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‘Racial Discrimination’ Is a Disease of Mind

Syeda Nasrin

Possessing and doing any discrimination merely basing on race, caste, color and family status is not only a disease of mind but also a disease of society. Society is an abstract thing, it is a concept of civil atmosphere which we, the people make into shape under the caption or figure as ’society”. It is our mentality who creates the entire atmosphere of a society; hence society is nothing but the reflection of our mind.

Therefore any inconsistency in the society is the reflection of the inconsistency possessing and having in our mind. Therefore racial discrimination is a psychological disorder of mind and certainly not of physics. Because, any complex or pride of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and there is no justification for racial discrimination in theory or in practice, any where.

The person who possesses and does racial discrimination if asked for to show cause behind his/her so doing and what is simply good or bad in that he/she will fail not only to reason justly showing very good basis but also to put legal and moral arguments thereon. They might have some points of their own but those cannot be substantiated by any valid reason.

There cannot be any reason behind doing racial discrimination because belonging to any particular race does not contribute or controlled by one performance. This is an Act of God; once birth in a particular family with particular physical color is solely depend upon the will of Almighty. Any person can barely contribute to his/her self-birth.

Having a bright color or belonging to a particular family or born with special race is not rather happened by our contribution or control, then do those things make us proud or this can be the subject-matter or form the basis of boasting? We can only proud for our performance which is solely controlled and contributed by us. There the origin of racial discrimination is rooted in our mind and not in any instruments. It can exist in every sphere of our daily, national, international and global life. Even a very progressive person who generally claimed himself/herself free from the racial biasness may often do racial discrimination in his/her subconscious mind.

The most common but regretful example is seen at the time of marriage where bright girls are highly preferred as a perfect bride. In many other posts including specially, air hostage, front desk officer, marketing officer etc bright and dazzling looking girls are always preferred most. Surprisingly, advertisements of television, radio, newspapers regarding face-wash, cleaning cream, snow, powder, several ingredients of beauty, toiletries, ornaments etc are circulated by the bright and dazzling looking girls and these advertisements promoted to make you brighter, dazzling and beautiful at appearance.

In drama, movie, the bright, fine-looking and stunning girls and boys are not only preferred mostly but also these factors are acted as pre-conditions for taking part in drama, movie, etc. We don’t feel shy to prefer rich people than poor. Racial discrimination lies here and there and everywhere. Though job advertisement for the aforesaid posts don’t explicitly contain that the applicant has to very beautiful and stunning to look at but practically this criteria remains as one of the pre-condition for availing of those posts. We cannot avoid it unless or until we change our mentally to treat all equal and not to be boosted upon those divine structures given to our body as to color, physical appearance, size, family, sex, caste etc.

Numerous national and international instruments attempt to eliminate discrimination based on race, sex, caste, color etc. To some extent those met with success but mostly faced by disappointment. State is not paying any heed addressing this issue and eliminating racial discrimination from our mind and from our society as well.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965) is entered into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19. This Convention aimed at all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action, in co-operation with the Organization, for the achievement of one of the purposes of the United Nations which is to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion’.

According to this Convention the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life (Article 1).

Surprisingly, this Convention also fails to address the issue of racial discrimination in our domestic life. Racial groups should be defined objectively and states should not be allowed to “pick and chose” what is a racial group and what is not for the purposes of CERD. While the Universal Declaration and the ICCPR focused only on race, the CERD prohibits discrimination on the basis of “race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin”.

It is sufficient, according to the Racial Discrimination committee, which a particular group considers it “subjectively” a racial group and be seen as one, for it to be considered as such. Although this Convention did not include any direct reference to indigenous peoples, the Racial Discrimination committee has since made it abundantly clear that discrimination against indigenous peoples is the functional equivalent of racial discrimination and prohibited as such.

The Constitution of People’s Republic of Bangladesh contains certain protection as not to do any discrimination based on race, sex, caste, color, etc. Article 27 ensures that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. Article 28 imposes positive and negative obligation upon the state saying that ‘the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth’ and ‘no citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex of place of birth be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to any place of public entertainment or resort, or admission to any educational institution’.

Article 29 facilitates equality of opportunity for all citizens in respect of employment or office in the service of the Republic. It further states that no citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office in the service of the Republic.

Article 31 and 32 ensures right to life and liberty to all. Generally the Constitution of Bangladesh does not leave any issue which accelerates discrimination based on race, color, sex etc. But this instrument is not comprehensive and cannot be enough to stand and contribute strongly against various forms of racial discrimination in our country. Under the said Convention state is under direct obligation to take specific legal measurement to eliminate all sorts of discrimination based on race, color, sex etc. But Bangladesh is still far behind taking any specific legal and institutionalized steps to this effect as the aforesaid constitutional provisions don’t provide any specific preventive mechanism.

There is no precise law enacted by the State for eradicating discrimination from our national and domestic life. Government and the civil society should act coherently to get rid of this mental disease of possessing and doing racial discrimination.

The Write is a Legal Associate of Hoque & Associates
22 Mar 2012   06:14:09 PM   Thursday
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