Defining Racism - Response Essay

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Tierenee R. Roberson SOCI 4421.01 “Defining Racism” February 22, 2011 Professor Harris Response Paper: Defining Racism In this article by Beverly Daniel Tatum, she uses her various life experiences to show the issues that come along with attempting to define racism in America. There are several external issues that come not only from defining racism, but with separating racism from prejudice. In dispelling preconceived notions that these two words are interchangeable, Tatum makes several distinctions in the meaning and application of the two words in everyday life. Before going further into the separating factors of the two words, Tatum discusses how unintentional our prejudices can be. Throughout her article, Tatum…show more content…
According to her, prejudice is an inescapable product of the racist soceity in America. She goes on to further explain the evolution of internalized oppression, which is when members of stereotyped groups internalizes and perpetuates the stereotyped categories of his or her group. In addressing the issue of intenalized oppression, Tatum gives some responsibility for the state of racism to the very people who suffer from it. In the article, Tatum uses the definition of racism that is given by David Wellman in his book Portraits of White Racism, which says that racism is “a system of advantage based on race” (Tatum, 1997). This definition is something that I found to be very interesting. In many cases, racism is not defined to include the advatages that come from its existance. Instead racism is seen as a singular act, and never as a wholistic system that subtly disadvantages a specific group of people. When discussing how to end racism, no one ever gives solutions to erradicate the subleminal and covert racism that permeates every system from education to healthcare, because that would shoot down the ideal that in America is an equal and fair place for achieving one’s dreams. In the last section of her article, Tatum address whether or not racism is exclusive to Whites or whether it is applicable to all people regardless of race. In this section, she is very specific is stating that the
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