Racism and Genocide
by Rayni Joan
Racism is the belief that one's own race, nationality, or ethnicity is
inherently superior to other races, nationalities and ethnicities. Here
in the 21st Century, after extensive and detailed investigation of the
human genome and genetics, scientists can find no objective or factual
basis for racist beliefs. Racism is often an excuse offered to explain
economic problems or to cover desperate power grabs.
Wrong-headed and factually incorrect as it may be, however, racism is
responsible for the unequal and often brutal treatment of those
belonging to that "other" race. Although skin color has been the
precipitating factor in many racist attitudes within the United States
since white Europeans arrived on North American soil and encountered
copper-skinned natives, Racism is not confined to prejudice against skin
color. For example, skin color plays no role in the ethnic violence seen
in some parts of Africa, and in Europe hatred of certain races was often
unconcerned with differences in skin color.
Racism may give rise to negative and fearful attitudes which result in
the violation of basic human rights because people belonging to the
so-called "inferior race" are considered less than human. Race violence
in the twentieth century became so widespread that a new term was
created to describe it. The word "genocide" was coined in 1944. It comes
from "genos" which is the Greek word for race, and -"cide" which in
Latin means killing. Down through the centuries, fairly simple and
standard racist attitudes have resulted in countless wars, race
violence, small- and large-scale atrocities, and massive deaths -- a
pattern which continues today.
Here is a partial list of genocides in the 20th and 21st Centuries -
2002- Darfur, Sudan -- the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed, rogue
guerillas hired by the Sudanese government have targeted three ethnic
tribes of Darfur Sudanese people and are destroying their crops,
poisoning their water, starving, murdering and raping them and
preventing humanitarian aid from reaching them.
1915-1918- Armenian Genocide -- Racism became the excuse for the
declining Ottoman Turks to murder two million Christian Armenians from
1915 to 1918 when the Armenian Independence Movement was making great
1931-1933- Ukrainian Genocide -- After the fall of the Czars, as the
agrarian Ukrainians began achieving a measure of independence, Stalin
came along and interrupted that process, brutally starving and deporting
seven million Ukrainians.
1933-1945- Nazi Holocaust -- Hitler and his Nazi Party started with
racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-gay tirades and ended up
murdering six million Jews and another six million Gypsies and other
racial groups, used advanced technologies such as gas chambers.
1994- Rwanda -- In an effort to take over rulership, the Hutus attacked
the Tutsis, who were historically the ruling elite in that country.
Before the conflict ended, 800,000 Tutsis had been brutally slaughtered.