Racism in Tatum

Topics: Racism, Race and Ethnicity, Black people Pages: 2 (605 words) Published: May 8, 2011
In the society of today, racism is still prevalent even though many people remain ignorant to it. According to Tatum (1997), racism is “a system of advantage based on race” (p. 126). Tatum also states that racism is a form of oppression, either from outside forces or people of color who have internalized oppression. In different ways Tatum describes racism, for example that preschoolers are exposed to early stereotypes in an early age by films they see. In addition she writes about how one of her students could not believe that Cleopatra was a black woman because the rationalization of the student was that Cleopatra couldn’t have been black for she was beautiful. The views of that student in the subject of perceiving beauty is obviously misconstrued. According to Tatum (1997), “if one defines racism as a system of advantage base on race…people of color are not racist because they do not systematically benefit from racism” (p.128). In Peggy McIntosh’s essay “White Privilege”, she list all the privileges she has came in contact with, sometimes unknowingly, that are tied in with her race. According to McIntosh (1988), “whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege” (p.178). Instead of knowing all the benefits and privileges one certain race has, those who have white privilege are unknowing in the privileges they receive or choose to ignore them. McIntosh also states that “obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all” (p.182). Her statement repeats her earlier sentiments that many of those who have white privileges do not acknowledge the fact that they have certain privileges that non-white people do not have because they want to believe in the myth that everyone is equal and everything is available to all...
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