Anti-Racism Week: Hate is hate no matter what shape or form it comes in

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s fear and hatred stems from fear. People fear the unknown and therefore everything that is different to them and their way of life. This is how racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, islamophobia came into existence. All of these have one thing in common – prejudice against people based on their race, country of origin, biological sex, gender, sexual orientation and religion.

The South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights states that everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. It also states that the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

SA’s constitution is one of the most progressive in the world with a Bill of Rights second to none.

Why then does the country still have high levels of xenophobia, racism, sexism and homophobia?

Why do people discriminate?

According to the United Nations, people generally discriminate against other people because they have taken their beliefs of stereotypes to a level that causes them to think that others are not equal to them.

This discrimination can be filtered down to the most basic human characteristics including skin colour, weight or language and manifests itself in many different ways including violence.

What are the some of the most common forms of hate?

Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

This has been a typical way for people to assume systematic power over another race and their land of origin. In countries like America, colonisation led to the genocide of almost 90 percent of the Native Americans in 500 years. Groups of Indigenous Australians were massacred on many occasions between the start of the British colonisation of Australia in 1788 and the 1920s. The South African Apartheid system was also designed to segregate people of different racial and ethnic groups. In Germany, Hitler exterminated six millions Jews based on their race and religion.

Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex and gender.

Sexism has also been one of the most common forms of discrimination based on the notion that women are inferior to men. This has resulted in women all over the world having to fight for recognition as equals in society and in the workplace.

Dislike of or prejudice against people from another country.

One of the latest forms of discrimination that has caused violence in many South African townships is xenophobia. American president Donald Trump has also used xenophobia to fuel his presidential campaign with his promise to build a wall between Mexico and the US. The main reason for justifying violence against foreigners in both contexts is the irrational fear that foreign nationals are illegal immigrants who are criminals and steal jobs from the citizens of the country they inhabit. These claims have been debunked in many studies.

Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

Ever since the Twin Towers were bombed and America began its war against terrorism, Islamophobia around the world has increased. The belief that all terrorists are Muslim is obviously untrue but the stereotype has caused much hatred against Muslims around the world. Since Donald Trump became president, violence against Muslims in America has increased.

Dislike of or prejudice against homosexuals.

Even though the LGBTIAQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, asexual, queer) community is protected under the constitution and same sex marriage is recognised in South Africa, there are still many cases of homophobia. For instance, the belief that men can cure lesbians has resulted in so called corrective rape in townships around South Africa.

The gay community has long suffered discrimination because of their sexual orientation. Many African countries still see homosexuality as a criminal offence based on the Bible. American evangelists have taken advantage of this in countries like Uganda to suit their misogynist agendas.

Dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.

People who are of a different gender than the sex they are assigned at birth still suffer discrimination and violence across the world. So far in 2017, seven trans people of colour have been murdered in America. There have also been murders in other parts of the world like Mexico and Brazil. Even though trans people are now more visible in popular culture, they are still vulnerable to violence stemming from ignorence and the stigma attached to being trans.

Visit Anti-Racism Network of South Africa for more information on Anti-Racism Week and how to get involved. To report any violations of human rights, visit the SA Human Rights Commission.

 

 

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