Children sit in a classroom in the refugee camp of Lagadikia, near Thessaloniki, Greece, during the visit of UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Aug. 25, 2016. | SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
What exactly is racism? The incident in Oreokastro is a typical example of racism? Racism is the perception and acceptance of people with inherited characteristics superiority or inferiority and focuses mainly on physical differences between people. According to Anthony Giddens, racist attitudes formed the western colonial period (the concept of race is modern), however prejudice and victimization mechanisms are found in many cases in human societies.
The incident in Oreokastro is a prime example of prejudice. In this case, members of the local community formed a certain point of view about refugees towards their attitude, culture and socioeconomic status. The "Parents Association" of the region having little inaccurate information at its disposal, formed a viewpoint, which will not change even if new information is displayed.
The refugees are for the association of Oreokastro "scapegoats", whom they blame for issues whose responsibility isn’t theirs. First, because they are an easily identifiable group, and secondly because they are easy targets because of their inability to react. At the same time, fear of losing a job or a part of the salary is for local residents motivated dynamic behavior in response to those who are "risk" for changing the social and economic situation.
Is Greek society racist? Racism is deeply rooted in a large part of Greek society, the size of which became apparent after the fragmentation of the two dominant parties of the new regime and especially the conservative faction. Within the operating framework of an inclusive party, minority voices were staying on the sidelines, which favored the stable operation of the political system, free from extremists.
Those who decided to exclude refugees are the representatives of a parallel Greece, we know that there is, but ignore it ostentatiously to rescue the Greek myth of magnanimity. Wanting to preserve one beautified image of our collective selfishness,we hurt deeply the democracy and the humanitarian ideals, and cultivate the soil which will germinate the hatred offshoots.
Can we overcome this “bad” way of thinking? The treatment of this mentality is a long-term process. Education is the key tool for building an open society towards multiculturalism. The schools will introduce the European culture at the refugee students, and start sharing their thoughts and experience with Greek students. In a country with an aggressive fear, let us give an example of creative hope.σ