Racism is often borne out of ignorance.
There's perhaps a bit of stupidity there too, as the increasing popularity of home DNA testing shows.
Those results will show people are a mix of things - they're 49 per cent this, 20 per cent that, 20 per cent something else, and so on.
The takeaway from that is that no-one is made up of just one race, that we're all likely bitzers.
This is of course leaving aside that whole other can of worms that the very idea of "race" has no scientific basis at all - that's it's nothing more than something we made up to categorise people.
Though it does mean that, if you're racist, you're opposed to something that doesn't actually exist.
But I have digressed from the initial point about racism and ignorance.
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Basically it's easier to hate people when you don't know them.
Witness those who profess to hate, say Asians, but have a friend with Asian heritage - that person will likely be categorised as a "good Asian", to distinguish them from the "bad Asians" the racist doesn't like.
The guy's not a "good Asian", he's just "an Asian you know"; you've gotten to know him and now see him as a person rather than an anonymous member of some racial group.
Incidentally, this throw up the stupidity argument - despite having first-hand evidence that their belief that all Asians are the same is false, such people continue to see it as the truth.
The enjoyable SBS series Where Are You Really From? works to overcome this ignorance, by moving past the colour of someone's skin or their facial characteristics and hearing their stories.
Those stories are drawn out by host Michael Hing, whose ability to laugh out loud at almost anything seems to put his subjects at ease.
In some instances we find that a person who doesn't have white skin, who doesn't look like a "traditional Aussie" is part of a family that has been in Australia for more than a century.
In all instances, we find the stories makes us see them as individual people and not some faceless member of a racial group.
And seeing past the "race" makes the world of difference.