Racism and Its Affects

4803 Words Mar 8th, 2012 20 Pages
Racism and Its Effects

Introduction

Racism is an ongoing force that negatively impacts the lives of Americans every day. The racist mindset in America stems from the times of slavery, where blacks were thought to be inferior to whites. Throughout history, the ideology of race and racism has evolved and developed several different meanings. Today, we can still see the devastating effects of racism on people of color, as well as whites. “Racism, like other forms of oppression, is not only a personal ideology based on racial prejudice, but a system involving cultural messages and institutional policies and practices as well as beliefs and actions of individual” (Tatum, pg. 9). As a result of this system, it leaves the
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Active racism is blatant, intentional acts of racial bigotry and discrimination. Today, a more common form of racism is passive racism. Examples of this would be laughing at a racist joke, allowing exclusionary hiring practices go unchallenged, and avoiding difficult race-related issues. Below is a metaphor used to describe these two forms of racism: Visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. The person engaged in active racist behavior has identified with the ideology of white supremacy and is moving with it. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moves the bystanders along to the same destination as those who are actively walking. Some of the bystanders may feel the motion of the conveyor belt, see the active racists ahead of them, and choose to turn around, unwilling to go the same destination as the white supremacists. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction at a speed faster than the conveyor belt- unless they are actively antiracist- they will find themselves carried along with the others. (Tatum 1997)

Another form of racism is called cultural racism. This is when the cultural images and messages that affirm the superiority of whites and the assumed inferiority disadvantage people of color. Because racism is so

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