Looking Into Institutionalized Racism Essay, Research Paper
Looking into Institutional Racism
In the World today, there are many cases of racism and prejudice. There are stories all over the news about cases where misunderstanding and violence. It’s hard to think of what kind of people are behind these incidents, it may be unnerving to find out that governments are responsible for some of the racism now and in the past. The people who are suppose to look after the best interests of the whole population are passing laws that discriminated against part of the population. When a government imposed policies that is racist or discriminatory to a specific group, it is called institutional racism. There have been several cases throughout the World and in past. Even though it may be hard now to pass laws that discriminated, it may not be as uncommon to see some polices still in affect.
One example of institutional racism come from Canada. There are actually many cases of this in Canada’s past. One that was discussed in reading and class was the treatment of Asians in Canada. There is the case of the internment of Japanese Canadians in the interior of British Columbia in 1942 during the second World War. This is a clear case of institutional racism because even though the World was against Nazi Germany and Japan, only the Japanese were dealt with this way. There was no evidence that the Japanese Canadian had any part with the war, “the apparent evidence points to the German Canadian” Other policies include the head tax on new Chinese immigrants after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway and incident with the Komagata Maru. There have been various other policies and laws that have been passed that discriminates against the minority population of Canada. Theses policies could be a product of ethnocentrism, but also a fear of immigrants taking over jobs and property by people already in Canada.
Another example of institutional racism occurs in South Africa for many years. The government discriminated against the black population of South America. The word that was apartheid. The black majority was treated as second class citizens by the white population. The “South Africa’s whites had methodically segregated blacks, paid them a pittance, ignored their housing and barely pretended to educated them.” The black population live n property and earned very little money. More than half of all blacks live below the poverty line, and black unemployment hovers around 45 percents. About a quarter of blacks lives in shacks or have no housing at all. Every few black houses had electricity and only about 40 percent of blacks did not have access to clean drinking water. On the other hand, the white population earn about 61 percent of the income while they make up about 13 percent of the population of South Africa. The income gap between blacks and whites in South Africa was the widest in the World. These harsh conditions where first imposed by the government in 1948 by Prime Minister Daniel F. Malan. Policies where designed to separated the races economically, politically, geographically, and socially.” Laws where passed as the Group Areas Act in 1950 that provided specific areas to be set aside of the fours main racial groups (whites, blacks, mixed race and Asians). These policies where held till the late 1980’s under pressures and sanctions. These polices where from ethnocentrism. The policies came from a white government to rule over the country. Policies and rules were made in favour of the white citizens.
There have been numerous discussions about the Korean population that live in Japan. It seems that they have few rights as citizens and a hard time of getting citizenship, even if they born in Japan. I have been researching this topic on the Internet and found some homepages describing incidents of Japanese discrimination and policies. This is some extracts from a personal experience from a Korean person that was born in Japan.:
“The Koreans living in Japan have been controlled through the Alien Registration
Law Since they got the liberation from the colonization by Japan in 1945. The
title”Shozo” means portraits of foreign residents attached on their foreign
registration cards which are obligatory for them to carry all the time.
My first Alien Registration
In 1951, I was born to Korean parents living in Japan. When 14 years old, I went to the public office for the first time to resister as a foreign resident. (Until that time my parents did the procedure for me.) The day was the time limit for application. But I forgot to take my photo. Two days later, I applied again and my alien registration card was issued. 2 years later, suddenly the policemen came to my house to tell me to report to the police. They said it was against the Alien Registration Law that I had applied for the registration card after the deadline.”
Where in most countries, being born in a country is sufficient for a person to receive citizenship, it is apparently not the case in Japan. They are considered aliens at the time and are regulated by this Alien Registration Law. Also, jobs seem to hard to find if you are Korean in Japan. Korean believe ” that it is impossible to gain employment with Japanese firms, they don’t even consider it.” It is not clear for the reason behind these feeling. From the impression from discussions, it seems that Koreans are just disliked in Japan and are seen as inferiors, therefore laws are created to handle these people. This would be another case of ethnocentrism from the Japanese feel superior to Koreans.
These are some examples institutional racism from three different cultures. These three cases seem to be a product of ethnocentrism where the government imposing these laws feel that the minority (or majority in South Africa’s case) are second class citizens to inferior people. Perhaps it is a trend to put down other cultures or groups that are seen as lower instead of trying to improve the situation to create equality. Whatever the reason, the issue that does have some concerns in the body that creates these law. It may be harder now than it the past to have these policies toward certain groups because of threat of international political pressure and human rights issue, but these types of things may be still happening in Japan with Koreans. So such things are government imposed racism may not be a thing of the past.