What Is Racism, What Does It Mean?June 28, 2021
In our article, “What is race, what is racism and what are the basic assumptions of racist attitude?” We will try to answer questions such as: First of all, after the brief definitions of the concepts of race and racism, we will start by examining the basic concept on which the racist approach is based, race.
Racism is an intellectual structure based on the superiority of human races to each other. The people who adopt this mental structure and the understanding of racism and the operational system determined by this structure are called racists. Racism is an extreme and high belief or doctrine that, in general, biological differences between human races should also determine the functioning of society on a cultural or individual basis, and that one race is superior to others for natural reasons and has the right to dominate others.
We know that racism today, at least at the level of discourse, points to an understanding as cursed as fascism. Racism, which is among the basic principles on which the fascist ideology is based, did not solve the problems in any of the societies in which it was adopted and applied, on the contrary, it led to the emergence of a social climate incompatible with the ideals of democracy and human rights, such as intolerance, lack of communication and conflict.
Sinan Özbek, in his work called “Racism”, states that there are two different arguments about the origin of the concept of race (Özbek 2003, p. 10). Proposing one of these arguments, Albert Memmi argued that the concept of race derives from the Latin concept of ratio and still includes the predicate “chronological order” in its current usage; However, according to Özbek, deriving race from the concept of ratio is an arbitrary and forced approach that is not sufficiently justified (ibid.).
Ratio is a Latin term that refers to the analytical aspect of the mind that makes calculations, makes inferences and establishes relationships, and forms the origin of the rationalism approach in modern philosophy, which argues that reason is the most basic source of knowledge.
Özbek found Immanuel Geiss’s etymological analysis (pronounced Gays) more convincing, that is, basing the concept’s origin in Arabic instead of Latin, and the word Ras, which means “head”, “tribal chief” in this language (ibid.). He says that the first to use this concept in Europe were the Spaniards and the Portuguese, and when we consider the relations of these nations with the Arabs, Geiss’s thesis becomes stronger (ibid., pp. 10-11).
In Arabic, ras is used to mean “head”, “tribal chief”, and according to Geiss, words such as raza, raca, rasse, race, which mean race in Western languages, are based on this basis.
Geiss’s etymological analysis becomes more convincing, given the influence of Bedouin culture among the Arabs and the special importance the Bedouins place on ancestry. Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), who laid the foundations of a philosophy of history that had a worldwide repercussion in the Mukaddime, also stated that the concept of asabiyya, on which social life and politics are based, can be understood in two different ways as ancestry and cause, and the level of civilization of societies gives more importance to which of these types of asabiyya. argues that it can be determined in relation to it (Ibn Haldun 2005, pp. 335, 378-379). When we look at the history of the concept of race in our language, which indicates more biological-genetic features, we come across the word “uruk” (Özbek 2003, pp. 16-17).
According to Ibn Khaldun, racial discord is the rush of people who are related to each other in the same tribe to the aid of each other and their solidarity with each other; The reason for the asabiyya is the solidarity of different tribes and tribes with each other due to the unity of ideal rather than the unity of lineage, especially because of their adherence to the same religion.
Racism, which is based on the concept of race to shape social life, is a political understanding that argues that a group of people is not only different from other people in terms of biological, mental and/or morality, but is better, superior, more creative, and bases this defense on genetic roots. In the 19th century, the racist approach, which is based on the natural selection put forward by the British biologist Charles Darwin in his work titled The Origin of Species and also benefiting from Social Darwinism, which adapted it to the social field, is the racist approach that we briefly mentioned in the Fascism subheading of the unit titled Ideologies, which makes higher races/peoples more vulnerable. he considers it normal for him to dominate, even enslave, the inferior. Such a normalization is followed by the following assumptions:
The higher/race should never mix with the lower races, otherwise the superior race will be corrupted.
Those of the lower race, by nature, lagged behind the higher races in terms of intelligence, physical traits, and morals.
Peoples of the lower race cannot and should not benefit from economic, social and legal rights at the same level as the peoples of the superior race.
The history of the word race in Turkish goes back to the word “uruk”. There are linguists who argue that the origin of the word “nationality”, which is still used today, is “uruk”.
The prejudices of these basic presuppositions of racism in societies where multiculturalism is observed today, mutual hostility