Racism, a pervasive and deeply ingrained societal issue, is more than a mere expression of prejudice; it is a manifestation of power dynamics and political agendas. At its core, racism is the systematic discrimination against individuals based on their race or ethnicity. It is not simply a collection of individual prejudices, but a complex structure embedded in the fabric of society, perpetuating inequality and injustice. This phenomenon gains momentum and form through various mechanisms, including imperialism and modern political strategies.

Imperialism has historically exploited racism as a tool to justify and enforce its dominion. By dehumanizing and categorizing different races as inferior, imperial powers have legitimized their control and exploitation of resources, territories, and people. This strategy of dehumanization underpins many historical atrocities and continues to influence contemporary geopolitics. Racism in the imperial context is not just about superiority; it’s a deliberate tactic to maintain power and suppress resistance.

In the modern age, racism remains deeply entrenched, often intertwining with political motives and financial gains. It has evolved from overt acts of discrimination to more subtle, systemic forms that permeate various aspects of life. Today, racism serves as a means to consolidate power, fuel political agendas, and create economic opportunities for those in positions of authority. This is evident in the way racist ideologies are propagated and monetized, whether through media, lobbying, or the mobilization of public sentiment.

For example, the discrimination against Turkish people, as highlighted in this context, is not just a result of individual biases but is also a consequence of larger political and social narratives. These narratives often rely on misinformation and the perpetuation of stereotypes to foster a sense of otherness and justify discriminatory practices. The vilification of Turks, without factual basis, echoes historical patterns of propaganda and hate speech, reminiscent of the tactics used by the Nazis against the Jews.

To combat racism, it is essential to recognize its roots in power structures and political machinations. Efforts to address racism must go beyond correcting individual attitudes and focus on dismantling the systemic elements that enable and perpetuate it. This requires a multifaceted approach, combining education, policy reform, and the promotion of inclusive narratives. By understanding the complex relationship between racism, imperialism, and contemporary politics, we can begin to address the underlying causes of racial discrimination and work towards a more equitable society.

I have been exposed to racism. Dodging defamation and hate-mongering attacks by racists has become an important skill of survival for me over my short lifetime. Today, I am generally inclined not to call out that I am a Turk, or any member of my family is a Turk for fear of my life, the life of my family members, or being reprimanded with some form of unusual and cruel punishment. I live under constant threat.

Some of the racists that I interacted with were outright sworn believers, unified in their hate for Turks. Others could belong to hapless, thoughtless, inconsiderate minds, a part of a larger horde. These didn’t really have an opinion, educated or not, and would believe anything. Thus, they would believe any lie against Turks without checking any fact. In interactions with either kind, there is a cold scoff at the bare minimum only to be followed up by indignation.

[The sentences below bear links. Please click on the highlighted words for reaching links to get more information].

Indignation can easily turn to a hate crime, which kills many people in the United States[1]. Which one is more dangerous? An ignorant, who can be mobilized as a weapon violently or the educated, who refuse to listen to reason by choice? Either way, racism becomes a conscious choice that hurts.

Racism is about politics (power and policy) and not about people. Racists never like to turn away from their hatemongering. Hatemongering is a craft, making great profits, fueling a political machine, generating income [2]. Income can come in by way of donations[3], sales of books[4] and paraphernalia, and, yes, through lobbying[5]. Income fuels the inferno behind the political machine creating the monster that can devour societies. That is exactly what happened with the Nazi Germany. Nazis built their empire by propaganda[i]. There is even a strong claim that their actions were largely inspired by the American Model. It was not long before we witnessed extermination of Jews entirely from Germany, we understood the implications of hate-propaganda. Hate propaganda against Turks is eerily similar to Nazi propaganda against Jews. Some of this material is preposterous while others may be shrouded in the disguise of ‘news’. Unfortunately, its proponents are so ingrained with their hate-mongering agenda, they can no longer acknowledge there could be another side [6].

Accurate information only helps so far in bringing sides together.

How to fight racism?

A recent article by Harvard University argues that a key to ending racism is making it personal. Robert Livingston states the very error of referencing facts in refutation of madly racist ideas, who said:

Very early on in my career I thought you could change people’s minds if not hearts by just providing them with accurate information. With greater wisdom that I’ve garnered over the 20 years I’ve been doing this work, I’ve found that social relationships provide a portal for facts to be received and digested by people. And without that, people often build walls to insulate what they currently believe to be true. And I think relationships provide an opening within that wall for maybe a different perspective to enter…. An empirical example is a 1950s study involving a group of women who volunteered at Red Cross, serving meals to people in need. The researchers wanted to convince the women to serve more organ meat – heart, kidney, livers – and gave them information about the nutritional value of doing that. There were two groups of women. Both got the same information, but one group was allowed to talk about it among themselves. They found that 10 times as many women from the group that talked about the information started serving the organ meat than those from the other group. To me, the study demonstrates the power of conversation, what happens when you have information plus human connection. It’s what Bryan Stevenson refers to as proximity, that the human relationship is much more likely to result in real change in how people see the world, do things, or behave…

[Bryan Stevenson states; if you are willing to get closer to the people who are suffering, you will find the power to change the world.]

A personal example was a workshop I gave to a group of police officers. I provided them all kinds of information, hard data on bias in society, bias in their own minds, including a body-camera study, which found that even for the same infraction police officers treated white offenders differently than Black offenders. During the presentation, the department’s one Black officer broke down emotionally, because all of this really hit home for him. It was only at that moment that the white officers really started paying attention and really believed this racism thing. I thought, this is really irrational that they’re being convinced by [one officer’s story] and not by the multitude of evidence pointing to the same things. And then I thought, “Aha, they’re people, not computers.” Computers just respond to data input, but people respond to people. Nothing’s going to change until we start talking, until we become socially connected with each other. You have to have conversations, but they have to be grounded in facts, not whims or unfounded notions.”

To recap and citing Robert Livingstone, you need to make it personal, build proximity (get closer to the people suffering), but be grounded on facts.

This explains the strong desire to shut down all avenues of dialogue whenever there is a dissident, challenging the notion of Armenian Genocide. Proponents of racism disable any dialogue because they don’t want dissidents express their opinion freely because they want to establish a monopoly on the proximity for themselves. Monopoly on proximity is the greatest resource for racists. This is how no other voice but theirs is heard. This is as close as it gets to fascism.

Proponents of racist thoughts for Turks established a different type of ‘proximity’ than getting closer to those who suffer. If they had, they would have been closer to those who were suffering and would have understood the predicament they were going through. This may have turned them human. But they chose another proximity. This is not the proximity coined by Bryan Stevenson. It is surely not the proximity described by Ron Ruthruff. It is not a proximity to end tribalism and racism. It is a proximity on the other extend, a proximity to the powerful, the racist, and the rich by the powerful, the racist, and the rich. This is not the proximity to the suffering. It is the proximity to the fanatics.

Fanatic proximity is disguised in whatever as long as it gets them to the ones who were already superior, privileged, and rich (and hopefully gullible enough for misinformation!). This type of proximity occurred more than 400 years ago. Proximity as such was compounded as the newcomers sang the same story with the old, chanting and adding to the lies and defamation along the way for at least 200 years. And they were believed in because they were presented as the earliest Christians, descendants from some esoteric long-lost civilization that the evil Turk decimated[7]. So, of course, because they are Christians and coming from the oldest and the best civilization in history(!), everything they say must be true and anyone to provide any counterargument must be the opposite. And the fanatic liars were believed in because anyone, who stated any counterargument was completely shut down and ignored, or worse as was the case with Guenter Lewy.  After his work, his house was torched, and his personality was targeted, only to be exonerated.

This is the prejudice and the bias we are working against. There is one great advice coming from the wolves disguised as sheep among sheep; Be patient, be persistent, and be prepared.


[1] The 2021 hate crimes data*, submitted by 11,834 law enforcement agencies, provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes. Of these agencies who submitted incident reports, there were 7,262 hate crime incidents involving 8,673 offenses. 64.8% of such attacks were due to race/ethnicity/ancestry. https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/hate-crime-statistics reached on 13th August, 1:11 PM Eastern Standard Time.

[2] According to ProPublica, Armenian National Committee of Armerica, Washington DC 20036-2801, Tax Exempt since 2012, EIN: 52-1492274, with a classification (NTEE) of Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (International, Foreign Affairs and National Security) with a NonProfit Tax Code Designation of 501(c)(4), defined as ‘Civic leagues, social welfare organizations and local associations of employees, created to promote community welfare for charitable, educational or recreational purposes, generated total revenue of $1,195,543 and a net income of $372,500 in Fiscal Year 2020. 2020 revenue is 45% higher than the revenues reported in 2019 of $820,891, and  2020 net income is 1542% higher than the net income reported in 2019 of $22,673. Link (https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521492274)  accessed on 13th August 2023 at 1:39 pm EST.

[3] On the donation page by ANCA, it reads, ‘I want my donation to leverage our community’s political influence to help ensure Artsakh’s survival, Armenia’s security, and the viability of the ancient Armenian nation.’ Why would an American donate to another state’s political cause? Link (https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=2aQwHK) accessed on 13th August 2023, 1:30 pm EST.

[4] Please visit the section ‘Books’ on Wikipedia’s page, titled, ‘Armenian Genocide’ for a representation of a list. Link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_genocide accessed on 13th August 2023 at 1:41 pm EST.

[5] https://ancawr.org/press-release/politics-and-lobbying/

[6] For more on this subject, I recommend ‘Turks in America’ by Justin McCarthy.

[7] We shouldn’t expect people to ask questions during this time such as, ‘Well, how come did these nations live together for the past 500 years and how come did they survive in such large numbers, accumulating such wealth to come to the United States, for example, and start prominent businesses from the get go? How come did, for example, other immigrants from countries such as Ireland or Italy live in abject poverty and have to build their way up from scratch, with almost nothing to their name when they arrived?’ I will expand on and describe the events in a more detailed and chronological order to shed some light on later.

[i] https://blogs.harvard.edu/karthik/files/2011/04/HIST-1572-Analysis-of-Nazi-Propaganda-KNarayanaswami.pdf