World Of Choice Essay, Research Paper
The color of skin is not a reason for difference, but instead it is a chance to celebrate diversity. I have seen racism in action throughout my life. My friends have been hurt by it…physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a child, prejudice was never an option to me…hating someone that was different than I, simply was wrong. As an individual, I was encouraged to learn about the differences in myself and others, and then to celebrate them. I was shown to discover a desire within myself, to expanded my knowledge, and further to celebrate diversity. I was dared to do more than just know, I was challenged to help stop hate and spread ideas of university and acceptance to a diverse audience. I challenge other individuals to do the same. However, the choice lies within the individual, but the repercussions of such choices are widespread.
Racism and racist slurs are words that mean a lot of things to many different people. To some, these words are the description of a way of life; to others, they are repulsive terms that represent closed-mindedness. To me, there is only one race, and that race is human. Yet racism and being racist are descriptions of a reality that can not be denied. People of color live daily with the effects of both institutional and individual racism. Injustice can be experienced personally, through jokes, graffiti, abuse and violence from other people. Discrimination can also be experienced through society’s laws and social policies, such as being denied access to education, jobs, housing, and other services. Although some individuals believe that race is the primary component of human abilities and capacities, many have denounced such ridiculous ideas.
Society influences racism in many ways. There are several types of racism. Aside from skin color, people with blonde hair are victims to discrimination, culture is victim, clothing, speech, and all forms of difference are subject to racism. Society not only influences racism, but society is also influenced. It is a chain reaction of society and its motives and actions. Others, especially parents, family and friends, influence most people in regards to their actions and beliefs about not only what to wear but also whom to associate with. Television media or schools also influences some individuals. Where they live or their cultural background influences some, by past racism from which some people still hold grudges either by memory or by story. Throughout history, differences were never celebrated, but were the bases for discrimination. Television appeared to be the biggest source for the ideas. History is a way of life, and as we all know, history will continue to repeat itself. Therefore racism will never end, at least history says so.
During the late 1800s and throughout the mid 1900s, African Americans were negatively portrayed in print, radio, television, and movies. Kate Tuttle points out that “When black characters did appear, network executives crafted the most inoffensive, blandly perfect images possible. One arena in which African Americans appeared on television beginning in the 1950s, was in the serious documentaries about rural poverty, segregation, and violence.” Over the years, media representations and portrayals of minorities have come under increasing awareness. Negative stereotyping, and under-representations are the most common charges brought against advertisers and news and entertainment media. While some suggest these flaws are unintentional, and easily corrected, others feel the conventions of these media industries create an environment that is hostile to minorities, and difficult to change. Blacks in film and television roles were often portrayed in one-dimensional ways as entertainers or sport figures, villains, victims, and domestics. As represented in movies such as “The Green Mile”, “Mississippi Burning”; and television shows such as “Good Times”. Only rarely did minorities appear with something significant to say or do.
Minority portrayal rarely led to critical views of widespread myths of our society; things will get better, systematic racism is not a problem, and whatever your color, the American dream is within reach. I have seen these ideas in the minds of individuals who refuse to face the reality that is obvious racism still exists. Through stereotypes, minorities were put down, put in their place, or put up as props and adornments for audience gratification.
Race-role images continue to be reinforced, perpetuated, and even legitimized through selective media coverage of radio and television. The identification by racial labels remains an occasional problem in today s society whether referring to a specific group or talking to them directly. When describing why he personally feels that racism still exsits, Senator Theodore G. Bilbo states that “I don’t have any explanation for stereotyping other than it’s easy…It’s sign language. It saves the writer the ultimate discomfort of having to think.” The problem with stereotypes is that they give individuals incomplete and sometimes misleading images of people. Nevertheless if these stereotypes are repeated often enough, society may tend to accept them as true.
Having pride in one s heritage is something all individuals should posses. However, when that pride leads to one feeling superiority over another, it has become racism. Having and showing love for one race or heritage does not have to include derogatory actions, conscious or otherwise, towards others. A perfect example are athletes who, no matter how good they are, compliment other competitors on their skills and/or personality because they recognize them as a person with talents, not as black or white.
Racism is a social and spiritual disease. It is born of ignorance and fear, both which feed upon each other. That which we are ignorant of becomes a source of fear. Fear itself breeds greater ignorance and the cycle continues. This is a crippling disease that no amount of medical research can cure, no amount of fundraising can prevent–a disease most often transmitted from parent to child, and unchecked in its early stages, can be fatal. The disease is called racism. Its early symptom is the belief that one’s racial group is somehow superior to others. In advanced stages, the symptoms of racism are violence, death and destruction. A cure exists, however, people who believe that race is the determining factor for the quality and meaning of human life, prevent it for restoring humanity and its significance. This cure is patience, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and. It takes time and effort. Society needs to promote and encourage racial harmony, unity and tolerance.
1. Tuttle, Kate: “Television and African Americans”, Harvard Square Netcasting LLC, 1999.