Increasing Racial Discrimination: Causes and Way Forward

Synopsis: The use of the internet has increased the prevalence of Racial Discrimination. The only way to overcome racism is by anti-racism action.


Every year March 21 observes the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is a global movement to fight prejudice and intolerance. It provides an opportunity to explore the causes and consequences of modern racism and helps in fighting discrimination.

  • Racial discrimination is a breach of human rights. It has harmful effects on human health and well-being. It leads to wider disturbances to social unity.
  • In this context word of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan are still relevant

“Our mission is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”

What are the types of racism faced by people in society?

Recent forms of racism and discrimination are complex and often hidden. The facelessness of the Internet allows racist stereotypes and incorrect information to spread online.

  1. Firstly, traffic to hate sites and posts against Asians grew by 200% in the US during the pandemic. Social media groups and messaging platforms assist in social and economic boycotts of religious minorities. Minorities were falsely accused of spreading the virus in India and Sri Lanka.
  2. Secondly, structural forms of discrimination which include micro-aggressions and everyday indignities are widespread. The use of new technologies and artificial intelligence in security raises the threat of techno-racism.
    • This is because facial recognition programmes can misidentify and target racialised communities. A study by The Lancet focussed on the social dimension of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vulnerability of ethnic minorities.
  3. Thirdly, the World Health Organization has warned about the dangers of outlining and defaming communities. It can lead to fear and the subsequent cover-up of cases and delays in detection.
  4. Fourthly, women and girls also experienced racial and gender-based biases.
Suggestions to tackle Racial discrimination

UNESCO suggested steps against racism through education, the sciences, culture, and communication.

  1. Firstly, UNESCO emphasizes the role of education. It provides young people with an understanding of processes that tolerate racism and encourages them to stand up for human rights.
  2. Secondly, UNESCO offers master classes to help students to become campaigners of anti-racism in their schools and communities. It will be helpful to remove harmful stereotypes and raise tolerance.
  3. Thirdly, the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities provides a platform for city-level planning and a laboratory for good practices in the fight against racism.
  4. Fourthly, renewed commitments are required to mobilize for equality. Racism must be fought with anti-racist action. A global culture of tolerance, equality, and anti-discrimination should be built in the minds of people.
  5. Fifthly, UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris hosted a Global Forum against Racism and Discrimination on March 22, 2021.
    • Policymakers, academics, and partners were present at the Forum to initiate a new multi-stakeholder partnership on anti-racism. The new proposed map to tolerance calls for a multi sectoral effort to control the root causes of racism through anti-racist laws, policies and programmes.

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