[15]   Human Rights (2): Racial Problem & Multiculturalism

Background:

·       In US, there are about 7,000 to 10,000 hate crimes recorded by the FBI each year. Two-thirds are hate crimes involving race or ethnic origin; the remaining involving religion or sexual orientation.

66.  What are the cause and effects of racial problems?

a.   Definition: Racism is the degradation of others on the basis of race.

b.   Present situation:

·         There are many different forms of racism in the world against many different racial groups.

·         Racism is mostly directed to blacks in the US and Canada, less severe against Hispanic people.

·         Racism against oriental people is generally not serious because of their high achievement.

c.   Types of racism:

·         Explicit racism: whites are regarded as superior to other races, through enforcing stereotypes, and practising segregation and open discrimination.

·         Hidden racism: racism assuming a more subtle form in recent times

o        structural and economic racism: difficulty in getting jobs or treated unfairly by the police

o        personal racism: lack of acceptance in intimate situations, such as intermarriage or friendship

d.   Cause and effects of racism:

·         With the large amount of emigration in recent history, there is a greater mixture of races and subsequently racial awareness and racism increase.

·         Effects: prejudice against other races, discrimination in employment and daily contact, segregation in residential areas, hate crimes against other races

e.   Modern racism by the white majority:

(1)  indeliberate segregation causing the formation of urban ghettos:

o        the phenomenon of “white flight”: white residents leaving increasingly black neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood soon becomes all black. The result is inferior schools providing poor education to blacks.

(2)  biased criminal justice system because of black stereotype of criminality:

o        unequal treatment by the police including racial profiling and higher arrest rates and charge rates

o        more severe sentences handed down by the courts to blacks for the same crimes

o        However, blacks account for 12% of the US population but half of murder victims, 95% killed by blacks.

(3)  widespread poverty among blacks because of stereotypes of mental inferiority and laziness:

o        employment opportunities more limited

o        There is a persistent black “underclass” while all immigrant groups gradually move up.

f.    Modern racism by the black minority: [this analysis done by a black academic]

(1)  Attitudes:

o        many blacks suffer from a fatalistic attitude, unwilling to work hard, believing it won’t be rewarded

o        cling to the status of victims: emphasizing the oppression and discrimination by the white establishment

o        successful blacks are ignored as role models, otherwise the victim myth will be disproved: black students who do well in schools are ridiculed; successful blacks are not regarded as blacks

 (2) Strategies:

o        use race as an excuse for own failures: committing crimes, producing kids but not raising them [70% of blacks in US are born to single mother holdholds], addicting to illegal drugs

o        use the charge of racism to malign the enemies: blame white people (making whites feel guilty)

o        use anger as a shield to escape taking responsibility: some rap music encourages violence, even the killing of cops; the objective is to rouse blacks to take up arms and physically fight the race war

o        use the history of slavery to portrait blacks as victims in order to gain power

(3)  Actions:

o        gain material redistribution and more power through race-based advantages in studies and work

o        seek large financial compensation to address past wrongs like slavery

o        some express their anger by massive riots and destruction of property when triggered by minor incidents such as perceived police brutality towards minorities (the case of Rodney King in Los Angeles)

67.  How should Christians view racial problems?

a.   God’s desire is racial equality: God is impartial (Dt 10:17; 1Pe 1:17);God does not show favouritism on the basis of race (Ac 10:34-35; Ro 2:10-11).

b.   Christians must not hold any racial prejudice (Jas 2:1-9; Gal 3:28-29): People of all races are created in the image of God. Racial prejudice is learned attitude, not born.

c.   Racism is socially unacceptable: Victims of racism are denied human dignity, are humiliated, and are disadvantaged socially, politically, and economically; they cause social disorder.

68.  Should Christians support giving advantage to racial minorities in education and employment?

a.   Policies or programs to give advantage to racial minorities.

(1)  In education, some U.S. colleges and universities use a quota system or bonus points to ensure a certain proportion of the incoming students are from ethnic minorities (blacks and Hispanics).

(2)  In employment, the policy of affirmative action has been usedfor a long time. It specifies that minorities (sexual or ethnic) will have priority in being employed if the qualifications are the same.

b.   Objectives of such policies:

·         to compensate for historical wrongs such as slavery or discrimination (“historical justice”)

·         to give an advantage to disadvantaged minorities due to past “institutional discrimination”

·         to ensure ethnic diversity in academic or working environments

·         to train or employ ethnic minorities in order to achieve greater harmony with minorities

c.   Arguments against such policies:

·         It is an unfair system which encourages and permeates inferior performance.

·         The policies increase the chance of lawsuits because of reverse discrimination or reverse racism.

d.   Conclusion: Some objectives are well-intentioned but policies favouring minorities should only transitional and should be eventually phased out.

69.  How should Christians view racial profiling in law enforcement?

a.   Racial profiling is the targetting of racial groups for selective police searches and traffic stops.

b.   The main justification for such action is the best use of limited police resources. However, such demeaning actions against a specific racial group to save money is not justifiable.

c.   However, search and seizure policies and practices based on concrete evidence is not profiling.

70.  What is multiculturalism? Should Christians support multiculturalism?

a.   Definition: Multiculturalism is the government policy in Canada to promote the retention of cultural identity of individual ethnic groups through government subsidy.

b.   Objective: It is a formal recognition that all cultures are worthy of retention so that new immigrants can feel proud about their own culture. Such objective appears well-intentioned.

c.   Problems:

(1)  Value pluralism: The philosophical foundation of multiculturalism came out of the theme of diversity in political correctness. The extension of such philosophy is that one must not criticize the moral standard and religion of other cultures.

(2)  It actually creates or magnifies ethnic prejudice.

d.   Conclusion: All cultures should be respected but moral standard must not be compromised by value pluralism. Cultural expressions by ethnic groups should be self-subsidized.