Racism is the value or belief that one race is superior to another. Societies have had and always will have some sort of class or social stratification system that divides people based on characteristics. In some cases, these differences are divisive enough to give rise to social inequality that creates minority status for groups within society. Although race is a social construct and there is no gene or set of genes, technically, that are common to any one race (Onwuachi-Willig, 2016), the social implications of race have been enough to divide people for centuries, even to this day. Racism is more than saying slurs or making discriminatory jokes about people of a certain race. Racism includes power and privilege to perpetuate it within institutions, like the prison system, and through systems, such as apartheid, segregation and Jim Crow.
Racism is enabled and often justified using scientific and sociological theories. One particular type of theory is conflict theory, which is often applied to inequalities in gender, social class, race, etc. Originated by Karl Marx, he theorized that a class system thrived on the exists of a dominant ruling class and a minority class, particularly in terms of capitalism. However, when it comes to race, author W.E.B DuBois founded race-conflict theory, DuBois, a Black man, cited that inequality was driven less by a lack of knowledge and more of the need for one class or group to dominate another, much like Marx�s theory (Davis, 2010). Racism exists for the need for one party, non-people of color, to dominate people of color, namely African Americans.
Discussing racism and race in modern society is difficult today because it is believed that since slavery no longer exists, then racism and discrimination no longer exist. There is the myth that we are living in a �post-racial� society, yet this is horribly untrue. The effects of racism have been perpetuated long after slavery ended and will continue to do so. To believe that there is or will ever be a post-racial society is to be na?ve and intellectually dishonest, as it would mean ignoring the historical precedents, systems and institutions that have allowed racism to persist. The most important issue with race and racism to discuss is its implications for people of color and how just because people may not be called racial slurs to their face or outright denied civil rights, we are dangerously approaching a time like that in this political climate.
- Bobo, L. D. (2000). Reclaiming a Du Boisian perspective on racial attitudes. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 568(1), 186-202.
- Davis, R. (2010). Book Review of WEB Du Bois and the Sociological Imagination: A Reader, 1897-1914.
- Onwuachi-Willig, A. (2016, September 6). The New York Times Race and Racial Identity Are Social Constructs. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/06/16/how-fluid-is-racial-identity/race-and-racial-identity-are-social-constructs