Racism and Discrimination in the American Society (Draft 2)


Racismand Discrimination in the American Society (Draft 2)


ColumbiaSouthern University

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 tireless efforts of the civil rights movement playeda pivotal role in putting the government under pressure to enhanceequality.

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

Accordingto Broman, Mavaddat, &amp Hsu (2000), racism did not stop as soon asthe civil rights era ended. Colored people still suffer thepsychological problems associated with racism and prejudice. In fact,the three authors emphasize that the level of discrimination andattitudes of black inferiority did not change. The black communityfaces the greatest impact of discriminatory measures. This resourcematerial exposes other apartheid measures that still exist. Broman,Mavaddat, and Hsu water down the high expectations that characterizedthe end of the civil right era. The psycho-social model they use todescribe their assertions on modern-day racism and discrimination inAmerica shows that the black community endures other discriminatorytactics that target them as lesser people than white people. Manycases of stress and depression continue to be reported after victimsrecount humiliating experiences of racism.

Areport by Clark, Anderson, Clark, &amp Williams (1999) reveals theactual institutional policies that directly discriminate againstminority races. Prominent areas where racism still exists are thecorporate sector, the housing and construction sector, and otherinstitutions. In the corporate sector, Clark, Anderson, Clark, &ampWilliams describe it as “something that should be in the publicdomain”. Surveys among corporate institutions that have over aneighth of black people as employees supported this claim. Seven outof ten of those interviewed did not have realistic prospects ofupward mobility even when their qualifications and experiencessuggested so. Residential areas with black people also face thestereotype challenge. Black people are portrayed as violent andsocially inferior. As a reaction to these notions, they tend toestablish residence in isolated areas. Clark, Anderson, Clark, &ampWilliams conclude that, although the law provides space for Americansto live together and integrate, the entrenched racist attitudesprevent that from happening many years after the civil rights era.

TheAmerican Psychological Association also identifies racism as a stressfactor among many colored Americans. A journal by Utsey,Ponterotto, Reynolds, &amp Cancelli (2000) provides a comprehensiveoverview of strategies that colored people adopt to cope withracism-related stress. They cope through such methods as tolerance,spiritual therapy, and psychological counseling. Some of them simplyfind comfort through identifying with other colored people who havegone through the same challenges. African American women havedifferent ways of coping than men. Women talk about it more than men.In some cases, men simply fight attempt to fight back hence, theyhave snubs with the law. However, Utsey, Ponterotto, Reynolds, &ampCancelli both genders reported a loss of self-esteem afterexperiencing racism and discrimination.

Finally,Sue et al. (2007) describe the modern-day racism through the conceptof microagressions. Microagression are the commonplace actions thatpeople do knowingly or unknowingly exposing their personal attitudesabout minority races. The authors emphasize that victims ofmicroagression hardly seek legal redress because they view astrivial. They cope with microagression by ignoring the perpetrators.


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.

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

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

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