Discrimination and its Effects

May 20, 2017
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     The idea of not treating others equally due to their physical appearance or heritage is an epidemic in the modern world. Excuses are being created to belittle another because of how they look or their familial background. The constant need for the sense of superiority is the cause for this action. This mindset has not failed to become popular among races. Public places are riddled with this type of prejudice and is the main place where one may experience such treatment. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a realistic fiction novel by Sherman Alexie, and modern sources, all authors explore the negative impact of discrimination.

     In outside sources, along with Alexie, both authors explore discrimination in schools. Arnold witnesses treatment by the other students that no one else receives. Hate fills the conversation and he knows that where he is originally from makes him a large target. Although he makes friends that are able to look past the racial barrier "there were a few of those Reardan boys, the big jocks, who paid special attention to me. None of those guys punched me or got violent. After all, I was a potential killer. So mostly they called me names. Lots of names" (Alexie 78). His abnormal presence in this school cause verbal attacks by the Reardan students. The form in which they like to scorn Arnold for his heritage exemplifies there hostility towards another that is different from themselves. Arnold has no comparison with most in the school, which results in constant monitoring, however, they refuse to undergo a physical altercation due to their assumption that he is violent due to the fear that his race provides him with mindless and violent tendencies that can harm them. Like the experiences of Arnold, children of different appearance are subject to harassment by the dominant race of the institute. Potential harm, followed by numerous slurs are what these types of students will receive when entering such school. According to "'There's Just Places Ya' Don't Wanna Go': The Segregating Impact Of Hate Crime Against Native Americans." by Barbara Perry, she writes, "Schools have not historically been welcoming or even necessarily safe places for Native American young people. Rather they have been coercive, often violent sites for the forced assimilation of Native American young people. Violence against Native Americans in the context of educational institutions is by no means a new phenomenon" (Perry 412). The lack of similarities that a race has with another, more popular, one causes conflict to rise to a high level. Rather than being known for teaching a diverse population, schools have acquired the identity of providing a platform for blatant racism, resulting in the constant threat of brutality for those only seeking education. This cycle has repeated itself over and over again, proving that solutions are not being created to stop this problem. This shows that it has grown to be a tradition, but educators have chosen to be ignorant of such a despicable and ferocious idea because they do not see a complication. The presence of discrimination in schools does not fail to correlate with Arnold's predicament in Reardan.

     In outside sources, along with Alexie, both authors explore racism in sports. Arnold finds out that Native Americans hated the Reardan students because of race. The thought that white kids felt like they were superior infuriates the Wellpinnit Reservation and causes conflict when both groups are in sight of each other. Although it is a basketball game, the Reservation plans to be discriminatory towards the others only because of the lack of similarities they have. Alexie writes, "They pelted our bus with snowballs. And some of those snowballs were filled with rocks" (Alexie 165). The form in which they receive Reardan High School demonstrates the hatred contained within the Wellpinnit people. The visiting team are viewed as invaders and do not deserve to be in this area. The belief is that these two basketball teams should not be playing because of how different they are. Although sports are meant to unite people of all places the racial barriers presented prove to be too much to handle as the refusal of acceptance is the result of the simple difference in appearance. The actions towards the team bus signals immediate rejection of this game. Similar to the actions against Reardan by Wellpinnit at the basketball game, racism is also portrayed in sports of the modern world. Professional franchises are very experienced in this situation due to the repercussions made by fans who do not receive any signs of discrimination as tolerable. According to "Invisibility in the Color-Blind Era: Examining Legitimized Racism Against Indigenous Peoples." by Dwanna L. Robertson, she writes, "sports teams' mascots that are often combined with words that serve to create inferiority (e.g., redskins, savages, squaw, etc.). Misconceptions about Indigenous Peoples are created, produced, and reproduced in stereotypes and racial bias" (Robertson 17). The popularity that an organization has gives it a platform to represent any of its associates, so when the term "Redskin" is used, it downgrades the honor to be a Native American and tells that all who apply to that name are cruel and violent. A false identity is made but the only ones who know that it is not true are the ones that are negatively affected. Everyone else makes the assumption on a Native American based on the title given to them by a widely recognized organization. The conflicts presented in athletics between the modern world and Arnold is that the aspect of discrimination has been incorporated to upset a player or an entire population. 

     In outside sources, along with Alexie, both authors explore the effects of discrimination in one's own race. Arnold decision to transfer to Reardan immediately causes his reservation to feel betrayed. They instantly view him as someone of a white school, rather than one who is their tribe member. An aspect of disconnection is shown since other Native Americans will never forgive him for leaving them. When Arnold witnesses the people from his neighborhood at the basketball game he sees that "fellow tribal members saw me and they all stopped cheering, talking, and moving. / I think they stopped breathing. / And then, as one, they all turned their backs on me" (Alexie 166). The act that Arnold's former companions perform shows how angry they are at him. The cease of movement when Arnold is in their sight shows their disbelief of an Indian not being in a school on the reservation followed by an indignant realization. He chose a school with a dominant population of whites over a place where all are like him. They cannot believe he would leave them. This reaction symbolizes how they do not care for him anymore along with a sign of betrayal. Like Arnold, the consequences of leaving a tribe can alter relationships that are impossible to repair. The option to leave others in order to improve one's chances of success are always present, but it is never condoned. An act of making a wrong choice is irreparable. According to the article "Modes of Response to Jealousy-Evoking." by Jeff B. Bryson and The psychology of jealousy and envy by Peter Salovey, he writes, "The major difference across cultures lies in the repercussions of the betrayal to the cuckolded individual: loss of honor and the requirement to regain it" (Salovey 266). Those that are disloyal to their tribe only face the loss of respect and trust. The effort to "regain" these characteristics shows how sorry they are to look out for one instead of all. One has to prove that their goal is for the tribe to be successful, not themselves as an individual. Arnold's decision to go to Reardan, shows the reservation his intentions of having a better life for himself, which is why the people of Wellpinnit hate him. The presence of discrimination to one person from people of their own race continues to grow when others, such as Arnold, are different from the rest.

     The idea of discrimination and its fashion of negatively affecting its victims are explained by Sherman Alexie, the author of the realistic fiction novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and modern sources. The ongoing problem of racism is present in a variety of ways and leaves no solution to the ones who undergo its experience. They cannot change their physical appearance or background. Its only way to survive is for people to have the thought that being different is punishable by insult and cruelty. Certain beliefs such as equality between races are not as popular as its opposites, resulting in constant conflict that leads to no avail. The need for superiority over other people is what this cruel thought feeds off of. Only corrupt mindsets hold this idea to a platform high enough to cause one to affect other people, of different races, horribly.






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