Scholars have perceived racism as a fascinating topic from the manner in which it creates suspicion and causes controversies between policymakers about their differing notions of race, racial classification, and race identity. A recent study by scientists classifying race concept in the biological class has raised turmoil in sociological construction of multiracial, cultural meaning, and political understanding. Albert Memmi, a renowned scientist in his scientific quotes once documented that there exists a strange kind of enigma closely associated with racism arguing further that though individuals do not wish to be racists, racism persists in real and tenacious condition. Sociologically, it is argued that besides cultural understanding, racism has existed for millennia due to personal understanding of being human. Critical understanding of being human has been debated for a long time causing scholarly turbulence and havoc among researcher. In this blog, I seek to examine critical understanding of this phenomenon and further discuss race and its various theoretical perspectives.
As stated earlier and evidenced from various readings, lecture and discussions, and from recorded video clips, the subject of “being human” seems to lack a common critical interpretation hence making sociologist and philosophers engage themselves in more comprehensive studies. Being human can better off be termed as human nature. The question of human nature contain numerous complexities that it would be a hard subject to understand without seeking to comprehend intricacies in human self-knowledge. The reason behind the argument is the fact that being human is not just “a thing” waiting scientific discovery, but an active process of understanding itself. Critically, seeking self-knowledge in being human, dividing oneself into two is the strategy where one becomes both subject and object. Interpreting this, one is not only the being, the main reason, but also one of the subjects that concern to the main reason. Understanding of human knowledge helps individuals in their human nature act in a humane manner but in response to what their self-knowledge dictates. The sociological idea behind being human is being what one likes, and it is due to this reason that I, in length, state that scientists should give clear highlights of the term “the human sciences” for there is more to it than making oneself comfortable. Being human is an act of understanding and putting into use one’s self-knowledge that after its incorporation dictates how one behaves and conducts oneself in a social environment. It is due to being human that people think, feel, and act in set ways.
A famous philosopher credited for his contribution towards the aspect of being human, Joseph Margolis, noted that addressing human sciences is creating confronts hence possibility of discontinuities between human and natural sciences. It is paramount to understand how one’s position in a rapidly developing social and commercial society affects human nature and human motives. Being human thus includes having a specific kind of natural-biological nature, which occurs from evolutionary past, aspects that do not classify human nature as right or wrong. It has seen continued existence of racism despite efforts by individuals, societies, and governments to end the vice. Proper understanding of self-knowledge and hence human nature, avoids stereotypes and prejudice that contribute immensely to racism since stereotype gives a generalization about an individual of a group due to deliberate lack of adequate information. Although they can be either positive or negative, as a fixed, commonly held notion or image, stereotypes bring inferiority complex. They ignore the uniqueness of individuals from their human nature and generalize to all members of a group. Social patterns are repeated set of characteristics and action that are associated with a social entity. According to sociologists, social patterns are behaviors of individuals that by use of sociological perspectives in accessing insights to behaviors and events seem strange.
A common believe that synonymy race, as color discrimination is that human beings are divided into races according to their physical characteristics like skin color. The word “race” first emerged in the 17th century when mercantilism explorers from Europe met groups of people who clearly showed different physical appearance. Though widely and indiscriminately used, people have gone further to abuse it to a point that any useful meaning race possessed then, is in danger of being obscured. Race is thus a human sub-group distinguishable from other sub-groups by some inherent physical characteristics. From race evolves the theory of racism, which argues that one group of people is perceived as superior to another. As evidenced in many countries, racism results in hostility towards the inferior group causing discrimination and persecution while in other countries, it has caused genocide. Efforts to reduce racism rate has been positively supported from close interactions that eventually leads to intermarriages. In fact, dramatic increase in intermarriage among Asian-American groups in the 20th century has contributed to the instrumentalist formation and reformation of family and identity dynamics within and across Asian-Americans.
To explain and understand the aspect of race and racism better, several theoretical perspectives have been suggested that are more susceptible to the set of characteristics shared by every individual in a category. To express the essentialism of ending racism, contemporary sociologists acknowledge three general, theoretical perspectives. From these perspectives, sociologists further document that they help in assessment of how various social phenomena interrelate with one another. The functional perspective, also called, structural-functional perspective looks at society as a system showing how parts of the society work structurally to keep the survival of societies. From the perspective, functionalists identify structural characteristics, functions, and dysfunctions of institutions, which help in drawing a distinction between manifest functions and latent functions. This perspective further assumes that members of the same society share a consensus regarding their core beliefs and values. The conflict perspective borrows much of its inspiration from the work of Karl Marx arguing that existing social structure and social relationship results from past and ongoing conflicts. This perspective argues that the society regularly thrives on the conflict thus keeps struggling between social groups that compete with one another. The last is the labeling perspective, a result of symbolic interaction contending that a society exists due to human beings’ ability to communicate to one another by means of symbols. In addition, they say that peoples action towards others, objects, and events is a dependent of meaning impacted to them. Consequently, the perspective denotes that people experience the world they live in as a constructed reality. This perspective highlights why an individual’s accountability can be different from another despite the fact that they are engaging in a similar behavior.
Racism has always been a big topic since time immemorial. Before experiencing incidences of racism, however, I believed that it had come from independent thinking and views hence affects the family, friends, and society. Further, I believed that it concerned money, power, and sex. Originating from a third-world country, I got experienced in witnessing major differences of racism and their variance by culture and education. My experience in the United States from my young age has formed my racism definition and overall view of the society. The biggest influence in my life pertaining racism is my father who married a black-American despite being against his societal expectations with neither appreciation nor discussion. In the United States, exploration of cities evidenced to me how racism was apparent from the different cultures and backgrounds from which people originated.
Conclusively, craving need to end increased racism rate seems to be a dream that will never be achieved. Reduced racism rate and proper understanding of human rights contribute to socialism’s values, ensuring that strengths of a society of communal ownership, co-operation, and harmony are transferred from one individual to another. To the contrary, the society lacks significant ownership in the means of life and thus individuals of lower class are faced by racism. Socialism advocates that the society should operate solely and completely towards the provision of basic needs rather than restricting human rights. Proper societal coordination eventually makes people relate to each other as equal beings making corporation to be a norm but not an eccentricity.
- causes and effect of racism
Stigma and violation of individual’s civil rights are remnants of today’s society that comes about because of discrimination directed at people of different skin color due to the conviction that one race is superior to another. Regrettably, whether intentionally or inadvertently, an individual’s race plays a vital role in determining how others view, value and treat others. Thereby, this attracts numerous adverse effects.
First, racism affects health. The various researches document that people who experience racial abuse experience physiological, emotional and mental health issues. When an individual experiences name-calling, insults, and stereotypes, these experiences raise the levels of stress hormones in the body making the body struggle to deal with them, thus, corroding a person’s health. Moreover, living in constant fear of enduring discrimination and profiling results in depression. Children mainly experience racism in school through unfair treatment. As a result, they develop poor sleeping habits, attention deficit disorder, and mood swings. Additionally, when people face disappointments and frustrations, they tend to adopt different behavior to cope with the situation. Hence, they begin overeating, drinking heavily, using drugs and smoking to make them feel better. Consequently, these coping mechanisms surge the risk of them developing cardiovascular ailments, high blood pressure, and obesity, which put their lives in danger.
Second, racial discrimination cost countries money, subsequently derailing economic growth. Racism elicits the denial of fundamental rights such as access to education, financial help and employment opportunities for some racial groups such as African Americans. Such a move hurts not only these people but also an entire country because, by sidelining them, they are unable to contribute positively to the economy through working and remitting of taxes. As a result, they become reliant on government aid for support, thereby adding a government’s burden consequently, harming the economy. On the other hand, criminal activities arise when a particular class of people cannot contribute to society. Hence, lack of security impedes chances of increased investments further negatively affecting the economy. Moreover, the economy suffers injuries through the government incurring high costs of repair and rehabilitation of infrastructure and businesses due to racial discrimination. Destruction of property and violent clashes characterize demonstrations occurring due to racial crimes such as mass shootings. Thus, the government is forced to use funds set aside for development for rehabilitation, derailing the economy.
Racism undermines diversity and community. Diversity is an essential aspect of fostering understanding, sharing of cultural values and increasing productivity by bringing together people with diverse skills and talents. However, discrimination impedes this by creating a sense of entitlement of the privileged racial groups. These individuals hold that if they fail to achieve their set out goals due to other reasons such as attending a particular college or securing a particular job, it is because of a person of another ethnicity taking their spot. Furthermore, some go to the extent of going to court to contest their loss. Such self-regarding actions make it impossible for various intuitions to admit scores of students of different ethnicity, thus, disrupting diversity.
The life expectancy of people that face prejudice reduces significantly. Increased cases of stress, depression and heart diseases among them due to constant discrimination and harassment. Moreover, failure to get jobs so one can successively afford basic needs such as decent homes, healthy foods and subsequent failure to afford proper medical care aggravate their health situations increasing their deaths rates.
Racism, whether intentional or otherwise is a disease ailing our society resulting in detrimental effects. Therefore, individuals and countries should endeavor, eliminate hypocrisy, and in its place adopt morality that urges people to love each other.