Racism in America: Concept Map and Paper
White racism is a sociological epidemic that has plunged America since its independence and is present in the US society even nowadays. One can term it as a disposition that involves certain beliefs or attitudes (or sometimes both) regarding the predominance of the white race over the people of color. The issue began in American history due to the Atlantic slave trade in the sixteenth century. People of color arrived in the free world in chains. The enslavement of the African-Americans evolved into an epidemic in the continent which reached its peak in the nineteenth century. The issue also provoked the Civil War (Gallagher & Lippard, 2014). The civil rights movements of the twentieth-century became another consequence of white racism. Despite the significant improvement, the issue has not disappeared completely and has always been a very painful and controversial topic for society. Thus, racism is a contemporary social issue that is still present in the United States of America today and necessitates thorough examination from a sociological perspective.
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General Overview of the Issue
Understanding racism's history alone does not answer most of the questions that arise today concerning the vice. Some of them are why the issue still persists and why it has only intensified after the Civil War in some southern plantations (Gallagher & Lippard, 2014). Though the scientific community and educated people, in general, have rejected it intellectually for decades, there are aspects where its presence cannot be denied. For instance, racism is evident in the American schooling system today. Pupils inherit their parent's racial prejudices which may influence their treatment towards other ethnic groups; harsh immigration policies are likely to discourage the immigrant's children from going to school at all. Among other examples, black males are more likely to go to prison than their white counterparts who have committed the same crimes (Ferguson, 2015). Interestingly, 87% of Americans approve of mixed marriages comparing to 4% in 1958 (Coontz, 2016). Although this is a rather positive fact, the remaining thirteen percent might show that certain part of America is still racist.
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Thus, racism manifests itself through all sociological paradigms. It is a relative pattern of society that fulfills social prejudices regarding non-white races creating the upper class that composes of mainly one race and keeps the inferior one below. Such definition helps to explain racism via social interaction that is a good paradigm to view the issue and its manifestation in America.
The sociological issue is explained through the help of the concept map. The concept map examines the social issue according to four concepts (see Appendix).
Social Cultural Beliefs and Biases
Under culture in the concept map, we have beliefs and biases. Beliefs are specific ideas of what people think is true. Every belief about race stated under the concept map is the perception of reality by some people. The concept map goes ahead to show this perception may divide into two types of biases, namely implicit and explicit ones. One of the supporters of implicit bias theory is the former president, Barack Obama. One of his speeches quotes him saying: Racism, we are not cured of it...Societies do not completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior...[slavery]. This casts a long shadow, and it's still part of our DNA that's passed on (McCormack, 2016). Therefore, one may interpret this to mean that implicit racism is still there in our society. Contrary to the explicit racism which is easy to spot and act, the implicit one may be hard for the individual to acknowledge.
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The concept map branches yet into another concept of racism, namely Social roles stereotyped by the community. Social roles played by individuals strongly depend on cultural beliefs. In other words, there exist certain beliefs regarding what people can and cannot do in relation to their race. Taboos have evolved into mores and finally into customary ways of behavior named folkways in the long run. Americans normally voted in a white president, it was their customary way of behaving. The election of Obama did not look like normal American behavior to the world. The map shows social roles that are still there in American society and viewed as the norm that tends to favor the white man.
The third part discusses the social inequalities present in the social issue. Racism bases mainly on the social location of different races. This later translates to the marginalization of one race by another which results in artificial inequality between them. This causes different treatment towards the representatives of different races in the United States. Many systems required to serve society become infected with biases towards people of color. Inequality is present even in simple day-to-day social interactions.
Racism challenges the functioning of American society which stresses individualism. Individual rights are at stake when society judges people according to their race. Since the USA positions itself as a democratic state, racial biases confront this idea heavily. Thus, the nation has to eradicate the issue of racism which challenges the overall position of the country regarding human rights.
The concept map divides the social issue into smaller components with some well-known examples. The following part of this essay shows a better explanation of the issue using knowledge from the course and puts emphasis on the sociological view (see Appendix).
Social Cultural Beliefs and Biases
This concept shows the beliefs that all people have towards different races in society, especially the white and black ones. They include the idea that the black man is physically superior while the white man is superior in intelligence. Others include the prejudice that African-Americans are a marginalized part of society and have a bigger tendency to commit crimes. Since society considers white males as superior, they sometimes manifest certain privileges influencing their social roles. Beliefs based on race are negative in many aspects, and this places a straining relationship between people of different races.
These cultural beliefs and biases help me understand that racial discrimination exists because of the power society gives to the term itself. The perception of a white man as superior to one regarding race has always been a social norm in daily interactions. Today, when opportunities are equal to all, conflict comes into place. This is because black Americans are at the bottom of the social class ladder according to established biases.
Social roles correspond with races in American society. One good example is the role given to black Americans that expects them to vote for the Democratic Party, while both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are white supremacists. Any African-American who votes contrary is seen as a form of resistance to this role. Also, according to the biases, the black woman has always been working under circumstances of single motherhood and slavery while the black man is likely to become a criminal and is prone to violence. The white man is superior to all of this and can obtain higher positions on the career ladder.
These roles are products of racism. The black man was a victim of racial prejudice which subjected him to low literacy levels, bad health care, and segregation. This leads to them being forced to alternatives methods of survival such as crime. Although opportunities for everyone have become equal over time, the prejudices are still the same. The knowledge of these facts may help to understand that the issue of racism is an outdated problem that has no solid background and reason to exist nowadays.
Inequalities are present where there is a different attitude towards societal groups, some of which experience better treatment. There is inequality in the jurisdiction system and the police brutality seems to be directed towards the African-American race more than towards the white one. Police severe attitude to people of color is present in many states and is a vivid example of social prejudice. Inequality begins where different races do not share the social location. This causes marginalization of certain communities causing segregation. Thus, dominant groups have more power creating inequality.
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These social inequalities help me understand racism better and allegations of racism once I see a vicious cycle behind them. For instance, black neighborhoods have little investment. The investors may be seen as racists, but they do have solid arguments against investing in them they are simply not safe. However, the safeness of some neighborhoods was influenced by the union's choice in the twentieth century. They did not accept black people and this led to them earning less. As a result, low-income levels led people to crime.
Impact of Social Change
Racism affects existing social conditions, both present and the ones that have begun in the past. Any person of any race can be racist, although this sentiment is more common among white individuals. To eliminate such issues, victims of racism may seek to be compensated through ways that disrupt society by providing more opportunities for people of color. For instance, Black Lives Matter promotes some policies such as free college education for the black community (Blacklivesmatter, 2017). Also, organizing social campaigns and questionnaires regarding the problem eradication would help significantly. For example, spreading the statistics and information regarding race biases via social networks and organizing race ethics classes at schools would contribute to the issue of elimination.
Therefore, racism in America is a serious issue today as well as it has been in the past. The essay then views it from different sociology paradigms. There exist two types of cultural biases which create racial inequalities and apply different social roles to black and white races implicit and explicit types of racism. The issue of racism also contradicts the American idea of freedom, individuality, and democracy and has to be eradicated via implementing various organizations' policies and spreading awareness regarding the problem among the people.