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Essay/Term paper: An essay on racism

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Papers

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"...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


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


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


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^×more 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).


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