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Day by day, the occurrence of social problems seems to increase rapidly. Social problems are issues or problems that may affect the people in a society, no matter it is directly or indirectly, and social problems are mainly related to moral values. Some of the major social problems that often occur in today's world are drug abuse, crime, bullying, rape, kidnap, poverty, illegal migration, unemployment, truancy, obesity, gay marriage, racism, discrimination, abortion, family issues, marginalization, HIV, pollution, pre-marital sex, sex slavery - prostitution, child pornography and many more. The main social problem that will be discussed in this social psychology assignment will be focused on racism and also about the Africans being the target of racism, which had actually happened in Australia lately in the month of March to April, year 2010.
Racism, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is defined as the belief that people's qualities are influenced by their race and that the members of other races are not as good as the members of your own, which results in other races being treated unfairly (Cambridge International Dictionary of English. -1894). Racism happens every day around the world regardless of any countries, even in Malaysia. Racism is a very sensitive issue as it discriminates and offends people of a certain race. Racism brings bad consequences as for it may result in causing racial destruction and disharmony among the people living in a particular country. Plus, racism also causes conflict and war, take the tragedy that happened on the 13th of May during the year 1969 in Malaysia for example. The problem caused is mainly due to racial politics, which is also related to racism. During an election on 1969, the Alliance tell off confidently that it would win more than two thirds of the 144 seats in the Dewan Rakyat or about two thirds of the 104 Peninsular Malaysia seats, take over Kelantan, and take control of all the other states. When the results were out, the Alliance had won only 66 seats, down from the 89 it won in 1964. Alliance also lost Penang, failed to take over Kelantan, and almost lose Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Terengganu. Even the Opposition was very surprised with the outcome, too. The Opposition supporters, especially the Chinese and Indians who had voted for the DAP and Gerakan were proud and joyful. They celebrated their "victories" by marching through Kuala Lumpur and shouted insulting and offending epithets at Malays, such as, "Melayu balik kampung, kita sudah berkuasa skarang" ("Malays, return to your villages, we are now in power") and "Hei Sakai bolih balik ke hutan" ("Hey Sakai, you can return to the jungle").and also showed vulgar gestures at the Malay women. Street clashes then broke out between the Malays with Chinese and Indian youths. Even parang - which is a type of big straight knife used in Malaysia and indonesia, sticks and iron pipes were used. Many lives were sacrificed on that day itself just because of a group of racist doing unnecessary acts. (www.malaysianbar.org.my)
Speaking of racism, the Africans living in Australia had, unfortunately, became the target of racism in the form of harassment by the Australian policemen. "The police picked me up, they put me in the back of the car. Then they took me to (locality withheld) and beat me up, and they left me there" a young African background said in a new study into the treatment of youths of African background by Australian police in Melbourne. It is shocking to know and realize the fact that young African-Australians in the country are overruled by Australian policemen. What's worst and unfortunate is that the police harassment that were happening all the while is either not reported or insufficient investigates by the relevant oversight bodies, and those irresponsible and racist policemen often resort to hostility and aggression when young people assert their rights. Most of them had been experiencing terrible and often violent experiences with the Victoria state police officers which include harassment, racist comments and serious assaults. Other than that, one of the interviewee has reported being racially abused, bullied, spat on and slapped by the policemen before being taken to a police station where he was beaten up for about ten minutes. Right after the youth is being released at the back door of the police station, the youth re-entered the building once again at the front entrance, telling the officer who was on duty that time that he wanted to lodge a report and also make a complaint. According to the youth, the officer then called one of the policemen who had beaten the youth up. Instead another policeman went in and warned him that if the youth doesn't get out of the police station at that very instance, he would pull him back in and beat him up again. Helplessly and disappointedly, the youth left the police station without a word (http://www.globalissues.org/news/2010/04/12/5175).
Racism mainly happens due to the stubbornness and ignorance of a certain group of people from all races, be it Australians, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Africans and others. Those people who are racist most probably are feeling self-superior. They wanted to glorify their own races so badly that they discriminate and disrespect people of other races, in other words they are trying to bring down other races' pride and image to feel satisfied and proud of their own races, which is related to the theory of aggression - an intentional behavior aimed at doing harm or causing pain to another person (Social Psychology Sixth Edition,2005). Hence, that is how racism occurs. In fact, most people also believe that racism is developed through one or two outcomes. It is either that some of the people were raised that way, or on the other case is that there may be someone from a different race did something really unpleasant hateful to a particular person of another race and the latter in turn take it out on all people of that particular race where the former belongs.
In order to overcome racism, one should judge other people by their actions, not by the color of their skin. Within all races, there are sure to have those people who would have bad intentions, steal from others or try to dominate others. Instead of seeing these people as part of a group based upon race, one should see and judge them as individuals with problems on their own. Besides that, one also has to be brave to speak up when others make insulting jokes and statements regarding racism towards others. By letting people around a particular person know that he or she do not agree to racist thoughts, he or she is actually giving the people permission to think for themselves, if it is possible, one can also explain why it's wrong to judge people by their race without getting boiled up. Along the way, he or she should also help those people who are victimized by prejudice. If one came across an incident where someone is targeted by the color of his or her skin, he or she should take the initiative to confront those who are practicing racism and point out the error and consequences of their thoughts. Lastly, which is also most importantly, one must live his or her life as if he or she were born to be colorblind. One can do that by looking past one's skin and into one's heart. By all people doing so, everyone would not have racist thoughts and hence avoiding the occurrence of racism. That will also produce a healthier and peaceful environment for the younger generations as because they learn through what they see from the actions and thoughts of the elder generations. (www.ehow.com )
As a conclusion, racism is a negative issue that brings bad consequences to all people around the world. The theory that can be related to racism will be prejudice, which is a hostile or negative attitude toward a distinguishable group of people, based solely on their membership in that group (Social Psychology Sixth Edition,2005). Racism is exactly about being prejudice. Being racist is equivalent to being unfair, rude, unpleasant, impolite, irresponsible, disrespectful and ignorant. Because of racism, many people had sacrificed their lives during the past. Some countries even had civil wars. Therefore, to avoid those unpleasant things from happening again and to avoid repeating the same old mistakes the older generations had done, racist thoughts in people's minds should be avoided and stopped immediately, especially the people living in Malaysia, which consists of different races - Malays, Chinese, Indians and others. The world will certainly be a better place to live in if there are no more issues of racism.
Rights-Australia: Africans Target of Racism, Harassment by Police
by Stephen de Tarczynski (Melbourne, Australia)
Monday, April 12, 2010
Inter Press Service
The police 'picked me up, they put me in the back of the car. Then they took me to (locality withheld) and beat (expletive) me, and they left me there,' a young person of African background said in a new study into the treatment of youths of African background by Australian police in Melbourne.
The 'Interventions into Policing of Racialised Communities in Melbourne' report, released in mid-March, is part of a project into racism here managed by three community legal services in Australia.
It found that young African-Australians in the country's second-largest city are over-policed, that police harassment and violence is either under-reported or inadequately investigated by the relevant oversight bodies, and that police often resort to hostility and aggression when young people assert their rights.
Thirty youths, 27 males and 3 females aged 15 to 27, were interviewed for the study. Many had Sudanese or Somali backgrounds.
Most of them had been subjected to negative and often violent experiences with Victoria state police officers, including harassment, racist comments and serious assaults. None were identified in the study for fear of potential police retribution.
One interviewee reports being racially abused, spat on and slapped around the head by police before being taken to a police station where he was 'beaten up for about ten minutes.'
After being released though the station's rear exit, the youth re-entered the building at the front entrance, telling the officer on duty that he wished to make a complaint. According to the youth, the officer then 'called one of the coppers that were beating me up. Another copper came in and goes to me, 'If you don't get out of here now, I'll pull you back in'. And I left.'
Tredwell Lukondeh, president of the Sydney-based Federation of African Communities Council (FACC), says that he is not surprised by the report's findings. 'What is surprising is the degree to which the report highlights the problems. We do have concerns from various community leaders about the issue in question,' Lukondeh told IPS.
The FACC, which groups African groups from around Australia, is now collating data regarding police treatment of African-Australians to present to both the police force and the state government. But Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland argues that police have done much to strengthen relations with different ethnic communities, including the African community. These efforts include community forums, the appointment of more multicultural officers, police-youth camps and joint sports activities.
Overland says that tension between police and young immigrants 'is not a new problem.'
'With every wave of migration we've had problems with youths. If you go back far enough it was the Italian wave, the Greek wave, the Vietnamese wave and what we're seeing now is a wave of migration coming out of Africa. And predictably we're seeing tensions with youth,' Overland told the Australian Broadcasting Commission's local radio in March.
While no African nation was among the top 10 source countries of the more than 158,000 people migrating permanently to Australia in the 12 months prior to Jun. 30, 2009 - the latest period for which figures are available - Australia's African community has swelled in recent years.
Africans have figured prominently among recent visa recipients under Australia's humanitarian programme, which is reserved for refugees and others requiring protection.
Nationals of Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Liberia and Sierra Leone were among the top 10 countries of origin for humanitarian visas granted in the 2008-2009 year.
Although Lukondeh admits that police have taken positive steps to address issues with African-Australians, he believes that much more can be done. 'We should establish that corridor of learning about the cultural background of new immigrants. It is very important because, in essence, it's that ignorance that enflames these problems,' said the FACC president.
Any progress made by police efforts to create better relations appears to be undermined by the report's findings as well the revelation of a racist email circulating among Victoria police officers.
While Overland has vowed to take action against officers in the wake of the report 'if there is evidence to support those allegations,' up to 100 officers are purported to be under investigation in relation to the email, which local media have reported depicts a man being tortured.
The report into police treatment of youth of African backgrounds comes as the furore over allegedly racially motivated attacks on Indians in Australia - and Melbourne in particular - appears to be fading.
It follows November's findings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) - a statutory body responsible for media regulation - that three popular Melbourne television broadcasters breached the Commercial Television Codes of Practice in 2007 in reports regarding Sudanese refugees in Melbourne's south-east.
ACMA found that the news reports of channels Ten, Nine and Seven, which focused on racial tensions, gangs and the decision by the government of former Prime Minister John Howard to reduce the intake of African refugees, were inaccurate.
Ten and Nine breached the regulatory body's fair and impartial requirement for news presentations. 'ACMA considered that both of their segments contained an unfair selection of material, were unfairly juxtaposed and created an unfair presentation, overall, of Sudanese people as being particularly prone to commit violence and crime,' said ACMA's statement.
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