Racism and the International Black Community

It has been years since Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States and the most powerful individual on the planet. It has been even longer since Nelson Mandela emerged triumphantly from the South African apartheid state as their new president. Given the progress of the black community internationally, does racism continue to affect this demographic? In examining the circumstances of a few nations, the reality of the situation become much more evident.


It is only fitting that the first nation to be discussed is United States given its standing in international politics and its image as a beacon of equality. The most recent news on the topic highlights police bias towards African Americans, which has lead to a high number of black deaths. One figure, for example, reveals that over 5,000 civilians (mainly latino and black Americans) have been killed by a predominantly white police force. An equally serious issue is the denial of this racism by many politicians, despite the fact that it has been proven. Many individuals of significant influence, mostly in the GOP, attempt to maintain the status quo, which is not an issue. In this case, however, the status quo is plagued with racism. A recent report from the Justice Department finds that Ferguson Police Department has taken a predatory approach to policing. In examining these facts surrounding the racism within the United States, it becomes evident that a serious change is necessary if they are to uphold their underserved reputation.


After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, one of the closest nations is the United Kingdom, which is also a melting pot of cultures for various reason such as university or employment. This Western nation, which at one point commanded an empire extending across various regions, also struggles with racial prejudice. While the current issue in the nation is Islamophobia, racism towards the black population is evident in everyday culture. A large discussion recently is being had in regards to racism in football. This was spurred by a video displaying fans of the Chelsea football team chanting racist slurs and not allowing a black man to enter a train in Paris. Given the location of this incident and the fact that the bystanders did not discourage these passengers, it is fair to conclude that France also suffers from this form of racism to some degree.


The final country that will be examined is Israel. This nation is often made out to be a center of tolerance and democracy in an otherwise intolerant region. The validity of this perception is as relevant as the treatment of their black community. In this specific case, the racism targets Ethiopian Jews and it is severe. This population faces constant discrimination in the form of verbal and physical abuse, unequal socioeconomic conditions, and even deportation. Despite the right of return that is afforded all Jews in the nation, their is a definite biased approach to granting asylum to African refugees. Out of 17,778 Africans, mostly Jews, only 45 have been granting refugee status. The rest were denied and withdrawn or even imprisoned. This reveals a pattern of racist behavior within the Israeli nation.

These nations all share one significant similarity, which is that they are all democracies which are held in high regards. The reason for which they have been chosen is to demonstrate that racism against the black community is very well alive and flourishing today. It reveals that this reality can be found anywhere and even those nations whose fundamental principles oppose it, are guilty of creating such an atmosphere. Although the international community has come a long way, they still have a long way to go.


Why Boko Haram is as Dangerous as ISIS


The Islamic State is what makes the headlines, but Boko Haram is no less of a threat to peace. The unfortunate truth is that the already neglected population within Nigeria and its surrounding nations are victims of political circumstances. The government has a history of neglecting its population and continually is listed as one of the most corrupt in the world. In the most recent 2014 polling, it was placed in the 16th percentile. Much of this can be attributed to the country’s vast oil wealth. More than likely, the country falls under the category of corrupt oil regimes, similar to many of the Gulf Nations such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, the lack of attention given by the government to the people creates an environment in which organizations may emerge as “protectors of the people”. Historically, this can be seen through the rise of the Bolsheviks under Lenin against the corrupt regime of Tsar Nicholas II. More recently, this can be seen in the rise and support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has been able to transition into the dominant political party in the country. Therefore, in learning from the past, this organization may very well evolve to become a threat throughout much more of Africa and the world.


Boko Haram and the Islamic State are both share in the same hypocrisy. Both have declared goals of establishing caliphates. When watching Fox or CNN, this theme continuously is brought up and is made to be the main objective for both groups. The truth, however, may be that these organizations exist in order to rebel against the powers that have created a system that oppresses their populations. Another possible explanation is that they are seeking to redraw the largely unrepresentative boundaries that were drawn by colonial powers. The reason for questioning the stated intentions of expanding the influence of Islam is that both Boko Haram and ISIS have deliberately fought against largely Islamic governments. When examined, this is illogical, which points to other motives. In conclusion,  critical examination of the circumstances surrounding Boko Haram’s presence reveals they are more similar to the more well known Islamic State than not. Their continued presence reveals that the existing systems cannot continue to operate on the same fashion and significant change is necessary.