RE: Racism in the field of evaluation | Eval Forward


Quite a few instances of 'racism' in evaluation have been presented in this discussion. However, I find it hard to understand just how this awareness could enable one to deal with it. Of course, one could compile a long document on such examples and make it widely available. Even so, how is that going to help?

My next point is that the term 'racism' is not well chosen. What it does is to confine a certain sub-type of discrimination to the differences in skin colour. There are many instances of such discrimination even within groups of same skin colour.

For instance, say among people of X coloured skin, this kind of discrimination may occur across the following barriers:

   1. Urban and rural divide.

   2. What school/university one attended.

   3. Religion.

   4. Sex.

   5. Caste/social class.

   6. Nepotism and corruption.

Discrimination of the kind under discussion can be motivated by any one or more of the six reasons given above within a group having the same skin colour. I believe that it would be unsound to ignore those, but to avoid excluding them, one has to view the problem as an instance of discrimination rather than racism.

As for how to resolve this problem, it must be noted that it is a social issue arising from lack of ethical standards. Please note I am speaking of secular ethics which I prefer to call standards of common decency. It would be naïve to believe that legal measures could be of any help because there is a huge difference between having the 'right laws' on a country's statute books, signing of international conventions on one hand, and their actual enforcement on the other. So, I believe it would take some time to deal with this problem and it would require public education now and the incorporation of personal ethics into school education. Much learned talk may give one a sense of having done something, but that would hardly address the problem in the real world.

Best wishes!