Racism Essay, Research Paper
Did you know that people with blonde hair have low I.Q.s? Or, that people less than five feet tall are more likely to spread a disease? How about that people with brown eyes are really worshipers of Satan. Now does this sound logical? No, you know that people with blonde hair can be as smart or as unintelligent as the next person, that short people are not necessarily better hosts to disease, and that people with brown eyes can believe in whatever they want. Some people, on the other hand, would say these things made perfect sense when applied to a different race, religion, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation. The idea of prejudice is as old as Mans time on Earth, that someone who is different just is not as good (Yinger 120). When a person thinks like this, it can clutter their judgment, and they become an ignorance racist. They start to see others, different from themselves, some times not even human let alone equal. Violence often ensues, when that happens we have a hate crime. A hate crime is a criminal act committed against a person based on religion, race, national origin, or sexual orientation (Strauss). A hate crime does not necessarily have to be a physical violent act. Words and threats can be just as damaging on an emotional level as a physical blow is to the head. Laws have been passed to prevent these actions, however, year after year there are many hate crimes against different ethnical groups. Why are people racist? Why do they hate each other because of color of skin, where they are from, what religion they are. These are the questions that society needs to ask and find a solution for there is no one group or one person that can fix all of these problems. So, what is a racist? A racist is a person that thinks his own ethnic group is superior to that of someone else s; all racism is a result of ignorance. How can we stop racism? We can start by educating are young people about it and what kind of effects it has on are society. Next, we could stop supporting, and participating in racial jokes, yes joking about a person s race only supports racism, and just adds fuel to any already out of control fire. So what can we do? Here is a short story on my own experience in racism.
I grew up around racism, but I did not become a racist. The town I lived in all my life was very small and there where very few minorities living there. My father was not a racist; I never heard a racist comment come out of his mouth. However my mother and her entire family where racist and some still are, my mother was raised around it, her father fought in WWII and was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese. Therefore, this is way I think that my mother made racial comments about the Japanese or anyone that looked like them, but that is as far as it went. Then when I was in high school there was a lot of racism, this created a breeding ground for hatred, young people, wanting to fit in, if they had to had the same views as the others they could be part of the group, luckily I did not want to be part of this group. Then my sophomore year in high school, we had three Japanese exchange students, I quickly became very good friends with one of them and we started dating. The first time I took her home to meet my parents, my mother looked very surprised, but was very kind to her. My father on the other hand treaded her know different then anyone of my other girlfriends. After the night was over and she left my mother look at me and said, She was happy to see that her hatred for Japanese people was not passed on to me. I told her that you should not hate someone for what happen over 40 years ago, something that this girl had no control over. From that day on my mother was a lot more open-minded. I want to tell this story to show how easy racism is passed on, but also how easy it can be broken. My mother was not a hard-core racist and I do not want you to think she is, she made racial comments because she grew up around it. Since that day when I was in high school, my mother has change a great deal. She now has many friends that are of Asian heritage. She also does not tolerate racial comment or jokes while she is around.
So to stop racism, the first thing we need to do is educate are young people and some parents. According to Dr. Jim Barta children start to develop biases before they even reach the classroom, he stated that children as young as two years old have showing discriminate behavior, which if goes unchallenged may later develop into racism (Barta 28). Mr. Allport as also observed in his studies at a nursery school, that children as young as two would not hold hand with African-American children, because the though that they were dirty (Allport 302). This shows that parents need to be educated in what racism is and how to avoid installing this type of attitude into their children. After all parents are our student s first teachers (Barta 28). So we know that at a young age children start to pick up what their parents and family teach them, this can have either a positive or a negative effect on the children s attitude. So once again the good Dr. Barta has this to say, Educating parents about the role they can play in helping their children develop positive perceptions of culturally diverse people can have lasting results (29). Even if you are a good parent and raise your children to respect the human race and not just a single race, there are many other factors, which can influence your children to become a racist. These influences are the media, and Internet.
The media has a very large roll in shaping are children s view of race. Television and movies like to joke about race, to me and many others this is just a way to help encourage racism in are young people. According to the author of, The end of racism, many people fall victim to racism, because the language we use keeps it alive (D souza 26). Joking about race or racism support those stereotypical images that the media show to all of us. We all now that the media does not always present cultural diversity effectively, often the images and plots are a very stereotypical (Barta 30). This lead young people, or all people for that matter to believe that this images are true. Now we have the Internet with over 24 million users is most likely the best place to influence young people (Sheppard 34).
In America, hate groups still exist, but not as strong as they once were. Because of their lack of popularity amongst broad-minded people, hate groups have changed the way in which they present their ideas. All too often, hate groups try to pass off their beliefs as a truth of religion. Using quotes from the Bible and other religious texts and twisting them to fit their image. The internet has made it easier for these hate groups to recruit new members, they do not have to walk around place fliers on windshields or try pass out pamphlets on a street corner (Sheppard 35). Now they can sit and wait for young, confused, and lonely teens to find them. This happens because teens have a felling of wanting to belong, and when these hate groups reach out to them and offer them to be in the group, we has a society have just created another racist. The Internet has not just made recruiting new members easier but it has also given these groups a place to display their hateful messages.
I believe in free speak and freedom of the press, however I do believe that we as a society need to draw the line somewhere when it comes down to hateful message and racist jokes. These type of thing have no positive effect on are society, country, or family. Therefore, this type of behavior and attitudes should not be tolerated, and when it does happen I say let the punishment fit the crime. If we continue to raise our children with these stereotypical images and racist attitudes, we are going to continue to have racist people and hate group. The cycle has been going on for thousands of year you think we would have stop it by now. So, now that we know what to do lets all work together to stop racism. As I said early in this essay, you can break the chain of racism. I did it and even change some others views towards racism along the way. If everyone would work together and stop joking about racism or turning their back to the issue as if it does not exist, we could make this world a better place for are children.
Allport, G. W. (1974). The nature of prejudice. Boston: Addison-Wesley Publishing company.
Barta, J. & Winn T. (1996). Involving parents in creating anti-bias classrooms. Children Today, 24, 28-30.
D souza, D. (1995). The end of racism. New York: The Free Press.
Sheppard, N. (1996 Jul/Aug). Hate in cyberspace. Emerge. 34-40.
Stauss, L. (2000, December 4). Hate Crimes. http://www.projectchange.org/hatecrimes.htm
Yinger, J. M. (1980). Minority group in American society. New York: McGraw-Hill inc.