Old Habbits Die Hard

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Racism, Black people Pages: 7 (2777 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Racism is a very serious issue in today’s society. African Americans have had to deal with racism for many centuries, and although times are changing racism is still a serious problem in the United States. More than half of all black men and twenty-five percent of black females feel that they have been racially profiled and wrongly treated by police (Healey 266). What exactly is racial profiling? “Racial profiling is discrimination based on a stereotypical judgment of a person’s group membership” (Healey 148). Countless African Americans will face discrimination and stereotyping in their everyday lives. They have to unfairly deal with stereotyping and discrimination based on nothing besides the color of their skin. Majority of the white population will never have to face the hardships of dealing with such discrimination. Even though African Americans have come a long way since slavery, they still experience racial profiling, prejudice, and discrimination in today’s times because of the way they are treated in stores, airports, and most importantly, are more susceptible to being pulled over by the police, in the United States it is embarrassing that this is still taking place and there needs to be actual consequences when people discriminate based on color. White privilege becomes apparent in everyday situations. It is not a secret that African Americans are unfairly mistreated. An African American cannot even go to stores and other public places without being profiled and discriminated against whereas a white person would go about their day without any problems. For example, a qualitative phenomenological study to describe the individual occurrences of perceived discrimination among African Americans. This study contains interviews of fifteen African American men and women living in Topeka, Kansas, and their personal experiences with profiling and discrimination in stores and other public places. One individual said: You might walk into the gas station, and when you walk in they will position themselves so they can watch you. They’ll try to look like they’re hanging something on the racks and all the time watching you over the counter. (Birzer & Smith-Mahdi 27) This unfair treatment of African Americans causes such stores and public places such as gas stations in the last incident to lose business. One participant stated that he had found out which stores participated in the prejudiced ways, and he chooses not to go to those businesses even if it is not convenient (Birzer & Smith-Mahdi 27). Clothing stores are no different. Another participant shared their experiences with clothing stores and had said “… when I go to clothing stores, I’ll look up and there’ll be other folks in the store and they’re watching me while the store is being stolen blind two isles over” (Birzer & Smith-Mahdi 27). White privilege is very apparent in situations like that. It is not that whites do not participate in illegal acts of theft, but the fact that African Americans are so stereotyped that they are labeled as the race that steals. Instead of fairly watching every race in the store for theft incidences, the workers will target African Americans because they believe that they are more likely to steal, when in reality the color of someone’s skin does not determine their character or values. While African Americans are followed, closely watched, and sometimes harassed for shopping at a given store, Whites are able to shop in peace because of the unfair prejudgment of the store owners.

Another instance of racial profiling that has become very apparent is how African Americans are treated at airports. “Such practices are not new; today, such practices are simply done in a different way under different circumstances” (Gabbidon et al. 344). Just as racial profiling is not a new problem, concerns about airport security is also not a new problem. A poll of public opinions on racial profiling had been done asking if the participants...
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