“Racism is man 's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” -- Abraham J. Heschel
Various racial tensions have recurred throughout history and psychologically influenced ways in which racial majorities and minorities think, act, and evolve. By analyzing specific events in history and the resulting evolutionary thought processes of those involved in these said events, a pattern of typical mental insecurities reveals itself.
Catastrophic tensions and events sparked by racial prejudices have continuously recurred ever since the human mind understood competition. In the absence of competition, a being has no opportunity to individualize or question their opinions and categorize oneself in relation to another. Without competition and all of its psychological subsidiaries, racism could not exist. At some point in history, competition inevitably overtook the human race as a result of insecurity. As demonstrated by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the typical human is genetically prone to live life with ultimate consideration for their physiological comfort. Because the typical human experiences discomfort, the typical human will consequentially live their life to prevent discomfort in generally the most efficient ways possible, often resulting in a projection of said discomfort on other humans. In accordance to Maslow’s hierarchy, this conflict is inevitable. Only slightly below physiological comfort, a sense of belonging ranks within the hierarchy. This need for belonging draws humans together and encourages interaction. From these interactions, individuals will, by human nature, judge their contemporaries and create memories. An analysis and retention of these memories will bud stereotypes that will consequentially expand to prejudice and often racism. In short, racism and prejudice shouldn’t be considered usual human traits. They emerge in the absence of typical morality, when
Bibliography: Levin, Jack. The Violence of Hate: Confronting Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Other Forms of Bigotry. 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2002. Print. Bellesiles, Michael A. 1877: America 's Year of Living Violently. New York: New, 2010. Print. Smith, Susan L. "Mustard Gas and American Race-Based Human Experimentation in World War II." Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 36.3 (2008): 517-21. Http://web.ebscohost.com. Blackwell Publishing. Web. . Sjollema, Baldwin. "Combating Racism: A Chapter in Ecumenical History." Ecumenical Review 56.4 (2004): 470-479. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. Cherry, Frances. "Defining difference: Race and racism in the history of psychology." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 41.1 (2005): 63-65. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 Dec. 2010. Gamble, Vanessa Northington. "Teaching About Race and Racism in Medical History." Radical History Review 74 (1999): 140. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.