Anti Racism

Your guide to anti racism

What is anti racism?

Anti racism is an umbrella term that includes many different political and social activities attempting to deal with the malign threat of racism in society. In the West, anti racism has tended to focus on the inherent – or structural – racism among the majority population in its dealings with ethnic minorities. However, this is by no means the only form of anti racist activities you will find around the world. Racism is fought in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world, too. In the main, anti racism attempts to counter the social narratives of racist individuals and groups who 'explain' why certain sociological effects occur, usually based on racist theories that claim certain ethnic groups are predisposed to certain undesirable behaviours, such as criminality or laziness.

 Where did anti racism first come about?

Living equitably with others is something that has been espoused by many ancient thinkers and teachers,. Still, it was not, perhaps, until abolitionists started to campaign for the ending of the trans-Atlantic slave trade that a racial dimension was added. Because this form of slavery was often justified on racist grounds – the supposed superiority of the white plantation owners – so opposition to it began to take on an anti racist dimension from around the middle of the eighteenth century. When Toussaint Louverture led the Haitian revolution over colonial rule in the 1790s, many saw it as the first significant victory for anti racism.

How was anti racism shaped in the twentieth century?

After the abolition of slavery in the United States and the reconstruction period that followed the Civil War, many thought that the twentieth century would usher in a new era of non-racist societies. Nevertheless, from 1915, there was a genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian people which many anti racism scholars have pointed out was something of a precursor to the Holocaust that followed in a more systematic fashion in Europe during the Second World War. Elsewhere, racist attitudes continued in many parts of the world which led to civil rights movements for ethnic minorities, notably in France, the UK and the US.

Which anti racism groups oppose racist cultures?

Among the better-known groups in North America are Anti-Racist Action, One People's Project and Black Lives Matter. The last of these groups has affiliated organisations in many countries around the world these days as interest in it grew rapidly following protests in many US cities in 2020. In the UK, the Anti-Nazi League, Love Music Hate Fascism and Hope Not Hate are all groups that have fought in the anti racism struggle in recent years.

Can anti racism ever defeat racism?

Whether or not anti racism will be able to entirely eradicate the prejudices people have around what they perceive race to be is in doubt. That said, anti racism legislation has helped to create a more equitable society in many countries despite the best efforts of racists to undermine it with the sort of petty racism many people from certain ethnic groups still suffer on a daily basis.

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