Racism is the act of labelling someone in a negative way because of his/her colour, religion, nationality, sexuality.

We have been told since we were kids that we should not mock someone because of his/her differences. However, this easy lesson “no differences, we are all equals” seems to be more a self-convincing motto than a strong belief that adults have.

Here are three episodes that show us that inequities are still existent in our societies

Discrimination against immigrants

It is quite usual to hear politicians in Italy spreading rumours about immigrants (with no distinction between economic migrants and asylum seekers). Some examples of these rumours are that immigrants steal jobs, they annoy women and are given a pocket money of €500 every month. Nothing further from the truth.

#BlackLivesMatter in the US

Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week.

Nearly one in three black people killed by police in 2015 was identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to underreporting.

37% of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015 despite black people being only 13% of the US population.

Unarmed black people were killed at 5x the rate of unarmed whites in 2015.

Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved.

The growing islamophobia

This lately manifested itself in the banning of the burkini. In some French seaside towns, the local council forbade Muslim women to wear the burkini, since it was against law to “manifest one’s adhesion to a religion through symbols”.

The prohibition of the burkini was deeply humiliating for the Islamic community, but what was more offensive was the news of a Muslim woman being forced to take off her burkini. Not only was that a violation of individual Constitutional freedoms, but that action could be easily associated with the violation of the (female) body. Be it an exaggeration or not, isn’t (sexual) violence an attempted act to dominate someone? Fortunately, the French High Court soon intervened voiding the regulation.

In conclusion, we must acknowledge that racism still exists and, unfortunately, it is quite strong. It is not by repeating ourselves that we are all equals that we apply equality. The only way to contrast racism is acknowledging the existence of differences between people and cultures: if we learn how to appreciate and not fear them, we will understand each other.

Chiara Merlino, Correspondent (Our World)

Image Courtesy: zeevveez (https://flic.kr/p/dEGAfh), Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Flickr