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The Impact of Racism on Globalization


The term globalization has been used in the literal sense to mean the transformation process of regional phenomenon into global phenomenon where the entire world’s population is united into a single society.Globalization combines forces of the economy, technology, sociology and politics. In most cases, Globalization term is used to simply refer to as “Economic Globalization”, which encompasses foreign direct investment, trade, migration, technological advancement and capital flows. Under this context of economy, globalization applies to elimination of barriers separating nations to facilitate the flow of goods and services. Since the nineteenth century, globalization has continued steadily to take root in many nations far and wide, but racism has presented this advancement with a good share of challenges which come in handy to reduce the pace. It is not lonely in the United States, but world over that is feeling the negative effects of racism. The global society can not be wholly united and have a universal view on anything as long as racism still rare its ugly head (Friedman, 2000, p.54).

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The two issues; globalization and racism, go hand in hand and are intertwined in several ways. While globalization advancement is greatly hindered by racism and the flight against racism can also, only be fought well if globalization takes proper effect. The world’s economy is determined what happens in each and every country, and the situation of having policies which are unfriendly to some group of individuals while it favors others can harm the pace of globalization and development. Therefore, culture, technology, politics and economy should be made to benefit individuals from every sector and affiliations regardless of the color of one’s skin. The policies which are stipulated by the political fronts need to encourage investments but at the same time conform to the standards and regulations that govern investing body. This step will go along way to minimize racism and some discriminative acts. This paper will look at how racism impacts globalization.

Globalization and Racism

Globalization is seen as the growth of civilization, the exact opposite of racism. These two aspects are antagonistic; as one develops, the other one is expected to fall with equal magnitude. Global explorations links continents, cultures and economies world over to a massive extent, it is racism that is standing between this great integration. Viewing fellow human beings as if they are lesser human beings and taking away their civil rights for a simple reason that they are men of color is not helping the world to achieve anything in economic development. The moment a person realizes that he/she is viewed differently from others as less important kills the person’s moral to produce and contribute positively to the growth of any nature. Basically, racism is directed towards people with African origin, and it is common knowledge that It is Africa from which the West for most of their raw materials for their companies, therefore, if discriminative procedures are not done away with, then the results may not be so good if the African community decide to retaliate and sit on their production. The West may also decide to hold all the kinds of aid to these African States, leading to a very sorry economic state.

Tackling racism is highly recommended so that the global problems can be amicably be handled by applying plenary solutions. Racism derails globalization by standing in the way of economic liberalization, technological advancement and self governance. It is believed that globalization is the only way out of the financial crisis that has griped the world. But critics hold it that, globalization will only do more harm than good; they add that challenges brought about by globalization are far too many and that the world is better of without the concept. Besides, racism can not is fought by globalization, but through collective responsibility from every individual (Barber, 1996, p.22). The reports adds that Globalization will only put on the line the lives of many other individuals who have not come face to face with the real monster of racism; it will make every colored individual vulnerable to the wrath by the few rich dominant and manipulative nations.

Globalization in the Historical Context

Globalization dates back to the 16th and 17th Century with the expansion of the European Trade ad the Portuguese. It later developed into what was called “the first era of globalization” which was characterized by international investments and trade. Top in the agenda was slave trade. The slave trade mainly targeted Africans who were captured from their continent and sold to the West to work as male servants in the farms and other odd jobs. The slave owners were rich white individuals and business flourished with the businessmen making a kill from it. During those times, blacks were treated more like second degree citizens who deserved no right at all. The economic of the then times therefore associated globalization to slave trade; that became the major reason why the concept was seriously opposed at its infancy especially by individuals of African ancestry. The political leaders found it so hard to separate globalization from racism into two distinct entities. The move was dealt a heavy blow with the on set of the First World War where nations took on other nations and allies were drawn making it hard for the globalization to form a stable union. Militarism and imperialism of cultural and racial rivalries jeopardized the economic progress (Gillham, 2000, p.39).

As if that was not enough, the great depression and the golden standards crisis heightened favoritism among the elite hence sparking high level racism. Everyone was looking after his own self, the less favored in the society were unfortunate blacks. The available resources were only shared among the lucky white community. This led to bitter racial rivalry among the warring parties. While the whites believed that blacks were already getting more than there their share, blacks wanted to be treated as equal citizen partners in enjoying country resources. They therefore rebelled against oppressive measures that were put by the earlier governments. Those developments led into an ugly episode during the wake of development. Trust was lost, confidence on the government gone, with both parties pulling on different directions to fulfill their needs. This created a big loophole in achieving future prosperity, especially failure by the political leaders to agree on the way forward.

As the years advanced, the world leaders so the need to bring the nations together using globalization principles, but first, they had to tackle the issue of racism which was like a bad plague to any form of development. Among the white community, there were those individuals who wanted the status quo to remain, and keep on being dominant. To achieve a united front in countering world financial challenges, all the nations had to operate from a level playing ground…Racism did not let this happen and so it had to be fought against using all means humanly possible. But first, the fight called for willing political leaders who had human interest at heart. To this effect, there was the establishment of international financial institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization. These organizations have seen the elimination of several trade barriers in the international business arena. Tariffs have been lowered and several agreements that lead to eradications of the said restrictions are continuously being revised to fit in the correct time context (Friedman, 2000, p.57). Once the unfair competition is done away with, free trade was initiated and the global community traded with no buts for a while. Though a perfect condition has not been achieved, the advancement has been great so far.

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Effects of Racism on globalization

Racism is a great impediment to globalization, the bad blood between the said people of color and those of no color has dealt a big blow to development. The individuals being discriminated upon have a feeling that with free trade, the developed world will exploit them is history is anything to go by. They did suffer a lot in the past when discrimination was still legalized in the states, and since they later acquired sovereignty, things have since changed for the better and they were once again their own bosses. There was therefore appositive reception to globalization from a sizable section of the world. For those who thought that globalization brought about racism to a halt; too bad, they were mistaken. The free trade strategy championed by the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) expanded globalization yes! And so did disparity that resulted to social imbalance. The rich strived to increase their riches and exploited the poor to this effect. The less advantaged (the racially discriminated lot) had no choice but wallow in the miasma of uncertainty

The rising rate of inequality driven by racial unfairness led to occurrence of some isolated tendencies, witnessed only during the birth of the colonial periods. The dominant society used the racism vehicle to venture business biasness and exploitation. The discriminated group were always on the receiving end of the ugly treatments, the dominant group did not come to the realization that their steps were only worsening the situation and it was only going to be a matter of time and the blacks hit back…no one was ready to comprehend what the retaliations could be, and what they could result into. Worse still they were in the dark of the eventual effect of racism on the world economy and more particularly on globalization. Racism was a great stumbling block to any move towards globalization. It made it and to achieve the goal of turning the world into a united global village. The best approach to give this plague is therefore through addressing it in the context of religion, literature, science, art and media (Barber, 1996, p.25).

Modern racism

Racism has been with us, present and alive. Even though a lot of advancement has been made into achieving equality among the warring parties, there is still room for improvement. The modern racism is no longer strictly about skin color, but anointer factor has gotten into play; that of class. Individuals of varied color are colluding to exploit the less unfortunate members of the society especially in the business community. Alliances are formed between persons across the boarders provided they have a common interest playing dirty. This has complicated further the concept of globalization, making it be more of a burden than a problem solver. Such cases are mostly common among those non-unaccountable governments with unstable political status. Depending on the position of the driver, modern racism has reached a level where blacks also discriminate against whites depending on what they hold over their colleagues. They call this “hitting back at the whites for the historical injustices done to them” (Korzeniewicz, 2001, p.4).

Some third world countries are still locked in the school of thought that white represents power and they cannot rule themselves. Therefore when it comes to leadership and making of global policies, they look up to their white counterparts for help and full dependence. This hinders free thoughts and judgment, which are prerequisite in kin the drive to positive globalization strategy (Friedman, 2000, p.58). Friedman explains that racism describes ones personality and character, it is not in born but it is acquired depending on a persons surrounding situation as one develops from childhood. Racism is n acquire state of character or mind shaped by ones personal experiences whether in adulthood or childhood. A person becomes a racist or otherwise depending with what aspects shaped his or her life. And just like race, ethnicity also defines ones personality, but in a cultural context (Gillham, 2000, p.38).

With the world leaders being of mixed race, the united front to fight racism seems to be a won battle. This presents a wonderful platform to effect globalization policies. Even though there are some criticisms on unilateral association, most leaders insist that the only way achieve it big. The current financial crisis is living nothing to chance. The world is reverting to the dark days of “the great depression”. The economic crisis is biting every corner of the world and the policies which are being instituted to counter the effect to help countries stay afloat. All the suppliers and consumers have to be united as one in this fight and any emerging issue that seems to displace this common agenda, like racism should be dealt with. Until the political, economic and social equality is sought, globalization will never have its intended positive impact. The institutional racism which is committed buy powerful nations against weak ones should be a thing of the past. All the laws, administrative procedures and regulations need to be established to help address this type of racism. This having been done and completely realized, then success will be met even in putting to an end the informal racism that exists among the racist culture (Barber, 1996, p.28).

In modern times, there has been a noteworthy increase in racism in many parts of the world. The trend that is following is directly associated with modernization and integration of world economies and cultures and racism is closely tied to globalization. As globalization has expanded it has raised more demands for skilled laborers particularly in the North America and Europe while at the same time increasing attempts to attract foreign workers. Those nations that are not benefiting from globalization are finding this even harder and bitter. Moreover, those countries who are trying to run away from the authoritarian regimes are finding it more complex and difficult to go into these countries owing to tighter immigration guidelines. Therefore, it will be difficult for anyone to migrate to wealthier nations unless they conform to their standards. With most countries unwilling to accept foreign cultures, basically due to an uncalled for nature of racism, it is becoming hard to drive and bring into conclusion globalization realities (Friedman, 2000, pp.57-59).

There is no doubt that the world is becoming more globalized, with racism or not. In (), it is stated that there is no stronger force than that of an idea whose time is nigh. And through a keen observation, it can be stated clearly that the time for the world to get globalized was long overdue. That is the sole reason why not even racism will never prevent any globalization trend from taking effect; it can only delay things from taking their right course. Even with the negative effects that racism presents to globalization, the world is sure to assert that the true dream of globalization will be realized. Even though that sounds quite promising, more criticism has come over the current forms of globalization, open markets, Neo-liberals and some political figures as well as economic liberalists are in this camp. They argue that, the most powerful nations and their respective corporations are shaping the global conditions of the World Trade to dictating the leadership choice of the third world and the decisions they make in respect to their people (Murray, 2006, p.45).

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Globalization on Racism

At many instances, globalization started the division of social relations under which the racism came into play, for instance widening the gap between the black and white workers. But it has never been proven that race relations can never exist separately of globalization; hence there can be close relationship between the two but not directly as such. The latest trend taken by racism is not related to how it was in the past, but now closely linked to the modern developments of capitalism and the extensive Political and Cultural Revolution (Korzeniewicz, 2001, p.5).

It is paramount for governments to realize that the current processes of globalization are erected upon current plus historic exploitive and unfair policies that encourage racism, racial discrimination and related prejudice. As such, the benefits are unequally shared while the costs are left to the poor and marginalized to bear them all. Therefore in an attempt to draw the principles by which globalization process will be driven, policies need to be made in such a way that their outcomes upon being implemented do not have damaging effects. A clear illustration to depict this relationship between racism and globalization is seen when countries miss some environmental and labor conventions and also tax revenues in order to attract foreign direct investments. The impact on this has seen more negative consequences on the ethnic minorities who continue to pay dearly. Secondly, the government is under the influence of multilateral institutions for example IMF, WTO and the World Bank promotes the type of globalization dictated by trade liberalization that for a long time has been common in the racial inequality era (Barber, 1996, pp.14-17).

Another notable example of the relationship between racism and globalization is the privatization of major social services; education and health care and also essential commodities like water. These are basic and necessity commodities that call for compulsory satisfaction all the people get it. But this is not the case; many people only enjoy this privilege in their dreams. Such a state is only applicable in the global world but is not practical at all. It is the minority and marginalized groups who are the majority face these inequalities (Murray, 2006, p.46).

The private sectors together with multi-national corporations are always major driving force of economic globalization, mainly in areas of trade and in the privatization of services. The government should be a bridge between the multinationals and the local investors in protecting the rights of the citizens through transparent regulations. But given that these multi nationals operated by the dominant groups operate across many nations, a universal strategy is deemed necessary. Hence governments must work in unison in development of the international standards in order to harmonize the conduct. Proper instruments should be in place to guarantee the realization of such standards mostly in preventing, addressing and eliminating racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination plus other associated intolerances in the circumstances of procedures of the economic globalization (Murray, 2006, pp.47-51).

Effects of globalization and racism

The process of globalization has some negative impacts on the political, religious, economic and cultural lives of people. Globalization results in a number of aspects which in turn affects the world in different ways. In (Korzeniewicz, 2001, p.4) highlights two main sectors affected by globalization. These are the: – Financial aspects: Under this, it is explained that globalization results in the growth of world financial markets which also develop structures for better admittance to foreign financing. These structures grow relatively fast to overcome the regulatory body and hence lead to an increase in instability of the world financial institutions. The next issue is that on political aspects: Different people use the term globalization differently; some use it to mean the creation of a global government that will regulate relations among different governments and promise the privileges arising from the economic and social globalization. In reality, it is only the U.S. among the world powers who enjoy political powers because of its strong economy position.

The good political will of a developed nation will see into an extension of an olive branch to other countries which may eventually result into some states changing tremendously in terms of economic status. For instance, the Peoples Republic of China has become economically stable through the assistance (by incentives) of the United States of America and other world powers (Wolf, 2004). All these steps carried by the wealthy nations are making it much easier to address effects of racism; they are building a stronger collective responsibility among nations hence doing away with the bad culture of racism.

Murray gives a third aspect brought about by globalization, in (Murray, 2006, p.17) we find out that the Improvement to Information and technical developments come as a result of globalization: Murray explains that, Technological advancements have led to the increase in information flow between geographically remote locations. Consequently the trans-border data flow has increased the flow of data through technologies like internet, wireless telephones, fiber optic and the communication satellites. Also the increase the globally applied standards have led to globalization. By making links and communication a little bit easier and cheaper across the boarders, the nationals stand a lot of chance to share their experiences and resources as well as doing away with the misconception that other people are less humans. Everyone will therefore get a chance to be appreciated and be given an equal opportunity to show his/ her worth in the society. Such a step to try to unite people will go a long way in helping the fight against racism.

The effects of globalization have been challenged worldwide through series of anti-globalization movements that has gained recognition since 2000. There have been numerous campaigns to stop the rich nations from holding delegations to promote globalization advances; the notable one being in Seattle when close to fifty thousands anti-globalization campaigners blocked the delegates from attending the World Trade Organization convention. The reason for the demonstration was typical because contrary to the belief of integration of the world economies the third world countries were not well represented or never represented at all. These caused public outcry among the many groups that were feeling they ought to be represented. These included the human rights, social justice, women’s rights and the animal rights groups. They felt that their interests stood a risk of being thrown to the dogs or misinterpreted. They wanted to voice their concern on issues that they felt were more vital to the development of all. They had a common view that their groups were being discriminated upon; they read mischief from the top world leaders and just wanted to show their displeasure (Wolf, 2004, p.17).

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There is an irony in the representation because it seems only to favor the western countries. The fight against globalization is just the same as the struggle against capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. Through the international policies administered by international corporations like the World Bank and the IMF, the third world countries have been oppressed greatly due to their cheap labor. In fact sweatshops, restrictive immigration procedures and the exploitation of workers are all associated with globalization and they also excessively affect the people of color. Most often anti-globalization activist place their attention on the Third World countries being exploited and being offered no recognition at all. Their financial position does not allow them to enjoy economies of scale like their developed counterparts and they can not be expected to compete in the same platform. The policies which are made by these organizations should therefore draw a clear line stating the financial position of all country, lest other nations will always have an upper hand as witnessed currently in the world market (Wolf, 2004, p.18).

Example of globalization and racism

The clear sign of globalization and racism is seen in the Black Belt Region of the United States. The Black Belt region represents the regions where the population of blacks is more than the whites. This region is typically characterized by a rural poor who are mostly African-American. In this region the majority of the blacks about 20% of the population are very poor. It is notable that there are minimal developments of industries with some exceptions like the wood processing and textile. Over the past twenty – thirty years Black Belt Region can directly to effects of racism that included insufficient infrastructure, education and health care. This has made to this region to lack behind economically (Murray, 2006, p.55).

Overall Effects of Globalization

There are many aspects of globalization that some people may agree that they are good, for example technology advancements; but still others may find globalization as having more negatives than positives, for instance the increase in illegal drugs. However, judging whether globalization is good or bad is a very complex matter. Globalization mainly affects political, cultural and economic areas. A major feature of political globalization is seen in the weakness by the government not able to control what crosses into and out of its borders, thanks to the free market allowance. In simple terms, globalization can decrease state ability to govern issues within its borders. This to some is good, because, dictatorial governments are finding this and more difficult in controlling the information flow to and from democratic groups. But in reality the decrease in state power means more loopholes and illegal channels including terrorist being created hence the difficulty to control them. These governments have been aided through technologies like World Wide Web, electronic mail and satellite that have all worked to bring down the monopoly of the state (Korzeniewicz, 2001, p.6). But on a positive note, such a step is promoting collective participation hence harmony and peace which eliminates incidences of racism, acrimony and animosity.

In the area of economics, the process of globalization has given consumers variety of goods and services. Moreover, multinational companies created through globalization are creating more job opportunities in poor areas. However, some including many activists are rejecting these arguments on the grounds that it is only benefits the multinational foreign investors and as a result the gap between the poor and the rich continues to expand within and between countries. In fact some economic globalization critics’ points out that collective wealth of just fifteen richest people in the world are more than the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa (Wolf, 2004, p.19).

At cultural point of view, globalization has contributed to diversity of cultures because it gives people more opportunities to learn other people’s cultures. However, some cultural globalization critics are arguing that this trend will lead to a clash of civilization, for instance as far as religion is concerned. Others are against the cultural globalization saying that they encourage cultural imperialism in which wealthy countries compel their culture on others. That is why Arabs are hostile towards the United States because of the fear of cultural imperialism. To others, cultural globalization is eroding national languages as more and more foreign languages particularly English is being adopted. In response to this influence, some governments are prohibiting western cultures for instance music from being played from national radio and television stations in an attempt to stop the unwanted influence from infiltrating into their culture. Still some western cultures for example France are adopting strategies to control unwanted cultural influences (Murray, 2006, pp.72-75).

Position of the World with Globalization

Over the past few years globalization has played a major part in contributing to shrinking of the world into what is basically referred to as “a global village”. First, the fact is that globalization emphasizes the integration of political, economic, cultural and social relations across different countries. The evidence of globalization is seen in our everyday lives, we constantly find different products in our grocery stores, shops that are produced from other countries. The most driving force is attributed to technology. Information and Communication Technology has transformed the information world, for instance, CNN reaches nearly every country. Technology has also been in the forefront in growing the international trade and the capital flows as well as enhancing the spread of the western culture primarily the U.S. culture. The world is now experiencing the other form globalization where dominant groups take on individual directions in competing globally different from the previous one that characterized companies becoming global. For example, in India and Australia, radiologists are interpreting CAT-scan images away from home. Indian telephone operators answer major telephone calls for United States corporations. Hence, the playing field is now being leveled and therefore all countries poor and rich can now competitively compete on the global market. In essence the world has become smaller and humans are now interconnected more than ever, that is global scale connection (Korzeniewicz, 2001. p.5). But racism which still persists and has refused to go away is giving these great advances no breathing space. Racism through the help of the hate groups like the KKK, Black Power, Jihad groups and the likes are a stumbling block to this realization. But rest assured with a collective common priority, achieving a world with all the nation leaders having a common objective and talking in unison will surely come to pass (Barber, 1996, p.29).

Contribution of world conference against racism and globalization

Although we term our world as the global village, it is sad that racism and racial discrimination are not at all debated, under the pretext that it has conclusively been dealt with to its rest. On of the guiding principle of the UN that was created in 1945 was about the principle of non discrimination. It upholds the dignity of human beings. Despite all the efforts by the international community intolerance and widespread discrimination which targets the racial minority, immigrants and asylum seekers is still out of control. The conference was held to challenge the widespread racial discrimination, xenophobia, racism and other connected inequalities (Wolf, 2004, p.20).

The conference enacted practical actions including procedures for prevention and education to get rid of racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination. The International Conferences that have been held since 1999 have had some common agreements. It was agreed that all the victims of racial discrimination are allowed compensation in different forms including rehabilitation and guarantees of non repetition. Gillham echoed the same claim in (Gillham, 2000, p.45). The book states that the conference gave recommendations on financial assistance and non monetary compensation for example confirmation of facts and their public disclosure of the perpetrators as a step to rendering justice to victims of discrimination.

However many seminars have experienced some conflicts with demonstrators who are claiming that the world conference is now centered on the selected few (world rich countries). The third world countries are not equally represented and that is mostly against the human rights activist, environmentalist and many other activists who want these so called dominant groups to change their policies and therefore they will eradicate these discriminations (Wolf, 2004, p.23). I just hope the world is not sinking back to the dark days where racism ruled.


  1. Barber, B. R. (1996). Jihad vs. McWorld. New York: Ballantine. Congressional Quarterly (2002) World at Risk: A Global Issues Sourcebook. Washington, DC. Pp.14-31.
  2. Friedman, T. L. (2000). The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. New York: Anchor. Pp.52-59.
  3. Gillham, P. F. & Marx, G. T. (2000). Complexity and Irony in Policing and Protest: The World Trade Organization in Seattle.pp.30-45.
  4. Korzeniewicz, F., Roberto P. & Smith, William C. (2001). Protest and Collaboration: Transnational Civil Society Networks and the Politics of Summitry and Free Trade in the Americas. pp. 4-6.
  5. Murray, W. E. (2006). Geographies of Globalization. New York: Routledge pp.41-77.
  6. Wolf, M. (2004). Why Globalization Works. New Haven: Yale University Press. Pp.17-23.

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