The issue of racism has been a worldwide problem for many years. This problem still exists at the present time. People are left to wonder why this issue has not been adequately dealt with. The United States of America still faces this issue. Racism has the tendency to create stereotypes on a racial basis aligned on color, religion, nationality, and other identifiable factors. Some forms of racial discrimination have happened without propagators being consciously aware that they are promoting it. The reason for this happening is that the seed of racial discrimination has been planted in the society and, as such, it is very hard to uproot it from minds of members of the society. The earliest forms of feudal systems have also been highlighted as the cause of racial discrimination. Furthermore, slavery was and is still a major cause of racial discrimination. The United States of America has been lauded as a country that has managed to do way with the issue of racism. However, the truth is that racism still exists in the US and there is a likelihood that this is to continue for many years to come.
Overview of Racism
Racism is a constituent of both discrimination or prejudice that arises on the basis of perceptions of vivid biological differences in nature as observed in people (Easton 19). Racism has always taken various forms such as actions of social nature, beliefs, practices, and political systems of discrimination that seem to rank other people as being superior to others (Bonilla-Silva 8). It has also been enhanced because of different abilities and qualities possessed by people from different races. Defining racism is a challenging task. Questions have been raised whether to include forms of discrimination that are unintentional such as assumptions made by some people about the ability of others based on stereotypes. Furthermore, questions have been raised whether to include ethnic stereotypes that are promoted on various media platforms.
Persistence of Racism in the US
Various reasons have been cited as the causes of racism. However, no single reason can be said to be the major cause for the persistent nature of racism in the United States of America. Most importantly, causes of racism differ among various states or regions of the US. It will, therefore, be important to mention and discuss all the reasons without any prejudice. The following discussion highlights some of the identified reasons as major causes of persistence of racism in the US.
History is an aspect of human life, which cannot be ignored. It is through history that people are given an insight into their glorified or shameful past. Furthermore, history acts as guidance, which lays the basis for determination of actions to be taken in the future by generations to come. Persistence of racism in the United States of America can be said to be a result of misinterpretation of history whereby the society has not been able to learn from actions and mistakes of previous generations (Powell 177). As such, there has been a tendency to repeat retrogressive forms of racial discrimination. History sources document racial discrimination that minority groups in the US faced, especially the blacks. Some of the tales are horrifying. If such history is packaged and delivered to young people in schools, there is a high likelihood that a positive learning process will take place and the result shall be that the US society will be able to shun this undesirable aspect in the society. However, this has not been the case. Some opportunistic people in the society have used a distraught vision of history to justify aspects favoring their selfish interests and, as a result, they have agitated for maintenance of the status quo (Easton 37). The result of this has been persistence of racism in the US.
Ignorance and Poor Parenting
Ignorance in the American society is a reason for persistence of racism in the country. This ignorance starts from education implementers, media people, and parents. The US has been on the forefront to promote curbing of racism throughout the world. This is because it has a huge influence in the United Nations. By focusing on curbing racism on the global scale, the US has ignored the hard reality of racial prejudices that are manifested at the ground level (Powell 67). Despite the fact that these prejudices do not carry heavy impacts like those in the world that result in torture and genocides, they are worth attending to. Poor parenting is another reason why racism has remained persistent in the United States of America. Parents have been on the forefront of expressing their dislikes of people from other races. The dislike in most cases has come as a result of competition in the work place. Such expression of dislikes has a negative impact since children are exposed to the notion that people from a certain race are not good, and as such, they learn to hate other races (Bonilla-Silva 133). This hatred is the reason for the enhancement of racism in the US.
Fragmentation of Society
It is objective to argue that an undifferentiated or classless society can result in disorderliness. In as much as this is an objective argument, various shortcomings can be attributed to the aspect of having hierarchal levels in the society. The practice of social discrimination has been propagated by hierarchies in the US society. The United States of America is a highly stratified society and divisions such as black, white, Hindu, and Latino Americans have been created (Warren 224). Such divisions are mostly mentioned from place to place and state to state. It has been the avenue for the promotion of racism in the US. Members of a particular group stay together and shun away from freely communicating and mingling with other groups of people. It has been interpreted as a defense mechanism against those from the “outside group”. The result of this has been animosity and tension, which has resulted in persistence of racism in the US.
It can be argued that politics of divide and rule has been predominant in the US society for a very long time. Influential people in the society indulge in cheap politics of appeasement where skin color has been used as a factor for asking for votes. Despite the fact that all people of all races voted for Barack Obama, it can be stated objectively that persistence of racism in the society has been due to political insinuations. Actor Samuel Jackson gave an interview before the 2008 election, in which he stated that “I voted for Obama because he was black. Because that is why other folks vote for other people – because they look like them … That’s American politics, pure and simple”(The Young Turks) This is one of the many statements that can have negative impacts on the society. In retaliation to this statement, some white people also decided to come out and declare their support for McCain, stating that he was white. Such political insinuations can explain persistence of racism in the American society. Political insinuation can be said to be a barrier to objectivity in the electoral process since this means that skin color of a candidate is a priority over the manifesto of that candidate. Jackson can be said to be a representation of other people sharing such sentiments, but he have not come out to state it.
The Notion of “the Other”
The misleading notion of “the other” is a reason for persistence of racism in the United States of America. The American society has this tendency to tag people of different skin color, practices, or habits as “the other”. It is in an attempt of highlighting importance of one person over the other. American citizens seem to have nurtured these ideas with respect to their counterparts and, as such, the other person is treated as dangerous (Powell 102). This further means that people from different races are viewed subjectively with apprehension and without trust. The result is continuation of racism in the US.
Economic and Social Insecurity
Xenophobia and intense economic competition are reasons for persistence of racism in the US. Xenophobia is a Greek word that explains fear or a feeling of dislike for people from a different country (Easton 22). This feeling affects people from many countries in the world. As such, the same feeling is in place in the American society, which promotes racism. White Americans have been claimed to act discriminatory to other races because they have the feeling that most of their jobs and other opportunities have been taken over by people from other countries. This is especially the case in sporting activities.
In relation to intense economic competition, people from different races have been involved in competition at the work place. From one of the interviews that I conducted, I have learnt that this competition has been fostered through various approaches such as advancing one’s level of education in order to gain a promotion. One of the human resource managers told me that in cases where two people of different races were involved in such a situation, the party that ended up not getting the promotion tended to blame this failure on racial discrimination. Some outsiders have also interpreted such failure as a consequence of race. This is, therefore, another important reason for persistence of racism in the US since it is a country with different races of people. Due to the fact that promotions in work places can fail to accommodate all the races, the likelihood is that racial animosity is created among people.
The opposition force to prevent social and economic equality of black people is another reason for persistence of racism in the United States of America. This issue is also related to economic conditions. This opposition is promoted by white workers whose social and economic statuses are the closest to those of the blacks in America. In this respect, any improvement that happens to black Americans will always be interpreted as a threat as the two races are in an intense competition (Chin 177). This not only applies in the work place, but also in the education sector. As such, racism has spread and intensified under enormous competition for resources. As long as economic conditions continue to worsen in the US, there are little chances that racism is going to be fully eliminated in this country.
Intrinsic Human Nature
Persistence of racism in the United States of America can be explained from a psychological point of view. The explanation is that each individual in his/her own capacity is subject to suffer from an inferiority complex (Dovidio, Evans, and Tyler 22). This having been said, it can be argued that this is a feeling shared by all Americans. Due to this feeling, different races in the US have opted to show their superiority to others through wrong means of racial discrimination. It has been achieved through racial discrimination. Americans buoyed by artistic pleasures have resorted to telling others why their race is superior. Since no single race will accept that they are inferior, a retaliatory racial discriminatory behavior has been employed (Chin 337). As far as intrinsic human nature is concerned, racism will continue to persist within the American society.
Existence of small towns in the United States of America can be said to be another reason for persistence of racism in the country. The small size of these towns encourages racial groupings in terms of dwelling places. As such, the opportunity for interactions are curtailed or reduced to minimal levels. Examples of these towns are Indiana and Marion. It is evident that in these towns racial differentiation is deeply rooted. It can be observed that the whites live on one side of these towns, while other minority groups live on the other side (Powell 304). This means that there is little interaction of the whites with other minority groups. Racism is, therefore, likely to continue persisting in these towns unless these groups of people come up with a resolution to live together by encouraging minorities and the whites to stay in any particular place within towns.
Lack of Realism
Lack of realism is one of the causes of persistence of racism in the US. The US society can be painted as a society that is not ready to act realistically. The nation has decided to praise itself as having achieved racial tolerance, which is not the case. The society only focuses on a few self-made people from minority groups and elevates their stories to a large scale (Powell 43). These stories are told over and over again, making the rest of the world believe that racism no longer exists in the US. The reality is that few self-made people from minority groups are not a representation of the whole population of minorities who are not able to overcome the odds to rise up. This is because such minority groups are born and raised up in environments where drug trafficking is the order of the day and they do not stand a chance for competing with their white counterparts. It could have been addressed better if the US society embarked on economic empowerment of the less fortunate, but since the capitalistic system cannot allow it, only a few of the minority will manage to beat the odds and rise to power (Powell 189). The situation remains the same so that there is an economic gap between the rich who happen to be of the majority group and the poor who represent minorities as interaction of these groups has been minimal, hence explaining persistence of racism
Persistence of racism in the United States of America can be associated with stereotyping. The effect of stereotyping is very negative as it acts as a hindrance to acquisition of knowledge about other cultures. Stereotyping is also a factor that contributes to ignorance in the sense that affected people do not devote time to learning about other races of people, but rather rely on second-hand information that in most cases is not accurate (Chin 233). Another effect of stereotyping is that it presents an avenue where affected people have limited experience of interacting with other people. This is true for those stereotypes that paint a race of people as violent. For example, there is a stereotype that black people are trouble-makers (Powell120). Those who blindly subscribe to these stereotypes are denied a chance to find out who really black people are. There is also an argument that stereotypes affect people in such a way that people think negatively about other people even before speaking with them. The result of this is that while having a conversation with these people, a wrong approach is likely to be taken, ending up complicating the situation (Chin 322). As long as stereotyping is present in the American society, persistence of racism in the US is a matter that is not likely to go away any time soon.
Culture and Traditions
Existence of racism in the US may be explained due to culture and traditions. Cultures and traditions of some social groups are so tough that it is considered as a taboo to act contrary to them. It can be argued that intermarriages between races of people can enhance interaction and understanding between different races (Powell 230). However, some cultures and traditions are against such intermarriages. For example, some ethnic groups within the blacks prohibit people to marry representatives of the white race. The result of this is that as long as such traditions are in effect and affected persons are not ready to question or defy some of them, racism is likely to continue persisting in the US.
Racism is a global issue. It can be defined from different perspectives. Ethnicity, color, and nationality are some of the perspectives through which definition of racism has been developed. The US can be lauded as having achieved enormous results in helping to combat the issue of racism. However, racism is still common in the United States of America. Various reasons have been identified as factors contributing to this persistence. History has been named as a factor contributing to racism whereby opportunistic people use history to advocate for maintenance of the status quo. Stereotyping is another factor that has hindered total elimination of racism in the US. Some forms of culture and traditions of various ethnic groups of people in the US have also contributed to racism as they make it very hard for racial interaction to take place, especially through marriage. Existence of small towns such as Indiana and Marion is another reason for persistence of racism in the US. Other factors that have contributed to the persistence of racism in the US are insinuations in politics, fragmentation of the society, and economic competition between different races in the US. It is therefore evident that racism is still present in the US and, due to the above factors, the likelihood of this phenomenon being totally done away with is minimal.