Racism in the United States is not a thing of the past as earlier claimed by some government officials. In fact, it has taken another form which is a disguise to the original form of racism. To begin with, racism can be defined as the act of judging people in regard to a certain vice. In most cases, racism occurs when one race of people discriminate against another mainly in regard to skin color or superiority complex. As an example, in the United States, the racial discrimination (racism) that exists is due to skin color. In the US, there are the black Americans (afro-Americans) and the Americans of European origin. The white Americans have the belief that the agro-Americans are not qualified to become Americans simply because of their dark skin color. In other areas like Japan the racism that existed in the 1940s showed that the Japanese were a superior breed of people compared to the other races. Therefore, racism is a vice that virtually exists all over the world.
Basically, racism can be classified according to the vice used. The most common type of racism is based on the skin color. This is the racial discrimination that exists even today in t United States. This form of racial discrimination trace back to the era of slave trade and is present today though the US government is trying to cover this vice. It is what made Martin Luther King junior make a speech that contains the famous saying ‘I have a dream that one day my people won’t be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The second form of racism exists when one sex discriminates against the other. The most common evidence of this racial discrimination is in Arabic countries. The women are treated as objects without equal rights to their male counterparts in some sphere like leadership and some occupations. The last type of racial discrimination is the one that existed in Japan in 1940s. it is based on the superiority complex of one race believing that it is the original one thus superior than others.
In our discussion, we are to review and examine some aspects of racism in the contemporary society in the United States. Evidence of racism being present in the current day US is the excuse given as explanation that Israel is not a racist country after some countries in the Middle East claimed of racism in Israel. With many race-related issues circulating in US today our area of focus of one current issue related to racism in US and its connection to Du Bois’ claim.
The whole idea of what is passed through by the blacks in America is well illustrated in a contemporary article written an American sociologist by the name W.E.B Du Bois. Du Bois is an American educated sociologist who is one of the most well known in the field. In his article entitle ‘of our Spiritual Strivings’ in his book ‘The Souls of black folk’, he addresses the lack of precise identity faced by the blacks in the American soil. In his article on double consciousness, defines the aspect of double consciousness as the word used to describe how the identity of the blacks in US was divided into several facets. In a much simpler manner, it defines the lack of precise, clear and concise identity of the blacks in America. Using this approach, this sociologist was able to explain the psycho-social division in the American society. In his explanation, he claims that the double consciousness enabled the blacks view themselves not through their own eyes but through the eyes of the others (whites). With the black looking at themselves through the eyes of the whites and the evident differences that existed, then racial discrimination cropped up. In one of the sentences in the article, he writes ‘It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one-self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity’. This shows that the racism that is still evident in the US is based on the way people look at themselves thorough the world’s revelation or through the perspectives of the others. This makes the original thesis statement on racism to take a more specific approach and focus on double consciousness and racism.
When the people look at themselves through the eyes of the others, they often see a distorted image of what they are in reality. This makes them have low self-esteem and in the end results in prejudice and stereotype.
Don Imus, involved in what appeared as racist and sexism remarks, was born in July 23, in California. He won recognition as a radio broadcaster for his controversial wits, and persists to be a noteworthy figure in broadcasting. He made a move to WNBC in New York and continued his kind of insult humor on radio shows daily. His racist and sexist remarks to the Rutgers’s women cost him his job, though (concession) he returned to airwaves after eight months. Just a few days after broadcasting the insulting statements towards the Rutgers Women’s basketball squad, he apologized to his listeners for making the ill-conceived and insensitive remarks.
The Rutgers’s Women basketball squad felt that Don Imus, who (adjectival clause) made the remarks against them, did not show respect to human dignity and to all the black women in general. At present, black America is filled with new double consciousness. An implicit sense reigns amongst a vast number of black Americans at the moment that the genuine black person pressures personal strength and initiative, but devotedly takes on the responsibility of victimhood in public.
Historically, black women chose race over gender anxieties, (comparative clause) a choice that became poignant in the revolution when African American female managers supported amendment giving men rights to vote over the oppositions of white women suffragists. When black women flocked the feminist movement, there was discrimination from the white women against them and sacrificed little attention to issues that critically influenced black women, who also tended to be poor.
Speaking of forms of racism instead of racism itself, is to distinguish between motivations and manifestations. This means that one would be focusing on racism manifestation in the culture instead of on what motivations that may lie behind those manifestations. Du bois is concerned with manifestations instead of motivations, or with effects of racism rather than causes of racism. Further, this is to say that he is concerned with black people than white people. Du Bois concern was with the black people during the twentieth century; therefore, the Souls may not be quite relevant today. Du Bois concern was specifically with his people during his time. He declared that the issue of the Twentieth Century was the problem concerning the color line. His intention, therefore, is to less make a grand pronouncement on the defining issue of the twentieth century, even though he aims to.
Again racism takes various forms presently than it did several years ago. It is, therefore, not applicable to claim that souls is relevant as it is about racism. Du Bois wrote in the face of Jim Crow laws. Whatever a person may venture to say concerning the difference in magnitude among white privilege and slavery is not the point, the point becomes the difference between them.
(Race becomes institutionalized through ways of intense social consequences on people of diverse groups. Research shows that 96% of African Americans have experienced racial discrimination, as is (concession) the case of the murder of Trayvon Martin).
Turning to other aspects of racism, race and ethnicity distribute an ideology of ordinary ancestry because they differ in many ways. According to Dalton Conley, race is essentially unitary. That means that a person can only have one race, whereas they can claim numerous ethnic affiliations. A person can classify ethically as Polish and Irish, but they have to be fundamentally either white or black. Differences in wealth among whites and blacks may not be as a result of little earnings for the black population. The blacks appear to gain little that would support them to maintain realistic confidence in the American dream, (Conley 26).
Some racist events range from physical assaults to cross burnings to racial discriminatory treatments and slurs. They get motivated by several factors like hatred, fear, and misunderstanding on the side of the aggressor to the victim. A study by Kloniff and Landrine (1999), pointed out that 96% of African Americans told of experiencing racial discrimination the previous year, 98% during some point of their lives, and 95% found such events to be stressful, (Millon, 528).
In this post slavery age, the black community is not just in a terrible state, but it is already shattered. Black people account for nearly 50% of prison populace in America in accordance to the American Correctional Association. Whilst unemployment amongst the general population is almost 9.1%, for African Americans it is 16.2%. It is also documented that government officers most likely would arrest or shoot a black individual than any other race, (cbsnews.com).
Black Americans are most likely than Whites to believe that racism continue to play a crucial role in American Society. Subsequent to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the U.S. media reported same racial differences in observations of racism at the storm’s aftermath. Whilst the mass of Black respondents (71%) felt that the occurrences surrounding Hurricane Katrina illustrated that racial inequality in the U.S was still a problem. Only 32% of the whites who responded agreed with that statement.
Race is best explained as a social construction formed with the objective of maintaining social norms, frequently driven by the leading social group. Instead of being a term that entails some sort of objective criteria, race could be a term that affects the norm of between group discrepancy and that has been utilized to perpetuate ideological, cultural, economic, political and legal systems of inequality.
With the introduction of the concept of race, a variety of inferences become evoked from the listener, connected to the individual subjective meanings of those who make use of it. Ethnicity refers to the regional, tribal or national origin of a person’s customs and ancestors, rituals, traditions transmitted across age groups. Ethnic identity refers to a feature of social identity and self concept that develops from one understanding of group membership, in addition to the value attached, to that membership.
Racism could be addressed as a situation based on attitudes or beliefs or may be both. Where interest emerges, cultural disposition regards attitudes and beliefs as matters of preference, willingly adopted out of conscious self regard or egoism. People tend to particularly assume real choice or autonomy involving personal responsibility and deserving. Leading ethical philosophers such as Robert Nozick and John Rawls draw countered political inferences from the observation that nobody warrants anything ; racism always blames the supposed deficiencies of ability and character of blacks and other people on their not becoming willing and able to meet cultural standards.
With the education solution and war on racism technique, reformers have a tendency to treat racists very much like blacks. Racists get criticized for insufficiency of intellect and character and considered to deserve blame, contempt or disdain in so far as they do not get convinced, and thus not keen to measure up or come around to more enlightened anticipations, (Powell, 4).
Almost 17 percent of the African Americans have shifted to the South from different states during the past decade were from New York according to census data. Though the movement is not limited to New York, the black’s percentage leaving other prominent cities in the Midwest and East is at its highest levels. Some of the reasons given by these blacks for their leaving is that it is not only for searching of jobs but also as a result of soured race relations with the whites,
Racist events’ constructive relation to ethnic activities and ethnic identity accomplishment, coupled with negative relation to a different group orientation, implies that racist events might contribute to an enhanced affiliation to a person’s ethnic surrounding and feelings of isolation from people of other ethnic groups.
During times of racial repression, interactions with people from similar ethnic setting might be a source of maintenance that solidifies this ethnic bond and identity. Racist behavior directed to African Americans, in particular, is documented through measuring such behavior impartially, and through more subjective appraisals and accounts. It is documented that race-related stress is linked to high reported ranks of poor health and psychological distress in African Americans. In the same study, race not education or socioeconomic status, account for stress related healthiness issues perceived in the African American sample.
Women and minority members deal with prejudices and discrimination, and largely shared negative stereotypes regarding their groups by the popular group members. Research shows that negative stereotyping impugning the capability of the stigmatized persons comprise of a powerful situational threat, which has notable consequences.
Don Imus use of racial and sexism slurs to the Rutgers Women’s caused them to suffer discrimination and double consciousness. Du Bois concept of double consciousness is familiar in African American studies though, it is not detailed. He defines double consciousness as a sense of constantly looking at one’s self in the eyes of others, measuring somebody’s soul through the tape of humankind that looks on in engrossed pity and contempt.
A person ever feels his duality – a Negro and an American; two un reconciled strivings, two thoughts, two souls, two warring standards in a dark body, whose gritty strength alone keeps it away from being torn asunder. African Americans view themselves as the negative perspectives of the outer society.
When double consciousness is independent, when it is familiar only to the repressed, it becomes unhealthy. Nevertheless, when colonists and whites develop their own capabilities to perceive their racial points from the people of color perspective, then the multilateral double consciousness may facilitate a form of critical interracial dialogue. Du Bois suggested an integration of positive meanings of Americans and blackness. But instead of integrating both black and American each in a constructive way, twoness remains.
Racism in America is rooted intensely in the very formation of society. It is not mainly or solely a subject of personal beliefs and attitudes. Indeed, it could be stated that racist beliefs and attitudes are just accessory expressions of institutionalized outlines of white power, as well as social control. In addition, racism in America is a problem of the white. This is because of not only the hostile reactions of minorities to explicit terms of white racism, but also because racist behavior, social structure, attitudes have direct and also indirect impacts on the whites. This fact has been unaccountably ignored by the contemporary social thought, (Wright, 9).
In conclusion, sexual stereotypes have become common, but whilst this stereotype is at times twisted to compliments, it leads to severe consequences. While the society cannot persist on turning a blind eye to those figures and facts, it is (command) not an obligation for the non blacks to empathize or sympathize with the black people’s struggles. The white Americans need to acknowledge that there exists genuine differences among the various races and they should acknowledge that people are not all equally treated. Research indicates that a positive ethnic and racial identification relates to a stronger logic of purpose and self, and an easier reception of frustration. These traits could help African Americans when confronted with racist.
Finally, racial discrimination has a tight root in double consciousness. This is evidenced by the radio presenter and the basket ball squad. By the insults, the presenter appears to have a deep root in superiority complex due to the color difference. This is the case even in the high rank offices.
Conley, Dalton. Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Policy in America. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1999. Print.
Krasner, David. Resistance, Parody, and Double Consciousness in African American Theatre, 1895-1910. , 1996. Print.
Millon, Theodore. Handbook of Psychology: Personality and Social Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Internet resource. Volume 5.
Powell, Thomas. The Persistence of Racism in America. Lanham, Md: Littlefield Adams Quality Paperbacks, 1993. Print.
Wright, William D. Racism Matters. Westport, Colifornia: Praeger, 1998. Print.