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Human Body As an Object of Colonisation and Racism: Sociology of Body

Human Body As an Object of Colonisation and Racism: Sociology of Body

In this article  I am going to discuss the issue of racialized and colonized body from some aspects. The reason why I have chosen this topic to discuss is my personal interest about racism, nowadays racism is on the rise in inverse proportion to globalization and I think this is a problem that needs to be considered and resolved. Today, people are still subject to racist criticism and their individuality and selves are ignored. Today, the appearance of people activates the social norms in our brains and we can display discriminatory attitudes towards these people. I think we should consider the human as human and not judge him by personal preferences such as religion-sexual orientation and what he cannot choose, such as the society he was born in. I wanted to discuss the relationship between racism, colonization and the body for a better world.

The perception of social aesthetics, as a discourse that constantly produces itself, draws its boundaries by becoming clearer and sharper in different specific areas, especially nowadays. People who migrate to cities are in shorter communication with each other. Because of the density and crowding of the metropolises, the fact that everyone is dealing with something else, and individuality is a rising phenomenon, people started to act with labels. As George Simmel said, people have to be engraved on each other's minds at first sight, so everyone tries to highlight a feature that will show themselves different from others. For example, the reason for wearing the fake shoes of a famous brand is to pretend to come from the upper-class, to emphasize this. Factors such as the development of technology, convergence and globalization cause people to become more ethical. Once you see a person you don't know on Instagram, there should be a reason to follow them. You cannot only know the character or thoughts of a person whose Instagram profile you look at, you cannot be affected by the inner depth of that person, just at that moment, the photographs of that person step in, look at his appearance and make a decision. Today's social media phenomena want to be engraved in the memory of people with a single photo, so they have a lot of effects in a single photo. From this point of view, it can be said that in the new global society, people's aesthetic perception and body perception have started to become standard and that bodies that fall outside this standard are undesirable phenomena.

Society is generally pluralistic and the influence and well-being of the majority are generally more prominent. In this scenario, minorities appear as unwanted communities. The race of the communities can be understood through the language they speak or their appearance. Today, while everyone can easily learn new languages ​​and communicate using other languages, it is not that easy to change the bodies people are born with. Today, racism has evolved not only as a political discourse, but as an advertising tool, a show of strength, a culture, and a social custom. While race has become an indicator of status, the human body has turned into a symbol and this has also been reflected in linguistics. For example, in Turkey, "White Turks" rhetoric, although such a thing as black or white Turkish and Turkish are members of the upper class as economic, educated, intellectual people represent. Although all Turks are white, it is emphasized that "white Turks" are clearly superior to other Turks. In addition to that, usually when a multi-color or inappropriate clothing worn in Turkey, "it looks like a gypsy" or "Do you gypsy" as a discourse that Gypsies are humiliated by reference to their bodies. the man seen as dark and ignorant in Turkey such as "Kurd" criticism is made. The fascist rhetoric attributes both ignorance and a Kurdishness based on being dark.

According to this discourse, being a Kurd indicates a lower status than being a Turk, and the Kurdish body is not the desired body. For example, despite being elected president in America, Obama was still subjected to racist criticism and was subjected to a lot of humiliation over his race and body during the election campaigns. In 2012 in Atlantic, "twice as good and half as black" was written about Obama. This shows that people are pushed into disadvantaged groups only because of their race, and these people are not treated objectively. Since there is no objective treatment, people who are exposed to racism always feel obliged to be better compared to the majority of the society.

It has been proven that what is called race is not something biological. So humans are not divided into different sub-human types such as cats or dogs. What is called race is a social construct, an artificial category in which people are divided according to different criteria. In short, it can be said that race is a political, economic and social tool of discrimination and inequality. Besides being artificial social categories of races, humans appear different from each other because they lived in different geographical conditions, different climates, and their ancestors changed accordingly. For example, people whose ancestors lived in Mesopotamia were wheat-skinned, while people whose ancestors lived in Northern Europe were white. This difference has given people the advantage of adapting to the geography and climates they live in more easily. There is also an inter-racial ranking that we call physical and cultural differences as race, although it is not an official ranking, it is a phenomenon that exists in the minds of people. As said in the book "Those groups are then ranked in a graded hierarchy; those at the top of the hierarchy - in Western countries, that would be people of northern European descent - are then granted more privileges and opportunities than those at the bottom of the hierarchy. Race is a social, economic, and political system of division and inequality ".

We can observe racism all over the world, and it is possible to see the most obvious examples in America. While American courts have black people in prison for decades just for stealing a bread, there are white people who murder a black boy and get no punishment, just like the murderer of Trayvon Martin. In other words, it is unfortunately possible to clearly observe that racism still continues in the legal system. After the murder of George Floyd in the past months, 3 police officers who killed him and remained silent before he was killed were released after paying their bail. The whole world has reacted against this racism that affects even the treatment of the police and white people, but the same legal system still continues in America and the injustices continue.

While the rise and rise of colonialism and imperialism have taken place since the 15th century, human beings have displayed the most vile expressions of racism and millions of people were slaughtered, enslaved and displayed. After the colonization of Africa in the 15th century, black people and locals were almost an animal in the eyes of white people in the process that took place until the 20th century. they likened them to apes and treated them like animals. By the early 1900s, groups of people brought from Africa and Asia were on display in many European countries. Human zoos were like entertainment centers for white people. From the first moment two groups of people with bodily differences encountered each other, the technological and more advanced group exploited the other in every way. One of the most vile examples of this colonialism is the treatment of Sarah Baartman.

Sarah Baatman, who was born in South Africa in 1789, is from the Griqua tribe. Sarah, who lost her mother and father at a young age, was first sold as a slave and then bought by an Englishman and taken to London. Sarah, who has big hips and genitalia, was exhibited in circuses in Europe between 1810 and 1814, was abused and abused. Sarah, a young black woman, begins to be known in Europe as the "Hottentot Venus". At that time, a play called "Hatred to French Women" was written about fascist judgments and sexual fantasies of Europeans. White Europeans exploit Sarah's body in every way and use it in cartoons and even art. After 4 years of exhibition in London, it is sold to another person in 1815 and begins to be exhibited in Paris. Unable to bear material and moral abuse, Sarah dies at the age of 26 due to severe alcoholism. Sarah's brain and genitals are taken for examination by Gerorge Cuvier, Napoleon's surgeon. Sarah's body is filled and begins to be serialized in a museum in Paris known as the Musee I "Homme". This event, one of the most despicable events in human history, is the clearest example of racism, colonialism, and sexual exploitation of the human body. Even after she died, Sarah continued to exploit her body like an animal. Two hundred years later, her request for return of her body was answered and Sarah was buried in her own land.