Mgr. Ondrej Ficeri, PhD., The Institute of Social Sciences CSPS SAS, email@example.com
The International Community is celebrating each year March 21st as International Day against racial discrimination. The Organization of United Nations is announcing each year specific topic, which is supporting cultural tolerance and equivalency.
Agenda UN in 2021
This year the main topic is „Youth against racism“, what reflects the movement of the last year, when lots of young people joined the protests known as „Black Lives Matter“. UN wants by this message to point out the mission of young generations in the fight against racism, because even the pandemic and safety measures of state authorities, young people were able to trigger necessary discussion about the reform of criminal justice.
The topic of this year has the global aspect too associated with pandemic COVID-19. This pandemic situation revealed so far less analysed structural inequalities among people of different colour, which contributed to the higher level of unemployment, police checks, higher numbers of deaths and worsening of mental health more in the group people of colour than at the group of white people. The president of American psychological association Sandra Shullman stated „We are living the pandemic of racism“.
The mutation of racism in post-racial era
After World War II there was a hope, that the humankind will end discriminatory and disgraceful hierarchization of people according the colour of their skin. The collective trauma of the Holocaust, advanced decolonization process and research results of evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin from 1972 about absence of genetical conditionality of races contributed significantly to the elimination of development of pseudoscientific biological racism. On the other hand, historical heritage of imperialism, colonism and common idea about white supremacy contribute to the fact, that human races still really „live their lives „as a socio-political constructs.
From biological racism developed new forms of latent racism. According scientific definitions the individuals commit racist actions not only by explicit references and by using bad language on individual level, but when they feel aversion towards people of another race too (aversive racism). The structural problem represents institutional racism, it means the set of systematic policy and practices, which disadvantage racial and ethnic minorities in the equality of opportunities and in the providing of services.
Because these practices are approved by political system, the category of race is missing the relevance in these societies. South African philosopher David Theo Goldberg is stating, that is exactly opposite. According Goldberg we are in post-race era (postraciality), in which the race was made invisible by neoliberal politics, but in reality it is a basic organizational logic, according which the majority communities try to keep the dominance in their own national states and to keep the highest level of racial homogeneity.
A typical example of post-rationalized political structure is Slovak republic. According Dutch-German philosopher and anthropologist Huub van Baar and English sociologist Ryan Powell is Roma minority in Slovakia ostracized, whereas the problems of marginal Roma communities are in many aspects depoliticized as not unsolvable. In association with COVID-19 pandemic, it is the same as in the case of African Americans and Asian Americans in US, we can see „pandemic of racism“ in Slovakia particularly discriminatory in marginal Roma communities mostly in the area unprepared distance learning, more difficult access to the health care, higher securitization and quarantine ghettoization of entire community settlements.
Slovak republic is the country with second highest number of Roma citizens comparing to total number of citizens of the country (9,02 %) in the European union (the first one is Bulgaria (9,94%). European Union legally approved the term anti-gypsyism as the umbrella concept for specific form of racism against Gypsies and it was implemented to the group of Roma policies with aim to eliminate discriminatory social structures reproducing inequalities.
Slovak Academy of Sciences, specifically Institute for Forecasting and Institute of Social Sciences CSPS, Institute for research of social communication and Institute of ethnology and social anthropology contribute to analysis of anti Gypsy expressions and structural racism in Slovakia within a few projects of basic and applied research and a few of them are funded from EU funds.
American Psychological Association. ‘“We Are Living in a Racism Pandemic,” Says APA President’. Accessed 8 March 2021. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/05/racism-pandemic.
Baar, Huub van, eds. The Securitization of the Roma in Europe. Human Rights Interventions. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77035-2.
Goldberg, D. Are We All Postracial Yet? Cambridge: Polity, 2015.
Laurencin, Cato T., and Joanne M. Walker. ‘A Pandemic on a Pandemic: Racism and COVID-19 in Blacks’. Cell Systems 11, no. 1 (22 July 2020): 9–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cels.2020.07.002.
United Nations. ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’. United Nations. United Nations. Accessed 8 March 2021. https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-racism-day.