We live in a civilized world and it seems that there is no place for, I would say, ancient prejudice and stereotypes that we call racism. However racism remains an urgent problem of our society, that is why we present you this essay on racism to help you understand the essence of this phenomenon and we also made a try to give you a brief history of racism in the USA, so partially this is racism in America essay as well. So read the essay and be aware of what racism is.
Racism is a global problem of the modern world
George Bernard Shaw once said: “A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones”.
There is no sense to remind you the myth about the Tower of Babel, everyone knows it. We can only guess that on that tragic day people separating and going to different places had in their minds not only different languages, but also the germ of hatred to “foreigners” in their hearts. The term “racism” is closely related to another term “Xenophobia”. Xenophobia is formed of the Greek words “xenos” that means “foreigner, stranger” and “phobos” that means “fear”. So xenophobia is a state characterized by obsessive fear towards foreigners or anything unknown and foreign. Namely it is one of the mental disorders of a person. Anyway we are interested more in other meaning of this words – fear towards foreigners and hate to them.
In terms of biosociology xenophobia is a social projection of self-preservation instinct of a certain national economic formation. It means it was formed long time ago when every strange, unknown, different person was potentially dangerous, was a carrier of a latent threat. For self-preservation ancient people had no right to trust foreigners, they tried to make such a person go away or kill him. Over time the world became much safer, however the initial fear of everything foreign and strange rooted deeply in the subconscious of many people. Xenophobia has many faces, many ways of expressing, such as racism, anti-Semitism, prejudice to other nationalities, islamophobia and other kinds of religious intolerance, discrimination against refugees, migrants and so on.
Racism is discrimination against individuals, social groups or a part of the population, or groups of people, policy of persecution, humiliation, causing shame, violence, escalation of hostility and enmity, spread of information that dishonors a man or a group of people; cause of damage on the basis of skin color, ethnos, religion or nationality. It is a belief that there are groups of people with special (usually physical) features that make them superior or inferior towards others, and as a result there is elementary disregard or ignoration of those who considered to be different or inferior live being.
The origins of the racial doctrine of human society appeared in the 19th century, when anthropology emerged – a new science that with the help of empirical methods tried to define human place in nature. The stereotypes became widespread and it was considered that the variety of physical traits suggests the existence of mental, psychological and cultural differences. Later there was a tendency to explain mental or moral features with the same unchanged heredity that also formed physical features. Since the Blacks genetically have black skin, it means genetically they are supposed to be “lazy and untidy”.
The peak racist theory (rather racist practice) reached in Nazi Germany, when they tried to turn the whole world into the scene of fight between Aryan and Semitic races. The Aryans were represented as superior race that is the only one that has such virtues as love of freedom and honor and spirituality worship. The Jews were represented as the embodiment of absolute evil that had to be destroyed. As a result of such a police 7 million Jews were killed.
Racist idea won not only in Germany but also in other countries such as Italy, where in 1938 racist legislation was adopted, and France where in 1940 after establishing of Vichy regime racist legislation was adopted as well, similar to Nuremberg laws. Racism was spread also in the Republic of South Africa in 1948-1990s. There official racist policy even got its own special name “apartheid”. Apartheid made the black or “mixed” population of the country live in special reservations (bantustans). Only there they had rights, they could study and rest, the rest of the country territory was for the whites only. In 1991 only the President of South Africa Frederik Willem de Klerk cancelled the main elements of the apartheid laws. Important role in the elimination of apartheid was played by the activist Nelson Mandela, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. During the apartheid times he had to spend 27 years in a jail, and in 1994 he became the President of South Africa.
Racism in the USA
Racism in the USA existed since the foundation of the state. The victims of the racism in the United States were the indigenous inhabitants of the continent, the Indians, and also Negro slaves. Nominally “color slavery” was canceled in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, but actually it was cancelled in 1865 with the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. However this fact did not cancel he racial discrimination, for more than 100 years blacks did not have equal rights with whites. By the 60s of the 20th century in every state there were so-called “Jim Crow laws” that significantly limited the rights of African Americans: they lived and studied separately, there were places for whites in a public transport, not all stores served blacks, in order to take part in the vote blacks had to pass grammar test (read by heart the text of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence) and so on. Only thanks to the powerful liberation movement of 50s – 60s, in which Martin Luther King was ideological leader, “colour” Americans succeeded the elimination of racial segregation in laws. Even the word “Negro” (or its more offensive form “nigger”) is no longer used by educated and attentive Americans. Instead they say African American or Black. However the issue of racial discrimination is still one of the most urgent in the USA. There according to the latest opinion polls the racism problem is considered to be “very serious” by 49 % of blacks and 18 % of whites. Also 40 % of blacks claimed that all or almost all whites have negative attitude to them, and 38 % of whites believe that all or most of blacks have negative attitude to them.
The racism reason is not the skin colour, but the human thinking. That is why treatment for racial prejudice, xenophobia and intolerance should be searched first of all in getting rid of misapprehensions that for many centuries were a source of misconceptions about advantages or vice versa about more inferior position of different groups of mankind.
I guess you already heard a lot about racism, so we tried to present less common fact in this pretty argumentative essay on racism. I hope the essay on racism was useful for you. If so visit our website where can find many other essays about racism and not only. If you need to write an essay on any other topic our essay writing service is the best option for you! Just see for yourself.
Ricardo Levins Morales
As teachers and students return to classrooms this fall, together we have to try to make sense of a tumultuous presidential campaign and a summer of racial violence that have forcefully surfaced the racism that plagues our nation.
Elementary and middle school students have grown up with an African American as president of the United States. This is a historic milestone. But these same students have also grown up in a nation that’s increasingly unequal, a country where police killed more Black people in 2015 than were lynched during the worst year of Jim Crow.
In the past several months, students have watched Donald Trump use racist, Islamophobic, misogynist, and anti-immigrant vitriol to whip up a terrifying level of support, with ominous repercussions no matter who wins the election.
Even as Black Lives Matter has spearheaded a growing movement against police violence, our children have been subjected to an unending stream of police murders of Black and Brown people, including the recent videos of the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, wrote after watching those videos: “We all know, deep down, that something more is required of us now. This truth is difficult to face because it’s inconvenient and deeply unsettling. And yet silence isn’t an option.”
We hope that teachers will view these disturbing developments not as issues too controversial to talk about, but rather as teachable moments to address white supremacy and our nation’s rich history of movements for justice and equality.
In these scary times, the courageous undocumented youth of the Dreamers, the Movement for Black Lives (a collective of more than 50 organizations, including the Black Lives Matter Network), and thousands of other activists are providing light and hope. Powerful teaching confronts the dangers squarely and also builds on their examples and those of other young people standing up for justice. When a student put up a “Build a Wall” banner in Forest Grove High School in Oregon, many students were outraged. The next day hundreds of them walked out in protest; as word spread through social media, students from seven other area high schools joined in. High school and college students in nearby Portland staged their own protest march later that week.
White fans at a high school girls’ soccer game in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, started chanting “Trump, build that wall” at the predominantly Black and Latina Beloit Memorial team. A few days later, the neighboring Evansville girls soccer team posted a video condemning the racist incident and expressing support for the Beloit team. At Beloit’s Big Eight Conference game against Janesville Craig, players from both teams stood side by side during pregame introductions as a show of solidarity against racism.
Trump and Our Classrooms
The “curriculum” of the presidential campaign inevitably finds its way into our schools and classrooms. As we reported in our summer issue, a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that the campaign is “producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions . . . [and] an increase in bullying, harassment, and intimidation of students whose races, religions, or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.”
Trump’s ascendancy parallels the growth of extreme right-wing parties throughout much of Europe, where a toxic stew of austerity, economic anxiety, and the refugee crisis has fueled xenophobic and neo-fascist rallies, electoral victories, and violence.
His popularity also reflects the growth of racism and inequality in the United States, which has been exacerbated by policies pursued by both the Republican and Democratic parties. Internationally, pro-war policies have led to unspeakable suffering, wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, fostered terrorism, and destabilized whole swaths of the planet. Bipartisan “free trade” policies have thrown people out of work in the United States at the same time they have increased inequality abroad. Domestically the “war on drugs,” “three strikes,” zero-tolerance discipline policies, and other criminal justice “reforms” have led to unprecedented rates of mass incarceration of African Americans.
At the same time, we have witnessed an inspiring resurgence of demands for an end to police violence, for racial justice, for climate justice, for gender justice, for economic justice, for immigration justice. There’s a lot to talk about.
The polarization and racism of this election season make it especially important to create safe classrooms where students engage deeply in critical analysis. Of course, a student who is a member of a targeted group should never be singled out as a “spokesperson.” And perhaps it’s time to rethink traditional approaches to teaching about elections.
For example, many teachers routinely hold debates with students representing candidates from different parties (more than just the Democratic and Republican parties, we hope). However, this year such debates might be counterproductive. We don’t want to create classroom forums where students-as-candidates could repeat racist rants, nor should students be subjected to them. Slogans like “build that wall” are essentially racist slurs; “jail the bitch” is a sexist slur.
A better curricular route might be to look at the premises underlying key campaign issues—immigration from Mexico, for example—by asking questions: What is the history of the border between the United States and Mexico? How have initiatives like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) affected Mexican farmers and workers, and influenced immigration from Mexico? Who benefits and who is hurt—on both sides of the border—by “free trade?” (See “Who’s Stealing Our Jobs?”, and the Rethinking Schools book The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration.) After this kind of study, students can more easily recognize a slogan like “build that wall” for the ignorant and hateful demagoguery that it is.
Instead of limiting classroom conversations to the issues as the campaigns define them, teachers can draw on the perspectives of activists who call into question the narrow two-party discourse and offer rich critiques of the racism, xenophobia, sexism, and Islamophobia heard on the campaign trail—and sometimes at school. (See “As a Teacher and a Daughter: The Impact of Islamophobia,” by Nassim Elbardouh, summer 2016.) This is the perfect time to invite local community and campus activists into our classrooms.
The issue of voter suppression is particularly relevant this election. President Obama’s election eight years ago and the changing demographics of the United States motivated Republican legislators and a conservative Supreme Court to roll back historic victories of the Civil Rights Movement. Teaching about the campaigns for the right to vote—for women, people of color, residents of Washington, DC, or Puerto Rico—exposes the racism and sexism endemic in our nation’s history, as well as the ongoing struggle to turn the United States into a democracy. It also opens up discussions about who can and can’t vote today, why it’s important to vote if you can, and ways to make your voice heard if you can’t.
What is particularly powerful are stories—from the past and from today—about youth working together against racism and other forms of oppression. Resources abound: children’s picture books, young adult novels, short stories, poetry, videos. Check out the archives for Rethinking Schools magazine, our books, and the Zinn Education Project for ideas. Anti-racist teaching is important in all subject areas, not just social studies. Math classes can tackle the racial inequality of the criminal justice system, language arts classes can address gentrification, science classes can focus on environmental justice (see “Lead Poisoning: Bringing Social Justice to Chemistry,” by Karen Zaccor).
And then there’s action beyond the classroom walls. In addition to powerful examples like those of the students in Wisconsin and Oregon, teachers in North Carolina demonstrated at a Clinton rally where Obama was scheduled to speak. They demanded an end to deportations and that Clinton and Obama do everything in their power to release detained refugee youth.
Progressive school board members in various cities are promoting systematic approaches to fighting racism. In Milwaukee, despite objections by right-wing talk show hosts, the school board passed a Black Lives Matter resolution and put nearly half a million dollars in this year’s budget to fund implementation. In San Francisco, Albuquerque, Portland, Oregon, and other communities, educators, students, parents, and community activists have come together to fight racism through similar initiatives, such as ethnic studies programs. Many of these draw inspiration from Tucson, Arizona’s hugely successful Mexican American Studies program, outlawed in 2010 by conservative lawmakers. These are the kind of long-term, institutional responses that educators, students, and community members are fighting for.
We need to seize on teachable moments to address racism and white supremacy during this election cycle and, after that, continue and increase our efforts. From the dinner table to the classroom, from staff meetings to school boards, educators need to find ways to put the issue of race and racism front and center and keep it there.
We know time is short before the elections, but the damage wrought by racist comments and slurs fueled by the campaign will be long-lasting. And the anti-racist teaching that emerges because of thoughtful parents and educators—and from students who demand more relevant curricula—will flower and bear fruit long after November’s election. ◼