Human beings have different characteristics from each other. The way that one person is socialized is not the same way that another person will be socialized. Cultural backgrounds are different, and people tend to stick to their cultural teachings. It is important to note that ethnocentrism is the fact that each human being is unable to avoid. Each person is taught to believe that his or her cultural assumptions are supreme compared to other cultures.
As a result, racism has found its way into the day-to-day activities of people in society. The most heartbreaking thing is that one person can discriminate against another because of their skin color, but that is the veracity that people have had to live with. In the US, for example, the relationship between people of different races has never been smooth. This has prompted friction in relationships between various races for a long time now.
African Americans, as well as American Indians, were for a long time viewed as being inferior to their white counterparts. Whites were accorded special treatment in every place that they went while African Americans and Indians were not considered. Up to around 1970s, white children had their schools that were well equipped.
They had school buses to take the children to school and schools were many, thus reducing the distance that children had to walk to school (Davis 53). On the contrary, schools designated for black children were few and ill-equipped. This meant that black children had to walk long distances to reach school.
Because of the few number schools that were built for black people, the schools were usually overcrowded and therefore unable to provide quality education. That was not the only place where racism was practiced. In the public transport sector, whites and blacks could not mix. A white person no matter the age had to sit before a black person would sit.
On the same note, black people would only sit at the back of the bus while all whites had to sit in the front rows. Parks, as well as other public amenities, were also divided on the grounds of race. Whites had their places where they could go, and blacks knew that they were not supposed to mix with whites (Feagin 78). Even in places of employment, blacks were relegated and were only considered for the manual and low paying jobs.
Similarly, mechanisms were put in place to ensure that relationships between the oppressed and the oppressors were defined and clear. Some of the African Americans and American Indians had been brainwashed to the belief that they were inferior to their white counterparts. Children were trained from their very young age on how to relate with each other. White children were taught to avoid black children because they were not equal.
Playing was to take place when children involved were of the same race. Having friends from another race was problematic, and these did not matter whether it was among the whites or the blacks (Baker 24).
It was bad to the extent that even African Americans taught their children that there some things in society which were only meant for the white people. It is important to note that even the oppressed groups contributed or contribute to the escalation of racism. By believing and agreeing to the idea that some aspects in society are specifically meant for others, the oppressed people provide leeway for the oppressors to achieve their goal.
Notably, the main aim of racist activities is to segregate the oppressed and reduce the chances of meeting each other (Racism: A History). Consequently, if the oppressed start was avoiding chances of them encountering racism, they help in propelling racism activities.
Arguably, the question that many people ask themselves is why human beings should discriminate against each other. Notably, people tend to classify others in various categories. They do these based on social status, economic ability, age, and color, among other issues. Moreover, the cultural teachings that people receive when they are growing up tend to instill into them the idea of cultural superiority.
Therefore, consciously or unconsciously people exhibit racist characteristics. Relationships among people of the same race are usually not the same as those among people from different races (Chin 154). People are usually at ease when they relate with people from their race.
Nevertheless, many people exhibit friction tendencies when they are socializing with people from other different races. On the same note, people usually tend to relate evil things to people from other races. For example, in the US, most whites relate bad issues to blacks.
It is important to note that racism has very dire effects on society. The first and probably more notable effect is the unbalanced development of regions. The superior group usually concentrates development projects on their areas and forgets about the areas where the minorities live. This is evident in various parts of the US.
It should be noted that while areas that were dominantly inhabited by the whites are highly developed, other areas are poor and miss even the basic amenities.
The reservations, for example, where most American Indians live are lacking in many aspects (Racism: A History). Electricity is a challenge, and many homesteads do not have access to it. On the same note, roads and other infrastructure are not as developed as they are in areas where white people have been living from early times.
Also, racism is likely to lead to friction in society. The oppressed will not sit down and wait while they are denied what they think is their right. It is the nature of human beings to revolt in case there is something that they do not like. As tension increases among people in society, it becomes difficult to execute some development plans. Moreover, violence against each group of the divide is highly possible in societies where there is racism.
Probably, the worst vice of racism is its contribution to slavery. Slave trade that took place in the ancient times was propagated by racist tendencies. Colonialists also took advantage of the racial tensions to advance their activities. In some instances, there are murders and massacres that have been propagated by racism (Chin 167).
On the same note, there are cases where people have committed suicide after experiencing racist actions either at workplaces or at any other instance. All these have contributed to increasing division among people and threatening peace and harmony in society.
Arguably, racism also leads to instances of discrimination from the oppressed to the oppressors. Once a person from the minority race has been involved in racism instances, he or she will most likely retaliate (Feagin 156). As a result, when he or she has the opportunity of discriminating against somebody, they will most definitely do so. Violence has mostly been the result leading to injuries and sometimes death.
There has, however, been resistance to racism in many ways. From ancient times, many people try to avoid finding themselves in situations where they will witness racist actions. As a result, people from the minority group will always stay together and even operates in areas where they dominate. This was seen as a means of empowering themselves to resist any racist tendency.
Nevertheless, African Americans in the United States have historically been known to be vocal against racism. The likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and other organized people to stand up and demand their rights. In most instances, the fight against racism has been nonviolent with boycotts and peaceful demonstrations being the main weapons (Baker 76). Nonetheless, there are instances where the fight degenerated to violent actions.
Civil rights groups have also been vital in the fight against racism. It has been the idea of the minority groups that forming a group will help in enhancing their voice, thus enabling them to register their dissatisfactions more effectively. Moreover, the government has helped by coming up with laws that prohibit racist activities.
African American fought their way into government and drafted laws that barred people from discriminating each other (Davis 65). Courts have also been vital in the fight against racism. Several black people have gone to court to seek redress of issues they thought that they are violating their basic rights.
It is the courts, for example, which determined that separation of schools for the blacks and whites was against the law. However, it should be noted that the fight against racism begun by single individuals choosing to stand up and demand equal treatment.
Baker, Johnny. How Prayer Kept Jasper, TX From Disaster: Racism in America Alive and Well. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2008. Print.
Chin, Jean L. The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination: Racism in America. Westport: Greenwood Publishing, 2004. Print.
Davis, Andre D. The God-Defined Self: A Layman’s Perspective On Racism in America. City: Strategic Book Publishing, 2010. Print.
Feagin, Joe R. Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations. London: Routledge, 2012. Print.
Racism: A History. Dir. Paul Tickell. Perf. David Okufuena, Chris Wyatt, and Stephen J. Brand. British Broadcasting Corporation, 2007. DVD.