Contemporary Racism

Topics: Racism, Race, Sociology Pages: 5 (1926 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Dear Mr.Smith,
It was a great pleasure speaking with you on the plane ride back to Chicago. However, we didn't get the chance to finish our conversation about minority relations. I disagree with your claim that the playing field is level and if people don't succeed, it is their own fault. Through this letter, I wish to prove to you that racial oppression still persists today through examples of “Laissez Faire” racism and how you can make a difference regarding this issue. Racial oppression persists today through the legacy of our history. First, individual beliefs on white superiority from the past have passed down through generations, manifesting in the form as white privilege, an example of individual racism in which the perception of race is created from one’s own cultural lens. White privilege is an unconscious and invisible form of racism in which whites do not realize they have racial privileges. They do not ask for it nor choose to keep it but it nonetheless comes with birth and their natural white skin color. Although some may acknowledge race, they may ignore the existing racial hierarchy in society as they naturally enjoy many benefits like economic opportunities. White privilege is important because it labels non-whites as victims, holds white people more accountable, helps whites understand their invisible superiority and integrate into white norms when there should be interracial integration. Second, the self-perpetuating cycle of negative racial stereotyping continues to drive racial oppression. A majority of whites are unaware and ignorant of these persistent negative racial stereotypes that remain in their attitudes. These stereotypes impact behavior subconsciously and are intensified by fear and power, making it into a vicious cycle that is less likely to break and be challenged. Whites enjoy power and may feel threatened when minorities rise in power or threaten them through terrorist attacks, creating instances with racial profiling, hate crimes, etc. This cycle explains why it is difficult for some people to move past racism in his or her lifetime. Lastly, institutional racism demonstrates racial oppression from legacy of our history. Institutional racism is embedded in political, social and economic structure and if its effects are magnified, consequences are widely spread out and repetitive. The intentions of individuals in this case do not matter as it is carried on through society over generations. Such racism provides automatic advantages for whites, who were born to be ahead in the four stages of life including socioeconomic status, education, work, and legacy. This is especially due to the current growing wealth gap as the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, making it difficult for minorities to climb beyond their ascribed status. As people accumulate wealth through inheritance, investments, average family income, and home ownership, etc. minorities as a result have to work harder to achieve the same level of success as whites. The theory of laissez-faire racism encompasses the prominent ideology regarding contemporary racism and was coined by Dr.Lawrence Bobo. This more subtle and hands-off form of racism still continues to highlight the current problem of racial oppression in the United States (US) through the following conclusions. First, available data suggests that the US experienced a positive transformation in attitudes regarding racial relations. Yet, despite this change in attitude, there is no change in behavior and racial discrimination still remains a barrier for minorities in the American institution. As a result, race is used as a device to divide and mobilize voters at the local, state and national levels. In other words, believing the ideology of equal opportunities, personal responsibility and the “playing field is level” for minorities does not mean discrimination no longer exists. It simply demonstrates the lack of awareness and failure to accept the...
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