• IASbaba
  • April 6, 2021
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UPSC Articles
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  • GS-1: Society and Social Issues


Racism is a systematic ideology, a complex set of beliefs and practices that, on the presumed basis of biology, divides humanity into the ‘higher’ us and a lower ‘them’. 

In a nutshell, it is this: one can tell everything important about a person, his group, its past and future, by noting the colour of his skin.


  • More than HR Violation: Racial discrimination, beyond being a breach of human rights, has harmful effects on human health and well-being, and risks wider disruptions to social cohesion.
  • Complex: Current forms of racism and discrimination are complex and often covert. Structural forms of discrimination, including micro-aggressions and everyday indignities, remain widespread. 
  • Growth of Social Media: Anonymity of the Internet has allowed racist stereotypes and inaccurate information to spread online.
  • Techno-Racism: The use of new technologies and artificial intelligence in security raise the spectre of ‘techno-racism’, as facial recognition programmes can misidentify and target racialised communities.
  • Aggravates Inequalities: Racial discrimination deepens and fuels inequality in our societies. Prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory acts, whether subtle or overt, aggravate existing inequalities in societies.
  • Double Burden on Women: Women and girls also carry a double burden of being exposed to racial and gender-based prejudices. 

Way Ahead

  • Public attitudes to anti-racism have improved, as expressions of racist ideology have become less socially acceptable.
  • Multisectoral effort to tackle the root causes of racism through anti-racist laws, policies and programmes.
  • UNESCO’s actions against racism through education, the sciences, culture, and communication offer an example of a way forward. 
  • UNESCO promotes the role of education in providing the space for young people to understand processes that sustain racism, to learn from the past, and to stand up for human rights. 
  • Through new approaches to inter-cultural dialogue and learning, youth and communities can be equipped with skills to eradicate harmful stereotypes and foster tolerance.
  • Racism will not be overcome with mere professions of good faith but must be combatted with anti-racist action. 
  • A global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination is built first and foremost in the minds of women and men.

Connecting the dots:

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