Racism – Why is it Still a Problem and What Can We do to Stop it?

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“Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out,” (Pierre Berton).

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Racism is discrimination against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Racism creates a divide in society which can affect many generations and still does. Jennifer Richeson, a Yale University social psychologist believes racism comes from what people see in their society and culture growing up. Richeson believes unless parents teach their kids not to be racist, they will be, and that racism simply comes from one’s environment. Racism can also come from ignorance according to author and social activist Kimberly Blaker. Blaker believes it is important to teach young children about diversity. Also reflecting the first cause, Blaker states, “Unfortunately, prejudice beliefs often stem from the home. So, advocates, teachers, and communities must take up the cause in teaching children to value diversity.”

However, there are several physiological factors that cause racism, such as fear. Psychologist and political advisor Dr. Reneé Carr says, “When one race of persons unconsciously feels fear in response to a different race group—fears that their own level of security, importance, or control is being threatened—they will develop these defensive thoughts and behaviors. They will create exaggerated and negative beliefs about the other race to justify their actions in [an] attempt to secure their own safety and survival.” Doctor Carr believes racism can simply be caused by feeling threatened and one’s brain makes up beliefs to secure their own safety. Racism has many negative effects on society, however as a society people can exterminate and prevent racism from further separation of communities. The three main effects of racism on our society are social tensions between not only different but same races, missed opportunity for minority races and distorted perception of actions by minorities.

One effect of racism is societal tensions within a society between not only different but same races. Michelle Singletray, a multiracial columnist for the Washington Post from Baltimore, Maryland describes the hardships she faced between her and her own family in her article titled, One of the Costs of Racism in American Society, “When I got a better job or bigger home, they (her family) tried to make me feel guilty about my success. And often I did feel bad.” Racism not only creates tension between other races, but within the same races. In Singletray’s case, her own family was not supportive of her higher goals. Agreeably, she believes the resentments such as the ones her family held dates to the days of slavery; slave holders would purposefully create tension among slaves by giving more luxurious privileges to lighter skinned slaves,

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