3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Racism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is an excellent introduction to racism as a concept; Ali Rattansi thoroughly explains how racism presents itself.
Starting with historical examples, Rattansi shows some of the anti-Semitic attitudes of Nazi Germans and past nations and the bad treatment of Jews, and also describes general past attitudes to black people, specifically British (and other nations') attitudes to the people in their colonies that they subjected.
Always delivering opinion on facts, Rattansi explains how race, religion, geographical location, nation, and colour of skin are often conflated, these classifications inadvertently leading to racist attitudes.
Rattansi points out that racism is all but simple to define, it is contradictory and complex, and that some people are ambivalent about racism which leads to an undecided view on it. Typical racism and 'new' racism are compared, the 'new' racism often using culture as an excuse for racist attitudes.
The very scientific basis of racism is also ill-founded, and lacks any credibility; Rattansi includes a critique of Herrnstein's and Murray's book 'The Bell Curve'. He shows us that race cannot be defined, no scientists can agree on what race categories there are (mainly an idea of the past), and that individual genetic make-up between individuals within a 'race' is indeed more varied than the genetic differences of supposed different 'races'!
One of the final chapters on 'institutional racism' show that unintentional but prevalent attitudes towards certain types of people are perpetuated in an almost vicious circle, with undetected bias in some cases.
Nationalism is briefly discussed, explaining how closely nation and race are related, Rattansi inferring that some (though not all) of the success of far-right parties is because of their racist policies associated with the preservation of the nation.
Finally Rattansi ends on a note which indicates that in conjunction with globalism and global co-operation, racism will hopefully die down. The book does a great job of helping you understand racism fully; knowing about racism is still entirely relevant today in a world where prejudices may still live on.