Why Racial & Ethnic Conflicts Exist?


Ethnic and racial conflicts are complex human phenomenon. They are pervasive conditions in many places around the world. Throughout the records of human history, ethnic racial groups sometimes, used violent ways to deal with their differences. In other words, various groups throughout the ages have believed that they are superior to those of other ethnic and races. As a result, they demonize other groups, and use violent means to deal with them. The act of violence could be for different reasons such as to conserve group, defend territory, impose values, or just misperceptions of the other race and ethnicity. In return, the other group too believes in their race and ethnic worth preserving and therefore taking steps to defend themselves.

There are many ways in which to explain the root causes of racial and ethnic conflicts. First, race and ethnic conflict exist because there are traditions of racial belief and action towards essential elements such as biological features, language and territorial location. As an example, they rely on centralise leadership or kinship that makes it possible for groups to think only in terms of race and ethnicity resemblances. The evidence is abundant in different places around the world.

Second, ethnic and racial conflicts are based on institutional factors. In this respect, one or few groups dominate the state political, social and economic institutions and marginalize other groups. In other words, those dominate the institutions isolate the groups for various real or preconceptual (prejudice) reasons. As a result, race or ethnic groups violently compete with each others.

Third, ethnic and racial conflicts are based on the actions of the leaders. Sometimes, political leaders use race and ethnicity cards to obtain their personal objectives. As an example, they use their race and ethnic groups as sites of mass mobilization and as constituencies in their competition for power and resources. In short, politicians use the race and ethnic element as effective vehicles to attain power rather than solving political and socio-economic issues.

Finally, the conflicts are based on misperceptions. In a sense, most of the times, race and ethnic groups respond to the perceived threats rather than the real or true threats that are facing them. Thus, while perception doesn’t become reality per se, collective behaviors, feelings and ongoing responses become modified by that evolving sense of the pending threats they confront.

In general, after long years of human history, we shall continue to see devastating and lengthy ethnic and racial violence over conflicting real and imagined values and interests. Sadly, when there is conflict, people suffer torture, incarceration, exile, beating, segregation, killing or even entirely extermination. Is there a hope to eliminate or reduce racial and ethnic conflicts? We at Key Group believe yes and thus, ethnic and racial conflicts are extremely serious matters and require our comprehensive understanding, evaluation and constructive solutions.