The report aims to explore the different views held on the effects of racial discrimination on the society. This report will provide the issue and background to the debate, social significance, and participants involved in the issue, and the differing opinions on the topic researched.
2.0 The issue and background to the debate
'A practice of denying people access to rights has begun in the year of 1400s' (Do Something, n.d.). Racial discrimination is defined as criticising someone belonging to a varying ethnic or race. This is being done based on a thought of one being 'superior' to another (Oxford University Press, n.d.). Based on Your Rights (2008), there are several forms of discriminations such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The characteristics specific to that race, for instance, skin colour, facial features etc has become the tools for discrimination. According to Racial Slur Database (1999), growing racial slurs has been mentioned to be the root cause for the rise of this issue.
3.0 Social significance of the debate
The debate started when high poverty stroke the minorities of a country which led to 'larger educational attainment gap and higher immigration rates' mainly because of varying family characteristics of that particular race (Gradin, 2012). Moreover, Shah (2010), has described the phenomenon that occurs in World Wide Web which acts as a 'breeding ground' for free speech. Tremendous increase of hate sites in the past few years has resulted in creating racial partiality in the society (Shah, 2012). As the concerns towards racial discrimination is growing out of proportion, it develops an awareness on the advantages and disadvantages of racism in society, says Hutcheon (2009). Besides that, it encourages authorities to take preventive measures against racial discrimination for a better living in the future (Positive Action in Housing, n.d.).
4.0 Participants in the debate
The main participants in the debate are part of community and experts who have expressed different views regarding how racial discrimination positively or negatively impacts the society (Wits, 2013; Pettinger, n.d.; Williams, n.d.).
5.0 The differing opinions
5.1 Racial discrimination impose positive impacts in society
The victims of discrimination support that racial discrimination positively impacts the society as it develops aspects of motivation and responsibilities and also the right to fight against racism and promote equal rights for all races of a country.
5.1.1 Develop aspects of motivation and responsibilities
The supporters of this argument claim that discrimination motivates them and create responsibilities. Racial discrimination, a powerful weapon encourages the ones who are being discriminated to work harder in their related fields to enhance their self image and out do their opponents. This would clearly prove to the discriminators that quality and talent of a person is not derived from their race but only from their hard work. Furthermore, racial discrimination forces the victims to carry responsibilities for the benefits of the upcoming generations. Seniors of a community who have experienced discrimination guide the juniors of the same community on how to handle racism and how to overcome the conflicts rose from this issue (Wits, 2013).
5.1.2 To fight against racism and promote equal rights
Pettinger (n.d.) described that raising voice against racism would bring changes by implementing anti-racism thoughts in society. Ending racial discrimination and promoting equal rights for all races in the society would enable mixed races living community to live in peace, harmony and unity. As Pettinger (n.d.) suggests,
Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968). Non-violent civil rights leader. Inspired American civil rights movement to achieve greater equality. Helped to organise the 1963 March on Washington, where he gave famous 'I have a dream' speech. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
In addition, supporters of this argument also asserted the right to fight for equal rights in education and socioeconomic aspects to gain equal opportunities in all fields. This would increase the chances available for the discriminated races to participate in available job opportunities, educational related offers etc. which directly links to a reduction in poverty rates among minorities (Pettinger, n.d.).
5.2 Racial discrimination disfavour the society
However, there are also of those who are of an opposing view that racial discrimination disfavours the society by imposing negative impacts by affecting victim's health and creating inferiority complex between different races of a community.
5.2.1 Affects victims' health status
Racial gap is clearly stated to be the factor of high disease rates among the minorities which led to multiple deaths in recent years. Racial discrimination stacks up the burdens of non-dominant population of a country by creating 'stigma of inferiority which affects health by restricting socioeconomic opportunities and mobility'. To illustrate this scenario, minority residences of an housing area are segregated from being provided emergency medical preferences due to racial bias which brings forth poor consequences on mental and physical health. According to the statistics taken from Nation Centre for Health Statistics, the mortality ratio for black and whites of the United States of America for the years of 1950 and 1995 has increased from 1.55 to 1.58. 'Socioeconomic status predicts variations in health within minority and white populations and accounts for much of the racial differences in health' (Wlliams, n.d.).
5.2.2 Creates inferiority complex
Inferiority complex is an 'unrealistic feeling of general inadequacy caused by actual or supposed inferiority in one sphere, sometimes marked by aggressive behaviour in compensation' ( Oxford University Press, n.d.). Feelings of insecurity as well as inferiority strike the part of the society being discriminated in front of the racists. Therefore, this induce the victims to have lack of confidence to participate in general discussions to give their point of views thus resulting in unequal opportunities. Clearly this would indirectly become a factor to the increase of unemployment rate and poverty among the minority populations. According to a study taken from the Unites States Bureau of the Census, it is shown that the median income earned by professional degree holders aged 18 years and older in the United States in the year of 1996 carried a figure of $56,436 for the whites whereas $42,237 for the blacks. This national data reveals that even at the highest educational attainment, African Americans have lower level of income than the whites. Furthermore, the building up of inferiority complex results in conflicts where it develops hate among different racial circles which limits the sharing of ideas between colleagues of different races. As an outcome, rewarding relationships between varying ethnics of a society loses the state of being whole and undivided(Wits, 2013).
From the discussion above, it is crystal clear that there are different opinions held on the issue of whether racial discrimination affects the society positively and negatively. The positive impacts of racism are that it develops aspects of motivation and responsibilities including the urge to fight against racism to promote equal rights. Although this might be the case, there are several drawbacks where racial discrimination can also affect victims' health condition and bring up inferiority complex. Therefore, more researches and analysis need to done on the arguments of both parties to decide on the side that has a greater impact on racial discrimination, be it positive or negative
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Racism Coursework Essay, Research Paper
(a)(i) What is racism?
Racism can be defined as ‘a belief in the superiority of one race over all othersґ (Keene pg 80). It occurs when people are prejudice and discriminate against people because of the colour of their skin. People are prejudice, and use their own views to physically or verbally hurt others who they see to be ‘differentґ to them before knowing the ‘factsґ. There is no excuse for people being racist. The Church Of England and Roman Catholic both condemn racism of any form. Every Christian would have been bought up believing that racism is wrong, but it still occurs today.
Racism takes many forms and thousand of people have died because of it. An example of someone who was killed because of his colour was Stephen Lawrence. He was beaten to death by police officers because of his colour. This shows that there is even institutionalised racism in the police force. The police force actually shows a lot of racism to its staff as well, it is fact that: 1) black and Asian officers are almost three times more likely to be sacked than white colleagues, 2) it takes a black constable about 18 months longer to be promoted to sergeant than a white constable and 12 months longer for Asian officers, 3) resignation rates are twice as high among ethnic minority officers as white officers, 4) 60% of black and Asian officers claim to have experienced racism at the hands of their colleagues. Another example of institutionalised racism is the Apartheid System in South Africa. This means that there were laws which made certain types and forms of racism legal. It began in 1948 but was finally dismantled in 1994. Blacks were excluded from the best cinemas, buses, schools and even hospitals. Marriage and any sexual relations between black and white people were outlawed. Until 1985 it was illegal for whites and non-whites to mix socially, with all non-whites having to carry an identity pass. This situation was created even though only 15% of the population was white. This just shows what white people can do with a little power. There is a group of anonymous white people who go around killing and torturing blacks; they are called the Ku Klux Klan. They cause a lot of grief and show their prejudices in very violent ways. They do this simply because they think that this is right.
Many black people are stereotyped and are not given chances or opportunities in some situations. Blacks are treated differently and unfairly, like Carl Joseph who was stopped 34 times by police in two years. Maybe just because he was black. Recently many tests have been carried out to see whether employers are racist when hiring members of staff. A black and white man both went into a local pub who was advertising for bar staff, when the black man asked about the job he was told that the job had been taken, but later, when the white man went and asked about it he was told that some work may be available.
Black people have been treated differently to white people, with little respect all through history and racism can be traced back to the 1800ґs, where black Africans were sold as slaves to the wealthy Americans. They were bought to replace and to fill the job vacancies which were made when men were killed in the war. Many people today complain that black people have ‘stolenґ the good jobs, when in fact they bought them into the country to fill the job vacancies. Racial prejudice even lead to the starting of the Holocaust and ‘ethnic cleansingґ. In the 1960ґs black people gained the same rights as white people. This was brilliant news to black people, to finally have the freedom after many years of suffering with unfair employment, housing and education. Then in 1979 a race relations act was introduced to ensure equal opportunities for all races.
People can be racist for a number of different reasons, many not intentionally to hurt other people in any way, but simply because of the way that they have been brought up. These people are often unaware that they are doing anything wrong. Many people have been brought up being taught that people who are different to them are less superior to them. Many people are racist to people because they are scared of what is different to what they are used to. These people are ‘xenophobicґ. They use racism as a defence mechanism to facing up to the fact that different can be good. They feel as though the people are coming into their ‘territoryґ and so, are suspicious of them. Other people simply have very little understanding or a misunderstanding of other cultures and are unsure of people who they do not know a lot about. In all of these circumstances you can slightly understand why some people are racist towards others, but many people simply use their ignorance to discriminate against people. In this case there is no excuse. Many people think that they can say that ‘because it is my country I can treat others how I likeґ. This is not true; people should respect others at all times, under all circumstances.(a)(ii) Explain what Christian teachings might be used in a discussion about racism.
Racism is very apparent in society today, but there are many teachings in the Bible which suggest that this is very wrong, and should not be happening. The Bible is the inspired word of God, and from the Bible we can see that God showed agape love to all of his followers, no matter what race. This is shown in Acts 10:34- ‘…it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis….no matter what race they belong toґ. Jesus taught that Godґs kingdom was open to everybody, it did not matter what race or religion they were. What mattered was how you responded to Jesusґ invitation to Godґs kingdom. God loved every human being and the Earth as a whole so much that he put his only son on it, ‘God loved the world that he gave his only son that everyone who believes in him may have eternal lifeґ (John 3:16). Also he would make sure that everyone who believed in him would live for eternity.
God loved everyone and you should return this love to God by following his teachings in the Bible. This is shown in Matthew 25:31-45: ‘What you do unto the least of my people you do unto meґ. This tells people that if they do something to hurt their neighbour, then they are also hurting God. In the issue of racism there are many teachings which must be followed by all Christians. One important one is: ‘love thy neighbourґ. Everyone is our neighbour and we should show love towards them. If we show love to our neighbours we are showing our love to God too. It should not matter whether they return the respect or show the same feelings, because in the Bible it also says that you should ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute youґ (Matthew 5:44). Another teaching which shows that it is important to love your neighbour is ‘Always treat others as you would like them to treat youґ. This is from Matthew 7:12, this could be classed as the ‘golden ruleґ because it is a teaching which makes people realise why it is so important to treat others well.
We should not be racist to people of a different race because we are all of the same race really. We are all from the same family, because we were created by Adam and Eve – ‘From one human being he created all racesґ (Acts 17:26). This means that we are all the children of God. This is explained in Galatians 3:26-28: ‘We are all Godґs children, we are all from the same familyґ. Obviously our race would not matter to God, so it shouldnґt matter to each other. God was obviously not racist. One way of seeing this is looking at the fact that he made ‘manґ. He did not make ‘white manґ and then ‘black manґ, but he created them all together, at the same time. In the Bible it never once mentions that any race is superior to any others. If God is not racist we should not be either, because we were all created in the image of God.
In the Bible there are a lot of teachings which refer to how to treat foreigners. One of these is: ‘Do not ill-treat foreigners who are living in your land. Treat them as you would a fellow-Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves.ґ (Leviticus 19:33-34). This teaching was originally said to the Israelites, but Christians can apply the teaching to racism. It tells them that they should treat foreigners with the same respect as they do to other people around them. God loved all people, even foreigners, he treated them all the same and saw them all as equal people: ‘…the same rules are binding on you and the foreigners among you. You and they are alike in the lords sightґ (Numbers 15:15). Everyone must follow the rules and teachings which God set, there are no exceptions for foreigners. It is important that foreigners are treated no differently to everyone else: ‘Do not deprive foreigners of their rights….Remember that you were once foreigners in Egyptґ (Deuteronomy 24:17). The Israelites were in Egypt as slaves, and when they were there, they were foreigners, and they would have wanted to be treated equally. These teachings show us that racism was not acceptable then and shouldnґt be now
(b) Explain how Christians might respond to racism.
There are mainly two different ways by which Christians respond to racism. Violent and non-violent. There are a number of well-known Christian pacifists, such as Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu and Trevor Huddleston. ‘A pacifist is a person who believes that all forms of violence are wrongґ (Keene pg154). They believe that anything which causes physical pain and suffering is bad, and that there are always other ways of solving the problem.
Martin Luther King, the American Baptist Minister, is very famous for his work opposing racism. In the Southern states of America in the 1950ґs and 1960ґs discrimination and prejudice against black people was very common indeed. People in the black community feared that the situation was going to escalate and become like that of South Africa where black peopleґs earnings were only about half of those of whites. Many blacks did not have the right to vote and certain public places were said to be for “whites only” Martin Luther King was a Christian who campaigned endlessly for equal treatments of blacks and whites. He refused to support the idea that white people were all evil, as some black radicals believed. Instead, he taught that Christian love was the way forward. “Love,” he said, is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Jesus was Martinґs inspiration; King supported non-violent protests and said that it was the way forward. He famously spoke about non-violence:
“ If he does not beat you-good! If he beats you…you develop the inner conviction of accepting the blows without retaliating”
Blacks and whites were treated very differently, and were not given the same advantages. In Montgomery black people could only sit at the back of buses and even the old had to give up their seat if a white person asked them. Martin Luther King organised a ‘bus boycottґ, after a tired black woman refused to give up her seat to a white and ended up being arrested because this was classed as an ‘offenceґ. This movement became known as the Civil Rights movement and in 1960 Martin Luther King became its leader. In 1956 the government passed a law making it illegal to segregate people on buses. This is an example of King using a non-violent method to get his point across and as you can see it worked as the government passed the law. One of the most famous speeches Martin Luther King said was: “ I have a dream that one day Godґs children, blacks, whites, Jews, Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the black peopleґs old song “Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
This was not the only law which was passed after the non-violent work of Martin Luther King, in 1962 he asked President Kennedy for greater understanding towards American blacks. He led a march the next year with ј million people, blacks and whites, in Washington. He aimed to ease the situation for black people, by protesting in favour of a new Civil Rights Bill. This was made law, so all of his work paid off.
Desmond Tutu is another example of someone who responded to racism using pacifism. He is an Anglican Archbishop in South Africa, and a Civil Rights Leader. He denounced apartheid as ‘one of the most vicious systems since Nazismґ. He said that the day that he was proved wrong on this would be the day that he would burn his Bible. In South Africa apartheid was condemned by the World Council Of Churches and the South African Council Of Churches declared it as ‘a false teaching which perverts Christian truthґ.
One of Desmond Tutuґs most famous quotes was: ‘I am puzzled about which Bible people are reading when they suggest religion and politics donґt mixґ. He knew that God was political, because when he rescued the slaves from Egypt he led them to freedom in the Promised Land. Politics have lead in the past to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and when this happened the prophets spoke out, so Christians today should test government policies against Christian teaching.
‘The Christian Leagueґ was started to campaign against the South African Council Of Churches and against Desmond Tutu, but he believed that they had no chance over the prayers of millions of Christians who wanted to end apartheid. When he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 he did so on behalf of all those who sought to end apartheid, and when he was enthroned as Archbishop in 1986 he praised God: ‘I pray that Our Lord would open our eyes so that we would all see the real, the true identity of each one of us; that this is not a so-called “coloured” or white or black or Indian, but a brother, a sister-and treat each other as suchґ.
Desmond Tutuґs beliefs came from his Christian faith. Prayer and worship were essential to him. He was a very comical spokesman, which seemed to get the point across better to people. Also it is very hard to be hostile towards someone who makes you laugh. Like Desmond Tutu, Trevor Huddleston also stated that Christianity was totally opposed to the system in South Africa: ‘Christians are not only commanded to love. We are commanded to hate what is evil, and nothing is more evil than apartheid.ґ Huddleston and Tutu had a life long friendship ever since Tutu was a small child, and was tremendously impressed by the way which Huddleston raised his hat to Tutuґs mother. It was almost unheard of for a white man to show that much respect towards a black.
Bonhoeffer was once a pacifist, but the whole time that he was working to free the Jews he realised that non-violent protests would get him nowhere. He even joined the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. They attempted to bomb his office on July 20, 1944, but failed. Because Bonhoeffer was once a pacifist he did not intend to use violence, but he realised that he could only fight violence with violence. He believed that ‘it is better to do evil than to be evilґ. It took the Naziґs months before they realized the true extent of his involvement in the resistance.
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What is racism? Racism is something that has been a part of our world since the beginning of time. Whether people realize it or not, the number one reason most people are racist is skin color. There are also those people who are still dwelling on the past, during the time of slavery. Although many may feel they have a good reason to be racist, there is no good reason to hate a group of people. In the essay Racism. Kwame Anthony Appiah quoted that the Holocaust made unreservedly clear the threat that racism poses to human decency. But it also blurred our thinking because in focusing our attention on the racist character of the Nazi our attention on the racist character of the Nazi atrocities, it obscured their character as atrocities (Appiah, 75).
Racism is one of the largest problems in our society. It is used in so many different ways that many people are not aware. There does not seem to be too many people who really want to put an end to this controversy. Most of us do not realize how serious racism is and what it is doing to our society. In addition, if people do not begin to realize the seriousness of racism, it just may go on forever.
Many racist people, black and white, are not well educated. However, they tend to think they are because their skin is a certain color. To be as smart as they claim to be, they are not aware of the ignorance racism brings about. They do not understand the problems it brings forth in our society. If they were actually educated, they would find a way to get rid of the problem.
One of the main causes of racism is pride in one s own race. For some reason, many racist people tend to think that there is something different between the different races. I think it is not only just the color of the skin that is the problem but the fact that there was once a time when they ruled just about everything. They owned blacks as slaves and now we are free and are able to live as they do. Some people cannot adjust to that. In addition, they think if they put blacks down it would make their race stronger.
Richard Rodriguez, the author of Complexion explains in his essay how being Mexican has affected his life in a negative way. He said, In public I occasionally heard racial slurs, complete strangers would yell out at me. A teenager drove past, shouting, Hey, Greaser! Hey Pancho! Over his shoulder I saw the giggling face of his girl friend, A boy pedaled by and announced matter of factly, I pee on dirty Mexicans. (Rodriguez, 21).
His mother would get mad at him when he would get dark in the sun. When I was a boy the white summer sun of Sacramento would darken me so, my T-shirt would seem bleached against my slender dark arms. My mother would see me come up the front steps. She d wait for the screen door to slam at my back (Rodriquez, 20) She would make such remarks as You look like a Negrito. and You know how important looks are in this country.
Blacks continue to struggle for equality and freedom; many racist whites feel that blacks does not deserve to live as well as them. They do not want to see them accomplish anything. Moreover, they will do whatever it takes so that blacks will not succeed. Instead of blacks standing up for them and making it their life dream to accomplish something, many of them settle for less. Although we have to work harder to make our dreams reality, it is worth the time and effort.
When many people think about racism, they simply think about someone not liking a group of people because of their cultural background, Skin color, hair type, or facial features (Appiah, 71). No one actually thinks about the other things that go along with it. We are all human and I feel that everyone, despite race, color, or cultural background deserves the same amount of respect.
Racism is very deep. It goes further than calling someone a nigger or a redneck. Churches have been burned to the ground, as well as homes, and people have been beaten and/or killed. Whites have been able to get away with many things just because of their color. Things of this nature still go on today.
Many people are racist because they were either taught or raised that way. Some may have also had a bad experience with a person of a different race. Many whites do not want to see others get ahead; they feel they are the dominant race. They feel they are better than everyone else and no one deserves to have as much as them. Although they may not have finished high school or went to college, they feel that they are more educated than those who have finished school and have a degree.
Racism is not something you are born with; it is something you learn. For many people, racism was taught in the home. Parents teach their children to hate people of another race. They teach them to say bad things and call people bad names. They may think so because this may be the exact way they were raised. However, it is wrong. Children should be able to make their own decisions about whether they want to like or dislike people of other races
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