them to be purchased.  Over time Dahomey, Bonny and Benin became so rich on the slave trade that their kings were horrified when slavery was banned as it undermined their entire economies.

But the sale of one racial group to another racial group to do dangerous, back-breaking, work for profit changed the very nature of slavery.  Some 16 million blacks are estimated to have landed in the Americas.  An additional 16 million are estimated to have died in captivity in Africa or whilst being transported across the Atlantic. Racial prejudices were established early on.  The slaves that the Europeans purchased were huddled together and terrified.  By the time they arrived in the Americas, many were thin, sick and stinking, covered in their own feces. They were cowed, illiterate, had strange religions and could not speak the language of their captors.  Forced into working the fields under the hot sun and thoroughly dehumanised they were treated worse than animals. Profits from the exports of their labours were so high that it was cheaper to work slaves to death and buy new ones than it was to lower their productivity.  After the end of the slave trade it was assumed that slavery would simply die out.  Enterprising slave owners, however, soon turned into slave breeders, and any vestige of humanity was further stripped away from them.

European wealth brought more wealth and inventiveness.  This wealth and the enjoyment of tobacco, chocolate, sugar and cotton made it easy to put aside any moral quandary that Europeans had about slavery.  Sailing ships and navigation technology allowed Europeans to spread further afield.  During French and Indian War, between 1754 and 1763, American Indians predominantly sided with the French, who had few colonists, against the British, whose colonies were expanding further into Indian territory.  Once the war ended, Britain agreed that the thirteen American colonies would no longer be allowed to expand westwards, bottling up any expansionist tendencies that the American colonists had.

However, after Napoleon sold France’s Louisiana territories to Jefferson in 1803 nothing stopped the American colonists from heading westwards and so they entered lands that had been remained stable and had recovered from the initial destruction caused by the spread of Eurasian disease after Columbus 300 years earlier.  American Indians were ethnically cleansed throughout the 19th Century and their surviving remnants were put into reservations and were given legalised gambling and alcohol which helped eradicate anything left of their societies.

With the collapse of Britain’s first empire in America, Britain looked east and south. Many former American loyalists migrated to the emerging trading posts in India, the far east and Australasia.  India was a powerhouse of a nation, about the size of Western Europe.  When Europeans landed, Indians did not get any new diseases and were militarily of equal-ish status and had a long and proud written and cultural history.  Decades of infighting, however, had left the sub continent politically weak, which Portuguese, Dutch and then British traders exploited.

The fact that a country as rich and as populous as India could be taken over by a few thousand British would have helped to confirm Europeans’ sense of superiority.  With the collapse of China and the imposition of the unequal treaties in the 1840s by European powers on that great nation, white Europeans could sit back and reflect on how a small group of white Christian Europeans had, over a period of 350 years from the discovery of the New World, come to dominate all the other racial and cultural groups on the planet.

The Chinese Unequal Treaties of the 1840s were arguably the high point of Europe’s superiority.  In 1853, four American ships steamed into Edo Bay, Japan, demanding that Japan open itself up for trade.  Japan modernised its institutions and economy at an amazing pace.  In 1904-1905 it was sufficiently modernised to defeat the Russians in the Russo-Japanese War.  It swiftly moved on Korea and then onto northern China, setting the stage for the Pacific theatre of the Second World War.  In the same way that white Europeans could marvel how they had taken over the world, Japan could marvel how it had taken on a major European power and had won.  Conquering Korea and China merely affirmed Japan’s greatness.  Japan’s sense of racial and cultural superiority was firmly established.

From the perspective of the rest of the world, the two European civil wars of World War One and Two were incredibly helpful in reversing European power.  Europe was devastated by the wars, physically and mentally.  Decolonisation of Africa and India was relatively quick.  The Cold War stand off put much of the developing world into a cold freeze, but did allow for places like Korea, China, India and Brazil to develop.  The end of the Cold War enabled these regions to rapidly catch up as Westerners invested trillions of dollars into those economies, establishing infrastructure, new factories and new markets.

So, to wrap up, are Europeans fundamentally racist?

Firstly, racial and ethic divisions are relatively new.  Throughout most of history people would encounter and be in conflict with people who looked like themselves.  Prior to the late 1800s very few Europeans would have been in direct contact with Muslims, with the significant exception of those in south east Europe under the Ottoman Empire, who would have fallen in the oppressed, rather than oppressor category.  The sense of “other” for most of European history from the 300s to the 1500s would mainly have been due to religious and linguistic reasons, which was frequently suppressed due to the fact that imperial families like the Habsburgs ruled over so many different peoples.

Secondly, European racism did emerge, due to a series of fortunate circumstances for Europeans and unfortunate circumstances for everybody else:

  • Columbus was supposed to have landed in China.  Had he done, so the likelihood of Europeans being able to dominate China at that point in time was almost zero.
  • Since he did arrive in the Caribbean, the fact that Eurasian diseases (like small pox)  were worse than American diseases (like syphilis) was really unlucky for the Americans.  Had it been the other way round, Europe and Asia’s population (as Asia would have been just as susceptible as Europe) might have seen its population drop by 90%.
  • Had the Americas not been so destabilised, its political structures might have been stronger, enabling the Aztecs and Incas to resist the few hundred mounted Spaniards who attacked them.  Certainly the local advantage in numbers was massive, whatever guns and steel the Spanish had.
  • Had west African slavery not been so widespread and had trade winds not made the voyage comparatively easy, Europeans would never had been able to buy black slaves to compensate for the loss of native Americans to work the fields.
  • Had the mineral and agricultural wealth of the Americas not been possible then the technological advantages that helped Europeans dominate India and China would also not have been possible.  New money helped pay for more machinery and eventually the rise of the Industrial Revolution in Britain and then the rest of Europe and America.

Finally, Europeans’ horror after the Second World War about what they had done to European Jews radically changed Europe’s casual attitudes to racial superiority and their attitudes to the “other”.  European Jews were almost indistinguishable from their fellow countrymen.  And yet French, Italians, Dutch, Germans, Danes, Poles, Austrians and others all handed their fellow citizens over to be murdered by Nazis.

Europeans have now swung to the opposite end of the racism pendulum and are more open and accepting of “others” than most other non European nations.  Many Europeans today are terrified about racism and being accused of being racist. As a result they feel that they are not allowed to talk about issues that are legitimate subjects of debate, like immigration and the size of a country’s population.  They use code words, and make references to the “environment” and the “country being full”.

So Europeans are racists, even today.  But they are paranoid racists, frightened of their past.  There is no risk that Europeans will slip back into being exploitative racists, shipping blacks from Africa over to New World colonies they no longer possess, or forcing Chinese to buy opium at gun point.

However, being fearful of discussing legitimate issues will lead to resentment and anger.

That is not good.

 


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About the Author

- Tristan Fischer is the author of all the articles on History Future Now. He is the Chairman of Lumicity Ltd, a company developing renewable energy infrastructure projects, Chairman of Fischer Farms Ltd, a vertical farming company using hydroponics, and a board Director of Fish From Ltd, an onshore salmon company. He previously worked for Camco International, Shell Renewables and Citigroup. He was educated at Cambridge University. If you liked this article and want to read more, the ebook edition of History Future Now, is now available from the Apple iBookstore!

  • Antoine Wonders

    An open door…. Similar stories can be told of most ethnic groups, religions and nations. The “us and them” mentality has pervaded humanity since its origins or even before, if there was such a thing as mentality in our ancestral primates. Why single out Europeans?

    Racism based on ethnicity is definitely on its way out, but the ensuing sociological, religious problems are plenty. They are not the result of euphemism: most Europeans don’t care about ethnicity but are genuinly worried about cultural and religious implications of immigration.

    How insiduous and complex these problems are is illustrated by the essentially racist and religious state of Israel – for a large part because it’s surrounded by essentially racist and religious other states. I’m afraid we have a very, very long way to go before Jefferson Airplane’s melting pot becomes a reality. Would be nice, though….
    Posted by Antoine Wonders

  • aldo marturano

    Switzerland as a model of democracy is really out of the picture. Don’t forget that in some Swiss Communes/Gemeinden the women are not allowed to vote for certain laws. On the other side Europeans are racists! They probably invented this kind of attitude as a science. The latest sceintist was not our notorious Gobineau? What about Mussolini and Hitler? These latter two transformed racism into well defined states and taight how via racism u could make the rest of the world ur servants!
    Posted by aldo marturano

  • Jack Sigman

    All societies are fundamentally racist.
    Posted by Jack Sigman

    • Alexander Dzisko

      But not Brazil 🙂

      You know, Jack, that is what I like in you – you can free yourself of a “worldwide known” idiocy.

      The only little step is left – you must agree that Zionism brings nothing good to Jews, just like Nazism brought nothing good to Germans…
      Posted by Alexander Dzisko

      • Jack Sigman

        Zionism is nothing more than nationalism. It is as beneficial and as detrimental as any other national movement designed to allow the fulfillment of a recognized ethnic group’s hopes and dreams, particularly self rule within their homeland.

        Brazil is one of the more racist societies regardless of the fantasy they play out pretending that racism does not exist.

        Nazism is more akin to Islamism and has next to nothing in common with Zionism other than being nationalistic movements.
        Posted by Jack Sigman

        • Alexander Dzisko

          at least) German (although much more fair to call it Hitler’s Nazism – I will call it this way the next time) Nazism was a bit different of the radical Islam (I find the world “Islamism” not correct cause the “…ism” is a political particle, allowing us to create many other bad words like “Christianism”, etc.) cause claimed the superiority of very defined nation above all others that is impossible in Islam – you can have any roots, your belief is bigger that all.

          And tell me a bit more about Brazil – if you consider this a country as a racist one, which one race is really considered there as a high sort one – that is really very interesting and hard to imagine…
          Posted by Alexander Dzisko

          • Jack Sigman

            Both groups are highly political. Would you prefer Islamistism? or Islamist?

            As for Brazil: http://www.economist.com/node/21543494
            This project is a small example of a much broader re-evaluation of race in Brazil. The pervasiveness of slavery, the lateness of its abolition, and the fact that nothing was done to turn former slaves into citizens all combined to have a profound impact on Brazilian society. They are reasons for the extreme socioeconomic inequality that still scars the country today.

            Neither separate nor equal

            In the 2010 census some 51% of Brazilians defined themselves as black or brown. On average, the income of whites is slightly more than double that of black or brown Brazilians, according to IPEA, a government-linked think-tank. It finds that blacks are relatively disadvantaged in their level of education and in their access to health and other services. For example, more than half the people in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas (slums) are black. The comparable figure in the city’s richer districts is just 7%.

            Brazilians have long argued that blacks are poor only because they are at the bottom of the social pyramid—in other words, that society is stratified by class, not race. But a growing number disagree. These “clamorous” differences can only be explained by racism, according to Mário Theodoro of the federal government’s secretariat for racial equality. In a passionate and sometimes angry debate, black Brazilian activists insist that slavery’s legacy of injustice and inequality can only be reversed by affirmative-action policies, of the kind found in the United States.

            Their opponents argue that the history of race relations in Brazil is very different, and that such policies risk creating new racial problems. Unlike in the United States, slavery in Brazil never meant segregation. Mixing was the norm, and Brazil had many more free blacks. The result is a spectrum of skin colour rather than a dichotomy.

            Few these days still call Brazil a “racial democracy”. As Antonio Riserio, a sociologist from Bahia, put it in a recent book: “It’s clear that racism exists in the US. It’s clear that racism exists in Brazil. But they are different kinds of racism.” In Brazil, he argues, racism is veiled and shamefaced, not open or institutional. Brazil has never had anything like the Ku Klux Klan, or the ban on interracial marriage imposed in 17 American states until 1967.
            Posted by Jack Sigman

  • Christine McNulty

    When the Prussians nationalised education, followed eventually by all of Western Europe, it sowed the seeds of the destruction of the educational process. Poor education creates young people who are disaffected, ignorant and inevitably prejudiced. Ignorance and fear go together.
    Posted by Christine McNulty

    • Michael Marston

      @Christine – very very good point… I read somewhere (and don’t ask me for a reference as it was decades ago) that one of the root causes of Nazism’s success was the lack of a critical approach to the teaching of history in German schools
      Posted by Michael Marston

      • Christine McNulty

        You are right, Michael, fear of ‘other’ is at the root of racism. However, I would disagree with your statement that, “group loyalty and altruism” are positive human attributes. I think they are fundamental to racism and prejudice.

        If you hold the opinions and welfare of others above your own; if your loyalty is first to the group/family/state rather than to your own personal set of values, then you open yourself up to the possible betrayal of your own interests and perhaps the sacrifice of your own life and happiness.

        Mankind’s greatest innovators and creators as well as those who simply live their lives without betraying their own values, are the engines of progress; “loyal altruists” are usually religious proseletysers or apologists for the various forms of statism. Their professed altruism is a cloak for something quite sinister and definitely self interested!
        Posted by Christine McNulty

        • Christine McNulty

          It was more fundamental even than the teaching of history in German schools, Michael. There existed from I think the 16th century, the conviction that language and race went together. The gradual “purification” of the German language (other nationalities attempted this too) led German intellectuals in the universities to attempt to purge the language of its foreign borrowings, a difficult thing to achieve since European languages owed so much to the classical terms and phrases that had given them their integrity and direction. it was opined by some German writers in the 19th century that writing in the purified German language was like being in a mental straight jacket. I think the Germans were more easily indoctrinated because they could not think for themselves with their sclerotic language – and their philosophical mind set told them that they should not.
          Posted by Christine McNulty

          • Michael Marston

            Christine – I beg to differ… the individual “engines of progress” as you call them would have no hope of achieving anything if they weren’t embedded in a culture, protected by the laws of the state, and supported by people who believe in them… Rand’s isolated genius “saviour of the world and source of all good things” only make sense as archetypes … they don’t exist in reality, in history or in the world now.

            The real engines of progress in the western world seem to me to be:

            – the rule of law that includes the concept of fairness, tolerance of difference, and of essential equality before the law

            – secularism

            – universal education up to a certain age.

            In Rand’s universe, only the hard core genius could make it to the top (unless he or she were born into wealth) because only the wealthy could afford schooling. And the problem with genius is that it is often also sociopathic if not insane.

            The two greatest influencers on our present society are Charles Darwin and Max Plank… Charles Darwin did his work because his family funded him, and Max Plank did his work in government funded universities… both situations were anathema to Rand
            Posted by Michael Marston

          • Christine McNulty

            The Neo-Darwinan Synthesis says that humans exist in constant conflict with atavistic imperatives, the consequence of our long evolution in the Pleistocene. It says that these drives are instincts and that we can only resist them by being ‘socialised’. It says that socialisation consists in developing empathy and engaging in altruistic actions and behaviour. Individuals are aided to control their selfish instincts by living in a society that constrains through its disapproval or, failing that, by the State.

            I think human free will is benevolent. I don’t believe we must be in conflict with ourselves; to me that is a religious idea, akin to ‘original sin’. I think humans have no automatic instincts. We have drives like other animals but we, long ago, learnt to conscript our fight/flight, pleasure/pain spectrum of emotional response in the service of rational evaluation and identification, using language. The difference between a psychopath and a rational individual is this: the psychopath, for whatever reason, has not programmed his emotional mechanism. His values are either perverse or non existent. A rational individual’s values are not the product of society or imposed by some ‘big brother’ authority. They are a response to his own personal assessment of what happiness he can achieve in his life by means of the skills and talents he has nurtured and developed.

            We have free will not in order to deny our nature but to enjoy it.

            I’m not a Libertarian! I believe that for people to develop and exploit their talents and opportunities, they need to live in a society of freely trading individuals under the rule of law. I believe that protecting individuals’ lives, property and the jurisdiction is the only job of government.

            There are plenty of ‘geniuses’ who were not mad. You are right, Rand’s protagonists are archetypes. Education, controlled by the State is indoctrination. Mentoring used to be the way children were taught. That way, children choose their teachers and teachers choose their pupils. When individuals are free to access information and turn it into knowledge, they do not feel the need for religious explanations.
            Posted by Christine McNulty

          • Christine McNulty

            It depends what you believe to be the primary role of human language.
            Posted by Christine McNulty

          • aldo marturano

            Christine, I respect what you posted but the recent theories about the origin of phonic language run along another rail. Of course are theories that have just 30 % (!!) of true content as there is no more difficult research as in linguistic archeology. I’ll line one out. Most probably the invention of using the sounds and noises that come out of our phonic apparatus to make up a conventional system to communicate has been made by a woman. The reason is clear: She had to take care of many things while she was taking along his small children as a mother. She had to watch and warn them from any danger while busy with other things and therefore a shrill, a shout, a loud sound could be helpful to divert the attention of the small roaming child toward her and thus avoid an impending danger. When she noticed that the child paired one sound with a certain warning and another sound to another warning, she started to standardize her sounds pronouncing the sound in accordance with the warning need i.e. the first words.
            Posted by aldo marturano

      • Christine McNulty

        It was more fundamental even than the teaching of history in German schools, Michael. There existed from I think the 16th century, the conviction that language and race went together. The gradual “purification” of the German language (other nationalities attempted this too) led German intellectuals in the universities to attempt to purge the language of its foreign borrowings, a difficult thing to achieve since European languages owed so much to the classical terms and phrases that had given them their integrity and direction. it was opined by some German writers in the 19th century that writing in the purified German language was like being in a mental straight jacket. I think the Germans were more easily indoctrinated because they could not think for themselves with their sclerotic language – and their philosophical mind set told them that they should not.
        Posted by Christine McNulty

  • Michael Marston

    you ask big questions Tristan!!

    All humans are racist, all humans, just as all straight men are homophobes – that is the shadow side of the very positive human attributes of group loyalty and altruism. To make your article more inclusive you should also look at (say) racism in modern day India, Afghanistan, Japan, and much of south-east Asia, and racism as it played out in pre European conquest southern Africa and central America.

    I put racism in the same category as male violence – a reality that will always be present. Asking if anyone is racist or if any average male is more prone to violence than any average female misses the point entirely as the honest answer is always “yes”. The interesting questions are about how that violence or racism or homophobia (“otherism”?) is managed by the culture… some cultures do it well – one of the best in fact is modern western culture, other cultures do it badly or not at all.

    The really interesting questions are about why this is so and how does it happen.
    Posted by Michael Marston

  • Robert Davis

    One complicated idea that I present my Western Civilization students is the quote that in America we use race as an excuse for class warfare while in Europe class is used as as an excuse for racism.
    Posted by Robert Davis

    • James Craig

      Professor Davis, I wish I had been one of your students back in the day. Sounds like you have a knack for asking probing questions. In this case though I wonder if we’re asking history to answer a question that is better answered by sociology or social psychology. Perhaps we should ask whether the need to categorize and to feel superior is a basic human tendency?
      Posted by James Craig

  • Kelly PARKER

    Liberalism and racism are complementary.
    Posted by Kelly PARKER

    • tristan fischer

      Why do you say this?

      It was liberals in Great Britain that called for the end of the slave trade. It was conservatives in the US that wanted to expand slavery into the new American territories. It was fascists who were genocidal against the Jews.

      Please can provide some examples of liberalism and racism as complementary.

      • Kelly PARKER

        The U.S. Republican Party ended slavery in my country, Tristan, while the Dems tried to keep it legal.
        Posted by Kelly PARKER

      • Kelly PARKER

        The U.S. Republican Party ended slavery in my country, Tristan, while the Dems tried to keep it legal.
        Posted by Kelly PARKER

        • tristan fischer

          I was wondering if someone would raise that point. Note that there is a difference between conservatism and the Republican party.

          It is worth reminding ourselves that at the time of the US Civil War the Republicans were the party of the North and the more populated areas, and that Republicans were anti slavery and Democrats were generally pro slavery.

          The inversion of Republican / Democrat states did not happen until Johnson who realised that his push for Civil Rights for African Americans would alienate the South and would result in the loss of the South for Democrats for a generation. Johnson was right about losing the South, but wrong about how long it would take: the Democrats never recovered.

          Republicans now occupy almost all the states that were once Democrat and vice versa.

          See the article about Roots for a more detailed explanation, plus some maps.

          http://www.historyfuturenow.com/wp/roots-a-historical-understanding-of-climate-change-denial-creationism-and-slavery-1629-1775/

        • T.O. Solebo

          @Kelly It is true that the guy from Kentucky lead the fight for that for which millions are grateful but that was then and this is now. The GOP has been moving the other way lately. The DEMs have since “seen the light”, I would say. It was the party that made the civil right era possible.
          Posted by T.O. Solebo

          • Kelly PARKER

            T.O., there are many black Republicans who would be offended by your asinine insinuation that the GOP is promoting slavery. There are also many white descendants of slaves, like myself, who are offended by your ad hominem attack.

            Mike, according to multicultural theory, racism is only possible from the dominant hegemonic culture. Fear of the other is not the prime motivator, but greed for power.

            In our native U.S., the dominant hegemony, as defined by civil wrongs activists since the 60’s, has been white guys from European industry, that is folks like me. I somewhat agree with the notion of racism only being possible from the dominant hegemony, however see the dominant hegemony as shifting is dynamic, shifting with time, population growth, and migration patterns.
            Posted by Kelly PARKER

          • T.O. Solebo

            Kelly, since it is impossible to please everyone at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people do not agree with my that lately, the Republican party has not been very attractive to most minorities in the US. “Asinine insinuation”,”ad hominem attack”? wow, you reached that conclusion just from my posting above? Anyway, I thank you for stating your opinion.
            Posted by T.O. Solebo

          • Mike Switney

            The Repubs would be ok if they’d jettison the religious right and other factions that they have adopted to make up for the fact that there aren’t enough numbers in the upper income brackets to have any hope of gaining a majority. Actually, both parties would be better off if they would quit bottom-feeding, but I’m off topic, so I won’t ramble on. Anyway, what I signed on to say was that I also failed to see any “asinine insinuations” or any attacks, “ad hominem” or otherwise, in T.O.’s post. Also, I acknowledge that what I was referring to was bigotry rather that textbook racism.
            Posted by Mike Switney

  • T.O. Solebo

    Personally, I do NOT believe that most Europeans of today are inherently racists. Of course, there will always be pockets here and there but most people are good,in my opinion.
    Posted by T.O. Solebo

  • T.O. Solebo

    Thank you Tristan. Very good history lesson.
    Posted by T.O. Solebo

  • Paul Wood

    Western Europeans are less racist than people from Asia and Africa.
    Posted by Paul Wood

  • Paul Lewis

    the ones running nato are

    http://eyreinternational.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/what-future-lies-ahead-for-the-victims-of-nato-and-idf/

    “Will NATO admit to using Weapons of Mass Destruction (including low yield nuclear weapons) in all areas of conflict, especially in Libya…….I don’t think so!!

    In conclusion I would also like to remind you that the more recent Libyan conflict has left that country in the same state of health and one will soon see the outcome of NATO attacks on that country which was apparently a humanitarian war………It should be noted that around 5,000 people died according to doctored reports by the rebel army and other false reports from international charities and yet after the war over 50,000 had died and the country was totally contaminated with both depleted uranium and other low yield nuclear weapons…………millions will now die a very painful death as a direct result of this radioactive contamination and many unborn babies and young children will succumb to this deadly trend.

    I have the health statistics for Libya pre war and now it will be so simple to carry out an analysis in say one year’s time and see the dramatic rise in all forms of cancer and gross birth defects etc.

    So much for the West’s humanitarian concerns!!!!”
    Posted by Paul Lewis

    • Federico G. l’Orca

      Paul Lewis
      If I fully undestand your point we should have kept the muslims in Spain and ask Charles Martel not to throw them back.. and the microbe contamination of the Roman Centurions “Gladio” (Swords) should have been disinfected before making a kill? !
      May I suggest you enroll in the virtual PC war games only and I am sure you will ba a Taliban that saves the world!
      Posted by Federico G. l’Orca

      • Paul Lewis

        when the taliban starts dropping depleted uranium and invading let me know

        I hear that the opium production is doing well since nato took control – hmm i wonder why that is
        Posted by Paul Lewis

        • Federico G. l’Orca

          a) They are …
          From UK to Belgium to France and setting up bases in Mali!
          b) They dont have yet depleted Ur But are getting very good at Own made bombs that are placed in metropolitan transport.
          + setting fire in europe wooden areas + preparing for dirty bombs.
          ? where do you live .. In some fairy tale planet or your Bourgeois “revolutionary” background blindfolds you ?
          You seem to mistake the real fact of our sad .. “humanity” with the agressive realism of those who decided that a non believer has to be exterminated at all costs!
          Sleep well … surely you are not in Syria!
          Posted by Federico G. l’Orca

          • Paul Lewis

            work out who profits from the wars

            their fingerprints are everywhere
            Posted by Paul Lewis

  • Antoine Wonders

    An open door…. Similar stories can be told of most ethnic groups, religions and nations. The “us and them” mentality has pervaded humanity since its origins or even before, if there was such a thing as mentality in our ancestral primates. Why single out Europeans?

    Racism based on ethnicity is definitely on its way out, but the ensuing sociological, religious problems are plenty. They are not the result of euphemism: most Europeans don’t care about ethnicity but are genuinly worried about cultural and religious implications of immigration.

    How insiduous and complex these problems are is illustrated by the essentially racist and religious state of Israel – for a large part because it’s surrounded by essentially racist and religious other states. I’m afraid we have a very, very long way to go before Jefferson Airplane’s melting pot becomes a reality. Would be nice, though….
    Posted by Antoine Wonders

    • shodlno

      the reason to single out Europe is because they had the military/violent power to carry their ethnocentricism
      out and conducted massacre for that while other peoples did not.
      and I am glad they are not racist any more but they should
      be grateful to their wealthy life (even when they are far less hardworking than Asians) largely based on pervious colonial experience and allow others to pursue wealth in their country which they don’t Hv to pursue.

  • Martin Sewell

    Race acts as an in-group marker, and feeling more altruistic towards one’s own in-group is perfectly natural. So-called ‘racism’ has been stigmatized within Europe in an attempt to facilitate multicultural societies.
    Posted by Martin Sewell

  • Paul (Pawel) Wajda

    European are rather nationalists in spite of official rhetoric. Nationalism may be sometimes confused with racism.
    Posted by Paul (Pawel) Wajda

  • Mike Switney

    I liked the question of how to define a racist. First, there’s the textbook definition, which everyone should know, but you could say that anyone who thinks mainly in terms of race is a racist, sort of like how you would define a nationalist, a fundamentalist, or any number of other “ists”. Another way is like what a US court once said about pronography: “You know it when you see it.”
    Posted by Mike Switney

  • Federico G. l’Orca

    War is a continuation of politics (Metternich)
    Your English of Britain stance is very similar to some of your famous countrymen .. I speak about Philby & George Blake .. .
    You might / seem to forget that your present job / social & income status is highly corrupted by the fact that we both belong to the most expanding nations .. and this was certainly not done only with preachers.
    Armament is the only advantage to avoid to be slaughtered by mass armies. When China invaded Vietnam in 1979 the fast victory against over a million of PRC Army was due to the ready available left over weapons he us army left behind. The vietnamese army was then able to enter for more than 80 to 100 km on Chinese territory before retreating.
    I fully understand you are ” a kind heart” and do not appreciate the world we live in …! Then .. try to becom a monk or clean the milk that is still behind your ears…
    Posted by Federico G. l’Orca

    • Federico G. l’Orca

      Mistake of mine: It is not Metternich but Von Clausevitz … (Thanks to all for contacting me) –
      Posted by Federico G. l’Orca

  • Oliver Sparrow

    Typical light assessment in that it fails to think what it means by “racism”. There are five fundamental dimensions that govern our attitudes that are also hard wired and not learned: Fairness, Risk-harm, Affiliation, Respect for authority, Purity.

    Xenophobia is the flip side to the Affiliation dimension: those not of our group are dangerous, hostile, probably lesser beings. However, xenophobia is not “racism”, or rather racism is a subset of xenophobia.

    To have racism, you have to have a race. Further, you have to regard all members of that race as having particular characteristics that you dislike or fear. The notion of “race” is a horrid muddle of indelible surface characteristics – skin colour, for example – and self-definition, for example in ethnic terms. So red haired men wearing skirts define the race of Thule, and all members of that group have horrid properties, such as eating babies. You are not at liberty to so label anyone who matches the surface flags, and suspect anyone who nearly does so: you have defined a class of people to whom you can now feel class hate. That is, you hate them in abstract, as a class of being.

    Many such “races” co-exist geographically, and class segmentation is a helpful social navigation tool: I should react to that kind of person like this: “Hey, young lad”, “Hail, ancient wise priest”. Social classes are complex things, but the three way cut around wealth is universal and sets the agenda for politics and social interaction pretty much everywhere. Think the US or China does not have class stratification? Think again.

    So: is Europe particularly prone to segment its populations? Nope. Although history and geography does make them exceptionally plural. Is Europe particularly prone to hate what segmentation it achieves? Not according to psychometrics. Does Europe worry about being “racist”. Morning, noon and night, for reasons due to recent history that we need not discuss.

    So Europe is neurotic about racisms, not notable racist and markedly less xenophobic when measured that are that peer nations, eg Japan.
    Posted by Oliver Sparrow

  • Nurkan Sever

    I consider Europeans as nationalists rather than fascists. Even Europen Union can be a solid proof of thier national unity efforts rather than just being a political club or an economic integrity. It can be thought as an economic nationalist or protectionist movement including EU countries as financial crusades and for sure has nationalist seeds in its core..For their perspective Europe has always been the cradle of civilization and Europeans has a wiser and a more intellectual view than the others in the way of understanding art, science, history, literature and implementing the law.
    Posted by Nurkan Sever

  • T.O. Solebo

    Kelly, since it is impossible to please everyone at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people do not agree with my that lately, the Republican party has not been very attractive to most minorities in the US. “Asinine insinuation”,”ad hominem attack”? wow, you reached that conclusion just from my posting above? Anyway, I thank you for stating your opinion.
    Posted by T.O. Solebo

  • Ronald Howard Kelley

    @Group,

    I believe the precursor to racism was xenophobia and still is, at the root of what we call racism. When some of the hunter-gatherers settled down there was a need to protect what they had from the maruaders. Ownership has its burdens. as small settlements merged into larger, they tended to be like-folk. They became states joined for the most part by language, merged culture, survival instinct and economic balance. Within that internal powers evolved as individuals, monarchs, religions, political and ideological groups and economic cabals. These caused fractures and a new level of xeno. each faction in its own fashion taught its followers to blame the ‘other’ . Racism was taught by all openly or covertly as it is today. Unlearning it is not easy and is really a process of expanding consciousness, awareness and perspective while maintaining an equilibrium that doesn’t allow you to get sucker-punched.

    Best Regards,
    Ron
    Posted by Ronald Howard Kelley

  • aldo marturano

    Is there any big difference? We are following grades of evolution of our Union. The founders such as Altiero Spinelli foresaw such gradual stpes. First of all the basic Constitions of each state to be harmonized within the frame of the UN Rights, then wipe off any migration/movements barrier and then and then. I can understand that it takes years but this is the reality. Next step is to have a supreme organ of governance that dictates the guidelines upon lawgiving and a common Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It is hard to coordinate all these efforts as we Europeans are really racists/nationalist and we oppose all strength to such alterations of our comfortable national position. We still cannot accept European Rom, Sinti, Jews, Tatars etc. If u think that tomorrow also Ucraine or Turkey may join the Union bringing in Moslems, many Italians will be rising the shields against it. Still here in Italy noboby knows and hates to know that in one the EU states, MALTA, Arabic is the national language!
    Posted by aldo marturano

    • Nurkan Sever

      Aldo; is that supposed to mean that EU is a Christian club? 🙂 Why and how ??
      Malta has a different context by the way, they speak “Maltese” which can be assumed as a dialect. Yes, it has some Arabic influences in it and even some city names in Malta are Arabic words since their language is Semitic but in the end they are not Arabs.
      Even as Turks/Ottomans we are not Arabs or Asian. We’re Caucasian unlike the general perspective sees us as an Asian race. Have you ever heard the term of “White Turk”? And Turkish is not Semitic language. It’s an Altaic language whether it has been written with Arabic alphabet in Ottoman Era.
      So read some anthropology before rising your shield..

      To make the long story short, if you mean EU is supposed to be a nationalist community I totally understand. Europe is European..agreed..
      But if you say it’s much more a religious club rather than being a national unity it’s something beyond conservatism, nationalism or even racism. It would be something like Esoteric Christianity or Hermeticism and does not make any sense..
      Posted by Nurkan Sever

      • aldo marturano

        Nurkan, 1. Maltese a variety of Maghrebinic Arab with many Sicilianisms. Please, do not insist upon this point as this is it. Tks. 2. The major countries of the EU are Great Britain, with a large christian base, France, christian-based culture, Italy, christian-based culture, Germany, partially protestant, Spain, christian-based culture, Poland, christian-based culture etc. etc. (including Malta, for ur information). So, please count it up and make a total. Valéry Giscard-d’Estaing was in charge of the European Constitution but he failed just on this step and christianity tripped him up.
        Posted by aldo marturano

        • Nurkan Sever

          Perche sei arrabiato Aldo? Pero,cambiamo il nome di Unione Europea come La Chiesa Europea??? Come suona??
          Anche, Sicilano come un Dialetto Italiano ha un effetto di Arabo ma questo e un characteristico linguistico solo..non é mai un elemento nazionale..
          Si, tutti stati in Unione sono Cristiani ma perché Unione é in corso di negoziazione con Turchia?? Per rinnovare la visione di organizzazione ? Oppure per inventare una economia alternativa????
          Posted by Nurkan Sever

          • aldo marturano

            Nurkan, thanks for having written a few lines in Italian but this does not change your mistake. A language is a system made of words that u join together to express a message. The Semitic languages and the Indoeuropean ones have a kind of grammar that is called inflexional different from Ugro-finnic and Turkish, for instance. Now between Semitic languages and Indoeuropean there are differences as to the morphology etc. and Maltese (which u do not master evidently) has a Semitic structure and this has nothing to do with the Lexicon. I quote: Joseph Aquilina, Maltese, a Complete Course for Beginners, London 1980 “Maltese is a very interesting language with an Arabic morphology and a very mixed vocabulary… This shows that though the Maltese speak a morphologically Arabic language (North African Branch), a continuous political connection with the Arabic world came to an end about 875 years ago, while linguistic influence continued till 1224 when the Arabs were expelled from Malta by Frederick II.” James B, Minahan One Europe, Many Nations, London 2000, page 449 “The language of the Maltese descended from Maghrebi Arabic but has borrowed heavily from Italian, so that the language, although classified as an Arabic language, has developed a latin-based syntax and phonology and is written in the Roman script.” M. Malherbe, Les Langages de l’Humanité, Paris 1995 “Malte – Les langues officielles sont le maltais – langue sémitique, très proche de l’arabe mais écrite en caractères latins…”H. Haarmann, Soziologie und Politik der Sprachen Europas, Muenchen 1975 “Das Maltesische gehoert zur maghrebinischen Dialektgruppe des Arabischen…” Do u want more? By ur token also Turkish is a Indoeuropean language as its Lexicon count some 6 % words borrowed from French and German!
            Posted by aldo marturano

          • Nurkan Sever

            Yeah, I can even write some lines in 4 more languages, (including Ottoman ) but I still can’t google as fast as you did ! :)))
            Posted by Nurkan Sever

          • aldo marturano

            Nurkan, do u want to hold a serious discussion or u just like kidding? I teach Oriental languages and the books that I hjave mentioned have not been googled (google my name than and you’ll find it) but just read from my personal library. So please drop teasing on this argument… Do u want me to write in Turkish: Çok konuşan çok yanılır, arakadaşım!
            Posted by aldo marturano

          • Christine McNulty

            I am in awe of people who can speak a number of languages.

            In my view, tribalism is the default position for human societies. As a species, we are still evolving, hopefully, towards a refinement of the ability to integrate the evidence of the senses, using language. The primary role of human language is not communication (on analogy with the squeaks and growls of animals), but to keep order in Man’s mind. The primary role of language is identification; to identify reality, by means of rational language, and to distinguish it from unreality. So successful was this development, that our ancestors left behind the automatic, stereotyped instincts of animals and became volitional creatures. Only Man can deny reality. Only Man can invent his own imaginary world. Herein lie the seeds of our genius and the seeds of our destruction.

            I think that true evil is precipitated by denying human nature; evil is not an innate, potential characteristic of human beings. It emerges when humans are denied the physical and especially the mental freedom to think for themselves. Mental life is private and the course of human history has been towards facilitating mental privacy. Tribalism is the opposite.
            Posted by Christine McNulty

          • aldo marturano

            Christine, I respect what you posted but the recent theories about the origin of phonic language run along another rail. Of course are theories that have just 30 % (!!) of true content as there is no more difficult research as in linguistic archeology. I’ll line one out. Most probably the invention of using the sounds and noises that come out of our phonic apparatus to make up a conventional system to communicate has been made by a woman. The reason is clear: She had to take care of many things while she was taking along his small children as a mother. She had to watch and warn them from any danger while busy with other things and therefore a shrill, a shout, a loud sound could be helpful to divert the attention of the small roaming child toward her and thus avoid an impending danger. When she noticed that the child paired one sound with a certain warning and another sound to another warning, she started to standardize her sounds pronouncing the sound in accordance with the warning need i.e. the first words.
            Posted by aldo marturano

          • Christine McNulty

            The female/infant bond and exchange of pacifying sounds, that is universal in mammals, was probably became more volitional than instinctive in a hairless, bipedal, hunter gatherer simply because it takes ‘will’ to carry an infant that cannot cling on. Any form of stress would incline the travelling female to jettison her infant unless its cry and variable phonation was sufficiently recognisable to her and to her tribe. Infants get language initially through mimicry. They have to tune their own hearing mechanism to the sounds that are important for their survival. We are not born with language. (The deaf are also dumb.)
            Posted by Christine McNulty

          • aldo marturano

            The so called articulated language is an instrument, same as a scythe, a hammer et sim. and therefore does not exist (or better it has not been proved yet) in other mammals AS SUCH. Of course there are other kinds of langauges that all living beings use to move in the space: chemical, physical etc. and we also use many of them to communicate. Think of smell or tasting or gestures. Phonic language however, and that is the reason of building up a complete and suitable system for the rest of the community, has a unique advantage in the ergonomical calculation: You can do what u are doing and still communicate thru speaking. Please give me it (very little energy spending in the ordering) and still kneading ur dough (a good quantity of energy spending)! Of course left aside the male gender who had no reason to invent a language in a very early stage of community building.
            Posted by aldo marturano

          • Christine McNulty

            Yes, you’re quite right Aldo. Human language is mediated in the speech centre, the same part of the brain that mediates tool use and dexterity. In a right handed person, the speech centre is in the left hemisphere. In a strongly left handed person, it is in the opposite hemisphere.

            You can see this asymmetry developing if you study the petalias of the skulls of early hominids as they moved from being ambidextrous like apes to being preferentially handed for tool use.
            Posted by Christine McNulty

          • Graham Partis

            Sign and other languages with one sybol = one meaning is something some animals can learn, but using letters for language seems to be a separate development.
            Posted by Graham Partis

          • aldo marturano

            What do u mean by “letters”? Not all peoples use letters. Think of the signs that u find along the motorways, downtown, in the stations etc. These are not letters!
            Posted by aldo marturano

          • Nurkan Sever

            Graham ; do you ignore subliminal perception or sub-messaging? Because symbols are a quite comprehensive way of communication far beyond words. Besides words in some books also have subliminal messages as well , although we do not notice mostly. There is something called Backmasking which means inserting secret messages or words into a song only heard and perceived when is played backward.
            Posted by Nurkan Sever

          • Graham Partis

            Monkeys would learn the meaning of stop signs easier than the word “stop”.
            Posted by Graham Partis

          • Graham Partis

            I agree that there are many types of communication, many which are instinctual.
            I was merely discussing brain development in relation to language. Some people have problems with language/logic part of brain may stutter, but be able to sing properly. Some people can not communicated vis speech but can respong to music or understand song. There are many different parts of the brain and associated skills related to language. Dancing to music and reading letters seem to be fairly unique to humans.
            Posted by Graham Partis

          • Christine McNulty

            Graham, you are quite right – and these problems with language are related to the brain’s architecture: Broca’s and Wernick’s areas mediating articulated speech in the (usually) left hemisphere and the emotional, stress and cadence element in language mediated by the opposite hemisphere. Victims of a stroke in the right hemisphere (in a right handed person) are often incapacitated in their ability to add in the emotional pitch, stress and cadence to their spoken language. On the other hand, people who have had a stroke in the language centre in the left hemisphere are often unable to speak in articulated sentences but may be able to sing, recite poetry and even swear or shout as these modalities are mediated in the right hemisphere (in a right handed person). And of course, the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is constantly producing new brain cells, and has links to many brain areas, acts to add emotional (fight or flight, pleasure/pain) weightings to sensory stimulation, helping to integrate information into long term memory, a uniquely human attribute. Human language and thinking is conceptual. I wonder if anyone reading about or contributing to this discussion can think of how we form concepts.
            Posted by Christine McNulty

          • Adrian Horodniceanu

            Aldo,
            What is interesting is that Harald Haarmann is more preocupied with linguitics’ history than with the XXI century , but this is not the question.

            The more amazing thing is that most of the sunjects raised about EU here come from people who forgot ( or have not heard yet) that EU includes 27 countries already and most of them are neither mediteranean, nor western europe , nor part of the ex-roman empire , or part of ex;( France, Prussia, Britain, Austro-Hungary, Italy) empires.
            Their history does not include the great discoveries , colonialissm , impact of French revolution , democracy. Some of them did not existed before WWI as an independent entity. Nevertheless you take them for grante . From my partial knowledge with them , they do not appreciate this type of patronizing .

            …… and by the way the subject is racism ……
            Posted by Adrian Horodniceanu

  • Saturday read: Are Europeans fundamentally racist or is there something else going on? A history of intolerance http://t.co/ez8gBknZ

  • Kimberly Jones

    Isn’t it disheartening that in this age we are talking so about racism and religious bickering. As a human race we certainly are not as evolved as we would like to think.

    http://www.theglobalattitude.com/2012/11/dont-dis-my-religion.html

  • Jack Sigman

    Kimberly,

    As long as we are human, we will act this way. That is humanity.
    Posted by Jack Sigman

  • Mike Switney

    Another question to ask is to what extent people in general are fundamentally racist. We have a natural fear of those who don’t look like ourselves, but this can be either reinforced or diminished according to our experiences and education.
    Posted by Mike Switney

  • John Gelmini

    Some are some are not.
    The charge if we were honest with ourselves could be levied at almost everyone on the planet because our different histories have given reasons for different generations to dislike or hate each other.
    This is why we need to take on board the lessons of the Hopi Indian chronicles and the teachings of the great sages who at different times and in different settings have exhorted us to try and put aside our differences.
    On at least four occasions humankind has reached a peak of technological advancement and then waged terrible wars which have literally brought us back to the stone age.
    This is apart from the two major wars of the 20th century,the Red terror which saw off 66 million Christians in the gulags,70 million in China plus another 100 million in the Opium Wars courtesey of Lord David Sasoon and one of the Rothschilds of the day.
    With our current population at 7 billion ,rising to 10 billion within a generation and with modern weaponry much more powerful than it was we must either learn to get along with each other ,albeit with difficulty sometimes,or recognise that we will not get a 5th chance.
    Posted by John Gelmini

  • Donald Hsu

    John, Mike, and all:

    Interesting question on “Europeans = Racists”.

    In USA, the whites were accused for being racists against the blacks. But if whites do not like the Hispanics, no one said anything about racism.

    For the Jews, they call it anti-semitism (AS). Is AS the same as racism? If yes, why use two different terms?

    If people do not like the Russian, Arab, Indian or Chinese, is there another word?

    I agree with John, at the end of the day, racism or AS is a complicated issue. It is not good for doing business internationally.
    Posted by Donald Hsu

  • Roger Hawcroft

    No, Jack, it is inhumanity but practised by ignorant and prejudiced human beings.

    Ron’s argument, as is your implication, are right in the sense of xenophobia and our predisposition to protect and care most for those around us. That is one major reason why people will get behind an appeal for a local family whose house has burned down and yet largely ignore the 24000 children that die *every day* in the developing nations. Yes, it is a human instinct to focus on, care for, fight for those in their family, extended family and community, even state and country. However the loyalty and degree to which we will go for each of these groups decreases the further away we get from ourselves.

    However, although that may be a ‘hard-wired’ instinct – (I don’t have the education, study or training to know for sure, though I suspect it is ) – as a species with several millennium of history and “civilisation” behind us and the benefit of amazing philosophy and insight throughout the ages – we should be able to take control of that instinct. Just as we don’t excuse or condone rape on the grounds that it was once simply an accepted fact of life and means of securing a partner and that the instinct for it still exists in almost all males – neither should we dismiss racism as an ‘inevitable aspect of the human state’.

    So, to answer the original post – yes, as a generalisation, not just Europeans but all of humanity is essentially racist – if that is interpreted as xenophobic and predisposed to favour their own kind – however, if it means racist in the accepted sense of prejudice, hatred, persecution and unfairness, the no, Europeans are no more racist than the citizens of any other country.

    But, of course, that is just my opinion and I accept; because I live in an incredibly myopic, self-centred and hypocritical country, that there are many who would disagree with me. That doesn’t however make them right – it just makes them, in all likelihood, racist but without even the courage to acknowledge it.
    Posted by Roger Hawcroft

  • Ronald Howard Kelley

    @Jack,

    Being Human is a Pommy TV series that has been appropriated by US TV. Its about strange individuals that have become other than human and now try to pass as humans by ‘being human’.

    Respectfully, ‘being human’, ‘its human nature’ and other such references are just age old human ‘memes’ that that perpetuate, justify and excuse the behaviour that seems to persist in the world. I am a fallable person and have done much in my life that I am not proud of, yet that was in the past and I have made the best amends I could for reconciliation or at least the get my side of the street clean. I was racist and bigoted before I knew what it meant, but soon learned growing up in NYC that my real friends were all those the adults in my life told me to be weary of. Later I accecpted I was a bigot who hated bigots. Now my perspective is different. Some people live with this fear, hatred, resentment toward others and some don’t. The ones that do need to do some serious reflection and experience others without using the lens of the memes they grew up with. For some it is so ingrained that it would take a paradigm shift to change. Others are just sleepwalkers that need to wake up.

    One of the major problems today is the power of those who seek to polarise and do so effectively by their actions in concert with media, governments and disinformation. The easiest way to generate this is by appealing to the ‘collective’ fear of groups and their traditional ‘enemies’. It doesn’t take much. So I agree in part that for the most part humans are rat-bags, but I still have hope that this may evolve and change otherwise I headed out to some sort of Savannah Plain to start a new life. (fantasy…)

    Best Regards,
    Ron
    Posted by Ronald Howard Kelley

    • Kimberly Jones

      Ron — Based on descriptions above, a great title of a upcoming book — “FOR THE MOST PART MOST HUMANS ARE RAT BAGS”. It would probably sell like hotcakes.
      Posted by Kimberly Jones

      • Roger Hawcroft

        @iKimberly – If in saying that you are including my post then I am really disturbed because it is not what I was atttempting to say. Perhaps I just made my point badly but, in essence, I was agreeing with Ron’s comments – that xenophobia is behind racism and that it is that which may be ‘hard-wired’ in the sense of an instinct to show concern for those closest in kind to yourself, first. I think that is a “human” instinct but I am certainly not trying to excuse racism on those grounds – rather I was attempting to point out that, as a species, we should be beyond that now and, at the same time, I can understand why many are not – though I wish that they were.

        If I’ve offended in any way, I apologise and am happy to delete my comment. I have no wish to contribute to or excuse the problems to which Ron refers in his last post. 🙂
        Posted by Roger Hawcroft

        • Jack Sigman

          Unfortunately, based on empirical evidence, Kimberly is pretty much right on the mark. Go back 2400 years to Thucydides’ Athens wherein the voting population decided to send a force to commit genocide. Not because of some god’s influence but through calm oratory.
          Posted by Jack Sigman

          • Roger Hawcroft

            @Jack Yes, I don’t disagree with that, or really, your assertion that that’s ‘humanity’ – in the sense that the tendency to be suspicious of difference, even to feeling that we must eradicate it, is or seems to be as I put it, “hard-wired” into us.

            However doesn’t your example as readily support my feeling that, by now, we should have got well beyond simply following that instinctive drive to a state of being in control of it? Hence my contradiction of your statement “that’s humanity” because, in the sense of our current language use we use human or “humane” to describe positive and caring behaviour and racism is certainly not that.

            I suppose, in simple terms and to go back to your original post, I believe that “xenophobic” is a more apt term to describe the human race than is “racist”.

            However, you may be right and our inability to control these baser instincts will perhaps always be there. Certainly it has long been a mystery and wonder to me that whereas human beings have progressed technology from the use of wooden clubs and stone axes to splitting the atom and landing men on the moon; we seem not to have progressed in a social or “human” sense, very far at all. Indeed, we still seem to blame rather than look behind and seek to address cause and we still seem to believe that “might is right” and the use of fighting to solve our differences rather than dialogue.

            Why, as a race, have we progressed so far in the one way and yet apparently hardly at all in the other?

            Should I accept that the answer is simply, “because we are human”, or am I right to have a little more hope for us and expectation that we *can* be better than that and continue to try and understand and find the *how* of going about it?
            Posted by Roger Hawcroft

          • Jack Sigman

            You have a right to have hope, and you have the same right to be disappointed. As our conflicts become less global they become more intrastate, and they become bloodier.

            Our race to the moon was a competition against the state we dare not attack by other than indirect means. Rather than seek an accommodation, we waged a fierce and blood filled war through using other states as avatars.

            That is the extent of out progress. We now know how to use other people from other states to die for us. Of course, with the demise of the USSR, we will have to come up with something new… and we will.
            Posted by Jack Sigman

  • Ronald Howard Kelley

    @Group,

    Please correct me if I am wrong here (I don’t have the information available at the moment). Evolutionary psychology which is not overly accepted by many states that human beings have not evolved much since the Savannah Plains times. This it seems has to do with the ability to have close relationships as they/we are only capable of a small finite number as in a band of thirty or more. This may seem contradictory now when I/we can have numerous contacts and acquaintences over the ether, but how many are really meaningful? What we say and discuss is important and relevant to us and perhaps other who just view and may be of some value to those that monitor us. If you take out your business or professional relationships and the mundane meetings that involve a day’s transactions, how many others are part of your tribe?

    While techonology is viewed by many as a measure of evolution, enough of it has been described here to indicate that it is merely the manifestation of ‘tools’ that can be used positively or negatively. Daily survival spans a continuum from those who have nothing to eat or drink or wear – to the ME generation that’s worried about what apps to get to make their ‘overburdened’ lives easier. Paradox abounds.

    Thucydides is one of the worlds greatest historians and in life he was an influencer extraordinaire. Now we have automated versions acting through surrogates to deliver influencial messages that are followed as they relate to their target audiences. The sheep/somnabulist mentality is alive and well, the lemmings are just waiting for directions.

    To truely evolve we must change starting at an individual level. This is a luxury for most. Regardless of the differing opinions here, I sense that as a discussion group, we are all trying to make meaning out of the world we are living in and in our way evolving.

    Best Regards,
    Ron
    Posted by Ronald Howard Kelley

  • Vince Di Norcia

    Europeans No more racist than Americans, who after all kept dark people slaves long after the rest of us abolished slavery…
    Posted by Vince Di Norcia

    • Kenneth M. Barker CSO

      ..Or Canadians who continue to look down on Quebec…& base the national identity on anti-American sentiment…a very base form of discrimination,,,I find Canadians much more racist than Americans..as I’ve lived on both sides of the border. I am often at functions & wait for the American bashing to start..not disclosing I am a dual citizen…it is hilarious the ignorance Canadians have towards their greatest benefactor…& that relatively intelligent people feel a genuine fellowship by showing their ignorance….while our leaders cannot sneeze without permission from Washington.
      Vincent..I would suggest you look at your own ignorance before bashing Americans.
      Posted by Kenneth M. Barker CSO

  • Alexander Dzisko

    The thing that contemporary “developed” world calls racism, can be just a way of survival.

    Imagine somebody pumps your small country with a lots of foreigners such a (peaceful 🙂 way that in just 15 (1920-1935) years they count 30 % of the whole population – what would you say, especially in case those foreigners consider you as “dogs” ant themselves as “children”? 🙂

    But what to Europe, I think they must pay the “democratic” price (for above mentioned story, for example – by the way, UN still not recognizes this a country 🙂 and allow to “good” foreigners wipe them from the face of Earth cause they are real Racists, still (right after Hitler) considering (just try to obtain EU visa, being Russian 🙂 us as low sort people.

    But as US also (right after Hitler) considers (just try to obtain US visa, being Russian 🙂 us as low sort people, I think they will pay also and not cause I or somebody else are nasty, but just cause God exists.

    It would be ridiculous to describe how (although very possible 🙂 it works, and most of “democratic” people will just not believe that God exists and acts its own way, not listening the CNN, BBC and other worldwide known suppliers of the “truth”.

    The only visible way is learning on their own mistakes again – what is what in Reality, including so called “racism” and all other so fashioned “-isms”, of course.

    Too much of lie, and lie is an obvious madness – toward what will it lead its followers? 🙂

    So do not worry about European “racism” – guys just try to survive, but not looks like they will succeed – “no guide is for those whose guide is satan”. 🙂
    Posted by Alexander Dzisko

  • Roger Hawcroft

    @Alexander, I’m not sure that I understand exactly what you are saying.

    For me, racism is a conscious and unfortunate prejudice that some people hold against people of other nationality or ethnicity. My view is that no human being is fundamentally any more valid than any other – at least at birth. Unfortunately, where we are born, when we are born, to whom we are born, etc… does mean that we don’t all have the same options, privileges, rights or whatever. However, my argument is that this is a situation we should collectively work to rectify.

    I have no truck with organised religion which, in my opinion, has done far more harm to people across the World and progress towards understanding, peace and harmony, than it has done good. I found it hard to understand whether you are voting for a god or against one so I’ll just say that, for myself, ‘god’ is simply an irrational concept and one that is all too often used to excuse the negative things that people do. I don’t believe in ‘good’ and ‘evil’ because I’ve never seen any evidence that what happens in the World or what people do, feel, or think can be neatly separated as though two sides of the same coin. Instead, it seems to me that there are a billion shades of grey, as it were – people at all points along a continuum and with differing views as to where they stand and where others do.

    If I read you right and you are frustrated because you feel that you are discriminated against in your opportunity to be able to move to another country then I sympathise with you. I don’t believe in borders and restrictions. I abhor the current policies of both Labor and Liberal governments in Australia which turn their backs on the plight of refugees and herd them into ‘detention centres’ for ‘processing’ – thus, in the main, treating victims as culprits.

    We are a xenophobic nation, for all the talk of being a ‘multi-cultural’ melting pot. However, by the same token our (flawed) democracy does permit most people, once they are in the country, to live with a large degree of freedom compared to many countries in the World. In that sense, we are ‘lucky’ here but no more so than should every person be, in my opinion.

    I can’t right those wrongs for you. I can tell you that I am as frustrated as you seem to be about not being able to get a visa or just move to where you would like to live and you may be right that you have less chance than some others to go and live in the USA. I don’t know whether that is true or not. I do know, however, that I can’t just go and live there and don’t believe I would have any more chance than yourself to do so. Also I have a niece who is an American citizen and who would dearly love to come and live in Australia but she cannot do so, despite being a close relative, speaking the same language (that is if you consider American English to be the same language) and having an uncle who would willingly provide for her.

    Exactly what you mean about Europe and why you continually refer to Hitler, I’m not sure. I do know that the western world readily cries about the 6 million Jews that Hitler killed and yet they rarely mention the fact that Russia lost 20 million in World War II.

    continued below…
    Posted by Roger Hawcroft

    • Roger Hawcroft

      ….Continued from above

      I also know that it isn’t ordinary, everyday, working people that start and make wars – though it is their children that are compelled to fight them. The people responsible for wars, poverty and injustice are a minority of greedy, self-serving and ignorant, though often very clever, individuals and groups who make what they consider to be better lives for themselves as a result of the injustices that they perpetrate and maintain.

      However, to change that, we need to work together and model alternative behaviour. That’s why discussions such as this *are* important – it is only through dialogue and collaborative effort across borders, across races, across cultures – and *despite* the manipulation of the rich, powerful, corrupt and prejudiced, that we will bring about positive change for the people of the World and for the World itself.
      Posted by Roger Hawcroft

  • Ronald Howard Kelley

    @Roger,

    In a recent Human Rights course I wrote, I had to look at Australia’s record with scrutiny in order to pave the way for critical thinking in the students. Your analysis is pretty much the same as mine. I sometimes have a Freudian slip where I mix ‘country’ with ‘company’ and it gets some laughs at the irony of it. Most countries have a business structure and immigration is like job recruitment and interviewing, where the country/company wants to bring on board the most useful candidates. Because of this, there is a conflict of human rights interests and a lot of bargaining to get the requirement numbers correct. Politics doesn’t help. The partisan nature of Australian as well as other ‘democratic’ countries usually derails any meaningful solution. It’s pretty disgusting.

    Best Regards,
    Ron
    Posted by Ronald Howard Kelley

  • Steve Ross

    Not to excuse Western Europe or the West of harboring any racism (because it does), but Paul is correct. I travel to inland China to business at our factory. The whole pecking order comes down to race. One race will treat the other like rubbish– and it is accepted as if god decreed the inferiority and caste.

    Back to my hemisphere: just about everything south of the U.S. has been a racist mess for centuries as well. The mixture of Africans, native Americans, Spanish, Portuguese etc have caused a hierarchy based on shadism.

    It’ll always be there. If it isn’t deliberate, it’s inadvertent if for nothing else, our unconscious “birds of a feather” habit so apparent in any school lunch room.

    I imagine over the centuries, in this ever-smaller world, our continued interracial breeding will eventually lead to more of us looking alike over time. Say what you will about that, but it will solve the color problem at least. Then we can concentrate on REAL reasons to be in opposition to someone..

    Or as Dennis Miller once said:
    “Why hate a man just because he’s black— when there are so many OTHER reasons to hate him”;)
    Posted by Steve Ross

  • aldo marturano

    The problem is that much depends on the culture, on the custom of people to behave as a racist but it turns into a real “war” when – as in Italy recently – laws against other races are delivered by a democratic Parliament even thom for the truth’s sake, all other UE country hoisted shields against such a law.
    Posted by aldo marturano

  • Dr James Nemo

    I see nothing wrong in being a racist.
    Posted by Dr James Nemo

  • James D. Hargreaves

    Tristan:

    I don’t know about Europeans but those invaders in England are.

    Even worse than racist, why in God’s name would a society invite third world morons into their country unless they were too lazy to take care of themselves.

    How’s that policy of unlimited immigration working out?
    Posted by James D. Hargreaves

  • Adrian Horodniceanu

    An interesting discussion . It started with racism and continued with filology .
    Just to remind you that some of the EU languages are slavic like Bulgarian or polish or the baltic languages , some are of indian origin – hungarian and finish , some have turkish influence due to ottoman 500 years of occupation like roumanian bulgarian and some ex-yougoslavia languages.
    Getting back to the racism subject , the europeans are racist no more more than any other race . The fact that the new massive immigration of muslims to Europe that does not want to get absorbed , at least culturally in a mainly secular society is the main trigger to the racism . Most of the non-white immigration from the Carabieans m the West Indies, from non-muslim Africa, succeeded to merge relatively well in the european society , inspite of the skin color . Even the turks that came to Germany 15-20 years ago and joined the “deutche cultur” while keeping their religion , merged relatively well.
    The massive immigration of people who do not want to merge in the local culture is against the european basics instincts.
    And for that matter it is the same in China , India , Japan and even in Australia which is by definition an imigration country.
    Just for comparison the Indians find their place much easier as they do not look to change the local culture or habits.

    And Antoine , Israel is not a racist country . It may look as such to you from distance but the problems here are much more complex that such a simple definition. We can have a discussion about it separately if you are interested.
    Posted by Adrian Horodniceanu

  • James McGowen

    I think racism is a natural, instinctive trait in all living things from the lowest animal that possesses the ability to recognize that it is different in some way to another right on up to the humans who boast their dominance over all other forms of life on the planet. If we are raised correctly we learn that “different” isn’t necessarily something to be feared or hated. The problem with humans is that, while animals will shun through flight or chase away that which confuses or frightens them, humans will brood over the differences and paranoia will fester until we feel something must be done. Why? Because the way we look, the way we think, the tenants we hold dear have made us feel secure and self confident so therefore they must be the only true values for all. Surely these “others” will see the point when we explain it to them. Then when they scoff at us we become hurt, angry, or just disgusted. Then we start to think about what is to be done next. If they think in that “other” way and they have the upper hand what will these strange people do to us?? For they, like us, think that an ordered, harmonious world must center around their way of being, of thinking. So now as the paranoia grows we consider how to defend our values that we know are the only right ones now that we know the “others” are unmovable? When humans are done with words then the violence comes. First we scold them like children then we beat them like animals. We can look at historical circumstances all we want but our bigotry is the result of a basic animal instinct for survival through dominance. And it isn’t any less implanted in the master or the slave. It should also be considered that the casual racist spouting his garbage at home in his comfy chair with pipe in hand is any less capable of crimes against his fellow humans as the brute with the whip. Yes, we are probably better today than we were some years ago but this came about through unspeakable horrors rather than through education and cooperation. Do you want your kids to go through the same? People, open your minds.
    Posted by James McGowen

    • aldo marturano

      I see a few confusioning words in what James writes. Racism is a very young concept, say born aroung IXI cent. and therefore can’t be an instinct. It is not a feeling but a pseudoscientific theory that somebody holds for true and wants to apply to “THEM” while the “WE” have be carefully selected before congregating in the RACISTS ggroup. Slef-defence or irritation caused by the presence of strangers is, anthropologically, a secondary attitude of humans whereas CURIOSITY and INVESTIGATION is the primary. We see another human and we start to compare but we do not prepare to war fighting. War/fighting costs a lot of energy to the humans and represents always an extrema ratio. Once again Racism is a theory and, acceptable or not, the Westerners are racists generically but not systematically and in times of stress it could (and is in Italy) be used by politicians to wake up non human attitudes against similars.
      Posted by aldo marturano

      • James McGowen

        Thank you Aldo. Yours is a mature, scientific analysis that comes from one who has apparently been nurtured to see human interaction in a more optimistic light. If we all developed in this way the world would be a better place. However I believe the use of the word Racism to describe a scientific theory is only a justification we created to put a civilized face on an ancient emotion. I think that CURIOSITY and INVESTIGATION are not burdened by paranoia only when we are able to observe from a position of perceived safety. That safe feeling is derived from some similarity we might see in what we are investigating or from a feeling of physical or intellectual superiority to the specimen. This isn’t necessarily a bad emotion in itself. Without it we would approach the lion as uninhibited as we approach the lamb and then of course we would be eaten. The main point I want to express is that when we interact with “other” humans we need to ask ourselves to be empirical as possible. This is very difficult because there is an abundance of opinion in the world with regard to races and stereotypical behavior. Most people are not scientists or sociologists. You don’t see many riots or genocides perpetrated by intellectuals. We don’t need to educate the educated. But we do need to strip away the fancy dressing that intellectuals have put on channeling basic human emotions towards odious ends. I think Racism is an ugly mask with an even uglier face behind it.
        Posted by James McGowen

        • aldo marturano

          Yes, I’m optimistic. However my studies oblige me to observe humans and things human critically but still empirically (if u like the expression) and from a realistic viewpoint. Of course I may have my expectations, my wishes etc. that go uncomplied with but reality is a chain of events that u/I cannot change by wiping them out of the picture. Racism is EUROPEAN as a theory to justify the fact that we have been DISCOVERING other humans and colonize them by imposing our Christian Culture and principles UNIVERSAL. This was the base of our European World Empires which are still extant today.and as a matter of course along with RACISM.
          Posted by aldo marturano

    • Harry Mann

      reality is that a healthy human being with healthy personal boundaries does not give a crap about what you think, it is only a problem in that some people, often times racist people, are neurotic and overly concerned that we all think the same way, and they are way too damned concerned about trying to get inside other peoples heads and trying to get under other peoples skins. and they want other people feeling the agitation and mental and emotional disturbance which they are feeling and they cannot let other people alone.

  • Christine McNulty

    Racism is categorisation. The sense organs of animals ‘categorise’ according to those fractions of the electromagnetic spectrum that ensure their survival. Sense organs tune to ambient stimuli early in development and mostly before maturation – tuning after maturation is usually hormone dependent.

    What humans do when they become racist – racism is not innate – is to categorise according to subjective, arbitrary, self generated distinctions. These distinctions are possible because, unlike animals, humans have no automatic instincts. We are volitional creatures. Only humans can deny reality, ignore sense data or manufacture it to support an idea.
    Posted by Christine McNulty

  • Mohammad YILDIRIM

    t is a fact that racism is indigenous to Europe.
    Posted by Mohammad YILDIRIM

    • Dr James Nemo

      So when the Chinese, Indians and Malays used to bash hell out of each other in Malaya when resentment boiled over, that had nothing to do with racialism.
      Posted by Dr James Nemo

      • James Craig

        Perhaps we need to ask a broader question and ask whether racism” is hardwired into the human mind?

        Dr. James, you’ll have to spell your last comment out for me. Are suggesting all people should have the same basic civil rights? Or are you suggesting one group or another can be acceptably oppressed because of their race?
        Posted by James Craig

  • Dr James Nemo

    Personally I see nothing wrong with racialism so long as it stops short of bloodshed.
    Posted by Dr James Nemo

  • James McGowen

    So, Dr James, would you please define at some length, what your perception of racism is? Is there some circumstance where you feel it has some redeeming attributes? Or are you just indifferent about it as though it were just another trivial bit of human preoccupation such as talking about the cricket match on a Saturday afternoon?
    Posted by James McGowen

  • Allen Quintana

    I being from North America probably have a different view of what racism is than what is perceived from the Old World. We just got over an election where many who opposed the incumbent were called “racist”, some even labeled by the leftist media with no basis whatsoever. The term “racist” has become quite the epithet, forcing many to be defensive and has promulgated division. Accusations don’t stop racism, in my opinion, it gives rise to it.

    There are cultures who choose to not marry outside of their own and stay “pure”. And that has probably been that mindset/identity for centuries and probably will remain for as many more. There will always be those enclaves, as it were, which can be ingrained as a culture. And one opposing nationality will bottle those imperfections of another and spawn negatvity. I don’t know if the thread question wasn’t asked because of migration of other cultures to a region and creating a “threat” to the local people’s identity. As long as there are culture clashes there will be racism along with them.

    Still, this little planet of ours gets smaller with more people coming in with their own cultures and faiths, and like it or no, we will have to face each other, be sensitive to it all, and respect one another’s origins.
    Posted by Allen Quintana

  • Lindsey Amrani

    Such sweeping generalisations (such as Europeans = Racists) only serve to compound the problem; until we all start treating each other as fellow human beings and acknowledging that there’s good and bad in every race, creed and colour, nothing will ever change.
    Posted by Lindsey Amrani

  • Donald Hsu

    Lindsey, agreed.

    If you do business in the world, you need to respect other culture: Jew, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, etc. Giving anyone a racist label, is bad for business.
    Posted by Donald Hsu

    • Harry Mann

      you also cannot be a naïve fool and survive in business or in the world, most people can instinctively feel and sense a predatory stare, which is common among racists, or the derisive glances, all of which are narcissistic, racist, behaviors.

  • Horst G Ludwig

    Yes indeed, Shirley, this is like another marketing question “is petrol good?” leading to frictions while formulating. World is constantly changing, growing, learning, falling back, standing up again, the neverending wheel of human theories leading into human actions and still we are all made of the same flesh and blood and dreaming the same dreams.
    I still see racist within the same ethnic groups all around the world, african against african, latin against latin, us american against everybody not aplauding, moslems against jews, futbol club against futbolclub, endless and I do ask myself if I would love to be that poor at heart and mind to spend my good life energy in hating other races or my own neighbour, driven bu either pretextual political or religious mind games. Defnetly not.
    .
    Posted by Horst G Ludwig

    • John Gelmini

      No more so than anyone else,Horst Ludwig is quite right
      Posted by John Gelmini

    • Donald Hsu

      Horst and all:

      Your definition of Racist is not what I normally understand.

      Racist – a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others. If you agree with this definition, then how do you answer the above question?

      In my 30+ years doing business in 71 countries, I found the the Japanese and German tend to have this racist attitude more than any others. They think they are always right and you are always wrong.

      Although I do not agree with them, I do find working with them is a major business challenge due to the “racist” attitude.
      Posted by Donald Hsu

      • Horst G Ludwig

        Donald, racism starts within each ethnic group and got its long way back history to tribal behaviours. You can observe this in any country on earth where usually the north region and the south regions fighting each other with racist arguments, or may it be the west and the east of a country. Still it jumps right into the eyes by observing the ongoing tribal fights in Africa. Each and everybody does understan himself a differnt race to the other and giving it supreme topping or whatever empty explanation.
        All this based mainly on differences of climate regions and not of political maps like you understand racism.
        But anyhow I cant answer about Japan or asian islanders where each island is a different race already being Japan or not. But off course I am not agree you pinpoint on Germany which is the central european region mixed for thousand of years travelers coming and going, crossing and staying, still the ONLY european country where the most races settling down, followed by Netherlands and England. So something with your data and observation cant be right.
        Ethnology is not political science and even less religiouse believes. The agressions against others whom are different is. Low level minded and low level hearted people love to spend time with this, lots of us giving a sh.. about it. Others whom feel happy in the role of victims and suffering on neural desease may not read my opinion.
        Posted by Horst G Ludwig

  • Millard Williams

    Of course they are racist, all groups are. Individuals can overcome this blind ignorance, but groups cannot. Even organizations founded to fight racism will engage in race baiting against “oppressors”. Humans like other primates have a biological imperative to organize in tribal groupings of us versus them. When you get into tribal levels of society race, religion, gender and all other factors tend to fade into the background. How often in life have people seen alliances that would seem unlikely occur within a tribal context as in say different company departments or one local neighborhood against another. This is basic human nature and one needs to work to be better than that.
    Posted by Millard Williams

    • Dr James Nemo

      Written with all the childlike naivety whop was never, if ever, come into direct contact with foreigners other than as a tourist. It is easy to be a racial liberal when you have several thousand miles of insulation on each aside.
      Posted by Dr James Nemo

      • aldo marturano

        Sorry to say but u still use stereotypes and obsolete concepts upon human nature. Millard says in a contradictory expression: This is basic human nature and one needs to work to be better than that. If racism in part of human nature, how can u be better than that? What do u mean? We still, up till today, don’ know what it may be, human nature. We still doubt if human nature really corresponds to something real. If u travel worldwide u’ll find all kinds of “human natures” diffierent from ur own. Which is the right and which is the wrong one? Which is the better and which is the worse one? And before proposing any reply, u must confirm WHY u need to set up such dichotomies. Racism is based on the old concept of race which at the times of Carl S. Coon’s was based on anatomical features, external traits of the face etc. The USA are one of the largest human melting pot of the world against China or India, for instance, and today we understand that race as it was conceived in the past DOES NOT EXIST. I told here and I did find as yet any argument against it that Racism is a theory born in the mind of somebody to support a plan of conquest of other human beings and of other areas and racism was the most stubborn weapon that helped build up and maintain till recently the world empires: Spain, Great Britain, Portugal, Holland, in some way Russian and American. And if u have a look at the nations which owned these empires u will soon note that they belong all to Europe and the equarion simplistically solved Europe=Racism.
        Posted by aldo marturano

        • Dr James Nemo

          If you want to see social harmony at work, simply take a look at the EEC. (While you can since it is rapidly disintegrating – thank God).
          Posted by Dr James Nemo

          • aldo marturano

            Social Harmony? U mean that somebody fixed the rules of a social harmony and that all others must comply with them? I refuse such a postulate. If we want harmony we ALL shall sit around a table and decide what our plans for the future are and commit EACH OF US to work for their realization but rules coming from the high mountain I can’t accept.
            Posted by aldo marturano

        • Harry Mann

          when people say the words human nature, they mean animal instinct in the monkey kingdom

    • Harry Mann

      A lot of white tourist abroad really do bring out their racist sides and they do their best to engage in racial narcissism, attacking others, trying to demoralize them, and trying to gaslight them, in order to try to cover up their abusive tactics, they act like rabid dogs, while grinning like jackals.

  • Read: Are Europeans fundamentally racist? – Switzerland has a unique form of democracy which allows for… http://t.co/6btaTGn5Ds #HFN

  • asd06asd

    Yes they are fundamentally racist this way or another…

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  • peter the painter

    Europeans are the least racialist people, comparatively, because they haven’t mixed so much as to be a homogeneous mass. Other races have either mixed so much as to be homogenous (Africans) or interbred by concubinage from a small gene pool to form a monotone (Chinese). All Europeans have done is maintain separate groups – blondes / redheads / thickhair / thinhair etc. that they’ve preserved Diversity. They are the race that has managed not to overrun everyone around them to end up with a large homogenous mass with less diversity. The chinese are the least diverse group (and the largest). The European is the one who believes in Difference. You will find if you travel, that the cultural taboos against mixing are far greater in Africa, Asia, etc.

  • Guest

    May Jesus judge them for what they are. Matthew 25 shows that many Christians will go to hell because they didn’t love their neighbors, even though they call Him “Lord”. Same with many non-Christians who don’t call Him “Lord” and also sin against the natural law because everyone else does it.

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