Racism: The practice of racial discrimination and segregation.
The subject of race during Black History Month, in particular, is unequivocally unavoidable. Its impact on the nations of Africa as a “social construct” has been indelibly destructive. Sociologists and archaeologists have researched this phenomena for the past 60 years throughout academia. They all have found racism to be a social construct versus a biological phenomenon. This no doubt is because all races have all things in common as homo sapiens. And, from a biological disposition, all races are homogeneous to such an extent that the only physiological barriers that differentiates us as a people is blood type, which has nothing scientifically to do with one’s race/color.
As a “social construct,” racial barriers were historically constructed with destructive consequences to its victims. This is in part because laws, statutes, public and private policies as well as practices gave privilege to the race in power. Such was the case in South Africa as well as Namibia prior to their emancipation from colonial rule. The artificial construction of the aforementioned barriers were justified, in part, to preserve and perpetuate perceived superior cultural norms, as well as the successful economic system of productivity this social construct engendered.
The writer does not profess to be an expert in sociology or on the subject of race. These commentaries are but the perceptions of an observationist who has experienced, in my view, a reasonable degree of systemic discrimination and exposed to an introductory academic assessment of its effects. The abolition of apartheid in South Africa, deconstruction of a constitution that engendered racism in the framework of the nation’s legal structure was South Africa’s repentance. The construction of a new constitution under the legendary President Nelson Mandela giving equal rights and privileges to all regardless of race, creed, color, gender, and sexual orientation was the nation’s act of faith in the longstanding principles of democracy; however, this has led western nations to become politically complacent in their quest to democratize the continent of Africa! America/U.S. and its allies complacency is also responsible part in parcel for the rise of China’s influence in Africa and its exploitation of past negative social constructs (apartheid) coupled with their leader, Xi Jinping, aligning himself with Russia and pursuing a course which belies “a range of American expectations” first introduced in President Richard M. Nixon’s rapprochement strategy almost fifty years ago.
A chorus of voices are recommending the U.S. rethink its approach to China. Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner in their article entitled, “The China Reckoning: How Beijing Defied American Expectations, (Foreign Affairs magazine, March/April 2018, 60-70), make a variety of cogent observations regarding the need to rethink U.S. foreign policy with China. They note American strategy to instigate political liberalization has failed to materialize. “Rapprochement” was supposed “to spark economic development, the creation of a middle class demanding new rights and legal reforms that would necessitate further progress.” Promising signs of this metamorphosis are said to have seemed certain “after the collapse of the Soviet Union and democratic transition of South Korea and Taiwan.” The proclamation of 41st President George H.W. Bush heralded U.S. policy in China. (Foreign Affairs magazine, The China Reckoning, page 63). Campbell and Ratner state, “U.S. policy aimed to facilitate this process by sharing technology, furthering trade and investment, promoting people-to-people exchanges and admitting hundreds of thousands of Chinese students to American universities.” Quite to the contrary has China responded (as noted by Campbell and Ratner).
It seems evident that as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union, China has adopted a “survival of the fittest” approach to globalization and constructed more barriers of entry to its markets, tightened state/central government control, constricting rather than reinforcing, the free flow of people, ideas, and commerce. The conclusion appears to be at this time “events of the last decade have dashed even modest hopes for (China’s) political liberalization” (Foreign Affairs magazine, The China Reckoning, page 64).
Finally, China has been anemic in its response to the nuclear aggression of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. While policymakers and academicians assumed China would learn from the fall of the Soviet Union and change course in challenging the U.S. as a military power, China, on the other hand, has chosen to compete and Xi Jinping now ascending to the ranks of Mao Tse-tung in power has set out to build a world-class military of its own, accelerating the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA.), while failing to enforce trade embargo sanctions against North Korea to dissuade their nuclear proliferation ambitions of aggression.
In conclusion, the U.S. will need to refocus its efforts on U.S.-Chinese global strategy to mitigate China’s agenda for global dominance. As China sets out to expand its geopolitical footprint and to build its own set of regional and international institutions, U.S. policy should seek to mitigate displacement of U.S. interest, especially on the continent of Africa, where U.S. foreign aid is tied to democratic governance reforms.
Finally, positive democratic, inclusive social constructs in African nations, coupled with enforcement of U.N. policy dissuading African nations that receive foreign aid from the U.S. and/or its allies from doing business with North Korea, is critical to U.S. continued expanded interest and success in Africa.