Racism and Xenophobia (I)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
At the moment we are going through a historical period of major political, economic and social contradictions in which racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, intolerance, ethnocentrism and many other contradictions have arisen violently. The last decades of the twentieth century were filled with rapid, irreversible processes such as the global economic crisis, demographic movements, trade wars, radical changes in Eastern countries, the slow, difficult developments in the European Union and especially insecurity and fear of the future in the face of unemployment and poverty.
When the great thinkers of today ask themselves how it has become possible to repeat the same problems of centuries ago, they find that the causes of racist and xenophobic behaviors are many, but are basically history, religion and the development of Western societies.
The term ‘race’ was used in Western culture at the time of the first encounter with peoples with external features that were different. From then until the second half of the twentieth century a hierarchy was established among the races based on skin color, skull shape, hair and physical structure.
This marks the beginning of the hypothesis of the existence of different races and based on their biological characteristics they are classified as superior or inferior. So from the very beginning, the white race was considered superior, more developed, better prepared and as having more weapons for conquest.
From the beginning of classical civilizations in ancient Greece and then in Rome, people whose customs, gods and social organizations were different, strange and unusual were considered pagan and savage.
In the course of history, after the conquest of Africa and America, the supremacy of the white race reached its peak, with its monotheistic religion that was considered unique and absolute. It also excluded any other form of social, cultural and religious life that existed, such as gypsies, Jews, Indians, blacks and peoples of Islamic faith.
These prejudices have been retained until today and according to this doctrine, such individuals are primitive, barbaric, sinners, cannibals, dirty and murderers. From the concept of ‘race’ comes the term ‘racism’ that disseminates the idea of the supremacy of some peoples over others.
Addendum: I will continue this article with the topic of xenophobia.