Racism Term Paper

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RACISM TODAY"...Everybody jumped on him, beat the hell out of him...

Everybody was hitting him or kicking him. One guy was kicking at

his spine. Another guy hitting on the side of the face... He

was unconscious. He was bleeding. Everybody had blood on their

forearms. We ran back up the hill laughing... He should have

died... He lost so much blood he turned white. He got

what he deserved" (Ridgeway 167.)

The skinheads who performed this random act of racial

violence in 1990, had no reason to brutally beat their victim

other than the fact that he was Mexican (Ridgeway 167). Racism

is objectively defined as any practice of ethnic discrimination

or segregation. Fortunately, racial violence is steadily

declining as the turn of the century approaches. Now a new form

of racism, covert racism, has recently sprung from the pressures

of political correctness. This new form of racism, although

slowly declining, still shows signs of strong support (Piazza

86). Covert racism assumes a form of civil disobedience against

politically correct thought and speech. Essentially, covert

racism is a "hidden" racism, or a racism not easily detected

(Piazza 78). "Racism is still strongly prevalent in today's

society" (Gudorf 3).

The three different basic forms of racism, open racism,

violent racism, and covert racism all express forms of hatred

towards distinct ethnic groups (Bender 47). These basic forms of

racism, although different in form, all have the same main

purpose, to promote racism. Open racism expresses freedom of

racial thought and speech. Open racists promote their views

through strictly persuasionary tactics. This form of racism is

allowed in our society because of the First Amendment. Open

racism is currently almost nonexistent and steadily declining,

because it is considered politically incorrect and socially

unacceptable. Violent racism promotes racism through violence,

fear, and persuasionary tactics (Leone 49) This form of racism

is not protected by the First Amendment because it promotes

violence to express its ideas. Unfortunately many violent racial

groups claim they do not promote violence, and therefore these

groups are protected by the First Amendment because not

enough sufficient evidence exists to prove their violent intent (Ridgeway 123).

Covert racism expresses ideas of racism in disguised

forms; sometimes the covert racist is not even aware of the fact

that he is racist. "Racism, it is asserted, is no longer

blatant: people nowadays are reluctant to express openly their

dislike of and contempt for minorities, indeed are not prepared

to express publicly a sentiment that could be interpretted as

racist. Racism, it is said, is subtle: it is disguised, kept out

of sight" (Enrlich 73) "The suggestion that there is a new

racism--a racism that has a new strength precisely because it

doesn't appear to be racism--deserves serious consideration"

(Piazza 66). Avoiding minorities on the street and denial of a

public benefit to a minority which would be awarded to a white

are examples of covert racism. "Since it is no longer

politically correct to openly express one's racist views, people

therefore favor disguised, indirect ways to express their

bigotry" (Piazza 68). Covert racism is the most abundant form of

racism in our society today.

What causes racism? Unfortunately, the answer is much

longer and detailed than the question. The three main causes for

racism are: racism has become part of our heritage, right-wing

racial and political groups, and pride in one's own race.

Practically since the dawn of man's existence man has undoubtedly

noticed differences between races. "Racism's presence throughout

the formation of our culture is quite evident" (Tucker 17).

Frequently throughout history the ethnic group with the most

power has assumed that its race and culture are superior to

others. The same incident even occurred in America with

the introduction of slaves. Throughout American history, racism

has been strongly prevalent. "Racism's roots lie deep within the

foundation of our society" (Tucker 19). These roots undoubtedly

are the source for a great many of the racist groups and covert

racism ideas found throughout our society.

Extremist social and political groups, particularly those

advocating right-wing policies of racial inequality, promote

racism as well. These groups serve as the epitome of racial

thought and speech (Ridgeway 10). The following represent various

racist groups found throughout the United States: John Birch

Society, Ku Klux Klan, Knights of the KKK, Invisible Empire,

NAAWP, White Aryan Resistance, American Front, Nazi Skinheads,

Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nations, The Order, and National Alliance

(Ridgeway 15). All of these groups are given the freedom to

express their ideas of racism because of the First Amendment

(CIEQ 16). Although the First Amendment protects the speech of

these groups, many none the less find it necessary to use

violence to promote their cause. Racist groups now make

extensive use of covert racism to extend their message of racism

throughout our society. This form of racism has proven quite

effective, in the past ten years, at persuading others to adopt

racist ideas (Piazza 69). These groups serve as a symbol of

racism itself to many in our society (Ridgeway 29).

A large source of the racism present in our society stems

from one's pride in his own race. Many people, especially those

associated with racist groups, find it necessary to put down

other ethnic groups in an attempt to strengthen their own (Bender

113). This mode of thought and reasoning usually results in

extreme hatred of other races and an overall sense of bigotry.

Reasoning in this manner equates to many associated with racist

groups. Pride in one's race may eventually lead to covert racism

thought (Piazza 87). Covert racism affects our society in a variety of

different manners. "Indeed it should be said that covert racism

has permanently scarred our society, both politically and

socially" (Piazza 1). Racial politics have changed since the era

of the civil rights movement, when the issue of race, at its

heart, came down fundamentally to whether whites were prepared to

accept other races as their equals (Bloom 29). "Now, however, the

issue of race has become more complex^√ómore complex

because there are now multiple agendas including affirmative

action, quotas, and set-asides" (Piazza 34). The main agenda

revolves around affirmative action, steps taken by an employer,

school, or other institution to expand oppurtunities for blacks,

hispanic people, women or other minority groups. "The clear

implications of the most recent Supreme Court decisions on

affirmative action programs is that such programs will be upheld

in certain circumstances to remedy past discrimination" (Bloom

48). However, many whites view this special treatment of

minorities for past discrimination as discrimination towards

themselves. This "reverse discrimination" has lead to many

debates and controversies concerning race and racial politics

(Piazza 30). Unfortunately this sort of political

environment encourages covert racism in many whites as a

counterattack against affirmative action. Our political system

must first become racially unbiased before our society may become

more ethnically diverse. If all men are created equal, then why

should differences in race matter? Unfortunately our society has

not lived up to the standards set by its forefathers. Racism,

especially covert racism, still affects our society socially.

Covert racism is a form of civil disobedience for racists to

spread ideas of racism throughout our society (Piazza 68). Word Count: 1,201

Word Count: 1201

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