Racism has been around ever since different peoples have been in contact with one another. It comes in many different levels, types and depths. It can come in the form of rude remarks, hateful actions or violence. Throughout time, many people have tried to initiate ways to fight against racism, to no prevail. There are a lot of different outlets and methods that have been used as a vehicle for racism. The main three methods used and seen frequently are media propaganda, religious excuses and stereotyping.
Media propaganda is a powerful way to create racist thinking (Jarrett). Many corrupt leaders have used methods of dehumanization in order to make the masses think that one race is superior to another. This instills hate and violence. Crude depictions of people from other races have become mainstream in different cultures. For example, many people have associated other races with animals, meaning they are dehumanized and the lesser culture. This is a dangerous way to see other people because once they are seen as less than human, it is more than possible to act violently towards them. This type of media propaganda was used during the holocaust as well as times before the American Civil War. Hitler was able to convince Germany that the Jews were lesser human beings and that they were to be “exterminated” just like pests. The powerful propaganda created oppression, it distorted the image of a race and deemed another supreme. This was a similar case in the times before abolition. Mass media was seen to play a crucial role in the way white Americans perceived African Americans. This caused a century-old struggle filled with oppression as well as discrimination (Jarrett). It was also the same media propaganda that caused the Spanish to wipe out the Mexican Natives, which was fueled by the need for spices and other commodities. This was also the same way that the Native Americans were cleared of their land during the times when America was a newly found country. The idea that one race is more superior than another can shape the way people think. Until now, stereotypes in the media play a role in shaping the minds of young people and how they view people from other races.
Another method of racism is seen in religion. It is not definite that religious institutions encourage or even shape this type of thinking (Jarrett). However, there are some radicals that believe they have the right over other people because their religion believes it is so. Not only is this a toxic way of thinking, but it can also blacken the name of those people who are with the same religion, however do not share the same sentiments. One great example is the group who have taken a single Bible verse and have turned it into an excuse for hating on other cultures. They believe that because of their twisted interpretation of one line from a “Holy” book, it is okay to practice intolerance. This goes the same with those who believe that religion is an excuse to sprout violence. Socially endorsed violence is dangerous and can become widespread. It is the reason why many wars in the past have happened. There are also people who live their lives thinking that racial differences define the people who they interact with. This justifies the new laws regarding retail as well as the food and beverage industry which involves the right to refuse serving people whose lifestyle they do not necessarily agree with. This kind of thinking just fuels and encourages new methods for racism which can create a widespread of hatred and violence. Although many people think that racism is not as rampant as it was before, social media and other outlets have proved that wrong. There are still many people who use their religion, beliefs or upbringing as an excuse to throw racial slurs.
One very powerful method of racism is in stereotyping. This might seem very harmless at first because it starts with a thought. One group can generalize another by using racial stereotypes that are not necessarily true (Jarrett). They give these stereotypes a negative meaning and a derogatory tone. Although some people might say it as a joke, the thought is there and it shapes the thinking of other people who might here the remark or even agree with it. The type of stereotyping can be seen in media and advertisements. For example, movies might readily cast a role of a drug addict who is struggling to find himself to someone who is African American. They might also cast a socially awkward smart individual to an Asian. The frightening thing about this kind of stereotyping is that everyone is so familiar with it, that when it is done no one notices. They do not understand how oppressing it is because it has become so every day and so ordinary. What makes it very dangerous is that some people who are of that particularly oppressed culture start to believe in the stereotypes (Jarrett). They begin to doubt themselves and set limits to what they can do because of the existing stereotypes. They might even start to tell their children that they cannot achieve their goals in life because of their race.
There are several very dangerous methods for racism that shape the minds of people everywhere. Although there are people who actively try to fight it, many groups still believe that their race is superior to others. The best way to fight it is to refuse to conform with the stereotypes and point out when someone is being oppressed because of their race or background.
Jarrett, Joyce M. Heritage: African American Readings for Writing. Prentice Hall, 1997.