Racism In The Us Essay, Research Paper
Scott A. Cole
English Comp 1
Racism and Discrimination in the US
??Everybody jumped on him, and beat him senseless? Everybody was hitting him or kicking him. One guy was kicking at his spine. Another guy was hitting him on the side of his face? he was unconscious. He was bleeding. Everybody had blood on their forearms. We ran back up the hill laughing? He should have died? He lost so much blood he turned white. He got what he deserved?? (Ridgeway 167). The skinheads who were beating this man up had no reason to do so except for the fact that he was Mexican. Racism in this day and age is still as big of a problem as it was in the past, and as long as hate groups are still around to promote violence, society is never going to grow to love one another.
Racism is defined as ethnical or racial discrimination or segregation. There are three distinct types of racism in this day and age: racism, open racism, and violent racism. Open racism expresses freedom of racial thought and speech. This form of racism is legal due to the First Amendment, freedom of speech. Open racism is almost extinct, because it is considered to be politically incorrect and socially is not expectable. Finally, violent racism promotes racism through fear, violence, and persuasive techniques. This is not protected by the First Amendment because it promotes violence to express its ideas. (Leone 49.)
As time goes on, racism is becoming more and more unexceptable. This is most likely due to the fact that parents are teaching their children about equality among different races other than their own at a very young age. Some parents are going as far as to taking their children to local Ku Klux Klan rallies to show them that being ignorant and racist is not the right way think and act. ?If it is not thrown in your face, you tend to forget about it? says a parent who has tried this before (Tananarive 1J+).
Statistics show that children are bias free usually between the ages of two and five, but prejudice can begin as early as the age of two (Tananarive 1J+). Racism usually starts in the schools. Most white supremacists usually do not grow up hearing it at home. If parents hear their children say a racist remark, they should not stay quiet. Correct them, but do not punish them. If they are taught at a young age to not be racist, when they are older, they can be able to distinguish between the right and wrong things to think and say.
Some racist things that parents say, but they do not consider to be racist are: they are such good athletes, everyone knows that Asian kids are smarter, he/she is cute?. for a black person, why are you doing that.. do you think you are black? If the parent says one of these in front of their child, they should correct themselves and make it known that what they just said is not nice and that it should not be repeated.
Racism should not be tolerated in schools. Children are often intimidated by others, and are afraid to speak up. Some tips to fight racism in schools, given by Peter Benson, are: first, nobody has to put up with racism. Nobody forces anyone to laugh at racist jokes, or join in on their taunts. He also suggests that people should stick up for one another. Comments like,? that joke is not funny? or ?do not call so and so that name? are good things to say. The next suggestion was to watch out for racist biases in schools. One race should not get more attention than another from the teachers or the principal. And the final way to fight racism in schools is to widen your circle of friends and get to know them before you make any judgements. Racism begins by making judgements of people before you know them.
America?s first step in fighting racism was back in 1964 with the passing of the Civil Rights Act. This new law protected anyone from discrimination based on race, religion, gender or national origin (Garkins 8). Before the passing of this law, African Americans could not eat at the same restaurants, sleep at the same hotels, drink from the same drinking fountains, use the same restrooms, or even go to the same schools as white people.
Questions have been raised about America?s race relations. Has our country progressed so far as to feel safe around anyone regardless of his or her color? Does someone?s color have any effect on the way we think of them? Has our relationship with other races become better or worse over the years? (Brooks ). The answer to this question lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, relationships have gotten much better over time. As of now, in the year 2000, absolutely no legal segregation exists in America. Of course, there are still some racist bigots in the world who will refuse service to someone because of their color. An example of this would be: in the 1990?s, a group of African American teenagers went out to dinner. The manager of the restaurant told their group that everyone would have to pay a two dollar sitting fee and they would all have to split up into a few smaller groups. That night, at the same restaurant, the black teens saw a group of their friends, who were white. The white teens did not have to pay a two dollar sitting fee and they were all able to sit at the same table. (Brooks) This type of racism goes on all across the country, and probably will continue until race is no longer an issue.
To cut down on discrimination in schools and businesses, our country has come up with a system called ?Affirmative Action.? Affirmative action gives minorities and women special consideration. An example of this would be: A manager is hiring some new employees and he has two equally qualified people, one of the people is a man and the other person is a woman. Due to Affirmative Action, the manager would be forced to hire the woman over the man. There is much controversy over this law. ?An increasingly assertive opposition movement argues that the battle to guarantee equal rights for all citizens has been fought and won ? and that favoring members of one group over another simply goes against the American grain? (Froomkin). The majority of the country is in favor of this law. Everyone in the world feels some sort of prejudice, it is only natural, but when people show it in the public, then it becomes an issue. The government feels the only way to fix this discrimination problem is through affirmative action. People who agree with the law say,? the playing field is not level yet, and that granting modest advantages to minorities and women is more than fair, given hundreds of years of discrimination that benefited whites and men? (Froomkin). Society is divided in the middle when it comes to this topic, and if there is not a compromise in the near future, racism will continue and our country will never progress.
Whenever there is racism, there tends to be hate crimes. An example of a hate crime would be: a bunch of white people beat up a black man for no reason. . Recently, 21 states have passed laws regarding this topic. Wyoming, however, has tried repeatedly to pass such a law, but every time it has failed. This law seems really nice, but trying to prosecute a hate crime is harder than it seems. ?Trying to determine a persons motive while he or she was committing the crime is very difficult to prosecute? (Aurelio A1+). Figures show that California, compared to the rest of the country, has a horrible record for prosecuting hate crimes. In the year 1994, 2,626 were reported out of the whole state of California, but only 187 were ever prosecuted (Aurelio A1+). Prosecutors have also been failing to follow up or apply new laws that lengthen prison terms. Since the release of these figures, California has taken steps in making sure they do better jobs in seeing that these crimes do not go unpunished (Aurelio A1+).
The Ku Klux Klan, one of the biggest hate groups in the world, is mostly responsible for the spread of racism. Their past goes as far back as 1866 and has continued up until today. In the past, they roamed the country and held rallies to try to gain support. Now days, the Ku Klux Klan has made their way onto the Internet. They spread their propaganda by using books, music, and convincing articles in hopes of recruiting people. Throughout their history, there has been five different era?s. The most recent era has extended its self past the Klan and into many other little hate groups, including the National Alliance, American Nazi Party, National Association for the Advancement of White People, World Church of the Creator, and many others. Even though this era of the KKK insists that they are more moderate than previous Klan eras, it is every bit as violent as it was in the past, if not more.
People think that once you are a racist, you are always a racist. This generalization is totally untrue. Tom Leyen?s life story is proof that change is possible. He grew up in a strict catholic family. When he was a teenager, his parents decided to get divorce. This event had to be one of the most dramatic turning points in his life. After Tom?s father moved out of his house, he began to hang around the local clubs and punk rock concerts. It was there he met the skinheads that would one day change his life forever. As time went on, he took up his friends ways and beliefs. It was not before long that he got married and had children with a girl who also belonged to the skinheads. Tom watched his children growing up believing all the stuff that he did. He hung the nazi flag over their cribs, he forbid them to watch any television shows with African Americans on it, and he read them racist books. One night he was sitting alone, thinking about the morals he was teaching his children. ?The stuff I was teaching my kids scared the hell out of me. They weren?t going to grow up being lawyers or doctors, they were just going to be you?re average punk beating up on other people for fun,? said Tom. That same week, he left the skinheads and turned himself into the Weisenthal Center. This center acts as a watch dog organization that fights anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice He was the first racist to voluntarily turn himself into the center (Ex-skinhead). The people who run the center say that his contribution to the Weisenthal Center has made a huge difference.
Many believe the only way our country is ever going to overcome its racial tension is by being tolerant of others. Racists think of blacks as incompetent, lazy, stupid, etc. If whites would take the time to get to know other races, maybe opinions would be changed. Thomas Jackson, an active racist and a member of the skinheads, believes our country is being too tolerant towards the Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, African Americans, and all other races. ?whites are being asked to devote themselves to the interest of other races and to ignore the interest of their own? (Jackson). He also goes on by saying,? whites are suppose to just forget and slaughter their own European heritage and except the black, Asian, Chinese and Japanese cultures. To not do so would be considered racist? (Jackson). This quote is correct to some extent, but for the most part, it is ignorant. He is trying to convince everyone that just because other cultures are in America, the white heritage is in jeopardy, and that we are being forced to take up all their ways. The quote given by Jackson where he says, ?if we do not except all other races, it is considered racist,? is mostly true. In America, African American clubs exist all over the place, and whites are supposed to accept this and have no problem with it. if whites have an all exclusive club, it is considered to be racist. This is the problem with America. Our country has double standards, things that apply to one race and not to another. Blacks, Hispanics, and other non-white cultures have clubs and are thought to be fine expressions of ethnic solidity, but any club or organization exclusively for whites is considered to be unexcitable and racist (Jackson). This is a huge problem in the United States and it is pretty sad when it takes a racist to realize it. there are no real ways to fix this dilemma. The only possible solution is to let time take its toll. During the last thirty years, there have been countless changes to improve our relationship with other cultures. Maybe in the next thirty, we could all live together with no racism in the world.
As time goes on, people have gone to great lengths to try to improve relations with blacks, and to fix the errors of the past. Laws have been made to try to give African Americans the same opportunities as whites, but as hard as people try, there is always going to be some ignorant people who will not obey these laws and make no efforts to be friends with them. If parents teach their children at young ages about racism, there might be a chance for the upcoming generations to live in a society where people are not judged by the color of their skin.