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How Racism Affects Both The Victim And The Bigot
Everyone knows that racism is a large problem, especially towards the victim of the racism, but what if that is not the only group that is affected by this problem. Racism could be both individual or systemic, and they both feed into each other. It does not only the victims of that racism but also many of the people who are perpetrating the hatred.
People have been racist for centuries; it is a problem that will most likely not end in our lifetimes. Racism takes up multiple definitions, first, we have the classic definition, “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” credited to Merriam-Webster English dictionary. However, Britannica states, “The term is also applied to political, economic, or legal institutions and systems that engage in or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race or otherwise reinforce racial inequalities in wealth and income, education, health care, civil rights, and other areas.”
It is important to consider the effects of both types of racism.
Systemic racism is the more prominent type of racism here in America. Systemic racism is hard to discuss because people do not write laws that say they explicitly want to hurt people of color, but they do influence those communities. To quote Republican Political Strategist and aid to the Reagan Administration, Lee Atwater, "you start out in 1954 by saying, "N*gger, n*gger, n*gger". By 1968, you can't say "n*gger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights, and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites." And subconsciously, maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that systemic racism is an undeniable truth that everyone is forced to deal with. More than ever, the effects of past systems affect Black and Latino communities because of the denial by people. The reason that they deny this phenomenon is because they believe that the laws have to explicitly state that they are created to negatively impact the Black community.
Despite systemic racism being a major problem, individual racism is a significant issue as well. During the Covid-19 pandemic, NPR has stated that there has been an increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. This type of hatred stems most likely from ignorance, and this is also the leading cause of hatred against women and the LGBTQ+ community. This type of hate has stopped people from these communities to not want to interact with these bigoted communities.
People from Black and Latino communities remain segregated because of both models of racism. These communities have a tendency to not be very trusting of predominately White communities out of fear that they will not be accepted, or worse, be hated by the very community that they wanted to be a part of. Also, if these minority communities have trust in these communities, they would still not be able to take part in them because of racist laws in the past that affect their generational wealth.
This problem is not as one-sided as it may seem though. White communities tend to be largely deprived of any culture due to the lack of hardships that they have experienced, as well as being based in extreme individualism instead of a more communal personality. This is obviously bad because White suburbs end up being so boring that no one has any personal connection to where they live, there is nothing but dull repetition in the suburbs.
Also, if Black and Latino people were to be able to integrate into majority-White neighborhoods, then common misconceptions about race can become uncommon. Life would become less boring and monotonous for everyone since people would not only see people that look like them.
Fixing the racial divide can help the working class fixate on class issues, because there would be no more infighting in the working class due to race no longer being a problem. Currently, someone who is poor, White, and Conservative would usually vote out of their best interests because they feel that what would help them would be primarily going to minority communities. This allows them to stay economically challenged along with the people that they hate.
Another reason why racism affects the person who perpetuates it is fear. A study from the National Institute of Health demonstrates that fear has negative effects on heart and brain health. Unfortunately, racists live their lives in fear, despite the fact that this fear is based in nothing but baseless stereotypes that they made up.
Another thing that people miss out on when they are racist is the opportunity to meet with new people. Since Black and Latino people come from different backgrounds, they have unique perspectives and insight on ways to solve problems, they also have different stories passed down from generation to generation. By not accepting these people into your life, you wall yourself off from many opportunities and potential friends.
Another downside to being a racist is the fact that you will lose friends over time. It is a simple fact that a majority of people are uncomfortable around people that are intolerant. Losing out on these communities can potentially increase one’s stress, both emotionally and physically. Racism is quickly being tolerated less and less in modern society, and if you are racist, then you could potentially see yourself ostracized from all of your friend groups within thirty years, that is, if you continue with racism.
If you thought that what has been stated so far is bad, then you should see how racism affects people’s professional lives. Places of employment do not like to hire people who are racist because it is not good for their image. If you are caught making racist remarks, then you could potentially be fired or lose the promotion that you would have gotten otherwise. Also when you are looking for a job, employers tend to look at your social media profiles to see what kind of person you want the world to see.
In conclusion, racism has multiple victims, the target and the bigot. Racism negatively affects Black and Latino communities by historical redlining, slavery, and overt individual racism today. However, these communities are not the only ones affected by this. Generally, racist communities miss out on culture, community, and history. They also end up not being able to pursue a well-paying career due to the public relations nightmare that racists are. And, last but not least, people do not like to associate with racist people, they tend to distance themselves from racist people because bigotry is becoming less tolerated as society progresses both socially and politically.