Racism without “Racists”
In the contemporary society where people judge others by their color, region and descent, there have been profound efforts to unite mankind regardless of race, religion or tribe. However, such efforts have been futile in various instances due to incarnation of racism behavior meted by certain category of people towards others based on their color, religion, race and tribe. Such discriminations have also spread to other fronts of life depending with the language someone talks and if different from others. Nowadays with exceptions white supremacist organization members in the United States, there are few whites who still claim to be racists in all aspect of their interactions with other people especially of different color. Majority of the whites asserts that their non-racial aspects are depicted when they considers all as people as opposed to seeing their color. Despite the existence of ugly face of discrimination still persistent in our societies, it is usually not considered as the central factor in the determination of minorities’ life chances and access to basic human needs in the society. Although such is a primary notion worth noting, the reality is far from the truth. These assertions were enhanced by Dr. Martin Luther King Junior who stressed the need to live in a free society void of any form of discrimination where people are not judged by the color of their skin but rather by the content of their character (Argyle and Monika 44).
Majority of whites argue that it the responsibility of minority groups more specifically blacks who are responsible for whatever racial problem that is currently witnessed in America. White in several occasions have publicly denounced the backs who they claim have perfected the racial card for their spirited efforts of demanding the provisions and maintenance of unnecessary racial based and divisive programs. Such actions like always complaining of racism whenever they are disparaged by the whites plus the so called affirmative actions have achieved nothing but advancing the card of racial discrimination and tag. It is the belief of the whites that if minority groups especially the blacks would stop complaining and work hard towards earning a decent living, America would be a great place to live in without all the issues of racial discrimination. However, regardless of the thoughts of native white Americans sincere fictions, it is evident that racial considerations is at the center of virtually everything in the country. In every area of social life, it can be observed that blacks and dark skinned Americans lag behind the whites in virtually all spheres of social life (Armstrong and James 23).
Research and surveys have over time indicated that blacks and other minority groups are usually three times more about to become poor or sick compared to the whites. In terms of wage remunerations, these former group is also earning 40 percent less regardless of whether they are performing the same responsibilities at work place compared to their white counterparts. In addition, minority groups measured in terms of net worth are found to be an eighth of those possessions of the whites. All aspects of life compared among these two groups is pointing to a perspective of discrimination in all aspects. The whites have access to superior education quality compared to these minority groups despite introduction of integrated schools in the country. Compared to white citizens, black owned housing units are usually valued at 35 percent less than those of the whites. These trend have also been enhanced by Americans realtors who have limited the entrance of minority groups in the sector hence making minority group housing less inferior than those of the whites. The realtors have also been practicing exclusionary practices which as well have limited the entrance of black and Latino population in the housing sector. There are as well other practices where blacks have received impolite treatments in various institutions, schools, restaurants and in various commercial transactions in the country (Bay 27).
There have been various researches documenting how blacks have been forced to pay more and incur high costs while purchasing goods such as houses and cars than the cases involving whites. Finally, and a profound way that the racial discrimination has been propagated involved the police. Blacks and skinned Latinos have always been beleaguered in the field of racial profiling by both the police and the justice department. This combined with a biased and highly racial criminal court system has done worse rather improving the situation. The recent past has witnessed racial profiling by police department especially among the major highways in the country has become such a usual occurrence and phenomenon. This has been so frequent that people no has described it with a term, “driving while black.” In conclusion, all aspects of social life have demonstrated blacks and other minorities as placed at the bottom of the well in all aspects (America 24).
The greatest and most disturbing question is how it possible to have such a high rate and tremendous degree of racial inequality especially in America where native whites have always claimed that racial profiling and discrimination is no longer relevant? In addition, it begs the question of how whites can explain the contradictions between their declaration of color blindness and their country’s color-coded inequality? In this creative work, we have attempted to answer both questions as stated above. It is no doubt that whites over time have developed a strong and powerful explanations to all that have been highlighted as racial discrimination among these groups. The racial inequalities have also been profound although justifications have been forthcoming from the whites as per the reasons of their existence and exculpating themselves from any form of responsibility especially with the current conditions for the people of the color. For the purpose of these analysis, the term color blind racism shall be used refer to the current state witnessed from the racial ideology. This ideology which acquired dominance and cohesiveness in the 1960s can be used to offer an explanation to the current racial inequalities as the possible outcomes of the nonracial dynamics (Bonilla-Silva 469).
Other scholars who have studied the subject of racism and inequalities have offered possible causes and explanations. However, while such scholars like Jim Crow racism attempted to explain the blacks’ social status and standing mostly as a result of moral and biological inferiority, color blind racism will by all means negate and avoid such assertions. But rather, the whites have rationalized the current status of the current minority situation as purely attributable to market dynamics, black’s imputed dynamics and as well as naturally occurring phenomenon. The whites’ base their argument on various instances as described by characters above, for instance, the high poverty levels among the Latinos may be explained by their relaxed and procrastinations work ethics (Bobo and James 448).
Color blind racism was the preferred racial ideology which was used by the whites in their attempts, practices and mechanism in keeping the blacks as well as other racial minorities always at the bottom of the well changed. It is evident that the contemporary racial inequalities in the country is usually reproduced through a concept of “new racism” a practice that is institutional, subtle and apparently nonracial in all its aspects as presented to the general public. Compared to the traditional and unconventional methods of racial profiling especially during the Jim Crow era where overt means were used to enforce racial inequalities, contemporary, racial inequalities and practices are usually operational through “now you see it. Now you don’t, fashion. For instance, the residential segregation in the current situation which is overly high as it was in the past is no longer manifested through overtly practices of discrimination. But rather, there have been covert behaviors from the whites and realtors who do not disclose all available housing units which is meant to steer whites and black minorities to certain neighborhoods. In addition, realtors may quote higher buying cost or rental prices in attempts to encourage certain group pf people while driving others from certain regions and neighborhoods. Finally, the method of not advertising a housing available unit at all is used to drive and seclude certain communities in regions that the realtors and owners wants (Bush 11). These methodologies for racial profiling and discriminations are not limited to housing and residential areas. In the economic fronts, there have been prevalent use of smiling face form of discrimination, job advertisements only in white networks and ethnic newspapers. In addition, people of the color are placed in jobs with limited mobility as new ways devised of keeping black and minority groups to secondary positions in work places (Darity 147).
In the political spheres, although there have been legislative and civil right struggles which have helped in removal of various discriminatory obstacles especially for people of the color in their quest to participate in the electoral process, much remain unaddressed. Racial multimember legislative districts, racial gerrymandering, annexation of predominantly white areas, election runoffs, anti-single-shot devices and at-large district elections have been adopted as the standard practices meant to disenfranchise people of the color from fair participation in the electoral practices. Regardless of the place, whether in supermarkets, restaurants, learning institutions, financial institutions, the maintenance of all the white privileges, housing transactions and racial profiling has been carried out in a way that by all means defies the definition of facile racial readings. Therefore, the contours relating to color blind racism can be described to fir in America’s new way of expressing racism quite well (Baumeister 14).
In comparison to the Jim Crow racism, the ideology and aspect of color blindness has become and regarded as racism lite. Instead of sticking to the traditional form of name calling, color blind racism has taken a new turn otherizes in soft manner. Instead, they rely on the notion of it is the responsibility of God who placed the minorities in the world while occupying a servile position compared to the whites. In this scenario, the suggestion is that they are primitive, poor and behind solely because they do not work hard enough to accumulate like their white colleagues. When it comes to intermarriages, instead of viewing the marriage as a wrong notion, especially the interracial ones, it is regarded as a problematic aspect mostly because it raises the concern of locations, children and the extra burden it brings on the couples. This new ideology as observed in various spheres of contemporary life have been adopted as a formidable political highly used in maintenance of the racial order in the country. Just as much we may demonize the Jim Crow racism while it served as the weapon for defending the brutal and overt racial system of oppression during the pre-civil rights era, the color blind racism has in the present world have been used equally on the same measure as the ideological armor for an institutionalized and covert system in the contemporary post-civil rights era (Anner 12).
The beauty associated with these new ideologies and privileges is that, they are used to maintain the status quo and white privileges without much of fanfare. In addition, it is designed not to name those it subjects to unfair treatments just it does not name those it favors and rewards. This notion allows those in authority like the president of United States when he states, “I strongly support diversity of all kinds, including racial diversity in higher education,’’ yet, at the same time, to characterize the University of Michigan’s affirmation action program as ‘‘flawed’’ and ‘‘discriminatory’’ against whites (Dorn 21).” From such a point of view, whites have continued to safeguard and enunciate various positions that guards their racial interests without necessarily sounding racists. When they use color blindness as their shield, whites have been in positions of expressing their various and inherent resentments towards blacks and other minority groups; criticize and undervalue their morality, work ethics, values while claiming to be the actual victims of reverse racism. This is the thesis statement that have been guiding our discussion above and will conclude at the end while explaining the enigma of “racism without racists (Dorn 21).”
Whites Racial Attitude in the Post-Civil Rights Era
There have been several surveys conducted since 1950 which indicates that few and few whites’ ae now subscribed to views and perceptions as advocated by Jim Crow. For instance, the majority of the whites were inclined and supported the segregations of schools, neighborhoods, jobs, transportation and public accommodation among other public utilities in the 1940s, less than a quarter of the same in the 1970s and 1980s indicated they do so. Currently only few whites are inclined to the stereotypes views towards blacks and other Latino minorities. Although the number of whites who hold the view that blacks and people of the color are lazy, irresponsible, stupid and violent has declined significantly from the 1940s (Aguirre 324).
The change of whites’ perceptions towards blacks and people of the color as well as racial insolences may be described by survey community as well as commentators in four distinct ways. First is that, they have become racial optimists. The group of analysts who have been studying such behavioral changes agrees that the white common sense with regard to racial matters have significantly changed with a profound symbol that is currently witnessed in the United States. This view was widely captured by the works of Herbert Hyman and Paul B. Sheatsley who introduced the concept of scientific Americans and were influential personalities. This followed works and articles which were initial reprint of Herbert Hyman and Paul B. Sheatsley done by Talcott Parsons and Kenneth Clark and titled The Negro American. The termed the changes of whites’ perceptions as revolutionary and concluded as follows;
The mass of white Americans has shown in many ways that they will not follow a racist government and that they will not follow racist leaders. Rather, they are engaged in the painful task of adjusting to an integrated society. It will not be easy for most, but one cannot at this late date doubt the basic commitment. In their hearts they know that the American Negro is right (Dorn 21).
Recent works have explored on the topic of racial optimists. Up to 1990s, the trend the trend observed towards anti-black prejudices was witnessed across board. Other authors have openly advocated for the adoption of color blind politics in the United States as the only peaceful and coexistence way to settle racial dilemmas. For instance, authors like Sniderman and Edward Carmines have made steps in explicit appeals when they authored the book Reaching beyond race. In their workers, they observed;
To say that a commitment to a color-blind politics is worth undertaking is to call for a politics centered on the needs of those most in need. It is not to argue for a politics in which race is irrelevant, but in favor of one in which race is relevant so far as it is a gauge of need. Above all, it is a call for a politics which, because it is organized around moral principles that apply regardless of race, can be brought to bear with special force on the issue of race (Bell 17).
However, there are twofold problems with such interpretation. First the reliance of racial questions and prepositions as they were during the Jim Crow Era to describe the white views and perceptions of the people of the color and other racial view does not offer what is the practical perceptions and only produces an artificial image of progress. Since the language used to debate those matters and the central racial debate has changed over time, the current debate and discourse ought to be dedicated towards the new trends in racial issues. Insisting on the need and desire to keep relying on the old ways of doing things and perceptions while engaging in longitudinal data (trend) to be used as the only basis for analysis will by default present a rosy picture and perception towards race and completely distort what is actually happening on the ground currently. Secondly, since they have been a change in the normative environment and climate in the Post-Civil rights era, any analysis dealing with racial facts ought to exert extreme caution while collecting and interpreting attitudinal data especially when the method and design of data collection were single-method (Bell 19).
In the contemporary society where cosmopolitan population have evolved even the so called black and people of the color have advanced in educational and socio-economic aspects even more than the whiles, a different approach ought to be considered especially a mixed research design since they will the advantage of allowing researchers, scholars and the stakeholders undertake data and research comparisons. In addition, data triangulation is possible when mixed research are used hence providing reliable results and recommendations on the racial profiling issue and how to deal with such discrimination issues (Brooks 7).
There are other school of thoughts who consider culture as not only the physical appearance but also hereditary and ought not to be blamed for being black or white. These are the cultural scholars who incline their thoughts towards racial pesoptimist position. These scholars’ tries to strike a balance with a normal viewpoint which suggest that white racial attributes and perceptions reflect resistance as well as progress. For instance, a scholar by the name Howard Schuman can be described as the pioneer of such school of cultural considerations. He has argued for the last three decades that, racial attitudes with the whites is not genetic and intentional but that which involves a mixture of tolerance and intolerance and that which is acceptable with regard to principals of racial liberalism emphasizing on equal opportunities for all mankind. In addition, he as well advocated for the rejection of all the policies which in their natural form would make these principles a reality viewed from affirmative action to busing (D’Souza 5).
There is also a third group of scholars who believe the changes witnessed with whites’ perception and viewpoint towards blacks and Latinos is an emergence of symbolic racism. The leading scholar on this work is David Sear and his associates Donald Kinder (Eliasoph 482). Their definition of symbolic racism is a different notion from other and have described is as ‘‘a blend of anti-black affect and the kind of traditional American moral values embodied in the Protestant Ethic (Eliasoph 485).’’ According to these writers, they have further interpreted symbolic racism to replace in all aspects the features of biological racism as the fundamental way the whites express and present their racial resentments towards minorities. In Kinder and Sanders’s words;
A new form of prejudice has come to prominence, one that is preoccupied with matters of moral character, informed by the virtues associated with the traditions of individualism. At its center are the contentions that blacks do not try hard enough to overcome the difficulties they face and that they take what they have not earned. Today, we say, prejudice is expressed in the language of American individualism (Eliasoph 486).
In conclusion, there have been a divergence from the 1940s language expression of various cultures to a convergence consideration of cultures and people not depending on their place of origin, color or race but rather their interrelationship in a cosmopolitan society. The United States forms the pivotal understanding of such understanding of various cultural background and racial considerations. The most appealing form of racial consideration is the racial symbolism which considers people as human beings rather than blacks, whites or Latinos. Though blind color racism may be inherent among the whites, post-civil era has done much to dilute such openness in racial profiling and discrimination.
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