Essay on Racism in America Today
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"The legacy of past racism directed at blacks in the United States is more like a bacillus that we have failed to destroy, a live germ that not only continues to make some of us ill but retains the capacity to generate new strains of a disease for which we have no certain cure." - Stanford Historian George Frederickson. The population of the United States of America has been one of mixed race since its very beginning. Boatload upon boatload of enslaved Africans provided a labor force which would fuel the American South’s economy for many years, until national abolition and the subsequent civil rights movement created a primarily biracial population of blacks and whites. The US has come a long way since those days, and today every child…show more content…
These people are correct in a sense; loud and public acts of racism are no longer prevalent in the US as they were in the past. However, today racism is stealthy and unspoken, and often deftly covered up with fabricated cover stories to legitimize the discrimination. This new breed of racism is perhaps even more difficult to fight against than its more egregious past self; its subtlety allows its perpetuators to claim ignorance of any discrimination, and its lack of media attention lulls Americans into complacence and acceptance of the current system. Further disturbing is the prevalence of “covert racism”, also commonly called “subconscious racism”. Many white Americans may actively stereotype and discriminate against blacks without even being aware of their actions and thought processes (BlackYouthProject). This phenomenon is a sad consequence of being raised a subtly racist society which perpetuates discrimination, even if never openly. Many subconscious racists may also be unwittingly subscribing to “symbolic racism”. In J.H. Moore’s book Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, Henry Sears characterizes symbolic racism as the endorsement of four specific beliefs:
1. Blacks no longer face much prejudice or discrimination.
2. The failure of blacks to progress results from their unwillingness to work hard enough.
3. Blacks are demanding too much too fast.
4. Blacks have gotten more than they deserve (Sears 111-112).
As with subconscious racists,
The Struggle with Racism in America
Racism has been a problem in the United States of America for a long time, dating back to early America when the Native Americans were often attacked, relocated, and forcibly assimilated into European culture. The African slave trade also helped contribute to the environment of a racist culture in America by debasing the African races and teaching Caucasian Americans that they are better than the African races. Although the civil rights of African Americans has improved over the last few decades and America now has an African American president racism still has a strong presence.A common modern trend in America is incidental racism, which is giving other races equal opportunity and using other elements to justify racist behavior.
Garret (2009) tells us that prejudice and bigotry are learned behaviors, or habits that people begin to form when they are in an environment where others do the same. The adults in the young American’s live are the examples that the young children see and learn from, and when a parent or other significant other displays racist behavior the child is likely to learn at a young age that other races are not equal to his or her own race. One important step to reducing the racism in America is to include curriculum in all education programs that supports equality in the minds of the youth. A second step that could be taken is to eliminate stereotypes in the classroom through open discussion of equality and education regarding the dangers of stereotypes. These measures can help support equality and counter the effects of any racism or bigotry that takes place in the children’s homes by helping them see and understand what stereotypes and racism are and that they should be avoided. This shows incidental racism in that the African Americans were allowed to have their own rally, but the rally was segregated and prejudice was shown by the. In this case the African American crime rate would justify security precautions, however degraded quality of the route and the excessiveness of the police response reveals a racist intent.
While there has been much progress made towards the idea of racial equality in America there still is work to be done in educating the youth and optimizing their environment to support equality and racial tolerance. The adults and significant others in the lives of the children are the examples that the children learn to follow as they get older. By educating the children at a young age about the dangers of stereotype we can minimize the transference of racism to the future generations.