Racism: Lessons Learned

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Many things have been shared in this classroom environment. Issues have been studied that have caught the attention of the class and made them consider things that perhaps were not contemplated before. Over the past semester, one series of lessons have stood out to me more than any other. That particular set of lessons revolved around the issue of racism.

Racism has taken on a new comprehension within my thoughts and mind over the course of this semester. I had always considered racism a baneful idea and an even more wicked practice. We defined it as a prejudice based upon the color of one's skin or race. Although laws have outlawed the practice of segregation and racism, we have seen as a class that it is still practiced within a country that declares it to be illegal. We have learned that there doesn't have to be laws favoring one race over another for racism to exist. Rather, we have seen that racism is more than a political issue – it is a social issue. We have seen that racism isn't confined to the mountains of Tennessee, hills of Alabama, or plains of Mississippi. Racial discrimination is evident in every state and in many peoples.

We have come to see that it is not confined to Anglo-Americans, but can affect people from all racial or ethnic backgrounds. Most importantly, this course has allowed us to view this evil from a better understanding. We have been allowed to not only define racism, but to also view the roots and causes of it. We have discussed as a class the consequences that racial intolerance has held upon our society as a whole.

In our discussions and lessons about racism, we have learned about great American heroes who have stood up against bigotry. Rosa Parks, who as a young African-American woman who in 1963 refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, ignited a social revolution. Her righteous defiance led to a boycott of buses by African-Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, and also to laws that changed the...
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