Category Archives: Racism

Racism

Growing up half Chinese and half white, raised by a mother who is white and father Chinese, made the world look at me and my sister as full Chinese. My parents did not raise us as a strictly Chinese family, nor did we practice many Chinese traditions. I was raised in Lansing, Michigan my whole life, which explains why I see myself as culturally white compared to what other people see, which is my race. This exemplifies stereotypical racial profiling, which in itself is a form of racism, which allows myself and others to be clumped together as a race instead of how we self identify.  As defined Anup Shah,“Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributes to people simply on the basis of the race and that some racial groups are superior than others” (Globalization and Racism). How does this effect the world socially and ethnically?

According to a Vox education article,  a new lawsuit alleges Harvard has a quota system for Asian students. Author Libby Nelson states, “Asian-American students make up a higher proportion of the student body at selective colleges than they do the population as a whole. But they are also rejected at higher rates than white students, and those admitted tend to have higher test scores than students of other races.”(4) It’s not like this hasn’t happened in the past.   According to the New York Times, controversy between the Ivy League Colleges and minority communities are nothing new.   Statistics indicate an Ivy League  Quota system was used in the past, (1)“Just as their predecessors of the 1920s always denied the existence of Jewish quotas,” top officials at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the other Ivy League schools today strongly deny the existence of “Asian quotas.” But there exists powerful statistical evidence to the contrary.

Each year, American universities provide their racial enrollment data to the Nation Center of Education Statistics, which makes this information available online. After the Justice Department closed an investigation in the early 1990s into charges that Harvard University discriminated against Asian-American applicants, Harvard’s reported enrollment of Asian-Americans began gradually declining, falling from 20.6 percent in 1993 to about 16.5 percent over most of the last decade.

This relates to me because people see me as more Asian than Caucasian even though I see myself more culturally American. It effects me because many people think Asians are supposed to be one way or another and that’s simply not true. People who are exposed to different cultures and types of people would know this better then people who are not. In addition to this, my parents are not typically driven by culture or Asian traditions, instead culture in our family is freely expressed by individual family members.

— Kalisyn

Works Cited:

1.Ron Unz, “http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/19/fears-of-an- asian-quota-in-the-ivy-league/statistics-indicate-an-ivy-league-asian-quota” Dec. 13 2013, New York Times, Nov 28 2014

2. Anup Shah “http://www.globalissues.org/article/165/racism#GlobalizationandRacism” Aug 08 2010, Global Issues, Nov 26 2014

3.Libby Nelson “http://www.vox.com/2014/11/20/7254903/harvard-affirmative-action- asians” Nov 20 2014, Vox, Nov 20 2014

Kristen A Goss http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1985/1/16/college-clears-up-asian- controversy-pharvard/ Jan 16 1985, The Harvard Crimson, Nov 28th 2014

Religious Discrimination

The Overlooked “-ism”

         The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion – the government cannot stop you from believing one thing or disbelieving another. No one disputes this, and the right to your own thoughts is considered by many to be our most valuable right. After all, without our own opinions, what else do we have? If this is really true, why do we always overlook violence and hatred based on religion overseas? And the slowly increasing intolerance and persecution of Christianity in our own country?

For instance, a worldwide study conducted two to three years ago found that 100,000 Christians are killed for their faith every year. The Arab Spring revolutions that occurred since then can only have exacerbated matters. And it is not only in the Middle East – although they are the worst offenders – where Christians and other religions face oppression. There is the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, the government killings of over a million in Sudan and South Sudan, and China, home to one of the largest and fastest-growing Christian populations in the world (Black). How many people in America even heard about any of this?

Which brings us back here to the United States. While we don’t face as dramatic an issue as thousands of deaths per year, intolerance towards Christians is growing at an alarming rate – and freedom of religion is becoming freedom from religion. For years, I have had to deal with “jokes” about Catholics being pedophiles, hearing that I believe in fairy tales, that my religion is mythology, my faith is false hope, and hearing that all Christians are hateful and insensitive. And at the same time, the government is mandating that we Christians must defer on issues like abortion and healthcare coverage of contraception, even if it violates our basic religious beliefs.

But the issue here is not about legislation. It’s about faithism, which deserves the same status as racism and sexism. We say we fight for equality and civil rights, but we continue to overlook atrocities committed around the world and treat people unjustly at home. There is no difference between religious discrimination and racism or homophobia, and it’s about time people stopped acting like there is.

— Joshua

Work Cited:  Black, Conrad. “Global Persecution of Christians.” Nationalreview.com. National Review Online, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Discrimination

Discrimination is something that most individuals run into at some point in their lives. Discrimination can be found at school, in public places and so forth. Discrimination is defined as the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs, rather than on individual merit. Generally discrimination tends to be a negative, as people are treated poorly for being different — being of a different race or religion, being part of a different social class and so on. One could be agitated that another person is from Canada, a country that they may not like, and said person could alienate that person, or treat them poorly because of it. Discrimination can be considered similar to racism and sexism, as both attempt to put down others for being different and for not conforming to ones expectations.

Discrimination is a substantial problem in our society, as it is very damaging to the emotional well being of others, as well as being completely unjust and unreasonable. No one person should be discriminated against because they have different interests, different beliefs or have a different skin color. A potential solution to discrimination is tolerance. If we all accept that others are different than us, and we can put up with these differences, there’s no reason to act negatively towards others. While discrimination is very easily preventable, it has continued to exist since the dawn of human interaction, and unfortunately will continue.

— Jake

Racism

Racism is often a reoccurring theme when resources in society are distributed unevenly. It is found nearly everywhere, and they judge you based on two things. One, they judge you on things that you cannot change, and they judge you on things that you can change. The most common form of racism found in our current society, is racism targeting African Americans.

Racism is nearly everywhere in our society, and the reason that we see it so much now is because its extremely easy to separate races in America, because it can be done visually. You can separate races by just looking at someone. Thanks to the Civil Rights movement you would think that we made a positive leap toward a desegregated America. One of my favorite philosophers, Malcolm X, said this, “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made….” I believe that eventually there will be no racism because people continue to marry and have children outside of their race. This will create one major race, so will no longer be a way to separate people into classes. Earlier I expressed the fact that racism exists when resources in a society are distributed unevenly and I believe that the prime resource that happens to be distributed unevenly is wealth.

Whether we believe it or not, a glass ceiling still exists. This glass ceiling happens to exist everywhere, not just in the work place but in hospitals and schools as well. The elite make healthcare unaffordable for the poor, as well as provide them with foods that are loaded with hormones that will have a negative affect on lives after consumed. All in all, I believe that the elite are trying to make it nearly impossible for the lower class people to survive by controlling a considerable amount of wealth.

A lot of this hate has been built up over the years and no one has really taken care of it. It’s a constantly building time bomb that is ready to explode. I believe that in order for us to change our country and stop people from being so racist, we have to reform our social systems so that they benefit everyone. I don’t see this happening in my life or the next, but eventually we’ll be able to pull that knife out and dress the wound.

— Marvin

Race

Knowledge Is Power

clip_image001Race may always be an issue within society. In The United States, it has always seemed to be a prevalent part of the cultural make-up, as well as media focus. From the early days of slavery to today’s racial stereotypes and profiling, race seems to play a large role in political and social issues.

I, being of mixed-race, have seen the world in black and white for the most part (no pun intended). I always saw those who judged my parents for being together as being stupid and bad. However, recently I came to realize that there is more to racial profiling than just bad people assuming bad things about others based on their ethnic background. Yes, arrogance and naiveté are for the most part what causes negative stigmas for races, but there is more at play than good versus evil here.

clip_image004The key to why arrogance causes many people to judge race resides in one’s education. From what I personally have witnessed, the main reason why people judge is not found naturally in them. They didn’t wake up one afternoon and say, “You know what? Black people are ruining this great country!” I have noticed that it is, most of the time, integrated in their upbringing. Some people may have grown up believing that other races derive from lower social classes or inferior societies.

For example, my uncle is a fairly conservative man. He drives an eighteen-wheeler for a living and in his experience he has met many people. I have heard a multitude of humorous tales from him and his trucking adventures (most I believe are fiction). But from time to time I hear some quite edgy opinions of his. While at dinner with my family one weekend, he told a story of how a newer truck driver was unsure about how to do a certain job related task. I cannot recall the exact details or even the premise of my uncle’s story, but I do remember that it was humorous. Yet, I was a little disturbed by my uncle’s comment in the middle of the tale, “No offense Mac,” he prefaced, “but mind you, this was a colored boy…” And then the story continued to the point.

clip_image005I suppose I wasn’t offended much, but I was confused. First of all, in what way was this comment relevant to the focus of the story? And secondly, colored is still an adjective for black people? I suppose I wasn’t there for that memo. But back on track, I know he truly meant it when he said no offense, I don’t believe my uncle to be a racist, he may be a tad judgmental though. I do realize that my uncle was hinting that somehow the trucker’s race had a role in his inability to perform this particular task.

Now to the point, what was the underlying factor to this stereotype? I wouldn’t put my finger on racism, mainly because my uncle respects me and my black dad, but I would guess a bit of ignorance was peaking it’s head in on this situation (of course no offense to my uncle). It is really nobody’s fault in most cases that they are unaware of the power behind their unintentional profiling.

This is where the solution comes into the picture. Rather than me, or anyone caught in this awkward situation for that matter, jumping down a person’s throat or using an “I am higher than thou” prerogative to put down a person caught in ignorance’s grasp, I can simply inquire about how what they said was a bit touchy for many people today. This is what can change the way many people view their actions. Education is the key to understanding, and understanding is the key to equality and additionally the key to ending the progression of minor and major racism. With this we can keep racial profiling and stereotypes a piece of our nation’s, and hopefully the world’s, history, rather than a piece of days to come.

clip_image007— Mac

 

Color-Blind Privelege

Thank goodness racism is over. Over the last couple decades we’ve all come to our senses and put this issue behind us. Since the Civil Rights moment took place in the  mid-sixties, things have really changed in terms of equality between the races. Sure, it took a while for everyone to settle down after these laws were passed, but over the years we’ve managed to forget about color, race, and ethnicity. Now everyone is on the same level playing field, we all have equal chances and opportunity in life not matter what background we come from. If you look around, you can see that there are many more people of color in show business, higher level positions in the work place, and legal officials. The president of the United States of America is African American, how much more equal can we get?  So as long as you work hard enough, and strive to be successful, nothing can hold you back!

Really???? Many who read the previous paragraph might agree. In this day in age people don’t take into consideration what race people are and they believe that everyone has a fair chance of becoming successful in life. Heck, they may even have a close friend that is black so they really understand the relationships between the races. Really??? What they don’t understand is they are suffering from a condition known as “color-blind privilege.” Unfortunately, racism is alive and well in this country.

“Color-blindness comes from a lack of awareness of racial privilege conferred by Whiteness.” (1) White people don’t understand what people of color endure on an everyday basis. Overt racism is easily recognized but the subtle differences in interactions and opportunities aren’t seen by people wearing the blinders. Having color-blind privilege makes you feel comfortable, you don’t have to worry about addressing racial issues because to you, there are no such things. You don’t have to feel guilty for any inequality. You don’t have to talk about it.

When you are really suffering from color-blind privilege you may even believe ‘blacks hold themselves back, not racism’ or ‘blacks need to pull themselves up from the bottom like everyone else.’ In fact, these thoughts can lead to reverse racism. White people may believe that people of color have more opportunities because of real, or suspected, racial quotas in hiring practices and entry to colleges. They may believe that people of color are getting more financial benefits because of their race. When a white student doesn’t get accepted to college and a person of color is accepted, in part, because of affirmative action, they and others may believe it is discriminating against white people. All of this leads to more anger and issues between the races.  In this sense being privileged doesn’t mean you are a millionaire or live in the lap of luxury, it has more to do with day-to-day living.  To understand privilege, take the following quiz and see how many questions you can answer with a “yes.”

  1. If you can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match your skin.
  2. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  3. I can turn on the TV. Or open the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  4. When I am told about our nation heritage or about “civilization” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  5. I can enroll in class at college and be sure that the majority of my professors will be of my race.
  6. I can go into a supermarket and find the food I grew up with.
  7. I can take a job or enroll in a college with an affirmative action policy without having my co-workers or peers assume I got it because of my race.
  8. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, getting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  9. I learned about my ancestor’s history in school.
  10. I can go on vacation and easily find a place to cut my hair.
  11. I can loiter in wealthy neighborhoods
  12. I can complain about racism.

Most white people, myself included, can answer “yes” to all of those questions. But for African Americans, they might be able to say “yes” to a few,  but more likely to none at all. These are just the very few of the subtle differences that aren’t seen by people with color-blind privilege.

An example of unseen racism relates to education in our country. Eighty percent of the public school teachers in America are white, while forty percent of the student population are children of color. There was a young mother that went in and talked to her son’s teacher about a time-line of civilization they had made in class. She had a concern that they didn’t teach about where African Americans fit into the time-line. The teacher responded, “I ‘m just following the curriculum.” In essence the teacher was shifting the blame of racial insensitivity and taking no personal responsibility for including the African American students. In a separate incident the same mother asked for advice on how to help her youngster with a difficult project. The teacher responded by offering up less difficult work to make it easier on him. The mom refused. She wondered if the teacher thought her son didn’t have the intelligence to do the project just because he was black.
Another example from my own family involves my grandpa.  He’s an African American with a Masters Degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan. In his job, he excelled to the upper levels of one of our State government departments. On two separate occasions he was denied access to the upper level positions because of his race. In the first one, one of the white leaders pulled him aside and advised him not to apply for a higher level position because it “wouldn’t be right for the organization.”  In the second potential promotion he was deemed the most qualified but denied the position. In this case an external organization (made up of all white men) pressured the state to promote someone else so they did not have to work with an African American.  Although both of these situations were resolved and he was ultimately given the promotion, this doesn’t eliminate the lack of respect, unfairness and assault to his dignity that will be with him forever. Examples like this could go on for more pages then anyone would want to read.

Although most white people do not see themselves as racist or don’t see the day-to-day racism that occurs, their own real blind spot is not seeing there own privilege and viewing the world through their white lens.

How do we move forward from here and truly work towards eliminating racism? Maybe we should follow the advise of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts who said “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race, is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” If it were only that simple!  In researching this topic, the best solution I discovered was to change color-blindness to multiculturalism. This ideology acknowledges, highlights and celebrates our differences.  The three main actions of this solution are:  1. recognizing and valuing differences, 2. teaching and learning about differences, and 3. fostering personal friendships and organizational alliances. (1)

My hope for the future is that we all take the blinders off and we really make significant strides to eliminate racism. I hope when my children are learning about racism and interracial relations, it will be as history and they will not be learning about this in the present tense.

Quiz questions adapted from: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/7-things-i-can-do-that-my-black-son-cant-99408985077.html and http://www.nacurh.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/BeadsOfPrivilege_SamanthaHyland.pdf)

(1) Williams, Monica. “Culturally Speaking.” Psychologytoday.com, December 27, 2011.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/colorblind/201112/colorblind-ideology-is-form-racism

–Xia

 

Social Class

Since the beginning of time, people have been categorized. The broadest category that everyone seems to fit into was a ‘social class’ category. Over time, and within different cultures, the definition of each class and what put you there has varied. For some cultures it was due to money, some it was a matter of race, and others a matter of immigration. Really, any type of social location could put a certain person into a certain class. As sociologists, we know the most important fundamentals of culture. Those fundamentals being: culture is learned and shared, and varies across time and place. That being said, we can deduce that our culture today has made our social class system what it is, based on what we have learned from other (much older) cultures. So I think the big question here is, why do we put people into social class systems? I firmly believe social classes help to define people and help a society function. Unfortunately, money defines who we are and in our society today, money (how much we have and how much we make) puts us into the classes we are in.

Money rules us. It buys us nice cars, nice clothes, and nice houses. You wouldn’t put Kim Kardashian and a homeless man in the same social class, would you? Of course not. You’ve been taught that how much money a person has, puts them into the social class they ‘belong’ in. So Kim would be put into the Elite class, and the homeless man would be put into the poor class. From day one, we have been taught that we each belong somewhere. As a child, I remember being confused. We have these social classes, but everyone is supposed to be equal? That doesn’t make much sense. However, I have since come to realize that as a society, we do the things we do because it is what we have been taught to do. The town I live in is primarily a lower-middle class town, with a few families being middle class, and a few families being lower class. My family is one of the few upper-middle class families in this town of less than ten thousand people. So personally, I was quite often reminded of my family’s money in a not so nice way. Jealousy is an emotion often aroused in teenagers, but high school was hard no matter how well I dealt with the kids who made me feel bad. All they saw were the nice clothes I wore and the nice car I drove to school. They didn’t see how hard both of my parents worked each and every day. My passionate Republican side says that everyone gets what they work for. I think that’s the issue with people today. They so desperately want something; they just aren’t willing to work for it. The same goes for social classes; people don’t want to be in the lower class anymore, but they really don’t do much to earn the money to put them in a different class. Like I stated earlier, money defines who we are.

Along with money, I feel as though racism has been a leading factor of putting people into different classes. Often times, the media will tell you a story of a murder committed by a black man, but they won’t tell you about the crimes committed of a white man. The media and movies have taught us that black people are always the ones to get in trouble. With the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Act, you would have thought that racism would have ended, but I do believe it is still alive today. For example, if a white woman and an Asian woman go to interview for the same job, the white woman is more likely to get the job. However, if a man and a female go in for the same job (no matter the race), the man will most likely get the job.

The biggest factors defining social class are income and wealth. To give you an example of social class inequality, in the workplace, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 77 cents. Potentiall, this puts any single father in a high social standing compared to a single mother. Also, the median household income is around $52,000 per year. From everything she does (clothing line, video game, makeup line, photo shoots, etc.), Kim Kardashian has stated she made roughly $28 million this year. Hardly seems fair. But then again, the famous quote goes, “Life isn’t fair.”

The problem is that the money in the US isn’t distributed equally; and I agree, it isn’t! I must warn you, Republican is going to come out of my mouth again. It irritates me to no end when I see a person panhandling on the side of the road. So my solution to those people is: instead of wasting your time making a few bucks on the side of the road, go to a place like McDonalds which hires all of the time, and make more money working there. Everyone has to start somewhere. It might be a crappy place like McDonalds, but it’s a start. Typically, people tend to stay in the same social class their whole lives, but any change you want to make, you have to work for it.

Social classes are unfair, a double-edged sword, if you will. However, in order to have a classless society, people would need to love themselves, and love thy neighbor. Knowing history, that will never happen. So for now, I think we as a society need to deal with the social class system and work towards a more loving society in general.

Here is a humorous video about social class from 1957:

Here is a stereotypical explanation of social class:

— Abby

 

Racism

As we are raised, we are taught to either accept certain people for who they are or we are taught to judge by race. In some cultures, diversity is huge; you may have diversity in your schools, offices, and neighborhoods. This makes growing up with race differences not that big of a deal. If you grow up with something you usually get used to it, and it doesn’t bother you. You mostly never even notice it. If you are raised in a primary white community, racial difference might feel strange to you and even uncomfortable. Your parents and peers also have a huge part in racism. As you grow up if you are told that black or white people are bad people and you are also told this by your friends and their families you will believe it yourself.

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan which is a very diverse community. There were African America, Caucasian, Italian, Mexican, and other ethnic children that went to my elementary school. I had tons of friends of different ethnicities and never had any issues. I was raised to find the good in people and give everyone a chance, not to judge them by their skin color or the way they talk.

Racism has to deal with people discriminating against minority groups that have a different racial background. It can be people discriminating against a racial group or ethnic group. Not all people fully understand why they can be racist but just know that’s what they were taught. There are tons of movies and shows that represent racism at its finest. A movie called Remember The Titans, about a segregated football team is a perfect example of racism. It shows you the difficulty of changing your ways if you were raised to believe a certain thing. There are two young men in the movie, one Caucasian, one African American, and they both struggle to deal with even talking to each other. They don’t like talking to each other, playing football with each other or even looking at each other because they were raised to believe that because of this person’s race they are a bad person.

A lot of racism causes people to lose jobs, potential friends, and even their lives. People start fights all over just because of the judgment that comes along with racism. I believe if everyone looks more at whom someone is and not just what they look like, then the world would be in such better care and we could live amongst each so much more easily. Not a lot of people realize how much racism affects our world still today, but it happens way more than we think. People still see the color of one’s skin and automatically judge them for being the race that comes along with, without even knowing them. I think it’s sad that after so much time of fighting racism we still drown in it. It’s up to us, to not judge someone because of their race but because of who they are as a person.

— Anna

Racism

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” One might add, of course, that the idea of a race that is “inherently superior” would imply that another race, or races, is in fact inferior. Herein starts the problem, but neither is it the ending point, or even a cursory explanation of the reasons for racism. This explains that there is a belief in the inherent superiority of one race over another.  So, what are the origins of racism?

There is a popular belief that racism is as old as the human race itself, and that from time immemorial distinctions have been made among people based on their racial characteristics. While this may be true, racism as we understand it in the modern era may have find its origin in the economic arena. While racism may be as “old as the hills” as the old expression goes, modern racism may have more readily identifiable historical origins which have framed sociologically identifiable present.

If we look back upon pre-revolutionary America (during the early and mid-1600’s), we will find that black indentured servants often bought their freedom and in some cases became relatively prosperous landowners. They were seen has having the same rights as whites, having achieved their freedom, and were given the same treatment across the board. However, as black slavery became more common in North America, and social castes began to harden within the growing North American British colonies, black freedmen were often disenfranchised and in some cases actually had their hard-won property confiscated from them. The question is, why?

In colonial America, as a budding new national identity began to sprout amongst colonists, new found economic prosperity led to a sense that anyone could make a living off of the land and, since there was much land for the clearing and planting in the interior of the colonies, it attracted many young people from the British Isles who could not own land in their nation of origin. Since the primary source of wealth in the colonies was land, and a certain prestige also was associated with landowning among people of European origins stemming from class distinctions in the old world, there was that as a factor. However, the lands also had to be profitable and that meant that a labor source was necessary. Black slaves fit the bill in terms of a labor source that was readily available. But how, in a colonial America that was already embracing a spirit of independence based on ideas about the value of the individual and the equality of man, embrace without a sense of injustice such an onerous institution as human slavery? By ascribing inferior status to blacks as a whole, the system of slavery was justified and even a slave culture and mindset developed to meet the role of the black slave as not just a social and economic inferior, but a genetic inferior. The idea that emerged was that, by virtue of their race, people of African origin were held to be inferior to persons of European origin. The cognitive dissonance that stemmed from people who embraced the ideas of freedom and equality owning other human beings was (at least on the surface) removed and slavery could be justified. Thus, through the desire for economic gain, slavery could be justified.

We see a similar pattern emergent among European during the Age of Imperialism. Extraordinary and elaborate belief systems were created to justify the essential ownership of other people’s lands and the essential enslavement—or at least the exploitation—of those people. In the British colonial experience in India and Africa, for example, Africans and Indians were considered to be “uncivilized” and “not Christian” and therefore needed the guidance and superintendent ship of European whites. Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” sums up in a few short lines the idea that European colonialism was not only justified, but necessary, for the advancement of “inferior peoples”:

 “Take up the White Man’s burden—

Send forth the best ye breed

Go send your sons to exile

To serve your captives’ need

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child.”

–From “White Man’s Burden” by Rudyard Kipling

Here we see Kipling capture the justification of the exploitation of other people’s based on the idea that subject folk were little more than “devils” and “children” in need of a civilizing influence. And of course this influence must necessarily come from “civilized” European whites.

So, how do these historical origins explain racism today? With the end of actual slavery in the United States after the Civil War, and the end of Imperialism due to Europe’s incapacity to sustain it after two devastating world wars, we see that old patterns of behavior and belief—especially when it aggrandizes one group over another—does not die easily. In the American south immediately after the Civil War’s end, the social system adjusted to new Federal legal restraints by institutionalizing racism legally at the state level maintaining the inferior status of black Americans there through apparently legal means. Even after “Jim Crow” laws were struck down at the national level, the institutionalized need to hold black Americans down socio-economically was maintained as a holdover from pre-Civil War ideas about race. Unfortunately, many of the same attitudes were maintained all over the United States, not just in the American South.

The problems associated with racism, this onerous holdover from an archaic past, are that it hurts everyone—and still does to this day. As Professor Kenneth Clark of Howard University, social psychologist, pointed in his testimony in Briggs v. Elliott school children were psychologically damaged—made to feel inferior and as second class citizens—by the practice of segregation by race in public schools, he was asked by counsel for the plaintiffs if the practice of segregation had any negative impact on white school children. Clark said that it definitely did—that it created moral confusion: the same adults who taught them love of their fellow man and the equality of all people also taught them to segregate and discriminate. The cognitive dissonance created meant that whites, for a lifetime, had to live with a nagging feeling of revulsion not only those who were among the segregated group, but also with an irreconcilable moral dilemma deep in their collective psyche.

So, it is very possible that the economic desires of people during the colonial/imperial period of world history had saddled all of us with a specter of racism that could be eradicated if all people would simply let go of a devastating past. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be that simple. Or is it?