Racism: the Ever Raging Conflict

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Olivia Lohmann

Honors English

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Racism: The Ever Raging Conflict

A few years ago, my fellow seventh graders and I were standing around, waiting for the bell to ring. We weren’t doing much of anything aside from chattering back and forth with each other. A third grade class happened to walk by my grade with their teacher, all in single file line. While the little kids passed us, one of the seventh graders said “hello” to all of the tiny people that proceeded by. A little girl, which looked to be of African American descent, strolled past my grade along with the rest of her class. When the social seventh grader saw the little girl walk past she commented, “N****r girl”. Maybe none of my other classmates heard her make that derogatory remark, but I highly doubt it. Even when my fellow student was confronted for her obscene language, she didn’t think what she did was wrong; to her that was common language.

Racism, as well as derogatory terms, has been active since the dawn of time. In 1986, Eldridge Cleaver said, “Let us recall that the white man, in order to justify slavery and, later on, to justify segregation, elaborated a complex, all – persuasive myth which at one time classified the black man as a subhuman beast of burden.” Slavery has been abolished in the United States, but it is still evident in other countries. In 2001, Africa was found shipping out men, women, and children by boat to become modern day slaves. Throughout history, as well as today, there were not just white slave owners, or slaves. With the owning of slaves, as well as what Eldridge Cleaver said, races and ethnicities were considered to only be part human. From the allegations placed upon people of different races, hateful terms sprouted that were, and still are, used to categorize people. The N – word is not the only hateful term for a band of people, but it is one of the most common in the U.S. and has been around since the 17th century.

When my mom used to work at an early development agency she had a poster hanging in her office that read, “No Child is born a Racist”. Basically, what that poster was saying is prejudices are acquired. If you grow up in a community or have a home life that belittles other people based on their heritage, then chances are, that’s the type of attitude you will grow to have as well. Randall Robinson said, “One doesn’t decide on bigotry or altruism the way one chooses a college major. The twig is bent early and keeps its shape throughout. There are of course exceptions, but I suspect, without benefit of survey data, that they are few.”

Derogatory terms have become, in some ways, acceptable in this day and age. They aren’t held to the offensive standard they deserve. Just walking around my town and school I can hear derogatory terms used in people’s everyday speech. Not only that, but they can be heard in songs all over the world. A common use of disrespectful, derogatory terms today is in a joking form, as if the true meaning of the words don’t remain. There are even some dictionaries that classify derogatory terms as “socially acceptable” in particular parts of the world. TV shows will now openly say offensive terms. Jersey Shore lost several sponsors for saying the word “Guido” in almost every episode they produced. It’s not just Jersey Shore that makes racial comments; there are tons of other shows, as well as channels, which spew out hateful remarks and thoughts.

Politicians from the past, as well as the present have made underlying statements that border on racism and sometimes, that cross the line. A good example would be the latest Stabenow commercial that was aired during the Super Bowl. It stereotyped Asian – American’s as job stealing immigrants that can barely speak English. Though the commercial was made in an attempt to get a leg up in a political election, it was in extremely bad taste....
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