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Term Paper On Racial Discrimination

Racism and Discrimination Essay

1. Introduction

As members of modern and civilized societies, we must always attempt to educate each other if we wish to live in a cohesive community. Sociology is a study that focuses on actions which effect society and how the characteristics of societies influence human development. Scholars of sociology analyze factors such as race, religion, and national origin, among others, in the hopes of determining the various ways that these factors shape a society’s beliefs and attitudes towards their fellow citizens. Issues that are often discussed throughout the sociological circle are racism and discrimination. Racism and discrimination can take many different forms and can have a negative effect on one’s career, health, and personal development. This paper will use sociological principles in order to analyze examples of the way various aspects of one’s life may be affected by discrimination, prejudice and racist behaviour.

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2. Defining the standard terms
The line between racism and discrimination is often blurred and it is a task in itself to classify acts between the two categories. In order to determine the ways that racism and discrimination affect one’s life, we must first determine the difference between these two classifications. Race can be defined as a social construct that can group people based on characteristics such as skin colour, ancestry, cultural affiliation or history, and ethnic background (Adams et al) and therefore, racism is prejudice against, discrimination towards, and unequal treatment of people based on these categories. The concept of discrimination spans across multiple factors such as age, gender, sexual orientation as well as race and skin colour. Furthermore, it is important to realize the way that the individual’s race, gender, ethnicity, culture, or background can be correlated to the variety of issues different groups experience. The stereotypes and prejudice people experience vary greatly and we must analyze which groups of people are most commonly affected by potentially harmful misinformation.

3. Historical Review
Throughout history, differences in race, ethnicity, and religion have been the source of many problems, including slavery, wars and even genocide. Racial tension is creating civil wars and wars on the street, which are constantly occurring all around the world anywhere from France to South Africa to Detroit, Michigan. In order to understand the serious nature of these crimes, we must analyze the past. The most outstanding example that comes to mind is the events directed by Adolf Hitler, who came into power in 1933, as he managed a group that discriminated with acts that will hopefully never be repeated. The discrimination affected groups based on racial, political, ideological, behavioural and religious grounds. Among these groups were homosexuals, socialists, Gypsies and Jews, as well as many others. In what is largely considered the most extreme act of racism in history, the German Nazis killed nearly two out of every three Jews in a plan they called the “Final Solution”. A few years later and across the pond, there was a different form of discrimination taking place. Until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, racism in the United States took the form of slavery, via capture and breeding of Africans on slave ships to America.

4. Implications of Past Events
The implications of these events span many years past their abolishment. Although slavery as an institution has been put to an end, many who have the ancestry of slaves suffer from an inferiority complex and are therefore still victims of mental slavery. A former sports announcer, fired for the proceeding comment, announced that black people have an advantage in sport because of the past breeding of big black people to make good slaves. According to this announcer, for this reason, there are so few black individuals in coaching and executive positions (Fields, 96). Although the highest paid athletes in the United States are black, there is still a feeling of discrimination as blacks are rarely become managers or executives of the same sports (Kahn). The trend here is that more and more professions are becoming equally available to people of all races, creed, and colour. The construct that was once dominated by slavery has been transformed into equality via pioneering activists and history changing occurrences such as affirmative action.

5. The Current Situation
Although there has been a lot of progress made over the past years, there are currently many various problematic issues in this world that are contributed to by discriminatory behaviour and belief systems. The issues that are most alarmingly affected include poverty and poor lifestyle, mental and physical health, and self-perception. For example, racial bias in medical care, dwelling in bad neighbourhood, the trauma of experiences of discrimination and the acceptance of the societal stigma of inferiority can have damaging consequences for one’s health (Williams, 2006). Unfair hiring practices and wage inequality are customs that perpetuate poverty. Although much progress has been made, there are still cases like the recent black fire-fighter lawsuit in which the Supreme Court in Washington ruled on Monday. The issue here was discriminatory testing towards black firefighters in Chicago as only 11 percent of those who scored ‘high enough’ to be hired were black. However, the judgement ruled that the city should hire 132 randomly chosen black applicants who had a passing score and the test should be changed to a pass/ fail format in order to remove potential discriminatory practices (Holland).

As sociologists focus on people and the social development process, it is perhaps most vital that we focus on the place in which all modern civilizations develop, the schools. Discrimination is a problem that children commonly face, even as teachers and administrators push the social justice curriculum. Even in countries where education is considered above average, such as Canada, a higher rate of inclusiveness and empowerment of all children is considered a priority. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation published an article exemplifying concrete examples of racism. Quotes from children of all ages show students acting misinformed, ignorant, uninviting and other students being bullied, victimized and marginalized. An example of a common trend shows that there is an assumption that immigrant, visible minority and Aboriginal parents are less intelligent because of their accent, income level, or ability to speak English (Mentor, 4).

This type of belief that can escalate into dangerous behaviour and it is crucial that it is dealt with at an early stage in order to halt any advancement.

6. Conclusion
Using sociological studies can help one understand all of the aforementioned issues and in turn help minimize the problems with which they are associated. Conflict theory would help one under how the Nazi regime managed to dominate others so effectively meanwhile critical theory has helped change the unlawful nature of past incidents of genocide and slavery. Social constructionists could effectively explain how the social phenomenon of race oriented bullying develops in the school setting. The dynamics, which contribute to an individual’s ability to develop within a group and the development of the group itself, also contribute to the segregation between groups. When defining differences such as race, it is in the definition where the difference is created. The problem lies not within the special treatment of certain groups of people and offering relief based on racial classification should not solve the solution as any type of discrimination towards any type of people is unjust and should not occur in the first place.

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Essay/Term paper: Racsism

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Racism is a certain kind of prejudice, based on faulty reasoning and
inflexible generalizations toward a specific group. The word prejudice
comes from the Latin noun praejudicium, which means a judgment based on
previous decisions formed before the facts were known. If a person
allows their prejudiced beliefs to block the progress of another, it is
discrimination. Those who exclude all members of a race from certain
types of employment, housing, political rights, educational
opportunities, or a social interactions are guilty of racial
discrimination.
For centuries conflicts have taken place among three main races,
Caucasian, Asian, and Negro ranging from snobbish social exclusion, to
state- sponsored genocide. Racism is an unmerited fear or dislike of
a people because of their ethnic heritage. When colour is not a reason,
other reasons such as language, religion, nationality, education, sex,
or age become the reason of prejudice.
Sociologists, historians, anthropologists and archeologists believe
racial discrimination happens more often and most harshly when two
groups with different skin colours and unique physical features come
into contact with each other and the two compete for the same thing.
History shows that all attempts at a racial dominance result in
conflict and avoidance. But, some communities without disturbed
racial conflict can take advantage of all its citizens potential and
move toward elimination.
Our hate is caused by witnessing the behaviour of the Ku Klux Klan, our
unfavourable feeling toward a person without actual facts and the verbal
abuse that we get almost every day of our lives (if not us, then there
is someone in the world being hurt right this very minute.). The most
effective way which I believe this issue can start to be stopped is by
talking it out rationally without involving racism at that point in time
and bringing everybody together as equal as the next.

Africans were brought to the colonies and forced to work a lifetime for
no wages. The master took all the profits to save the small amount he
used to provide food, clothing and shelter for his slaves. Without
being able to read or write, the first Africans in America had no
defence against the refusal of their people. The dehumanization of the
African-American slave stands out as one of the most brutal and savage
torture in history.
Not being able to defend yourself against the hurt that people can put
a person through, can scar you for life. We need to see what the
world is doing to each other and instead of turning to violence or some
other kind of defence to get even. It would be easier if we just come
together as one and help the people who are discriminated against in
understanding that they are not what person"s say they are.
From birth to about age twelve, children collect information
about their world. They learn from many ways including their school,
family, neighbours, friends, and the community. They also get
information from books, movies, television, and other media. From this
information they gain beliefs, attitudes, and opinions.
(An opinion is a belief that is stronger than impression and less
strong than positive knowledge.)
Attitudes are feelings and emotions held toward a person, idea, or
things.
Attitude, opinions and the way we treat people are based on our
beliefs. If beliefs are prejudiced, then our attitude and behaviour
will be the same. Racism is a belief based on faulty reasoning,
misconceptions, and generalizations. Stereotyping is an exaggerated
belief associated with a group. It is produced by name calling, racial
slurs, and jokes.
Victims of prejudice often develop a faulty belief in the same way
children learn to be prejudiced. They learn to protect themselves by
creating self defences essential to their survival. A slur directed at
a particular ethnic group is likely to get these results in a
confrontation: pain, anger, shame, hostility, guilt and embarrassment.
Students admitted that they had used racial slurs when angered. I have
noticed in our own school, that the students tell racial jokes and used
ethnic names but they say that they don"t mean what they say it"s just
for humour"s sake.

Race hatred often leads to violence. People whom form groups to
defend America from a minority takeover fall into the category of
extremists. There are gangs in America today who walk the streets
measuring out a perverse form of justice to a whole race by choosing
an innocent person of such race to beat or kill. Such gangs are usually
powerless as people, so they seek strength in numbers. People with
shared hatred gain a pseudo power within the organizational structures
of such groups as the neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
Race hatred, permitted to gain unlimited power, will be disastrous.

The state - sponsored genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany is an example
of what happens when people who hate gain power. Hitler"s extermination
took the lives of six million human beings for no other reason than they
were Jewish.
It started in little ways, an ethnic joke, stereotyping that was never
challenged, then restrictions, loss of jobs, loss of civil rights, loss
of voting rights, and the loss of life.
Racists have very specific beliefs about their own groups and others.
Columnist Ellen Futterman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says, We are
guilty of race prejudice. We might go out of our way to avoid certain
words and phrases in our everyday speech only to find ourselves laughing
at a racial or ethnic joke later. Even though we may say that we could
never be racist or prejudice against a certain type of person, (I"m not
saying we are), it is interesting how someone can just say something
hurtful and not even realize what has been said.

What can be done to stop racism? A famous document from the Johnson
era, called the Kerner Report, stated that there must be strategies for
action that can produce progress and make good the promises of American
democracy to all citizens urban and rural, white and black, Spanish
surname, American Indians and every minority. We can"t expect only the
people of colour to take a stand in the elimination of racism. This
issue includes each and every one of us whether it is black, white,
orange, yellow, Australian, Russian, Ukrainian, or Irish.


If you have been called names that are directed to your colour, race,
the way you talk, act, or walk, you have experienced racism. (Based on
the lives of human rights leaders, there is no single way to take a
stand. Each person has to decide whether to take a leadership role or
to follow a leader, whose beliefs or goals he or she shares.
Taking a stand against racism and discrimination is not casual
involvement. It is a total commitment).

Racism is an emotionally charged subject. If you have ever been
discriminated against, you know it is difficult to think or act calmly.
The first reaction is to attack. But it is only fair when taking a
stand against racism or discrimination that you state your case
directly, fairly, and accurately, using facts, and evidence to support
your claims. Before you can take a stand against racism and race
discrimination, you need to know what it is, how it develops, and how to
recognize it in you and others. According to Alfred Fleishman, St.
Louis newspaper columnist, Racial prejudice is one of the scourges of
our society. And when it grows and lurks, especially where it is not
even noticed, the danger is even greater.
Up to the point of life which we are in now, we don"t even realize
what we say, the jokes we tell or the music we listen to. Some think
of some major issues as a joke but really there is always someone
being hurt whether they show it or not.
Today we stand for equality, justice and freedom. Where Canada and
America stand on racism and discrimination today and tomorrow is where
we stand because we are what is needed to stop the hate.

 

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