Much of the way Europeans perceive themselves as a group today is still deeply embedded in racism. The fact that we haven’t yet even started to confront the legacy of colonialism, which fuels our ”us” and ”them” view of the world, reveals a disturbing fact: There’s still too little inclusion and acceptance in this part of the world.
Sadder still is the fact that too few of us openly promote more inclusion and acceptance in our society. How many times have you heard your local politician use terms like “mutual acceptance” and “respect” when speaking of immigrants and visible minorities?
Our race-and- blood view of ourselves and “others” explains why some Europeans still have difficulty overcoming the “us vs. them” mindset.
It would be naive, even foolhardy, to claim that the root of European racism does not date back to the nineteenth century, when we were a colonial power.
Racist views of other groups, especially blacks, is still predominant. The drawing is from the Golden Book Encyclopedia. The 1959 edition sold over 60 million volumes.
While nineteenth century evolutionism played a crucial role in justifying the exploitation of Africans, Asians and other regions, it was a very effective excuse to justify our domination of other groups. These same arguments are still used today by different groups to justify our racist views.
Julian Abagond asks in a blog entry whether blacks would have raided, pillaged and enslaved so many people if they had had guns and ocean-going ships before whites.
He writes: “Technology advances and spreads unevenly. It is common for one region to have a technological edge over another – yet it is rare for it to lead to genocide, even when the edge is military.”
While Europe’s new inhabitants want to adapt and see their living standards rise in their new homeland, they too are part of the “us-vs.-them” problem. Some immigrants come from countries and societies that are just as racist as Europe.
While the latter may be true, everyone can learn new rules and values in our new or old homelands that promote a well-functioning society. We should learn that racism and social exclusion are our biggest threats.
European Uncle Toms are as much of a danger to our ever-growing culturally diverse society as far-right groups. They are hindering the creation of a more-inclusive and culturally diverse Europe that can live side by side in harmony and reap synergies.
Writes Migrant Tales: “The Finnish Uncle Tom is a pretty opportunistic person. He or she believes that the only way to escape discrimination is by accepting those values that promote social exclusion of other groups like immigrants.”
In order to avoid the terrible wars that once ravaged this part of the world, we must strive to create and teach present and future European generations the crucial role that mutual acceptance and respect play in inclusion.
Racism is the shovel we Europeans use to dig our common grave.
We need more social inclusion in Europe to build a better society tomorrow.