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Is Racism a Natural Condition of Human Society?

Despite the widespread progressivism in the developed countries, the juncture demonstrates that the issue of racism does not belong exclusively to the times of slavery or institutional segregation. The discussion around the new wave of the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the United States, for instance, proves that it stays the burning issue of most communities even today. As practice shows, racism is quite a natural state of social life, which does not mean that it is right or there should be no fight against it.

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To begin with, a part of husociety’siety nature lies in building an identity that allowus s to separate “us” from everybody else. This identity may be based on various elements of one’s identification: from political orientation or religion to sexual orientation. The easiest path here seems to lie in the most visible variations which are sex and race. Hence, biologisation of identity construction ended up quite widespread, being present in most communities while mobilizing them (Hirvonen 252). Another question is the way this identity constructed is exploited by the ones in power. At the colonial times, the aspect of the race accompanied by the argument of faith was the Europe’s motivation for all the crimes. To say nothing about the traumatic experiencethe of holocaust. Therefore, from this perspective, racism is a product of identity building, probably the most natural process occurring in any society that is undoubtedly destructive.

Furthermore, the latter idea does not imply that identity and racism cannot be exogeneous or artificially imposed. A relevant example here could be the Rwandan genocide of 1994. These events are often described as the climax of interethnic conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis. However, what many ignore, is that at the times before colonization the initial local community did not observe any kind of tensions between the groups. Hutus and Tutsis were more of professional categories and varied in different areas to say nothing about the fact that tribal conflicts were much more urgent for the community (Krivushin 13). When the colonizers came, they chose the Tutsis who, in their vision, resembled Europeans slightly more, to be the administrative workers and to end up in power. The white people were the ones to point out the aspect of ethnicity, consciously or not causing the genocide of 1994. From the perspective of this example, one may fairly claim that racism is an artificial construct that, nevertheless, may flourish in any community.

However, it seems that the question of naturality of racism is not the issue. If a social phenomenon as predetermined – though, it is quite unobvious whether there is or is not a mind capable to define such things – it does not mean that a community cannot fight against it. As George J. Sefa Dei fairly claims, “the reality of racism lies in its powerful social, material, and political effects, consequences, and manifestations” (2). Meanwhile, the contemporary institutions from schools and universities to the healthcare system or public policy seek replacing racism with inclusivity. Hence, though there are multiple challenges in anti-racism policy it does not mean that the battle cannot be held.

To conclude, racism can be understood as a natural element of social evolution. When a community seeks building an identity, it means to separate itself from the “others”. Hence, it ends up finding the criteria of this otherness, and biological factors like race tend to be the first in the line. This partition is the point where the exploitation of notion starts: the prejudices on race may be accompanied with others, but the fact is that race is abused for political reasons. It seems that calling this process unnatural would be unfair despite the moral aspects of the latter. Moreover, racism can be imposed by external actors. Nevertheless, the idea of racism “naturality” does not imply the fact that this phenomenon should not be stopped for the sake of community. Diseases are also natural but the humanity has learned how to cure them.


Dei, G. J. S. Anti-Racism. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, 2017, pp. 1 – 4.

Hirvonen, Ari. Fear and Anxiety: The Nationalist and Racist Politics of Fantasy. Law and Critique, 2017, pp. 249 – 265.

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Krivushin, Ivan. The Genocidal Mentality: The 1994 Case of Rwanda. Higher School of Economics Publishing House, 2014.

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