Cultural racism in the simplest terms refers to the conviction founded in the feeling that one group that it’s better than another. Such manifestations are racial grounded on the mental premises that a cultural group is in one way superior to others. The superior culture engages in trends of imposing its mode of life mainly the standards and other values. Basing the argument on the subjects of a culture who are individuals, cultural racism has the effect of viewing certain people subordinate to others. Cultural dominance has always achieved a crippling effect to social and economic aspects of life. The cultural racism trend has through time been viewed with contempt since it leads to universal categorization of what a certain race believe in which the dominant race tries to make it a universal norm. Values irrelevant to another group are imposed on people in a move to civilize them (Said, 1996).
The origin of cultural racism is said to be in ethnocentrism which is the aspect of life whereby a specific group tries to perceive other peoples culture through its eyes. In ethnocentrism misplaced standards are imposed on ones standards. It has the impact of painting other people’s life has a back ward and worth drastic change to conform to the groups ways of life. The ideology of cultural racism has its history in the period after the Second World War. In 1966, United Nations Convention was held to discuss and subsequently legislate how to bring to an end the prevalent racial discriminations witnessed in the era before the Second World War. It is agreeable, that cultural racism doesn’t base its validity on the biological differences but on specific differences. A certain cultural group is not in any way concerned on the biological differences to claim superiority but rather on cultural differences (Said, 1994).
Worth noting, is that the cultural differences can be real and notable but in other situations such distinctions are only created by the dominating group for instance, the American White Northern European culture which brought in a period of white cultural racism dominance. In addition, the culture had seen the light of many days and breeding in institutions. The white norms put forth by such culture were used as the test to identify whether a certain behavior was in conformity with the sketched dimensions of the dominant culture. Surprisingly, any behavior taken to be outside such parameters was disregarded (Marger, 2012).
It has been a sad state to imagine the devastating effects of such cultural racism in institutions and more specifically in schools. Certainly, some students have had to cut short their studies after being bitterly made fun of or considered abnormal because they are from a certain race. The job market is not in either way spared by such discriminations. In the aforementioned American case, the Latinos have been judged in the white man’s cultural setting to be unhealthy and poorly fed simply because their traditional meals differ from the Latinos traditional foods. It has a very intimidating effect making a cultural group subordinate and always in a state of upgrading their status (Said, 1994).
In the cultural racism state, the subordinate cultural group will always feel ashamed of their practices hence trying hard to change their ways to meet the majority culture stardards.They will remain foreigners in the new culture and hence they will be barred from gaining entry to what they consider their new way of life. A slight distinction has been drawn between racism and cultural but still both share notable elements. The old fashioned racism has found its way in cultural racism (Conway, 1997).
Cultural racism can exist without any other form of cultural defect but in many instances, it is meant to achieve the goal of gaining power and influence. The desire to achieve the said power takes the immediate discussion to orientalism. Orientalism is the way cultural groups have intensified their political, military and more importantly the economic supremacy. Orientalism has a very close nexus to imperialist trends. In addition, in the scope of orientalism, and more specifically to the European colonizers, the non-European world was theirs to be studied and substantially reconstructed in their standards. The Eurocentric means of viewing the world was not in any way in other parts of the country as an accident but its imposition was strategic. In a nut shell, the Western colonizers did not imagine their cultural values existing with the values of other groups. The created incompatibility by the European powers had the consequences of changing the perception of everything (Said, 1996).
Orientalism has to be looked in the confines of the era between the inception of colonialism, the colonial period and more imperative the colonial after math. The main goal of such study is to try to discover a neutral understanding to Islamophobia. It will vital to make the exploration of the phases of orientalism which are intertwined with cultural racism so as to understand the general fear of Islam as a religion. A clear analysis seeks to identify how genuine the fear of Islam is and why should such fear exist. The term Orientalism has been used in recent years to connote the underlying stereotypes and Western negative perceptions towards the Middle East and more certainly the Islam religion. Many Orientalism scholars have put up concrete evidence to unmask such trends. For quite sometime, the Arab Islamic people have through time, been taken to be unbearable and very incompatible to certain principles simply because they are not approved by the Western powers (Sheehi, 2011).
The Eurocentric perception of the Middle East people has been detrimental in the social, political and economic aspects of their life. Their culture has historically been held to be a threat and such notions have extended to Islam. The fear that Muslims; mainly of oil producing countries have been taken to be terrorists and extremists, has been grounded on the Islam religion. Such a view has been held strongly by America and the European world. The cultural racism of the American and European countries to change the cultures of the Middle East countries people has been received rebellious treatment from the Muslim world. The central ideology in orientalism is to the effect that the knowledge of the western world is based on stereotypes and unreal notions whereby all cultures in the Middle East are portrayed as similar to another. The judgment based on the unreal notions and not facts has led to a lot of misconception of the Middle East. Such limited understanding of the Middle has generated tension in the two worlds (Little, 2008).
The West has tried to impose the imperialist tendencies and the monopoly of one religion to the Middle East and more specifically to the Muslim countries. The effects of such ideologies on Orientalism have had the effect of presenting the Islam world has intolerable. Unknowing or knowingly, the negative notion against Islam and Muslims have propelled Islamophobia .The term gained momentum in 1980s and 1990s but it has been so far received its popular usage in the terrorism attack of the United States, September 11 attack .The term Islamophobia means the fear, and a strong dislike to all Muslims irrespective of their place of origin. The main practice associated with Islamophobia is that Muslims are isolated and possibly barred from taking active participation in the world’s social, economic and political activities. In rather general usage of the word, it describes the hateful perception that Islam is anti-humane with no values to be desired and borrowed. In fact, it has been stated by some anti Islam supporters that Islam is an inferior culture to the West culture. The foregoing cultural racism has labeled Islam a terrorist political movement .They have sought to dispute the point that Islam is a religion with values to be respected just like any other religion in the West.Extrimists have been said to be Muslims even when their religion has not been ascertained. It is through cultural racism that the Muslim world has been viewed a prevalent threat to humanity (Said, 1996).
The phobia is rooted in the imperial trends of fault finding in other societies and seeking to put up a campaign to culturally erode and generate hate against certain cultures. To Conceptualize Islamophobia and the wrong representation of the Muslim world it is important to assess the colonial and post colonial aspects of the colonizers. This interest to get to the root of such notions is clearly explored by the study of the sixteenth and the seventeenth century’s European expansion of colonial territories. The centuries were mainly characterized by explorers moving from one part of the continent with certain expectations of the people found in such places. Slave trade took root with major trading zones in Africa and Asia (Driel, 2004).
The major interests in the Sub Saharan shipping of the Africans more certainly from North Africa through the Mediterranean Sea engineered a pace of considering Muslim population to be intolerant. The interaction between Muslim, Slave Lords and the Europeans who were mainly in North Africa and other parts of Asia gave birth to strong stereo types about Islam. Negative perceptions to the effect that Islam was in constant competition with Christianity were fostered. To the rest of the world that heavily relied on the European literature and mainly the media representation about Muslims were convinced that Islam religion is of slaves and despots. The negative themes to define Muslims during the colonial period had interest attached to the negative stereo types. The policies laid to tap resources in the Islamic countries had to be coupled with a need to counteract a negative culture. The negative perception of Muslims has despots worked excellently for the Europeans to continue imposing their rule in the said countries. At the material time, several States in the Northern Africa coast sought to protect any form of imperialist invasion by demanding tribute if merchants from European countries were to be allowed to continue trading on the Mediterranean Sea (Diller, 2011).
The situation occasion by the said instance was that American leaders assumed the role of staunch defenders of free trade in the Sea. At that period the media played a very destructive role by painting Islam as a religion of Immorality and insensitive to gender. Strong words such as barbarian states were used ton describe Muslim countries. Ironical though, no one remembers that Algebra was Arabic in origin. The colonial period was based on the negative sentiments whereby the West felt that the Muslim countries required cultural racism. With a motive of changing their religion to Christianity, the Arabic countries were invaded. Media painted the phase that followed the colonial period with hateful movies of the anti women Islam. Worse still, during the age of science and technology products such as condoms were manufactured with images of an Arab. President Roosevelt used to term Muslims as war like and half baked Christians. Continual speeches to make Islam appear militant were put up. Severally, they were referred to as wild pagans who required to be Christianized (Said, 1994).
By the end of the Second World War New strategies were advanced by the Americans due to interests they had in Middle East at the time. Economic, social and political concerns were the driving force to Middle East. Eventually it occurred that Americans had little experience on Islam. In 1960s American tourists began their visits to the Middle East countries. Shocked by the rich cultures they classified them as Hindu since to them Arab was Muslims.Suprisingly, only twenty percent of the Arabs were Muslims the rest constituted Christianity and other religions (Said, 1995).
The Islamophobia menace can only be understood by considering the specific interactions between the European Americans and Muslims abroad. The dark days of slave trade, when African Muslims were shipped in large quantities through the Mediterranean Sea to America hence creating animosity between the two religions. The intolerance between Muslim religion and Christians has not been real but simply created to further the interest that the Europeans had in the Sub Saharan countries. The Muslims were viewed as despots and sex objects. Long before the arrival of colonialists the Europeans countries had created stereo types basing on the conduct they had witnessed during the shipping of the Muslim slaves (Marger, 2012).
Orientalism has helped the west to foster their interests in the Middle East countries under the guise of fighting terrorism. The first stage in the orientalism has been the period before the advent of colonialism there above discussed. Secondly, the colonial period is worth examination. The colonial period was also known to be the age of scientific discoveries in the field of media, economic and social aspects respectively. Fostering of colonial ambitions could not be achieved without strong tools to justify invasions and the reason why certain cultures were unacceptable. The main interest to culturally erode the Arabic world must be looked at in the economic point of view. While endeavoring to understand, Islamophobia and its objectives, the oil fields which are the main economic goal hidden under the guise of terrorism are to be pointed at. The justification of orientalism has been politicized but victims of past imperialism and the present media exaggerations are evident. Reluctantly but true, a careful assessment is required to determine whether the fear is real. The most powerful eye opener in such assessment, is the consideration of the relations created between the Muslim and non-Muslim societies. It is because there has been little literature on Islam religion, the Americans and Europeans have capitalized on that vacuum to build on stereotypes which have generated fear. The ideological fear springs from the pre colonial times and it has found fertile grounds during the period of Cold War (Conway 1997).
Making Islam religion to appear threatening to the West has been very unreal and the figures assigned to Muslim can be classified as the work of a biased Western media. The fear towards Muslims had its climax in the September 11 terrorist attacks in America. The painful events that Muslims went through are still untold. Deep rooted hatred based on ignorance has left the Muslim communities in European countries being looked at in a suspicious eye. Increased hostile relations in the Muslim world have been through verbal harassment. Islamophobia is a threat to social relations. The targets of Islamophobia abuses have through time been affected by the massive discrimination (Mukasa, 2005).
The abnormal fear has in recent times found its way in institutions. Institutions in West Societies have taken a more discriminative and disturbing ways to close the possible links for Muslims to interact freely .In the course of the said biasness, it is not Muslim students who have suffered but it affects the learning environment of all students. In such environment everyone remains a victim. The self righteous West has escalated a situation whereby the Muslim followers are synonymous to terrorism (Gottschalk & Greenberg, 2008).
Islamophobia ought to be viewed politically, since it has achieved such results. Arguably, the seeds of hatred against the Muslim community have benefited the West countries. The invasion of Middle East countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan has been through justifications to fight terrorism but it is evident that such attacks have had traces cultural racism. Although scholars have largely tried to divorce Islamophobia from racism, it is clear that cultural racism coupled with orientalism have been joined to deny Arabs the inherent right to be treated like other people. It is not easy to fight Ismaphobia when it has helped in shaping the economic relations of some countries. America and England have since the colonial era benefitted from such vices (Morey & Yaqin, 2011).
Most importantly the role of technological advancement in the West giving media a new dawn has been a powerful tool in enhancing cultural racism, orientalism and Islamophobia. The western media has achieved a stride in maintaining a monopoly of the media whereby it has made the good bad and vice versa. The western media has for years made the entire world rely on their news which in many instances have been biased. They are said to have monopolized the media as a strategy since knowledge is power hence becoming more powerful (Mukasa, 2005).
The age of media and the growth of the methods to convey information have been appropriately used by the Western countries to determine what the world should listen to. The filtering process has created Islamophobia. Strong sentiments to promote cultural racism have been a key characteristic of the Western media .Orientalism has been a very effective tool whereby economic opportunities in Middle East such as oil exploration have been achieved under the guise of terrorism. Unreal antagonism between Christianity and Islam has been created.
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