Racism and Bullying

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This paper will answer the research question, what is the relationship between racism and bullying and the education of Hispanic young adults between the ages of 15 and 19. Racism, according to Schmid, (2008) is defined as the lack of equality based on a person’s race only. Bullying is repeated unwanted acts over a minimum of 6 months.

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As reported by Fry, (2002), only about 10% of Hispanic high school graduates enroll in a four- year college immediately after graduating high school. In a study conducted by Peskin, Tortolero, Markham, Addy & Baumler, (2007) 1 out of 10 Hispanic teens will endure some form of bullying during their high school career. It is also reported that constant bullying discourages teens from continuing receiving an education. Nora & Cabrera, (1996) found that Hispanics reported the lowest college enrollment rates as well as the highest dropout rates. The following paper will explore the social problem of racism and how it can be explained by a biological and sociological perspective. Additionally, I will give two interventions that target the social problem I am discussing.

Biological Analysis

Research has shown the correlation between racism and protective adaptation. Protective adaptation is animal or humans’ evolved way of being protected from danger by changing their body. Although this mechanism is most common in animals such as frogs, humans throughout the years evolved similarly. The brain plays a pivotal role in this adaptation. The brain interprets what is threatening and what is non-threatening and responds accordingly. When an individual is a victim of bullying that stems from racism and find it too overwhelming to manage, the brain along with systems of the body that include the cardiovascular and immune send out messages throughout the body McEwen,(2007). Sensors and hormones are released, and over time since if these protective mechanisms are released often it becomes a natural part of a person’s thought process. This gives reason as to why a Hispanic teen would be discouraged to achieve a higher education because of the racism they endured. Another study by McEwens & Gianaros, (2007) found that the hippocampus, amygdala, and areas of the prefrontal cortex of the brain regulate processes that can cause bodily adjustments in response to certain stimuli. Using both of these studies, not wanting to pursue a higher education is the brain’s way of protecting the individual from the unwanted situations caused by racism and bullying.

Sociological Analysis

When reading research conducted by Rygren, (2003), xenophobia is common in most people that are considered to be racist. Xenophobia is the fear of living or coexisting with people of different countries or cultures. People with this fear believe it is natural to act in a hostile way towards countries or cultures. A person that has xenophobia would show antagonistic behavior to a person to ensure people of them are aware that they are not welcomed and are not of the same status.

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