Even though humanity is living at a time in history where virtually everything is possible, it is ironical that the society is still torn apart when it comes to dealing with crucial issues that affect them. These are issues that have a direct impact on the lives of part of or the whole humankind. In this paper, the writer will discuss racism as a major problem in the American nation. The paper will mostly dwell on the methods and principles that can be put into use in an effort to get rid of the vice.
Racism is a discriminatory practice against people from certain races or of a certain color. Racism can also be defined as the unfair practice of showing undue favor to a certain class of people and denying the same for other people who equally qualify to receive the same treatment either as citizens of the same country, students of the same school or members of the same organization.
Racism is a common practice especially in places where there are mixed groups of people with diverse racial backgrounds. In the United States of America, the word racism has been the talk of media and the general American population over and over again. Even though the national constitution clearly advocates for racial equality and acknowledgement and appreciation of racial differences, it is uncertain whether the same sentiments are engraved on the hearts of every American. With the prohibition of racial segregation as far as social places and other amenities are concerned, one would be mistaken to think that the USA has come to a stage in its history where racism is totally inexistent.
The above statements may not be true if the experiences of the daily life of the minority races in America are taken into account. In the day to day life of such individuals, there comes a time they come face to face with racism. These are the times when the unnumbered Americans who are still racists at heart expose the same to them. As much as racism is a disgusting and can even be regarded as barbaric, the experiences that these people sometimes go through are tough and even at times humiliating. As discussed above, this problem of racism mainly affects the minority races in the United States of America. The two most common races that have severely been subjected to racism are the African Americans and the Arab Americans. The proprietors of racism have their own reasons for treating such races in the manner that they do.
For African Americans, the main obvious reason for their subjection to racial discrimination is the color of their skin and their ancestral background. The black color of the African Americans has often evoked different reactions from white Americans when it comes to the issue of equality. It is a common behavior for the whites to feel more free while in the company of other whites than they do when in the company of blacks. This is still happening to some extent in the present day although to a smaller scale compared to the seriousness of the situation a century ago. The type of racism that is rampant today is rather muted than blatant.
It happens daily and to a good number of African Americans daily but it is never reported due to the fact that the subjects have learnt to live with it. White Americans are also prejudiced against the African Americans because of their ancestral background. The fact that the ancestors of the latter first came to the United States as slaves creates an impression of their inferiority. Those who practice racism still have the mentality that the whites were originally the masters of the African Americans and should still be treated with the same regard. On the other hand, the Arab Americans are racially discriminated because of the history of war between the United States and the Arab countries and terrorist groups of Arab origin. The war between America and Iraq shaped the perspective of many Americans on the Arabs. The fight with terrorist groups such as the infamous Al-Qaeda has also been crucial in shaping the perspective of American whites on their fellow citizens of Arabic origin. The 9/11 bomb attacks had a devastating effect on the relationship between Arab Americans and the white Americans.
After this tragic historical event, most Americans regarded Arabs with hostility and disgust. This prejudice was caused by the wrongful association of every Arab with the terror attacks. As much American legislators have done their best to ensure racial equality, chances are that this may never come to achievement as far as the relationship between white Americans and Arab Americans is concerned. And even though there may be a falsified outward portrayal of racial equality between these two races, it is certain that what lies on the inside is something totally different. In retaliation, the Arabs have also regarded the Americans as entirely immoral and unfair. There is dire need for a solution to the problem of racism in the United States of America. According to the writer of this paper, this solution lies with a discipline of Psychology called Social Psychology. Social Psychology is a study that describes the influence of other people on a person’s thoughts, imaginations, behaviors and feelings.
The fact that the human mind is prone to social influence gives hope of the total restoration of racial equality in the United States of America. Social Psychology comprises of various theories that can be used to root out racism from the United States. These theories try to identify the exact causes of racism in America. By doing this, these theories or principles provide room for combat against this vice through efforts to get rid of the causes. The first theory is the scapegoat theory. This theory suggests that people who are caught in certain unpleasant situations tend to find someone to blame it on. By doing this, the people find an outlet for channeling out their disappointment and distress which can lead to racism. A good example of the scapegoat theory at work is the blaming of the 9/11 terror attacks on the entire Arab community.
This blame is obviously wrong because it is not based on anything, nor is there substantial evidence that proves this stance. Furthermore, it is impossible that every single Arab in the United States of America had a hand in the perpetration of the bombing. This is a mere method devised by American citizens who are racists to find an excuse for promoting racial discrimination and prejudice. Another instance of the scapegoat theory is the blaming of the high rate of crimes in the United States on African Americans. The majority of criminals in America are of black origin. This has created an impression that a majority if not all blacks are terrorists. This has even affected the line of duty of law enforcers as they are more stringent with African Americans than they are with the whites.
This characteristic creates a situation where a large percentage of the American population is prejudiced against colored people, and most specifically, African Americans. The second Social Psychology theory that can be used as a solution to racism is the us and them or in-group and out-group theory. In this theory, it is believed that each and every individual has the feeling of the need to belong. It speculates that human beings are a species that finds solidarity in grouping. However, it is through this grouping that conflicts and arguments arise between rival groups. This raises the need to stand for one’s group and defend it with all that one can afford. Through the identification with a certain group, one tends to gradually come to like all the aspects of this particular group and hate everything about the rival groups. This is where prejudice and racism come in.
When one develops a passionate dislike for such groups, it creates room for passionate racism. This is especially the case where the organizations or groups were formed on the basis of racial backgrounds. Efforts of promoting free constructive social interaction between such groups may prove equally futile. The Just-world Phenomenon is yet another principle of Social Psychology that can be effectively used to put a stop to racism. In this phenomenon, the world is regarded as soundly fair in its dealings with people.
This theory holds that no one is to blame for the evil that may happen to a person. In the same manner, those who are more fortunate in life do not owe it to anybody but got the fortune from the very world that grants both good and bad. In a summary, this principle suggests that good people in life receive good things while bad people receive a share of misfortunes. The Just-World Phenomenon justifies the discrimination of people basing on their racial backgrounds.
The perpetrators of racism in this case say that they are not really the ones to blame for the existence of the minority races against which they discriminate. Since they don’t take any responsibility for the dark color of anyone’s skin, they actually have no problem if they relate with them differently from the way they relate with each other. Another theory of Social Psychology that can be used to get rid of racism is the principle of social inequalities. According to this principle, the discrepancy in the possession of valuables in life creates strata in society that are used to gauge the suitability of individuals in the society.
This theory explains that the rich, who are commonly referred to as the “haves” are prominent and respected members of the society and have a great deal of influence on matters in the society. On the contrary, the people who are less endowed with wealth, commonly referred to as the “have-nots” are usually treated with less attention and are subject to discrimination. Most of the members of the minority races are not so rich. This is either because they are mere immigrants with a minimal fortune or that they had a poor ancestral background. This makes them victims of racism on the basis of their monetary possessions.
This was the situation that faced a majority of African Americans many years back but it has taken a positive turn in the twenty first century. The above Social Psychology theories and principles are the most effective tools that can ever be used to stop racism because they identify factors that lead to the vice. Through a careful address of these factors, there is a possibility that racism can be part of history in the United States of America. If the government and other concerned organizations put special emphasis on the above named theories and principles, the writer is positive that America will be free from racism in just a matter of months.
The problem of racism in the United States of America developed as a result of a high rate of immigration into the nation. Today, the Native American population accounts for less than fifty percent of the total population. Because America is made up of a wide range of races and cultures, there are higher chances of racism and cultural bias. Therefore, the major cause of racism in the United States is the generalization of a variety of races under one nation (Heriot, 2003).
Racism in the United States of America has been the cause of political debates, sluggish development of some areas and personal misunderstandings between individuals. For the above to be corrected, a solution for racism should be arrived at urgently. The writer also chose this topic or racism because it is the right of every American citizen to receive equal treatment and privileges just like others irrespective of the race or color. This problem is also important because its solution will lead to the motivation of the American citizens who were previously victims of racism.
They will receive a sense of belonging which will go a long way in renewing their dedication and loyalty to their service for the nation. This will eventually translate into a faster economic growth because these people will restore their confidence in the nation. For instance, an Arabic business man won’t have to fear about the risk of loss because he will have confidence in the market that is free from racism. The writer’s personal view of this problem is that it has no place in such a civilized and modernized society as America. Racism should be the last thing on the minds of any right-minded American citizen who truly loves his or her country.
If the United States of America is actually the home of the free as stated in the last stanza of the national anthem, then this freedom should not only be embraced and cherished on the outside only but should also come from deep inside the heart of each and every single American citizen. Each one should be granted the opportunity to enjoy the freedom that such a great nation can offer to its citizens without any racism or prejudice. The writer also thinks that it is the responsibility of every American citizen to ensure that racism is wiped out of the face of the nation. This will only be done through a personal decision to treat all American citizens as equal in all aspects irrespective of their race. This type of solidarity will contribute greatly in the eradication of racism.
As it is with every similar situation, there are some people who stand to benefit from racism in the United States. These include political leaders from the victims of racism who have vested interests. These leaders want to appear as if they are fighting for the rights of their people when in actual sense they are buying time in order to continue enjoying the political support of the people. Unlike the views presented by the writer above, these political leaders believe that racism can only be eradicated through appropriate legislation. This is why they have been pushing for the enactment of bill after bill to reduce chances of racism. However, this method has so far failed.
This is because the problem is in the people’s minds and not the laws. The LSE Students’ Union has been on the forefront in campaigning against racism. One of the main strategies used by this union is the declaration of anti-racism days. They have also employed the use of street matches to persuade people to turn away from racism. The writer would recommend that other teams should aim at getting more people to be aware of the positive effects of stopping racism. This can be done by printing pamphlets and posters urging them to get rid of racism and help build a strong nation of racial diversities. The other teams can also plan on submitting articles to the print media for publication.
These will reach a larger population of people and increase the rate of emancipation of the masses from racism. The writer’s team has done an incredible job in educating Americans about the necessity of dropping racism. The team has mainly focused on high schools. This is because they are the young people that are more likely to bring change to the society as opposed to the elderly who may find it hard adapting to new facts.
Apart from that, the team has been in a position to hold events such as seminars and conferences in a bid to campaign against racism. The team has so far received a positive response from the public. One important thing that the team does during these events is the collection of signatures from those who pledge to stop racism. If all the people honor their pledges, then the team has delivered thousands of persons from the chains of racism. In addition to the above measures, the writer’s team has also set aside an outreach day on the first Saturday of every month to conduct door to door campaigns against racism. This has been the most effective tool in this campaign. The team is encouraged to carry on with this noble course every time people nod in appreciation and acceptance of the facts presented to them about racism.
In conclusion, racism is a rampant practice in the United States of America. The minority races are the ones that mostly fall victim to this vice. Furthermore, it is clear from the above discussion that Social Psychology is the most effective tool in fighting racism. However, there are also those people who benefit from racism and have slowed down its eradication.
Finally, it is evident from the discussion that the writer’s team has done much in fighting racism.
Heriot, N. (2003). Chinese immigrants, African Americans, and racial anxiety in the United States. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.