Racism and Discrimination in the American Society (Draft 3)

RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION IN THE AMERICAN SOCIETY 9

Racismand Discrimination in the American Society (Draft 3)

Racismand Discrimination in the American Society

TheAmerican dilemma was popularly used by civil rights activists in theUnited States to illustrate how the society was torn between racismand its apartheid systems. In the 1960s, it was similar to theapartheid because there were different public transportation meansfor blacks and whites. America had a huge discrepancy between itsdeclarations and creed on equal rights and freedoms that people ofcolor had been denied. Racism was overt and the government supportedit through legislation and inaction on the pleas of the civil rightsactivists. The government also faced difficult dilemma because thedecision of abolishing racism has some political consequences.However, the government had act and initiate legislation that wouldbring equality among all races. The civil rights movement was gettingout of hand and the world was watching America’s contradictions. Onone hand, the United States condemned colonialism and the atrocitiesthat went on in European colonies. On the other hand, the UnitedStates tolerated racism and discrimination against the blackcommunity. Although the choice was not politically palatable, theUnited States had to reinforce its position as a free world.Consequently, all federal laws that encouraged or createddiscrimination of any form were abolished. States followed suitthough at a slower pace. The southern states took time to embrace thenew order, but they eventually aligned their laws with the rest ofthe country. The unrelenting efforts of the civil rights movementplayed a pivotal role in putting the government under pressure toaugment equality.

Ashistory closed the page of the civil rights movement, racism anddiscrimination would not end that soon. The overt racist attitudesthat were expressed without fear began to disappear. They werereplaced with covert frameworks that perpetrated the notion of blackinferiority through other means not described in law. Manyresearchers have considered the gap between the politically correctdeclarations of the civil rights era and existing institutional andstructural discrimination.

Reviewof Literature

Broman,Mavaddat, &amp Hsu (2000) racism and discrimination is stillentrenched in the American society to the extent that it negativelyimpacts the lives of victims as it did during and the before thecivil rights era. Through their psycho-social model, they identifythe black community as the minority that has faced the most impact ofracial discrimination and entrenched prejudiced. Although Latinos andother minority groups face the same psycho-social effects, theirresearch pays greater attention to the Africa-community than thelater. According they discussed in this journal, they identify racismand its associated discriminatory tactics as one of the prominentcontributors of stress in contemporary America. The insights in thejournal do not strictly pay attention to inter-racial effects ofracism but also intra-racial effects among the black community. Thus,there is no doubt that racism is still a global challenge. It hassimply has taken a new twist because perpetrators use covert methodsthat may not place them on the unaccepted side of the law. Theyconclude that contemporary America has to face racism in the same wayit did in the civil rights era except that the policies shouldaddress the covert tactics that are present the corporate, housing,and residential segments where it most entrenched.

Clark,Anderson, Clark, &amp Williams (1999) explainracism anddiscrimination is barked with the actual activities that happen inAmerica. Incidents such as workplaces prejudice in awardingpromotions and other institutional issues such as residentialstructures where racial groups live according to race in relation toclass differences. The provide perfect examples in the United Stateswhere black people can reside but most of them cannot choose to doso because of dreading to be targets of negative portrayal from themajority race (white Americans). They also discuss stress thatemanates from being a victim of racism as well as racialdiscrimination in the contemporary sense. Thus, it is important tonote from these findings that African-Americans face this kind oflife hence, being subject to psycho-social forces which affect thetype of life they live due to of associated distress. These two earlysources are concurrent in every respect because they bring out racismand discrimination as one of the most notable stressors of theAfrican-American. In fact, Clark, Anderson, &amp Williams stressthat it is the most reported among counselors and victims of otherpsycho-social forces that stress most members of the Africancommunity that seek psychological help.

Ifstress associated with racism is existent in America, then there wasneed for research that explains how minorities are able to cope withthe same challenges using different techniques approved by theAmerican Psychological Association. Utsey,Ponterotto, Reynolds, &ampCancelli (2000), through the journal ofcounseling and development make it clear on this aspect. They providea comprehensive overview of different ways in which men and women ofcolor try to cope with psychological stress and trauma that comeswith being victims of racism and its associated discrimination. Theyalso cite the findings of other literature material on the same tosupport their findings. Through the Rosenbergself-esteem scale, the index of Race-related Stress, and theSatisfaction with Life Scale, they found out that women havedifferent ways of coping from men. They use these techniques to showthat many Americans are only struggling and grappling with everydayexperiences of racism and discrimination. They also identified lossof self-esteem as a consistent report that most counselors give aftertheir clients who are victims of the racism and discrimination seekhelp through therapeutic counseling. In identifying the copingstrategies it, therefore, proves that indeed racism exists and somany of minorities face discrimination in their daily lives. Theabove techniques are widely recognized by professional psychologicaltesters of different aspects that are likely to be exhibited bypersons by people who victims of racism and discrimination.In fact,the article reveals varied stress-related problems that are commonamong the minorities as a result of many encounters with racism anddiscrimination.They include high-blood pressure, stroke,hypertension, and cardiovascular complications.

Inthe same version, Sue et al. (2007) through their article on theAmerican psychology periodical brought up a different concept:microagressions. According to these authors, microagressions arethose commonplace actions that people intentionally andunintentionally do in real life that adversely constitute racism orracial discrimination. This was an incredible way of supporting thissubject because they actually brought up an idea that forms the coreof what many people from the minorities go through. Thus, one canactually link the entire problem of contemporary racism with theirassociated microagressions that these authors talk about. Accordingto Sue et al, all actions fall at some level of taxonomy of actionsthey came up with in that article. Understanding the actions enablescounselors to identify the taxonomic group it falls beforerecommending relevant remedies.

Discusion

Racismand discrimination in contemporary terms is simply an outgrowthbelieves that minorities, especially the black community are sociallyinferior. These kinds of beliefs are inherent and they are literallycarried over from one generation of extremist to the next. However,the ways of perpetrating these beliefs through institutionalizedactions is more sophisticated today than during the civil rights era.America still has a significant portion of the white community thatfeel justified in treating minorities as social inferiors. Thenotable difference between modern day discrimination with a fewdecades ago is the institutionalization. African Americans are stillharmed by these acts of racism in different institutions. The harm isovertly psychological than it is covertly physical. In some instance,discrimination in an institution does not arise from individualbeliefs about the inferiority of minority races nevertheless theimpact of discriminatory actions is perceived by minorities asdiscriminatory. Minorities are prone to feelings of vulnerability dueto the dark history of racial relations in the United States. Lastingsolutions to this institutionalized discrimination must have policiesthat resolve what minorities would perceive as a continuation ofhistorical injustices.

Duringthe past two decades, scholars, policy makers, and members of thepolitical divide in the United States have engaged debates about theemergence of reverse discrimination.(Utsey, Ponterotto, Reynolds,&ampCancelli, (2000)Reverse discrimination refers to policies that tend to favor minoritygroups such as blacks and non-white communities. The policies emergedas the result of the well-intentioned policies that aimed to reduceracial disparities in terms of access to opportunities. Someinstitutions of higher learning admit that they had turned downapplications from black students and other non-white races withoutconsidering their qualifications. The policies to admit more and morecolored people are, therefore, aimed to make up for the gap that wascreated among races. These included finding ways that could ensurethat more blacks obtain admission to universities without having togo through the required procedure. The argument of reversediscrimination could be true, but it does not eliminate the factthere are institutions that still use systematic means to keep thenumber of colored students disproportionately low. Interestingly,institutions with such policies insist that colored people are justas capable to earn an admission as whites. However, admission numbersshow a low admission of colored people, especially blacksproportionate to those qualifying from high schools and colleges.These trends suggest that the institutions should adopt policies thatwill reverse institutional discrimination or those that can make upfor historical disparities.

Thesame arguments are in non-educational institutions. Minority groupsargue that if they are a third of the population of a metropolitanarea, their representation in other institutions should reflect theirproportion. This argument reinforces the argument of many court casesthat insist the role of public institutions to avoid any form ofracism and discrimination. Many a time there are more blacks andother minority groups who want to be enrolled to university or hiredby a public institution than the available positions (Clark,Anderson, Clark &amp Williams, 1999). Some white may have to losethese opportunities regardless of their qualifications due toaffirmative action. To some professionals and politicians, excessiveaffirmative action amounts to reverse discrimination because race isthe basis of denying a qualified white individual an opportunity toserve the public. For different reasons, some blacks are usuallyill-prepared for certain standardized tests that some institutionsuse to hire individuals for certain job positions and for admissionin some institutions. They are inherently prejudicial because thescreening devices systematically limit the chances of admission ofcolored people. Institutions that use such standardized tests withthe knowledge or without determining their viability for all racialgroups are guilty of institutionalizing discrimination.

Manpeople in contemporary America tend to believe that racial prejudiceand discrimination are problems confronted only poor blacksconcentrated in the inner-city neighborhoods. The truth is that evenwell-educated, middle-class blacks have to deal with racism. However,based on the personal interviews with middle-class blacks, two socialscientists, Joe Feagin and Melvin Sikes have challenged the notionthat racial discrimination and prejudice only targets poor blacks (InGallagher &amp In Lippard, 2014). From their findings, they concludethat Racism is experienced by all blacks from different economiclevels. The two researchers also conclude that racism anddiscrimination have cumulative and a lasting impact on individuals,their families, and communities. The views of political scientistAndrew Hacker dramatically sum up this discussion. At one point, hestated that, “America’s version of apartheid, while lacking overtlegal sanction, comes closest to the system even now being overturnedin the land of its invention” (p.54).

Conclusions

Racismand discrimination is present in the United States in a differentform than it were during the civil rights era. Today, it is covertlyinstitutionalized unlike the overt policies that existed during thecivil rights era. An improved understanding of contemporary types ofracism in the United States, policy makers need to make a series ofdistinctions among different types of racism. As discussed above,social scientists during the civil rights era concentrated onindividual racism, and the belief that racial groups are morally,intellectually, or culturally superior to others. However, followingpath breaking efforts by black nationalists and other intellectuals,social scientists now usually make a distinction between individualand institutional racism. Institutional racism is more entrenchedtoday than individual racism. Social institutions in contemporaryAmerica are arranged in such a way that that they disadvantageminority racial groups. In conclusion, institutional racism is notimmediate action for an aggressor but the bequest of behavioralpatterns exhibited by the past generations of the white community.

References

Arrow,K. J. (1998). What has economics to say about racialdiscrimination?.TheJournal of Economic Perspectives,91-100.

Broman,C. L., Mavaddat, R., &amp Hsu, S. Y. (2000). The experience andconsequences of perceived racial discrimination: A study of AfricanAmericans. Journalof Black Psychology,26(2),165-180.

Clark,R., Anderson, N. B., Clark, V. R., &amp Williams, D. R. (1999).Racism as a stressor for African Americans: A biopsychosocial model.Americanpsychologist,54(10),805.

InGallagher, C. A., &amp In Lippard, C. D. (2014). Raceand racism in the United States: An encyclopedia of the Americanmosaic.

Sue,D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A.,Nadal, K. L., &ampEsquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions ineveryday life: implications for clinical practice. Americanpsychologist,62(4),271.

Utsey,S. O., Ponterotto, J. G., Reynolds, A. L., &ampCancelli, A. A.(2000). Racial discrimination, coping, life satisfaction, andself‐esteemamong African Americans. Journalof Counseling &amp Development,78(1),72-80.

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