Racism is the spawn of cognitive dissonance. Human beings like to think we have ethics and morals generally speaking, but the truth is that our ethics and morals only exist to benefit the advancement of ourselves an those related to us. let me explain:
Cognitive dissonance is the process by which a person holds two or more contradictory ideas and is stress or discomforted by it. The result is typically that they create a third idea to bridge the two and allow them to work with one another.
Now, human beings are just more intelligent animals. Our minds were not built from scratch, they are evolved animal brains. At our intellectual foundation is a reptile, and our instincts push us to eat, toilet and mate and to replicate our DNA and spread it as far as we can. That's how evolution works.
Still with me? Now, humans are social creatures. We have come as far as we have because we were able work together, to form villages, tribes and clans. This helped all of us spread our genes, and those who couldn't work with others died off. Over time, we developed laws and codes, systems of justice, order.
But as much as we are social creatures, we are also intraspecifically competitive. Tribes needed things that other tribes had; (food, land, resources) they needed to go to war. they needed to steal from and kill other people to get the resources they needed--to spread their DNA, to propagate.
Now how does cognitive dissonance play into this? In order for society to work, there must be law and order. The people of your tribe must value the existence of one another, and they must be able to work together. But you must ALSO be able to devalue the life of other humans OUTSIDE your tribe in order to advance the interests of those within it.
So a person must be able to apply law, order and ethics to those of his own group, while at the same time violating those same ethics and principals in relation to other groups. It's necessary for his tribe's survival. How does he do this? He paints a picture of the other group as subhuman. He looks for traits and characteristics that separate the two groups, so that he can more easily destroy them without the feeling of guilt, without feeling as if he has betrayed his laws. He must find away to exempt them from the lawfulness he has applied within his own society. (Division) is the result of instinct. (Rascism that results is an excuse for for evil acts against other human beings)
Man is intelligent, but he is not that intelligent. His main directive is to breed; it is by following that directed that he has come to be. He needs other men, but he needs to destroy other men. And this creates cognitive dissonance in our sentient brains. Racism, tribalism, gang violence, religious warfare, politics... they are all justified as a result of cognitive dissonance. In order to take what we want, while also feeling morally grounded and ethical, we must find ways to exempt others from out principles.
Contrasting ideas that require racism to function:
"All men are created equal"
"I want blacks to work for free"
Bridging idea: "Blacks are not human"
"I want to control India's trade and resources"
"I don't want to be an oppressive tyrant and I value democracy"
Bridging idea "They need us to bring Christianity and couldn't manages their resources on their own anyways."
by Will (poster from external website)