Theeffects of racism in the world
Racismcan be defined as hatred again another person because of his race. Itcan also be defined as the belief that someone is inferior or lesshuman because of his or her race. It also refers to practices andideologies that justify or result into unequal rights and privilegesamong different races. In the modern society, racism is as a resultof social perception of the biological and physical differences amongindividuals from different races. Closely associated with racismsare political and social systems and actions that rank races assuperior or inferior when compared to other races. This is based onpresumed traits, qualities and abilities of individuals from theseraces. There are different forms of racism which results intodiscrimination among other effects. A common type of racism isunintentional racism which results from assumptions based in racialstereotype. Racism can also be institutional forms of racialdiscrimination where ethical stereotypes are propagated in the mediaor used to judge individuals. Racism has existed throughout thehistory of civilization, especially in the western societies. Themost notorious form of racism that has ever existed in the world isslavery. Enslavement of Africans in the western world was based onthe assumption that black people are less human compared toEuropeans. However, during the civil wars, slavery was abolished inthe United States. However, different forms of formal discriminationand segregation existed in the social, political and economicstructures propagating racism. This formal racism was abolished inthe civil rights era, half a century ago (Miles and Malcolm, 2003).Nonetheless, different forms of unintentional and intentional, butinformal racism exists in the United States.
TheAmerican society is deeply divided by race. Although there are noformal discrimination and segregation among races in American today,being white or black in the American society has a lot of meaning.Racial discrimination, segregation and inequality are very pervasivein the American society. However, due to misinformation about racism,it has been difficult to understand the significance of race in themodern America and how it influences every aspect of an individuallife. While people have concentrated on how race affects thosetargeted by racial discrimination and bias, little is known about theeffects of racism to the white populations (Koppelman, 2013). Thispaper looks at the most visible effects of racism in the Americansociety.
Racismis not a new phenomenon or unique to the United States. Racism hasbeen attributed to the worst crimes against humanity in the historyof human crime. As mentioned earlier, the slavery was the mostnotorious effect of racism in history. The western powers, includingthe united states transported large number of individuals from otherparts of the world mainly west Africa, to work as slaves. This wasbased on the perception that the white were more superior that otherraces. For example, Africans were viewed as lesser humans who cannotenjoy similar the same rights with other races. It is also importantto note some of the effects of racism have resulted into major warsin the world. For example, the American civil war is one of theindirect effects on racism in the American society. While thesoutherners were opposed to abolishment of slavery, the northernstates argued that slavery violated the natural rights of the slaves.However, the abolishment of slavery was not the end of negativeeffects of racism in the American society. In the 20thcentury, the American society was influenced by events in Africa andAsia where former European colonies fought for their independence.The American society was also influenced by the devastating effectsof racism in Europe during the Second World War that led to theholocaust. This resulted into widespread unrest and civil disobedientthat led to the abolishment of all formal racial segregation anddiscrimination (Fredrickson, 2009). However, the abolishment offormal racism in did not eliminate racism in America.
Racismand racial discrimination is very common in law enforcement practicesand activities. Throughout the history of Africans in the UnitedStates they have been subjects of discrimination and unfair treatmentby the law and law enforcement agencies. This included forcedmigration to the United States. In the modern day American, people ofcolor are subjected to various forms of brutality perpetrated by thepolice system. Surveys suggest that a significant percentage of thewhites in the United States are likely to support harsh treatment andbrutality against African American by the criminal justice system.This is due to the stereotypes common in the united states that viewAfrican American males as prototypical criminal. These stereotypesare perpetrated by the media and other public sources of finance,justifying unfair treatment of African Americans by the police andthe law enforcement in general. For example, an African American maleis more likely to be stopped and questioned by the police on thehighway compared to an American from another race. This results intomore arrests and incarceration among African American males.Additionally, due to stereotypes and racial bias in the criminaljustice system, individuals with more afro-centric features are morelikely to receive severe sentences in the law courts (Chaney andRobertson, 2013). Racism in arrest as well as incarceration can beused to explain the disproportionate number of African American inthe American correctional facilities. Although the crime rates amongAfrican American compared to other races is relatively similar,African Americans are more likely to face the consequences of the lawand end up in jail compared to other races.
Anotherimportant effect of racism in the United States criminal justicesystem is what is referred to as negrophobia. This phobia resultsfrom stereotypes and prejudice that surmise black people asirrational. As a result, people fear being victims of criminalactivities perpetrated by African Americans. As result, w white ismore likely to harm, including shooting, an African American due tothese stereotypes. These stereotypes have been used to justify harmscaused to blacks due to a slight pretence. The phobia has can also beused to explain why mass incarceration, barriers to justice andmistreatment of blacks have been firmly entrenched in the informalsystems of the American justice system (Chaney and Robertson, 2013).The worst effects of racism in the criminal justice system is policebrutality against people of color police brutality includes physicalor verbal assault and intimidation perpetrated by a law enforcementagency against a suspect. Due to racial and gender diversity in thepolice force, incidences of police brutality targeting a particularrace have declined significantly. However, police brutality is amajor issue affecting blacks living in the United States. Statisticsindicates that backs are more likely to report incidences of policebrutality, accosting on the highway and underreport the circumstancesleading to arrest. This has been attributed to the social factorssuch as desirability of the black race. Due to similar factors,whites are more likely to accept the use of force againstuncooperative suspects. Despite this, the use of excess force bypolice resulting into brutality is against the law. White policeofficers are members of the society, and therefore are likely to beinfluenced by racial stereotypes against blacks. The social heritagethat considers blacks as criminals and less human cannot be easilyeroded from the police officer. Unconsciously or subconsciously thisofficer is likely to behave differently when dealing with offendersfrom different races. Addition to being a major cause of racism,police brutality is an evidence of the racial bias and stereotypesthat exist in the American society. For example, majority ofAmericans tolerate police brutality against black American males. The fact that the society considers black males as more aggressiveand likely to commit crime is used by police officers to justifybrutality against African Americans (Chaney and Robertson, 2013).
Racismhas widespread effects on the American society because it affects allaspects of life. Racism is found in religion, popular culture,educational institutions, workplaces, criminal justice and theneighborhoods. Thus, there are effects of racism in all objectives oflife in the modern America. For example, the most important factorthat shapes the relationship between health and race is racism. Thisis because it affects all factors that have a direct impact on anindividual health status, such as availability of health careservices or ability of an individual to afford health care services.Additionally racisms have far reaching psychological effects,especially on the victim. Studies suggest that racism elicitphysiological arousal. According to Harrell et al, (2003, 243),“basic and moderated psychophysiological paradigms impose racist ordiscriminatory events on individuals in the laboratory”. Therefore,there are psychological mediators that have direct or indirectimpacts on racism. Studies have shown that victims of racism registerincreased anxiety when faced with a situation where they are treateddiscriminatory due to their race. This results into worries, as wellas rehearsing defensive actions, some of which may be aggressive.Thus, individuals from minority races living in a discriminativesociety encounter more stressing situations compared to other membersof the society. This prolonged stress can result into permanentalteration of the physiological functioning as the individual try toadapt to the stressing environment. This increases the risk of stressrelated diseases (Harrell et al, 2003).
Racismis not a new phenomenon in the American society. Racism in the UnitedStates has been persistent in the United States more half a centuryafter formal discrimination and segregation of races was abolished.Slavery and the resultant American civil war remains an indeliblemark in the history of America. The criminal justice system has thebiggest share of the effects of racism in the United States. Thisincludes racial bias, racial profiling and perceptions about thetendencies of a particular race to commit crimes. This has resultedinto police brutality and disproportionate arrest and incarceration.Studies suggest that racism has some psychological impacts on boththe racist and the victim of racism.
ChaneyC, Robertson R. “Racism and Police Brutality in America”. JournalOf African American Studies201317(4):480-505.
Fredrickson,George M. Racism:A short history.Princeton University Press, 2009.
Harrell,Jules P., Sadiki Hall, and James Taliaferro. "Physiologicalresponses to racism and discrimination: an assessment of theevidence." AmericanJournal of Public Health93.2 (2003):243-248.
KoppelmanK. “A Review of What Does It Mean to Be White? Developing WhiteRacial Literacy”. MulticulturalPerspectives[serial online]. August 201315(3):174-176.
Miles,Robert, and Malcolm, Brown. Racism.Psychology Press, 2003.