Racism is the belief that one race or culture is fundamentally superior to another, regardless of anthropological evidence to the contrary. This difference – the perceived inferiority of one race over another – is commonly employed as fair grounds for discrimination, whether institutionalized or individual. Racism runs as a counterpoint to the prevalent belief and practice of egalitarianism in much of the developed world. Yet, despite widespread efforts to cleanse social, political, and legal superstructures of racism since the mid-20th century, it still persists – covertly, beneath the fabric of society in some pockets, overtly in others.
Racism is an umbrella term and denotes discrimination based on not only race, but also culture, ethnicity, and economic power. It amounts to a preferment of people belonging to a particular class, culture, ethnicity and economic strata over another. The persecution of the Jews under Nazi rule in Germany, or the discriminatory practices in pre-Civil Rights era United States are both examples of racism.
Racism is, in its very essence, an acute form of xenophobia. An examination of the history of racism would compel us to comb through the very beginnings of human civilization when overtly protective settled groups regarded outsiders with suspicion, fear, and hatred. Evidence to the same abounds in historical and anthropological records dating back to the first developed civilizations in Mesopotamia, Greece, and Egypt. The Greek fear of ‘barbarians’ from the north can be seen as an example of xenophobic racism in its earliest avatar.
In the modern context, the classification of humanity into separate races and the subsequent discrimination was an anthropological practice started in the early 19th century. This difference between races – whether in physical attributes or societal characteristics – was taken as fair grounds for discrimination against one race or culture, and was a widespread social ideology until the mid-20th century in large parts of the world. To this effect, attempts at racial cleansing or altering the genetic composition of a population (eugenics) were practiced in certain countries.
However, social structures underwent rapid changes after the Second World War, fuelled by the independence of countless nation states previously under colonial rule and an intellectual movement towards equality and egalitarianism in much of the developed world. As an institutional practice, racism was dismantled in much of the developed world in the two decades after the WWII. Yet, racism continues to propagate beneath the fabric of society in almost every country across the world.
Racism Thesis Statement Examples:
* Increasing intercultural and interracial communication and collaboration in a globalized world will hasten the end of racism across the globe.
* The widespread societal and institutional changes ushered in America since the 1960s culminating in the election of a black president have yet done little to ameliorate the covert discrimination faced by racial minorities.
* Increasing incidents of hate crimes against racial minorities across Europe points towards the failure of multiculturalism as an institutional practice.
* The South’s resistance to the Lincoln’s anti-slavery campaign was an economic ploy meant to ensure the availability of cheap labor for their cotton plantations and not an ideological opposition to per se.
* Affirmative action, as an institutional policy to counter racial discrimination actually ends up promoting racial differences rather than blurring racial boundaries.
* Just because a particular person from a particular race does something very wrong, everyone from that race is being discriminated by people from so-called other races. This practice should be stopped for the good of the world.
* Racism at workplace is responsible for constant mood changes, aggressive behavior and an overall bad feeling in the minds of the affected persons. This in turn is bad for the employer and the society.
* The honest and the righteous citizens of the world are not going to be silent spectators if some people from a particular race ruthlessly discriminate against people of another race – An analysis of the achievements of organizations working against racial discrimination in America.
* Because some politicians play the racism card to garner votes and grab power, people should cautiously choose the politician whom they would want to bring to power and represent them.
* With rise in crimes related to racial hatred in Australian universities, diversity training for the students may help restrain the problem.
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I just finished my essay. I redid a lot of it to try to simplify the language. I am not actually expecting anyone to read it, but if you want to, please do.
Affirmative Action: An Advancement or a Backtrack?
In the summer of 1619, the first Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia not to live as free settlers but as subordinate slaves. They worked strenuously for Whites, who considered themselves superior to Africans, without much benefit. Racism is not just the belief that one race is superior to others, but the act of negatively identifying individuals based on the color of their skin. Attributing race to individual character has proven to have negative implications that are difficult to mend. There have been different approaches to rectify the effects of racism dating back even before the Civil War. One of the fruition of these attempts is Affirmative Action, which was initially enforced “to ensure equality in hiring” among minorities. Later, Affirmative Action was amended to include education under its protection. Throughout its duration, however, it has alleviated the racial tension unsubstantially. Affirmative Action’s attempt to halt the racial disparities in higher education that has burdened the African Americans constitutes an inconsequential solution: It forges the same environment suffering the struggle it has been trying to eradicate.
Racism in America has incessantly tried to prevent minorities from advancing in higher education. Prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, laws precluded African slaves from reading and writing. If caught in violation, their White enslavers severely punished the slaves, including the inhumane, coercive wearing of iron muzzle. With laws that shut them in fear and torture and treatment that rendered them helpless, the African slaves aimed hopelessly for educational opportunities that bypassed them. Eventually, education opened its doors to African Americans, but the opening was rather narrow and hesitant. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, the discrepancy in offering collegiate opportunities to students remained ignored and almost unchanged. In 1950, the inadequacy became apparent when the “separate but equal” doctrine, a racial policy supporting racial segregation, almost prevented Sweatt, an aspiring law student, from being admitted to University of Texas Law School. A year later, Texas also learned about the sacrifice Linda Brown had to go through everyday. As a result of the “separate but equal” policy, she was forced to walk a mile to get to her Black elementary school even though a White elementary school was just a stone’s throw away from her home. By preventing Linda Brown from grasping the fundamentals necessary to succeed in college, she could suffer the same fate of the thousands of African slaves—staring at education when they should have been immersing themselves in the power it holds.
As the reprehensible image of racism and ineffectiveness of the civil rights law began to surface, the Americans recognized the need for a solution to redress the issue. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delineated the concept of Affirmative Action: “you do not take a man who for years have been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, ‘you are free to compete with all the others’.” In essence, Affirmative Action was viewed as a tentative remedy to prepare minorities, specifically African Americans, mentally and socially for them to fairly compete in the job marketplace in the future. When it was later enforced to include education, Affirmative Action promised a harbor for educational opportunities impartial of a student’s color. Its positive effect was seen in the increase of minorities enrolled in college institutions. This included the higher rate of 7.5% Black law students in 1995 compare to 1.29% in 1970.
Six scores and 18 years ago, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed African slaves from the ownership of Whites. 53 years ago, the Supreme Court ruling helped Sweatt gain admission to a law school. 52 years ago, the Brown v. Board of Education landmark case initiated the dynamic that would desegregate public schools. And 39 years ago, Lyndon Johnson ordered the implementation of Affirmative Action to level the playing field between minorities and non-minorities. After all those years, is American education now a matured, apolitical institution free from the stench of racial bigotry? The low number of college-enrolled African Americans does not affirm so; nor does the figures in the 2001 and 2002 College-Board Seniors National Report. In the two previous years, African Americans had the lowest average SAT score of 859 and 857, respectively. At status quo, the pedestal needed to advance from is limping.
Today, Affirmative Action breathes out the same hostile air that fails to secure equality in higher education. Originally, it was intended as a temporary tool to help minorities by taking affirmative steps to ensure that they are represented equally. Affirmative Action has increased the diversity of student bodies in universities in the US. The rate of increase, however, does not reflect a leveled playing field as promised by the program when it was first introduced. To further exacerbate the incompetent results, the time span of 39 years was greatly beyond what was anticipated. 39 of which a few years were honest and effective efforts while the rest camouflaged inequality behind its own less conspicuous shadow. Before, racial preference deprived deserving Africans of educational opportunities; now, racial preference deprives deserving Whites of educational opportunities. It sounds redundant, doesn’t it? If in 1950, Sweatt was almost rejected from University of Texas, in 1973 and 1974, Allan Bakke was rejected twice by University of California, even though his scores were higher than the minorities who received admission. Nonetheless, the problem is not who is advantaged or who is disadvantaged: it is why does Affirmative Action permit inequality to propagate if inequality is what it has been trying to eliminate.
It is unacceptable to justify the balance and diversity of a college community to sacrifice equality. A diverse public community, whether educational institution or workplace, is not always parallel to equality. In fact, many universities in the US have shown that diversity can lead to inequality. One of the famous cases is the University of Michigan’s Affirmative Action lawsuit. The Supreme Court ruled that the university’s Affirmative Action policy of providing additional points, which translates to a head start in a race for admission, to minorities violates the equal protection outlined in the Constitution. Nevertheless, the Court also ruled that diversity is a “compelling [government] interest” that it is willing to mount a price on equality. Is it not Lincoln’s death, together with the thousands of Africans who perished in the Civil War in the name of equality, a compelling national interest? What about the ideals of basic rights set out in Magna Carta that guided the framing of the Constitution? The Affirmative Action did, in fact, help the “man who for years have been hobble by chains” to “compete with all the others” at the expense of breaking important rules. For three decades of unsubstantial positive change and occasional trips and falls, Affirmative Action is far from being the lever to raise a multiracial utopia.
Racism in America has existed for more than three centuries, and no history book, scholarly tome, or a text on the subject can ever capture its gruesome image. This disease is ingrained in American society that it takes a huge amount of time to overcome it and subdue its intensity. Still, it can be treated. The treatment, however, must subjugate the disease, not pass it around. Affirmative Action had a good beginning because it served what was needed during its early years. But as time changes, so does the needs of the moment. Now, a considerable part of America has access to education without the iron muzzle of the 18th century and segregation of the 20th century. Thus, education could be the haven that would dramatically help in dealing with racism. But unlike Affirmative Action, the government should not focused on remedying the problem in higher education. Instead, Americans—students, parents, teachers, and all—must share their differences and work on the problem earlier during when most people find their identity and sense of self.