“…And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors. Surely there are signs in this for the learned.” (Q. 30:22)…”
“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors. Surely there are signs in this for the learned.”
Most people know what it is, have heard it discussed countless times, may have even had personal experience with it. There is no need to define what racism is.
It is something that is almost worthless as a scientific classification, because the genes which determine skin color account for a mere fraction of a percent of the overall human genetic makeup. But of course, no one can argue that the concept of race is so ingrained in the way people think that it’s nearly impossible to get away from it.
What’s one of the first things that one person notices about another?
What’s one of the first physical characteristics listed when describing the appearance of a person?
It is usually the color of his or her skin.
Throughout the world fair skin is equated with
beauty, and even goodness. This may be partially blamed on Western colonialism, which has had a great impact even on the Muslim world. This Muslim world itself is a collection of artificial boundaries drawn on a map to create countries. This has led to the new phenomenon of nationalism, which may further intensify discrimination on the basis of skin color. There is the extreme example of the not so old South Africa and its system of institutionalized racism, or apartheid.
There is also the example of Guyana, where racism has destroyed the country to a point where it is nearly impossible to see how it can continue, since logic would dictate that if racial differences cause a country to become poverty-stricken and its people to flee in droves, then people would recognize what they’re doing and cease. Yet it continues, and is even escalating to the point of violence.
In Western countries like this the United States, what can be observed is the more subtle discrimination experienced by blacks and non-whites in places where it is legally prohibited. America itself has not had a stellar record where race relations are concerned. Even at its very founding, the infamous three-fifths clause, which counted a black person as three-fifths of a legal person, was written into the Constitution.
Now, legally speaking, there is “equal opportunity” in America, but the attitudes of people, bred by long history of racism, is a different thing entirely.
Incidents like the Rodney King riots, the so-called New York cop killings (like that of young African immigrant Amadou Diallo) only serve to illustrate this idea. It is said that in the U.S. the worse thing one can be is a young black man. People make cynical references to things like DWB, or Driving while Black.
Obviously, Western society still has quite a ways to go before it can become truly colorblind.
A law is a rule that the government says to obey for the good of society.
Therefore, one person cannot kill another for racist reasons and expect no punishment from society. But there is nothing stopping that same person from thinking what he or she likes about others, or even, as in many instances, verbally airing those views in public.
But if one lives according to Islam, it is not possible to follow the letter of the law in public while believing something else in the privacy of one’s own mind.
…to be continued…
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