Racism is manifested through skin color in a world which is characterized by multiple races. Skin color has massive implications to human populations since it determines the social, economic, and cultural outcomes to the affected groups. In America, racism dates back to the colonial era, particularly through slave trade. The continuity of the vice is associated with the maintenance of the colonial status quo. Victims of racism are faced with inferiority feelings and other social injustices. Racism in society highlights the importance of close kinship ties, and the social setting whereby people compete for resources leading to the devaluation of others and social harm in order to benefit the group one identifies with. Racism is not only a biological basis and definition of skin color but also a social construct which brings about inequality among different races. Racism is, therefore, defined as a “pervasive form of tribalism” which is present in all human societies and it is prevalent globally. Given the common origins of all humanity, it is important to understand the biology behind skin color, ancestry, and social interactions of race in order to promote racial tolerance and equality in society. The paper focuses on exposing racism as a social vice, thereby presenting a reflection of its implications in society, as well as evaluating ways to eliminate the discrimination and bias associated to race and skin color.
Racism justifies the existence of skin color and tone bias in the society in the modern United States. A focus on the skin tone and color illustrates the racial bias and ideas attached to the color black which represents the African American population. “Black is considered dirty, evil, and disastrous, while white is considered free from blemish and moral impunity.” The perception of skin color explains the existence of prejudice and preferential treatment across races. Racism is a global phenomenon which is present in all human societies and it affects other social and cultural perceptions such as beauty. A historical look at skin color illustrates how different societies treat people of color and the existing stereotypes attached to the skin color and races. For example, in Cuba, there is a strict code with regards to skin color which is also used in defining social classes within the society. White skin color remains an important determinant of social class as illustrated in the social actions such as lightening of skin tone in the Roman and Egyptian Empires using mercury. The past social, cultural, and economic interactions between races were determined by the skin color whereby White skin was for the upper class. Skin color was used in dehumanizing the enslaved populations and thus justifying the social class’ perception and the advancement of hatred and conflict between races and classes.
The origin of colorism in the United States dates back to the colonial period whereby genetic and cultural mix-up between Natives, Europeans, and Africans brought about multiple races and consequently leading to socially distinct groups. The colonial period was characterized by social hierarchies as illustrated in the Spanish Sociedad de castes (society of castes). The development of ideologies and perceptions towards skin color led to the notion of the progressive mixture which encouraged the whitening of the population in order to achieve a superior society. The whitening idea was considered a way of cleansing other races who were considered impure as witnessed in the 1783 Cedula de Gracias al Sacar. Skin color and tone is a determinant of the social status and title attached to different races. For example, the Black, Mulatto, and White possess different social and economic privileges in society, which explains the disparities in educational achievements, occupation, and income, among other social factors.
Race and skin color are used to explain the quality of racial and interracial relations. The interaction between skin color and race is a product of the prevailing structural and political institutions in the society. Interracial intimacy in the United States is promoted and institutionalized by mixed marriages which are a symbol of full participation and freedom. The problem of colorism affects the African American population, and thus, the interracial intimacy is a pursuit of equality and freedom in society. For example, most African Americans pursue interracial romantic relationships as a way of escaping colorism, and therefore, marriage is a way to disassociate from their identity and color. Interracial intimacy is a psychological and emotional process which enables an individual to elude the racial baggage and consciousness. Skin color and tone are important in the establishment of interracial intimacy and creation of racial impressions. Skin color is a visible and noticeable aspect of an individual’s racial status and it is a reflection of ancestry, heritage, social stereotypes, and expectations. Despite the popular belief that the United States is a post-racial society, there exists a trail of subtle clues and attitudes towards the African American which is defined by negative perceptions.
These perceptions are not exclusive to the White population but also include the Black’s perception of their status in society. In order to evaluate the existence of negative stereotypes towards the African American, it is important to apply the double consciousness principle which is a way of viewing oneself through other people’s eyes and the personal perception based on own contempt and pity. For example, the American Negro is defined by the double consciousness through the view from two souls, thoughts, and unreconciled struggles, among others. This is the definition of the Black experience that developed the notion that, white and light skin is more valuable, which is a racial indoctrination present in the contemporary American society. The blackthink notion is a dominant issue within the Black community whereby imposters are expelled from the community. The blackthink and experience is an example of the African American revolution towards White supremacy. The Black resistance and skin color politics continue to be a negative force in the American society. The Black image is delivered through a medium such as the mass media and other visual aspects which enhance the negative stereotypes. Despite the end of the slavery and civil war in the United States, the racial wars continue to define the socio-economic aspects of the American population as illustrated in differences in wealth, education, and property, among others.
The changing face in colorism and the blackness has been disaggregated by the change in political mantles as illustrated in the election of President Barrack Obama. The election of a Black president is an ironical response to racism since the racial gaps continued in the United States. The conventional belief that Whiteness was supreme and entitled to high status, elite education, stable family structure, and high socio-economic status is a present social phenomenon in the United States. However, there have been changes in racial segregation laws, and the Supreme Court support towards unitary Blackness. Despite these changes, the gap between Blacks and Whites persists and the racial discrimination is an unending vice. The Obama example is an illustration of the racial attitudes and perceptions whereby the African American regarded him as Black while another front considered him of the mixed race given his mixed parentage. The United States is an illustration of a racially divided nation, and the inequalities will continue to persist unless there is radical social change to change the color and racial perceptions towards the minority groups.
The representation of race in the United States is through a different medium such as mass media, art, and fashion, among others. Art has been used to create a visual representation of race and skin color as illustrated through contrasting images of the blackness and whiteness. For example, the historical representation of the African American through the White culture is depicted through different threatening symbols. African Americans have a response to such mythologized and satirized forms of Blackness by visualizing their culture and other defining historical moments. For example, art is used to highlight the social bias and also distort the existing understanding of beauty and race. The depiction of African American, Black women, and Black domestic workers is awash with stereotypes and controversies since it is a social and political satire to a society which pledges equality and democracy. 4 The conversation on race has been prolonged since Africa Americans continue suffering through racial tragedies and turmoil as witnessed through Black victimization, police brutality, and workplace discrimination, among other social ills in the United States.
Racism is viewed as a social division of the superior and inferior race. The superior race is considered dominant and in complete control of the inferior race. The racial divisions during the world wars were key in determining the political movements and alliances in Europe. The racial divide is attributed to the racial persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime in Germany. Racism is thus a cultural and political issue since it is considered a product of mixed superior and inferior races. Race and skin color have been used in the world today to define a person’s character, their abilities, and intelligence, among other personal attributes. Racism continues to exist not only in Europe and United States but in almost all the nations of the world. The vice is enhanced by the advancement of technology whereby the internet creates a free forum for expression which is a way of advancing racist ideologies. The free mode of expression is subject to abuse whereby less-educated groups use the forum to advance stereotypes and other negative beliefs on certain races. Despite the level of cultural integration, most communities live under the fear of the people they consider different, and this racial divide continues to define the social, cultural, and political policies in the world.
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