Is the United States Still Racist?

May 10, 2010
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“White people are better than black people. Whites know more, have more, and get more. I wish I was white, but I am not.” This startling quote came from a young South African girl in a recent Nightline television interview. The sad truth behind it is that too many people believe this to be true, and great numbers of African Americans live their lives with this envy. Our society is bound around the idea that prejudice towards people of different color, especially blacks, is a scenario of the past that was fixed during the Civil Rights era. But, all too few of us realize that racism is not yet abolished and is in fact a major problem that we refuse to acknowledge and work on. Racism is a growing problem in America; throughout schools and society in general. Great leaps must be taken to reach true equality of people throughout the United States of America.

Racism can be defined as a biased set of attitudes based upon the superiority of one group or the inferiority of another. Both ideas are exclusively based on skin color or race and have been around and remained a prominent issue since the earliest of mankind, dating all the way back to anti-Semitism in at least 300 B.C. Throughout history, problems have arisen time and time again, whether involving prejudice towards Jewish people or those of African descent. The beginning of the United States was based upon a system of racism- blacks were never once mentioned in the Constitution and were regarded to as slaves. Indians were also looked down upon, as their valuable land was handed over to the “superior” European race. Through time, people have made attempts to stop racism with some being quite successful in the end, such as the civil rights acts of the 1960s. But, it’s clear that some of the same problems occur later in time, and that these opinions towards various groups will never fully leave the people that inherited them.

In the past, professors have studied how racial attitudes form. As described by Kenneth Clarke, children start to notice color differences by age two. From the age of four to six, a child can depict his or her own ethnic group from others. Children of defective families are most often vulnerable to pressure to adapt a set of racial attitudes. They have a tendency to stay within their own ethnic group, rather then merge in with others. This kind of behavior is most frequently seen in schools, but in a much greater extent, including violent and meaningless racial jokes.

According to an ERIC Digest article, racism still exists in schools and is in fact on the increase. They stressed the frequency of racial jokes- large or small, racial generalizing, and acts of violence that are evoked by racial stereotyping. Those that are affected by this go to school dealing with the same issues daily, such as being looked down upon, whispered or joked about, and excluded from activities solely because of their skin color or heritage. Unfortunately to many, racism is a natural thing and doesn’t even bother them anymore, as it continues day by day.

Parents teach their kids differently; everybody holds different values and was taught differently by their parents. Of course, it is only natural that people will go to school with different opinions and outlooks on things, but is the opinions towards one another that have many worried. An article from socyberty on the topic of ethnicity noted that students commit racism without even knowing it, such as when choosing friends. Students of the same nationality will most frequently be friends with others of their nationality because they can accept each other and understand their similarities. Fights will continue to emerge between groups and conflict will continue to arise because of racism, of which all are truly unavoidable without everybody acting as one.

Many people feel that racism is only a problem that is dealt with in school and that adults have more respect than that nowadays. But according to an article titled “How to Survive the New Racism” from Ebony, blacks must work harder than ever to get ahead, no matter their occupation or position in school. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently wrote that in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a white person with a criminal record has a better chance of getting called in for an interview than a black person without a criminal record. Racial attitudes effect all too many; whether somebody is trying to find a job or just trying to ahead in school.

A Social Issues online article in 2007 pointed out that according to a study conducted by the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, 76% of people that were stopped by police to check for licenses on a Maryland highway stretch were black. The article also noted that blacks are two and a half times as likely to be turned down for loans in comparison to whites and that 92% of the Senate consists of whites. Are all of these statistics just coincidental, or are they those of a biased, brainwashed nation?

The United States of America must confront the dangers of racism, whether at school or in our society in general. If we put our hands together or even change one person’s outlook on others, we can truly make a difference. Obviously prejudice will never be demolished, but every person that acts and works towards true equality is making a major difference in another person’s life and the society that currently envelopes our racist country.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

shaunmc said...
May 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm
this is a good article but i dont believe any of it realy. Im half african-american and i feel that blacks dont have to work at all to get ahead. with affirmitive action u dont need to do anything to get a job. and if u look at it more blacks then whites do drugs, commit crimes, and leave there children which creates single moms struggling to survive. If anything the tables have turned and whites are taking racism from others. and at schools if ur in school look around almost every black student... (more »)
Connor R. replied...
May 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Yeah I do know what you mean. I know it's not always to the extent that I showed here. But I was going more for a worse case scenario, because my school has plenty of racist kids.

Thanks for the comment!

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