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Race - Vasu Column
We are never sure of how the race as people refer to came into existence. My experience is mainly with the two largest democracies, India my nation of birth and the USA the nation that adopted me.
Small Town India I still believe lives in relative peace and harmony. Only when the politics become hot, the race relations get stirred up. Men and women get race biased with politics and international interference. Whenever Pakistan sends militants into India, the whole country gets its race and religion card up quickly, but otherwise they live in peace and quiet. India with its huge population and wide open boarders, does get affected often with terror, but does live in religious harmony. But internal to the country and its politics race is a huge factor. Politicians constantly whip-up the caste feelings, and people keep following the politics of caste.
The United States divides the race by color; Black, White, Hispanic, Asian and so on by mostly color of skin and where people are from. The USA really is the most segregated society for a nation that is only a few hundred years with people who are not native Indian. But here also the politics and race relations go hand in hand.
For centuries where there are societies race as a part of society is a normal phenomenon. The Indian race structure was typically based on type of work the groups of people did; Farmers, Teachers, Traders, Fighters, and so on and the nation is pretty much divided into the families involved in various parts of the economic and social structure of the nation. Although we have evolved into manufacturing and information technology, the names and families continue to rely on the traditions of their names and what they did. There is absolutely nothing wrong with family and its traditional history and its name.
The USA primarily is divided with color of people, and then their ancestry. As India is divided with people’s race, USA is with its people’s color. Both societies as democracies have allowed for a choice few to become all powerful in business and wealth. The democracies allow for free enterprise (hopefully) and thus allowing the enterprise also to create massive wealth with a few.
If we just focus on the last few years of both USA and India, we certainly see the continued and forceful display of race as the primary factor in electing nations leaders. It is the easiest card to play in election, is whip up the race factor. No matter what we are and what we do, when it comes to elections we will vote with our kind; typically. The national divide is fairly open and apparent. There is no denying that race will always be bait for politics.
As the internet and television allows for immediate access to global news, we have exposure to the coverage from everywhere. It is first and foremost, the news as presented and sometimes as seen. We don’t even have to involve religion into race relations as simply race itself can divide us, in racial lines. If you add religion to this already charged race relations, we will end up with what is happening in ME and parts of Asia.
We are given our names and appearance. There is nothing we should be worrying about our race. As the globe explodes with more and more people, and the distance becomes nominal, race probably should not be a factor in our choices. Our choices should be based on our needs and our family needs.
In India it works for the politicians. It also works in some industries to use the caste card. The huge emphasis of caste in movie business in India, especially south India is obvious. But the movie-goers primarily pay for entertainment, but the makers remain in the caste hole. Politicians constantly use race and caste as vote banks, and people blindly accept it. There is a pressure for development and positive change, but the sheer magnitude of people and their needs are greater than the resources and politicians and their ability is largely limited by resources, and internal strife.
The United States has greater challenges with internal issues of race and debt, and a huge external demand for resources and terror. Perhaps a radical approach to America First might work in the short run, but will limit the global markets for American business. Terror no longer has a face, and until the financial institutions join hands to eliminate terror funding, it is impractical. The USA might be best served in a global financial shut down of terror, and cut off as much waste as it can to become debt free and perhaps terror free.
Race will continue to find a place in politics and society. It is perhaps the simplest emotion, and combining with religion makes it a potent cocktail of emotions. There is probably no immediate solution to solving race relations, rather stop race baiting. Once again it works for politicians in democracies, so we probably will not see any change in using race as a potent political weapon.
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