In this world, as humans, we have high expectations of how we would want to be treated by others. Even though we are all the same in many ways, when someone is different, we sometimes do not treat them the way one should be treated. It is almost natural to treat those who are unique to us, differently from those who look and/or act similar. When others are unique, this may cause you to feel superior/inferior. Unfortunately, that is not something that is natural. This is something that has been taught at a young age and something that is hard to drift away from. Racism stems from a fear of not knowing others, which automatically divides people into “them” and “us” based on the color of their skin or where they come from.
The belief of inferiority/superiority has been passed down from generation to generation over hundreds of years. Research reveals that, “6 million Jewish were killed during the holocaust because someone thought they belonged to an inferior race.” Africans were bought and sold into slavery for the exact same reasons. In addition, millions of indigenous people around the world were oppressed and murdered due to the belief of inferiority (Parhar). These are three historical examples of groups of people who were being mistreated for being different. As a result, this caused those in control to feel invincible, thus building power and superiority.
Racism comes in many different forms and can take place almost anywhere. It leads to stereotyping, discrimination, violence and misunderstanding. According to It Stops with Me, “People often associate racism with acts of abuse or harassment. However, it doesn’t need to involve violent or intimidating behavior.” Racism can be in the form of name-calling and jokes.”This reminds me of some of the sit-coms my parents would watch growing up. In the show Sanford and Son, Fred Sanford often made racial jokes towards his son’s friend Julio. These stereotypical jokes were based off of the things that, perhaps, the writers of the sit-com were taught and learned about over several years.
In my eyes, racism is more than words, actions and views. It also builds walls that prevent others from enjoying life, feeling honor, respect, and equality. “Police officers have been found to have near universal implicit bias against racial and ethnic minorities. Reports of police use of lethal force have found that African Americans are far more likely to be shot and killed than their numbers in the population would predict” (Price and Payton). I have heard many stories from family members who were treated unjustly because of the color of our skin. Imagine if you will, in 1988, a pregnant nineteen-year-old African American female being pulled over by police, who assumed that she had stolen her new vehicle that she had just purchased. She was warned not to touch anything in the car, as the officers touched their weapons. She was then frisked by the female officer as though she was a common criminal. Once absolved of any wrong doing, the officers refused to apologize for their error. Many African Americans are aware of or have experienced similar incidents from police officers.
Not all racism stems from hate. It can also stem from fear and anxiety. Some people are simply intimidated by certain groups and ethnicities due to stereotypical views. We might see someone as “racist”, but they might not feel that they are racist. They may strongly believe that their views are correct because of their beliefs and morals. Dovidio and Gaertner 2005, p.2 claims that “Unconscious bias leads to unintentional racism: racism that is unusually invisible even and especially to those who perpetrate it. Yet, most people do not want to be considered racist or capable of racist acts because the spoken and unspoken norm is that, as she quotes ‘good people do not discriminate or in any way participate in racism’ Such unconscious biases affect all of our relationships …“ (Moule).
In the TED TALK, “The Danger of a Single Story”, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a famous Nigerian novelist, explains how there are many of us who fall victim to having incomplete, stereotypical, sides of one single story to an issue that we lack knowledge. We do this without being properly informed and she gives us personal stories. She stated that, “My American roommate was shocked by me. She asked where I had learned to speak English so well and was confused when I said that Nigeria happens to have English as its official language. She asked if she could listen to what she called my ‘tribal music’ and was consequently very disappointed when I produced my tape of Mariah Carey. She assumed that I did not know how to use a stove. What shocked me was this, she had felt sorry for me before she saw me”. This story is a prime example of bias based on one single stereotype about Africa. She states that in her roommate’s “single story, there was no possibility that Africans could be similar to her in any way”, until she was informed. Chimamanda’s solution to bias, for us, was to collect our news and stories from multiple perspectives, to whatever issue or topic that is being discussed. She also notes, “The consequences of a single story, is, that it robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition, our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different, rather than how we are similar” (Adichie).
Even though there are many forms of racism, the only way one can astray from one perspective is to explore multiple perspectives. With proper education to promote tolerance, a chain of educating others may possibly decrease or prevent future racism. “Understanding our own biases is a first step into improving the interactions that we have with all people” (Moule). We as a nation, have come a long way, and I believe we can spread awareness through the most popular form of communication for young adults, social media.Although we are all very different, we are all the same in many ways. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, especially since ourworld is filled with so much diversity.“To this end we need to distinguish more clearly between the greater comfort people often feel among familiar people and places and active hostility towards outsider ethnic groups. We also need a more discriminating language to describe the spectrum of discrimination. Prejudice, clannishness-even in some instances discrimination itself – should be regarded as sentiments and behaviors that are distinct from proper racism” (Goodhart). Unfortunately, discrimination will not disappear overnight, but we all can come together and work on ourselves.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “The Danger or a Single Story”| Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 Oct. 2009, m.youtube.com/watch?time_contiue=2&v=D9Ihs241zeg.
A very inspirational Ted talk that I enjoyed watching in class done by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a famous Nigerian novelist, who explains that there are people who only get one incomplete side of the story about an issue or group of people which leads to stereotypes. I used this in my essay as I talk about bias.
GOODHART, DAVID. “Racism: Less Is More.” Political Quarterly, vol. 85, no. 3, July 2014, pp. 251–258. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12097.
In this scholarly article David Goodhart explains racism, prejudices and discrimination and comes up with a couple of local solution, slowly trying to demolish racism. I felt that this was very helpful for my essay, as I would incorporate towards the end where I talk about some solutions to minimizing racism.
Kwan, Connie. “About Racism.” Racism. It Stops with Me, 4 Oct. 2017, itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/about-racism.
This website contained so much valuable information about racism and what it is and how it affects us all. I incorporated this into my essay as I talked about the affects racism has on our society, I used many valuable pieces from this website, in my essay. This was a credible government website that was created in Australia with credible facts, sources and the creators have done research and surveys.
Moule, Jean. “Understanding Unconscious Bias and Unintentional Racism.” Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 90, no. 5, Jan. 2009, pp. 320–326, doi:10.1177/003172170909000504.
I found this article to be extremely helpful for discussing bias in my essay. In this article, I was able to dissect what bias means and what it is, how it affects us humans and ties in with racism and discrimination. This was credible because it comes from Jean Moule, an associate professor/author from Oregon State University and President of the Oregon Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education.
Parhar, Gurdeep. “Fixing Racism- Racism Is at the Root of Many of Humanity’s Evils | Gurdeep Pahar | TedxStanleyPark.” YouTube, 14 June 2016, m.youtube.com/watch?v=POU1HjdXziM.
This video was extremely helpful for me and my topic against racism as Mr. Parhar gives life examples and explains what racism was to him and how it affects us all as a whole, and things we can do to fix racism. I used some of what he said as an little opener for my introduction on inferiority.
Price, James, and Erica Payton. “Implicit Racial Bias and Police Use of Lethal Force: Justifiable Homicide or Potential Discrimination?” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 21, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 674–683. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12111-017-9383-3.
Explaining how racial bias can be unfair between certain racial groups in the justice system, giving examples of police brutality and how African Americans are more likely to be shot and killed, than numbers predict. This leads to problems for African Americans and my proof racial bias that I am going to somehow tie into my essay.