Look around us. Today, one major topic that society always has and probably always will struggle with is the global issue of racism. According to Pierre Berton, “Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and it deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.” While it may seem that as the years pass, society will forget about all the negativity we have pushed onto people who don't look like us, but sadly that is not the case. Society has given us images of people we are supposed to dress like, act like, and look like. It is almost as if our minds are being poisoned by what we should consider picture perfect. However, everyone seems to ignore the fact that we are all people, born to be different and not the same. In this essay, I’m going to talk about the beginning of racism in the United States, people’s mentality towards racism, modern racism, and how what I did contributed to today’s issues when it comes to racial discrimination.
Racism started back when the United States was founded. Back when the white people assumed that any and all African Americans, also referred to as blacks or negros, were considered to be nothing. They were kidnapped from their homes back in Africa and forced onto ships. On these ships they were chained together by the neck, waist, and ankles. Neatly lined up in rows, hundreds of African Americans lay on their backs. There were waste buckets placed throughout the ship, but only a few of these soon to be slaves could manage to reach them. They were fed twice a day, food brought on small plates and placed randomly, only giving a select few the chance to eat if they could manage to reach the plate. Of course with these living circumstances, there were lots of diseases spreading along with the ship. If an African American died or was considered too sick to be of any good for their slave owners, they would be thrown overboard, given to the depths of the ocean. Any slave who managed to live across through the trip, they were all (men, women, and children) were given to slave sellers. These sellers would dress them all in clothing and line them up neatly in rows to be auctioned off to the rich white landowners. Husbands and fathers and sons were taken from their families. Mothers had to witness their children being inspected as if they were a workhorse. Children watched as their families were being taken away from them, not knowing they would most likely never see them again. Once an African American was sold to a landowner, they were forced into the life of horror and labor. They were forced to work tedious hours in the fields, picking crops, like cotton. If any were caught attempting to escape, they were punished however the landowner seemed fit.
By the 19th century, racism had matured and spread around the world. In many countries, leaders began to think of the ethnic components of their societies, usually religious or language groups, in racial terms and to designate “higher” and “lower” races. Those seen as the low-status races, especially in colonized areas, were exploited for their labor, and discrimination against them became a common pattern in many areas of the world. Dating back to the civil rights movement, racism in the United States was mostly targeted towards black people and African-Americans. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the fight for social justice overpowered most of the other horrible issues in the U.S. at the time. Although slavery had been abolished a century before, the Reconstruction Amendments that were established afterward, in a hope to make people have the right to more equality, had become overruled by the Jim Crow Laws. These laws were specifically designed to limit people of the non-white race in their day-to-day lives. Segregated water fountains, bathrooms, buses, and schools were just some of the many laws non-white Americans were forced to abide by. In 1948, President Harry Truman took decisive action to promote racial equality. He urged Congress to abolish the poll tax, enforce fair voting and hiring practices, and end Jim Crow transportation between states. Four Southern states abandoned Truman’s Democratic Party in protest. Then, as commander in chief, Truman ordered the complete integration of the armed forces. He did not wipe out racism but instead opened the door so generals who were trained to obey commands, complied as best they could. In Korea, during the 1950s, integrated U.S. forces fought their first war. The Civil Rights movement helped change these laws and made a huge impact on the United States. For example, ways history changed included legalizing interracial marriage, ruling bus segregation as unconstitutional, and overturning the “separate but equal” doctrine. However, racism didn’t stop there. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, created with good intentions was only a catalyst for the progress of racial interaction towards black people. One would think that discrimination would be put to a halt after the act was signed, but it seemed to lead to a bigger issue. The 1964 act ended up principally outlawing “intention to discriminate” in the present. Intent but not outcome became the preferred proof of discrimination. A strong piece of evidence of intent to create the racial disparity is the “white only” sign, which became the principal marker of discrimination. Not the racial disparity itself, or the absence of people of color. People seemed to confuse the death of the Jim Crow laws with the death of racism, yet that was not the case. Racism progressed when Americans refused to identify discrimination by the outcome. Racism progressed when new racist ideas blamed black inferiority for persisting racial disparities. Racism progressed when Americans chose the law and order of inequality over the civil right of equality. 53 years after the Civil Rights Act, the racist springs are still poisoning our racial atmosphere, with no resolution in sight. Although equality was achieved, the act didn’t change the views of the people as racism is still a recurring issue today. Racism is and always will be a part of society, but it is how we choose to act on it that matters. People should all be considered equal regardless of what they look like, talk like, or even do that makes them who they are. Racism is extremely wrong, but it makes the one who is acting so look so much worse than the one being judged.
Modern racism, or better known as “Symbolic Racism”, is leaving a big impact on society these days. This belief reflects on the idea that black people are inferior to white people, which leaves us with the prejudice that white people are superior. It also highlights the concepts of incompatibility of cultures, protection of indigenous cultural values, and the clash of civilizations. Modern-day racism stems from a series of underlying factors which have been believed to be some of the biggest influences on the idea. These constituents include racialized belief in traditional values, belief in equality of opportunity, low belief in equality of outcome, group self-interest, and low knowledge of black people. People who hold symbolic racist beliefs tend to hold negative attitudes, most likely gained in childhood, towards black people that they may not be aware of. Not all racism is driven by hate, but fear or anger as well. Most of these beliefs have stemmed from traditional American values such as those who are hard-working and have individuality, and it has morphed into something more racialized. If we look at ways racism is being held onto by society, we notice the continuation of the Ku Klux Klan (a white supremacy group started in the south), job inequality, police brutality towards minorities, and so much more. Although the past presidential position was held by an African American man, many Americans still hold on to their racial opinions and biases.
The psychology of racism is more complicated than one would think. It is a psychological defense mechanism generated by feelings of insecurity and anxiety. There is some evidence for this view from the psychological theory of 'terror management.' Research has shown that when people are given reminders of their own mortality, they feel a sense of anxiety and insecurity, which they respond to by becoming more prone to status-seeking, materialism, greed, prejudice, and aggression. They are more likely to conform to culturally accepted attitudes and to identify with their national or ethnic groups. This basically means that racism isn’t always driven by hate as most people would think, but primarily fear. People can also develop racist tendencies because of their environment as a child or young adult. Sometimes people make jokes or say things they don't even realize could be seen as racist. I am a prime example of that. My intentions were not driven by hate or fear or anger, but rather a desire to be recognized by others and pressure by my peers.
What I did was unacceptable. I made a stupid decision because I thought it would make me look cool. All it did was get me in huge trouble and made me look like someone I’m not. Because racism is such a big issue these days, what I wrote contributed to the problem of racism in America. I regret the decisions I made and after writing this essay, I understand why what I did is very offensive to others and is not even close to being acceptable. Everyone should be treated equally no matter the color of their skin, their gender, or sexuality. We are all humans who deserve the same level of respect and rights as anyone else and especially in America, whose foundation is built upon the fact that everyone is created equally. I understand that I should never have taken part in modern-day racism because no one deserves to be treated as if they are not equal or good enough for society. I also feel terrible about how my words and actions could affect someone so negatively. I have made a promise to myself that I will watch what I say and do so I no longer put myself in the position to accidentally affect the way others think or feel about themselves.
Racism is one of the most shameful pages in contemporary history. An ideology of hatred and exclusion that has marked the relationships between cultures and nations of our present time. On this issue, which is not yet completely overcome even in the most culturally developed societies. The history of discrimination is as old as humanity itself. The most notable example is found in slaves, which have existed in almost all ages and cultures around the world, Racism is a theory based on prejudice according to which there are human races that present biological differences that justify relationships of dominance between them, as well as behaviors of rejection or aggression. The term 'racism' applies both to this doctrine and to the behavior inspired by it and is frequently related to xenophobia and social segregation, which are its most obvious manifestations. Xenophobia preaches hatred to foreigners or ethnic groups, being almost always superior to them.
Throughout the history of the United States, even before it was considered the United States, there have always been immigrants who have come to this nation in search of a better life. Most people who currently live in the United States live here thanks to their ancestors who immigrated to this country during some period of their life. Although not all Americans are considered immigrants, their past generations were once immigrants and could succeed in assimilating to the culture that existed in the past. It has not always been a result achieved quickly, most have managed to live in peace with all the different cultures, races, and ethnicities of the host country. Although anti-immigrant policy has had and continues to have a great impact on the lives and future of Latino immigrants like myself, politics is not the only problem that we face. Unfortunately, many of the Latino immigrants have been victims of racism, hate crimes, and have suffered the violation of their basic human rights through laws and reforms in opposition to immigration. Latinos living in the United States today not only face violence of physical hatred, but also suffer from violence and psychological hatred. Apart from the damage suffered by victims of violence, violence and hate crimes also affect other Latinos who have not been attacked because it causes them to fear for their safety and the safety of their family. It seems outrageous that the United States could have stopped most of the racism against African American people in the past, it still hardly exists today, but not racism and violence against Latinos as it is ignored and overlooked even today.
The functionalist theory estate that race relations are functional and they contribute to a harmonious conduct and stability of society, racial minorities must assimilate into that society. We can define assimilation as process by which a minority becomes socially, economically, and culturally absorbed within the dominant society. Which practically mean that minority groups must adopt as much of the dominant society's culture as possible, particularly its language, mannerisms, and goals for success, and thus give up much of its own culture.
However, this concept, is problematic. How can racism contribute positively to society? Analyzing racism with a functionalist view its I can say that it does contribute positively, but only to the dominant group. Historically, it has indeed served dominant groups well to discriminate against subordinate groups, like when black people were used as slaves, which was beneficial only to slaveholders. Holding racist views can benefit those who want to deny rights and privileges to people they view as inferior to them, but over time, racism harms society.
Racism is tied to class conflict; class inequality must be reduced to lessen racial conflict in society. The current class versus race controversy concerns the question of whether class or race is more important in explaining inequality and its consequences or whether they are of equal importance. Functionalist say that race has been and is relatively more important than class though class is still important in explaining and accounting for inequality and conflict in society and that directly addressing the question of race forthrightly is the only way to solve the country's race problems.
Understanding the meaning of racism is not a simple task, since it is a complex, multifaceted and painful phenomenon. Many crimes committed by racists were even justified with pseudoscientific theories thus increasing confusion.
Today racism not only acquired greater relevance in several capitalist countries, but also greater virulence and these characteristics tend to generalize. The mystifying concept 'new world order' already has them under its belt and structurally incorporated.
A brief review of history shows us that in the West racism has adopted the most violent, aggressive and subtle forms. A whole ideological construction based on apparently scientific theories was elaborated to justify ethnocides, genocides, killings, torture,, theft, pillage, exploitation, oppression, domination, alienation, etc.
Consequently, fighting racism is an integral part of the class struggle. It is an essentially political struggle for a radical change in social structures that now maintain the oppression and exploitation of workers, especially the proletariat.
Moreover, the whole fight against racism cannot be limited to propaganda of egalitarian ideas, even in societies where the historical conditions that allowed the rise of racism and its subsequent development were eradicated. This is so, because it is not easy to remove certain prejudices from man, after integration into his personality.
This last aspect exceeds the historical, political, economic and sociological framework, since we are already entering the level of psychology. Therefore, the work of truthful and scientific information becomes more important, as well as continuing education as complements in the fight to definitively banish racism.