Racism has been a problem of human interactions for thousands of years. Despite genetic researchers recognizing that no biological difference exists between people of different skin colors or “races,” many people in society continue to both consciously and unconsciously embrace forms of racial discrimination. Such aspects of society are unfortunate because they create unnecessary oppressive divisions in society that prevents the effective functioning of all citizens. The present essay demonstrates that racism continues to be a major issue in education, societies and cultures, and sports and media. Additionally, the research refutes some of the popular arguments that have been made in support of racism.
Education is another area where racism frequently exists. Public education has been a particularly difficult area for racism throughout the United States. Following the Civil War, even as African Americans were granted their freedom, most southern schools remained segregated. This had the effect of forcing black students to attend schools with less resources than their white counterparts. While eventually the Supreme Court ruled that segregation would not be permitted, problems of racism continue to take place across schools in the United States. A recent study was carried out that explored the different ways that students of color were treated in school systems. This report revealed many findings that showed that racism continues to remain a major problem of the modern public school system. Among the most significant findings within this report included the recognition that black students are suspended at triple the rate of their white peers (Resmovitz). Specifically, 5% of white students were suspended compared with 16% percent of black students (Resmovitz). Further, black students and English language learners (frequently students of minority status) were more likely to have worse access to quality teachers and schools with effective resources than their white peers (Resmovitz). Such disparities clearly attest to fundamental problems of racism existing at the core of America’s public education system.
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Racism is frequently found in cultures. While racism has been a major component of Western societies for many years, in recent years perhaps the most prominent ways that societies and cultures have exhibited racism is through disparate treatment by law enforcement. In Seminole County, Florida in 2012, teenager Trayvon Martin was carrying a bag of candy through a new neighborhood he was visiting when neighborhood security watch guard George Zimmerman shot and killed him. In the ensuing trial, Zimmerman was found not guilty by the Seminole County jury (“A Teen Was Shot By A Watchman 5 Years Ago. And The Trayvon Martin Case Became A Cause”). Sadly, such a killing was not limited to this southern town, but has also taken place across other pockets in the country. For example, a similar shooting occurred when Freddie Gray was murdered by police officers in Baltimore, Maryland. Such incidents, particularly with Zimmerman’s acquittal, attest to the deep forms of structural racism that are occurring in both law enforcement and communities that support such anti-progressive worldviews, demonstrating that racism is a major component of American society.
Racism is also a major problem of sports. Of course, one considers that for the first half of the 20th century major sports in the United States were segregated. Although one would like to believe that Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier in baseball would have ended racism for good, unfortunately this has not been the case. Even in the 21st century racism has taken place in major professional sports. Just recently, in the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yuli Gurriel, the Houston Astros first basement, made a racist gesture against Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish after hitting a homerun off this individual (Waldstein). Because of the significance of the World Series game, Gurriel was not suspended; however, Major League Baseball determined that he would sit out five games the following season.
Of course, some critics have argued that some minority groups are truly inferior because of the high crimes rates in their communities. Similar claims have been made that the disparate treatment African Americans receive in education and by law enforcement compared to white counterparts is a result of their poor behavior and upbringing, not society being overtly racist. While on the surface such claims may seem to be legitimate, upon deeper inspection they rely on fallacious logic. In these regards, when one examines the core issues they find that African Americans experience systematic forms of oppression and because of this are more frequently placed in situations where they will be hungry and need to commit a crime, or receive inadequate education so need to resort to selling drugs.
Another claim that some critics have argued is that the United States was founded by white Europeans and that Africans are intruding on the founding contributions these people have made. Of course, such an argument is truly ridiculous. Before the Europeans arrived in the United States, Native Americans were living here that were displaced. Further, the United States has always operated as a melting pot to people from all nations and this multitude of contributions and voices have greatly contributed to the country’s identity. For example, American would fundamentally be a different place if Barack Obama had not been President of the United States. Even on a scale not as monumental as Barack Obama, one recognizes the staggering amount of contributions that have been made to the country by people who are not simply of white European descent. For example, in music the invention of jazz and rap music both occurred because of African Americans. A significant amount of rock music was even influenced by African Americans from the foundational inputs of Chuck Berry that influenced Elvis Presley. There have also been black Supreme Court Justices, such as Clarence Thomas. Simply claiming at this point that since American was founded by white Europeans that it is a fundamentally white nation completely ignores any facts or reality of America’s cultural identity.
In conclusion, the present demonstrated that racism is a major problem of education, society, and sports. Within this spectrum of investigation, the research has shown that racism exists in education through unfair treatment of students and unequal opportunities, in society it most prominently takes place through unfair treatment by law enforcement, finally in sports it has taken place through racial slurs continuing to occur on sport’s largest stage. As a society, it is incumbent upon us to fight against such forms of racism as they prevent progressive social change from taking place that will truly benefit all members of the human community. Ultimately, however, by consciously paving a path for a more equal tomorrow, all humans can contribute to making the world a better place.
- “A Teen Was Shot By A Watchman 5 Years Ago. And The Trayvon Martin Case Became A Cause.” Miamiherald, 2017.
- Resmovits, Joy. “American Schools Are STILL Racist, Government Report Finds.” Huffpost UK, 2017.
- Waldstein, David. “Astros’ Yuli Gurriel Escapes World Series Ban, But Will Miss 5 Games In 2018.” Nytimes.Com, 2017.