“Globalization and the Unleashing of New Racism: an Introduction” by Macedo and Gounari Essay
Racism continues to manifest in the world in different ways, such that anyone who proclaims the end of racism appears as completely blind to his or her surroundings.
The identification of all Muslims as terrorists, the classification of all blacks as inferior people, the labeling of people from a particular ethnicity, religion or other groups as merely a compound characteristic is widespread.
In their book, Macedo and Gounari (2006) explain the manifestation of racism throughout historical times, with a key characteristic being that each period has a particular type of racism. Therefore, it is not correct to just identify one characteristic and use it as an overall definition and understanding of the racially discriminated and the racists.
While the argument by the Macedo and Gounari (2006, p. 22) is convincing, especially when they incorporate the thoughts of Paulo Freire on oppression, it still leaves the reader confused on whether pluralism or individualism is the best mechanism for understanding racist manifestations and tackling the scourge.
It is true that there is no generic racism, but there could be a generic source of racism, whose effect goes beyond the rationalization of social arrangements and institutions (Macedo & Gounari 2006, pp. 6-7). This generic source defines how societies and individuals relate to each other.
It is championed by a capitalist ideology that promotes self-interest above all else. Although the text does not mention it, it is the self-interest basis of capitalism responsible for failed revolutions and easy labeling of uprisings as threats, which end up justifying more oppressive conduct by elites over the oppressed.
Here, the oppressed refer to the victims of racism. However, in the text, readers could be forgiven to think of racism as only a white versus black problem, given that the reference of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim are quickly glanced over in the introductory parts, even before the real racism discussion commences.
Nevertheless, it is probably relevant to resort to the plight of the blacks, given that they have been historically oppressed due to racism and continue to face the same racist treatment from their “masters”.
Understanding their situation as it matches various discourses by different scholars would help the reader extrapolate the situation to other racist contexts not affecting the blacks.
Still, the reader is left to wonder what would explain the racist tendencies of the oppressed when they interact with their oppressors in circumstances that give them power.
What would a black custodian of capital do in the Westernized culture of capitalism, where the pursuit of profit permits capitalists to look first after their kind and their property? The text appears to answer this question by explaining the deferred revolution.
Whether it is intellectuals, revolutionists, or just activists, the acquisition of social power, which today is obtainable by capital and it is available in the market, transforms many individuals into new oppressors and collaborators with previous oppressors (Macedo & Gounari 2006, pp. 17-25).
Indeed, picking individuals to fight for the masses in a setting that favors individual pursuit (capitalism) is ill-advised. This is why racism persists, because it puts people resisting it into the middle of the privileged and the oppressed, forcing them to pick a side, with the majority opting to turn into racists for personalized benefits.
There is a need to understand the reason behind the facts, especially the reason why people looking after their own kind would appear as racist and oppressors. Only then can solutions be identified (Macedo & Gounari 2006, p. 33)
Macedo, D & Gounari, P 2006, ‘Globalization and the unleashing of new racism: an introduction’, in D Macedo & P Gounari (eds), The globalization of racism, Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, pp. 3-34.
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