Monday, December 24, 2007

Racism: Deconstructed

People have been trying to analyze the reason why people are racist for a number of years now. They have also tried many different ways to measure the level of racism in schools and in the workplace. The conclusions from these types of studies have lead to many different hypothesis. One of those hypothesis has lead to the answer of hate. Other hypothesis has lead to other causes of racism such as ignorance of the unknown. I believe that the arguments that has lead to the figuring out of both cause are valid, but there is a prevailing reason that I feel stands out more than all of them and that is the struggle for power.

Mankind has an undeniable history of struggling for power. Many scientist even believe that the struggle for power is an innate thing that is embedded into the psyche of the human mind. Whether it was the struggle for power over land, natural resources or simply the human mind. These people that were trying to gain power thought that it would be easier to do so if they justified their reasoning for gaining power and why the other group did not deserve to have any. This way it would be easier to make the lower class people believe that they were not entitled to the power, making the power hungry peoples job a lot easier. Some groups in power looked at many different criteria to justify the haves and the have-nots, like class designations, living conditions, living areas, family lineage and physical characteristics.

This determination to the accessibility to power, today, has manifested into the designation of power based on race. We commonly call this racism. Through out the history of the United States, we have seen the group with a lot of power (whites) continue to persecute those with seemingly no power (African Americans) so that power could stay in the hands of the whites and out of the hands of the African Americans. The first evidence of this accrued during the slave period that was witnessed in the United States. During this time period, it was illegal for slaves to be given the skills that would enable them to gain power later on in life. African Americans were not allowed to learn how to read, or even go to school. They were banned from having their young masters and mistresses teaching them the things that they learned at school, and were beaten and even killed if they were found to be learning to read. A reason why slaves were persecuted for learning how to read because it was very easy to tell whom where not able to partake in these adventures because the difference in skin color in whites and African Americans were so noticeable.

Another area where evidence of whites being racist because of their need for power is seen during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950’s and 1960’s here in the United States. African Americans implemented a massive effort to gain power with the right to vote and the integration of schools, but were continually thwarted because whites did not want them to have the power to do so.

Racism can be many things. It could be name calling, discrimination, have a person purposely give you incorrect information, but the underlying thing that makes an action racist is if it is done primarily because of your race and it causes you to not have power and the other person to have power.

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