In this context, in which white people hold political, economic, cultural , and social power, the racist views and assumptions that course through U. This leads to a serious and well-documented problem of routine discrimination in all areas of life, and the frequent dehumanization and marginalization of POC, including hate crimes , which serves to alienate them from society and hurt their overall life chances.
In his book, Feagin points out with historical documentation that the costs and burdens of racism are disproportionately borne by people of color and by black people especially. Having to bear these unjust costs and burdens is a core aspect of systemic racism.
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While all white people and even many POC play a part in perpetuating systemic racism, it is important to recognize the powerful role played by white elites in maintaining this system. White elites, often unconsciously, work to perpetuate systemic racism via politics, law, educational institutions, the economy, and via racist representations and underrepresentation of people of color in mass media.
This is also known as white supremacy. For this reason, it is important that the public hold white elites accountable for combatting racism and fostering equality. It is equally important that those who hold positions of power within society reflect the racial diversity of the U. Racist ideology—the collection of ideas, assumptions, and worldviews—is a key component of systemic racism and plays a key role in its reproduction. Racist ideology often asserts that whites are superior to people of color for biological or cultural reasons , and manifests in stereotypes, prejudices, and popular myths and beliefs.
These typically include positive images of whiteness in contrast to negative images associated with people of color, such as civility versus brutishness, chaste and pure versus hyper-sexualized, and intelligent and driven versus stupid and lazy. Sociologists recognize that ideology informs our actions and interactions with others, so it follows that racist ideology fosters racism throughout all aspects of society. This happens regardless of whether the person acting in racist ways is aware of doing so. Finally, Feagin recognizes that resistance to racism is an important feature of systemic racism.
Such conjuncture or opportunities create a feeling that individuals are bound by duty and morality to work towards the common good and common goals. Forms of action then concentrate especially on the issues and fields relating to health, caring, religion and education. DiMaggio and Anheier, , ; Piliavin and Charng, 55, Cahit Tuzcu, a sponsor of the educational and interfaith dialog efforts of the GM, a chemicals wholesaler in Istanbul, asserts that religious teaching and inspiration inculcated a characteristic of philanthropy in Turkish people:. The belief that to act for the benefit of others is right and good and the moral duty to treat others fairly justify voluntary action in the GM.
This moral or philanthropic feature comes from religious inspiration, "serving people, serving God" or "The best amongst you is the most beneficial to human beings. It fills the gaps between classes and prevents such gaps from appearing in and menacing society. In the same vein, another sponsor and knitwear producer in Istanbul, Bahaddin Eker argues as follows:. It is undoubtedly the faith that inspired in people and implemented in Turkish society philanthropy and paternalism through sadaqa charity and zakat the prescribed annual alms and the vaqifs endowments.
Helping others and providing resources are the duty of the well off, the affluent, towards the weak, unfortunate, underprivileged, wayfarers, orphans, widows and students. The rich person must concern himself or herself with the poor because he or she is responsible for them before God. Apart from being a religious duty, this is an act of generosity, an innate feature of being a true human. Eker adds that philanthropy may assume a number of forms, whether "one's allocation of time, energy, money, property or a simple smile, care or prayers.
This service is our right; conveying it to others is our responsibility. Another aspect of altruistic action is that an actor ought voluntarily to support and contribute to such services. He or she in this way belongs to a network of relations because of personal choice. Yet such an act is marked by unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Altruistic action ought to be grounded in the gratuitous nature of the work supplied.
Gratuitousness requires no obligation, benefit or compensation in return. In order for an action to count as altruistic action, its gratuitousness must concern the relation that ties the actors involved together in the collective action. There are two noteworthy points here: first, gratuitousness, or no direct benefit from participation in altruistic action; second, voluntary collectiveness, or voluntary participation in the collectively organized action; or as Melucci put it, "a voluntary bond of solidarity" in collective action.
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Absence of direct benefit or direct economic rewards does not mean that the workers for the voluntary action do not receive any payment in a work relationship. However, it means that economic interests do not constitute the basis of the relationship among those involved. Also economic benefit is neither the cause nor the effect between the voluntary actor and the recipients in the performed action.
The voluntary action specifically aims at producing benefits or advantages for subjects other than the volunteers or workers. Therefore, its gratuitous nature lies in the free fruition of its product by the recipients. However, beyond the immediate interest of the actor or workers, other kinds of reward symbolic advantages, prestige, self-esteem, power are present in altruistic action, just as much as they are in any other form of social exchange.
Altruistic action may also yield indirect economic benefits, insofar as the voluntary worker acquires special abilities, establishes networks of influence, or acquires leadership skills for example, the volunteer may learn professional skills in a certain field, or establish professionally advantageous relationships . Moreover, with such services and with the nature of objectives, there may also be a multiplicity of secondary or tertiary objectives pursued by individuals. Yet these sorts of instances are rather infrequent and do not invalidate the altruistic services undertaken and the collective objectives shared by all those involved to achieve the common good.
After all, the inner contentment or prestige attached to individuals after such services is not what they aim and work for. They are also regarded as extra blessings of doing such altruistic work. Another feature of the altruistic action is that the action requires some form of organization for its prosecution. This organization ought by no means to coincide with an institutionalized, formal, associative structure and hierarchy.
Its ends can only be achieved by informal, diffused, decentralized, permeable networks of friends, business associates or philanthropically likeminded people gathered around a single project. Journalist Abdullah Aymaz points out another equally important feature of voluntary forms of altruistic action, which is its civic aspect along with faith based and humanitarian aspects. He argues that this action provides far more opportunities for participation than political activities.
Altruistic action expresses membership in a far larger civil community than a political party. It provides people with a purpose and with a sense of belonging, responsibility, commitment, accountability, with incentives and inner contentment of being useful and beneficent. People have to arrive at a consensus on all details of a new social, cultural or educational project. Altruistic action therefore performs and establishes a distinct civic and democratizing function.
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People learn how to negotiate, to provide convincing arguments, to reach a consensus, and to be flexible and accommodate differences. Aymaz strongly believes that the GM provides all with such attributes and offers new cultural, organizational, and relational models to a larger society. What Aymaz points out is supported by DiMaggio and Anheier They discuss how such nonprofit services are sources of diversity and innovation, which provide vehicles, models and solutions to people and policymakers for social ills.
Finally, there are orientations of altruistic action and their very presence reveals and announces the hidden existence of the great dilemmas ingrained in the constitution and operation of complex societies. This fact signals the persistence of human needs and demands which cannot be reduced to routines and politics. Altruistic action invites us to seek change and to assume responsibility. It brings to light issues and gives individuals a voice in society. It endows both the individual and the public with the ability to accommodate a space for difference and to reinforce solidarity.
And, for this reason, altruistic action becomes a vital component in the renewal process towards a civil, pluralist and democratic society. Sincerity and purity of intention should never be harmed or contaminated. It must be remembered, however, that his philosophy of education is not utilitarian, nor a social and political activity which can be divorced from the rest of his philosophy or faith, but a firmly integrated and well developed component of his world view. He indicates that the means must be as valid as the end, apparent or material success is not the only measure The basic purpose is to ensure respect for objective and universal human values, to never have ulterior motives to seek material interests nor to impose any ideology or to seize power through politics in any country.
This understanding of service is geared primarily to "offering" in Turkey and abroad. Simply, it presents alternative models which state systems cannot replicate. Hence, it has attracted broad attention, in favor and against, within a short period of time. Such "offering," represents a breakdown in the rules of the game, for it is a symbolic challenge against the dominant cultural codes and the customary basis of strategic and instrumental logic in complex societies.
The unilateral power of giving and thus generating and providing cultural models, constantly results in a movement's predominance in societies, as the autonomous and gratuitous production of cultural models is not governed by cost benefit calculations. In the eyes of those who have exploited and usurped Turkey's wealth and resources for years, among generations raised and those yet to be raised, the GM will be a challenge to their rationality. Those exploiters and usurpers will find their logic upset, as they seek to siphon money and resources illegally from the state and people's pocket, while others instead begin to construct alternative meanings and modes of conduct.
This offers a symbolic challenge set against the rationality of calculation, routines, and the means end relationship. The challenge arises from the gratuitousness of the gift and direct personal commitment, and indicates that sharing with the "other" is not reducible to instrumental logic. In essence, it reminds us of a system's limited power over people and events while it calls into question a system's power and glory, inviting us to assume responsibility.
And in so doing, it becomes a vital component in the renewal of a "civil society" and in the reinforcement of social cohesion. Tarcan expresses his difficulty in comprehending why some are disturbed by such altruistic actions and services, and so vehemently opposed to them:. Who can object to raising youth who use science and the technology it gave birth to for the good of humanity, scientists respectful of moral principles, administrators who serve people sincerely, and officials and managers who do not steal and abuse their position but rather understand administration to mean serving the people?
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We are fortunate to have sufficient means to live a quality life, but there are millions of people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Many millions of children, women and men live in abject poverty. Things that we take for granted—regular meals, housing, education and healthcare—are considered luxuries in some of the world's poorest countries.
It is our duty to help them—because helping the poor and destitute is emphasized again and again in the Qur'an and in the other Holy Scripts and traditions.
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By working together we can help make a real difference and bring about positive change to many people's lives. The rewards for being charitable are also manifold: charity purifies our wealth and God has promised us a great reward for being charitable towards our fellow human beings. Altruism involves putting the interests of others above one's own interests. It is altruism that forms the basis of the meaning of life itself, which is to live for others. People are not inevitably driven by apparent, immediate or even long-term self-interest.
This is seen every day when people risk their lives to rescue others.
That is what makes us as human beings so special—we are willing to die for other members of our species, and many of us recognize that just one human life is worth more than all the material possessions in the world. We do first need to care about others before we can be motivated to help them out of problems. If we are to care about other people, it follows from this that we must be open-minded and receptive to other people and their experiences. We cannot maintain insularity amongst a few people while closing ourselves off to others, as understanding is only generated by being open to different people and their discourse and experiences.
We need to be open-minded if we want to understand this world, and do something to change it for the benefit of us all.