International Day Against Racial Discrimination

Origins of a Fundamental Day

March 21st marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a date chosen in memory of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960. On that tragic day, amidst apartheid, the South African police fired upon a crowd of peaceful demonstrators, killing 69 people and injuring 180. This shocking event led the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim, in 1966, this day dedicated to the fight against all forms of racism, emphasizing the importance of collective commitment to the elimination of racial discrimination.

Racial Discrimination: A Broad Definition

Racial discrimination is defined as any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin with the purpose of impairing the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms. This definition underscores how racism can manifest in various aspects of public life, threatening the equality and dignity of all individuals.

Voices for Action Against Racism

The celebration of the International Day in 2022 had the theme “Voices for action against racism,” inviting everyone to rise against injustice and work towards a world free from prejudice and discrimination. The goal is to promote constructive dialogue and concrete actions to combat racism at all levels of society, emphasizing collective responsibility in building a future of equality and justice.

The Scientific Inconsistency of Racism

Beyond social and legal initiatives, it is crucial to acknowledge the scientific inconsistency of the concept of human “races.” Modern science has shown that genetic differences within human populations are minimal and do not justify any form of discrimination or segregation. Racism, therefore, has no scientific basis or justification, being a social construct that perpetuates injustices and inequalities.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination represents a crucial moment to reflect on how each of us can contribute to the fight against racism, promoting an environment of respect, inclusion, and equality for all. It is an invitation to renew global commitment to the elimination of all forms of discrimination, reminding us that diversity is a richness to be celebrated, not a threat to be fought against.


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