Very recently in Australian sporting news AFL player Adam Goodes who plays for the Swans was called an “Ape” by a thirteen year old girl in the stadium. Goodes overheard the comment and pointed her out in front of cameras until security personnel came and eventually escorted her via the players request. Adam Goodes is an indigenous Australian- an Aboriginal and claims he was “gutted” and that it was “shattering” to hear. A week later TV and radio host and personality Eddy Mcguire went on to call Adam Goodes “King Kong” in an apparent play along to the players disgruntled reaction to racism, albeit from a minor.
There has also been a clear increase in racism caught on the social media scene here in Australia within the last year or so. In particular racist tirades on buses, train stations and sporting grounds. Yet there is a common trend occurring when people hear about such racist issues in our societies today…“racism is natural” apparently. According to many every day people, racism is an entirely excusable- though not a recommended view point that is excused simply for the fact that supposedly racism does not run counter to nature and is a part of our evolution and that in essence this makes it “okay” or at least forgivable to the public eye.
There are a few issues with this notion, first of all the argument that “racism is natural” and a part of our evolutionary fabric is not a consistent or accurate statement. Although there are segments of the scientific community that may link racism to natural evolutionary roots that have passed on, this is still not a mainstream view and the idea of racism being natural is still contested. As a matter of fact the most recent study (October 2012) , taken in a paper that will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Eva Telzer of UCLA and three other researchers found that amygdala, a brain structure associated with (negative) emotion was only found in people over 14 years of age when they saw another race, and that essentially Children below the age of puberty showed no evidence of brain activity linked to negativity or threat when they saw a person of another race.
Yet even if it is a cold hard fact, even if racism is biologically tuned within us as human beings and that it is entirely “natural” because animals may do it and our early ancestors may have done it, this does not necessarily mean it is an acceptable thing to do, nor that it should not be an issue that is tackled. This argument that racism is “natural” is actually an argument based strictly on a logical fallacy. This fallacy is surprisingly called the “Appeal to nature” fallacy and is the argument that because something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good or ideal.
The appeal to nature fallacy works against two people on two ends of a scale, for example in the case of Homosexuality many homosexuals claim their actions are acceptable because it is “natural” and is an action found in animals, at the same time opponents to homosexuality claim that Homosexuality is unnatural (counter productive) – hence bad. Both fail in their logical argument by using the “Appeal to nature” fallacy and this applies to the concept of racism being natural as well.!
Either way i believe racism is something that may be combined, it could be a combination of natural biological elements and sociological-environmental elements too. I find it interesting that according to the latest studies the younger you are, the less likely you are to be racist and that racism is something that tends to kick in at the time of puberty. A time where society impacts a human being to an extreme level, where people are trying to grasp their mind frames and opinions and hold a place in society as “young adults”. I find at that age people are formulating their mental structure and solidifying how they see the world and indeed the opinions of others and external influences like the internet, television, media and other aspects could essentially help build the ingredients to form a young racist.
In my opinion racism is not so much “natural” and that this mighty fine excuse paves the way to inexcusable social and public behaviour. Simply put, racism is not okay and no race or culture is innocent when it comes to their obvious displays of racism. Racism is something that needs to be fought and not only together as a community but also independently on a case by case basis. I have an Arabic and Eastern European background whilst being born and raised in Australia. I have encountered racism and my parents had it worse. I am about as “wog” as wog gets. I make jokes about all races including my own at times, in my Youtube videos i have mimicked other races from Asian, Bogan Australian, European, Indian, Middle Eastern, Latino and more.
Yet i fight racism with comedy and with poking fun at the silly stereotypes that still go around today and none of it is a reflection of actual racism, resentment or hatred i feel out there for any race because quite simply it doesn’t exist and i am more than happy to refute the next person that tells me racism “ain’t no biggie” because its “natural”.
When we have thirteen year old girls at sporting matches yelling “ape” to black players and other hooligans mimicking monkeys to other black footballers in the UK we know society has got a serious problem. Mind you racism is shit flung from every given angle and let me make it clear, white people are not always the offenders of racism and in fact are themselves sometimes the victims of racism too, that doesn’t make it okay, none of this does. Education is missing clearly and parents are failing at educating their children in regards to the world around them, if my daughter made a racist slur I’d verbally smack her down with common sense and justice. Indeed racism must be fought even if against your own friend or family member, it is all simply a fight against “nature”- a nature that is uncivilized, expired and dangerous to societies- there is no reason to stand up for it, so racism it is time to stand down…stand down.
Peace, Salam- Ramey