Presently, the term “racism” appears frequently both in themedia and political, as well as in the everyday discourse. The debates openedby this concept cannot be ignored by the scientific approaches, even more asthe term generated many controversies, and the developed – more or lessscientific – theoretical perspectives were used to support or justify practicalaction and controversial political interventions. Compared with theinvestigation of other ideologies, the approach of racism is more complex,precisely because the terms on which it is based and on which it relies, inparticular those of “race” and “races classification/ hierarchy” are debatableand objectionable. This essay will address the conceptual and theoreticalproblems of Cultural racism, succinctly put, is “negative ethnic stereotypingthat leads to racist effects,” 13 such as social exclusion or violence.
Unlike traditional racism, which constructs a ‘self’ and ‘other’ group usingbiological features (such as skin colour) as the main signifier of groupdifference, cultural racism constructs groups from perceived ideologicaldifferences such as culture, religion, or ‘way of life’ in general. The term “racism” is one of the most controversial andambiguous concepts in the social sciences (see Mac Ghaill, 1999; Sow, 2008;Koller, 2009; Fredrickson, 2011). According to Taguiff (2002) and other scholars(see Goldberg 1993: 90 & 98) a generic definition and cause for racism doesnot exist, it is largely determined by historical specificities andsociotemporal specificities. Although an overall consensus gained from several definitionsis that it is a system which forms a hierarchy out of racial groups placingsuperiority of one group over another, the complex power relations are based onthe notion a groups social condition depends on racial characteristics (garner,2011). the complex hierarchical structure of racism permeates social andinstitutional practices and discourses, people do not need to actively practiceracism to be beneficiaries of the system (Shohat & Stam 1995, p.19). The termis often expressed imprecisely, and as a result of being misrepresented it hasbecome almost banal due to its political usage and overloading in mass media (Taguieff,2005c). However the effects of racism are enduring and continue to exist insociety in new forms and discourses The most notable form of racism used in the past used biologicaldifferences as the bases of discrimination, it was supported and perpetuated bystate and law in countries in the past, clear examples being the nationalsocialist government in Germany, racial separation laws in the AmericanSouthern States up to the 1960s, and the regime of apartheid in South Africa.
Althoughthese practices have been abolished that does not mean racism is a phenomenonof the past (Fredrickson, 2011). The practices of discrimination and prejudicein society have taken a different form It is now a matter of attitudes and behavioursof rejection and that does not necessarily rely on biology in order to underpinthe subordination of some people or groups of people. Instead, theethno-cultural origin is absolutized to discriminate, marginalize, segregate,exclude, or exile (Taguieff, 2005: 499). Theseattitudes and behaviours are called cultural racism (Taguieff, 2005).