Indeed, racism has been a nuisance to American society since the colonial era. With the exception of a few reforming nations, no other country experiences the discrepancies of a multiracial society. As a result, racism in America is still an obstacle, and the true definition of racism becomes increasingly difficult to fathom. In most situations, the majority view racism as negative and demeaning in societies. Today, society struggles to differentiate between discrimination and prejudice, an aspect that ultimately hinders the exact meaning of racism. In reality, social inequality still exists throughout the world and more prominently in the United States. Both systematic and individualized racial discrimination is an aspect that suffocates our nation. Racial discrimination prevents our nation from moving forward as a powerful, and a prestigious nation. Therefore, Americans need to grasp the definition of racism and its origin fully.
There is no common agreement on the definition and meaning of racism in America. Some people refer to racism as the separation of the humans into racial groups in the society. In essence, racism is rampant as it occurs in every sphere of live including in restaurants, public places, schools, in property rights among others. Racism also refers to any likings on the basis of uniqueness or race. It limits the satisfaction or application of privileges in open life (Kaufman and Bodino, 2003). Comparatively, sociologists define racism as a system that categorizes privileges. There is a relationship between racial discrimination and emotional distress. Some sociologists argue that racism mutates from one form of expression into more other kinds. Therefore, people define racism according to their experiences and understanding.
Different kinds of racism exist, such as Institutional, economic, and modern racism. Essentially, racial discrimination separates people using social division into classes relating or not to races for differential treatment. During the 17th to 1960s, the immigrants and non-Protestants faced racism from white Americans (Hammond & Axelrod, 2006). The white Americans discriminated them on the basis of their race, schooling among other factors. Institutional racism comes from institutions such as the government, schools, religion among others. The economic disparity occurs from past racism and reasons that affect the present through deficits in economic structures.
In the 20th century, racism was abolished, and it became socially and morally unacceptable. Therefore, it is difficult to define the different forms of modern racism since it is not conspicuous. Before the Civil Rights Movement, racism was easily defined and identified as there were easy markers. Afterward, discrimination laws such as Jim Crow laws were implemented. Following anti-discrimination laws, racism became socially unacceptable. However, racism is still an integral part of the 21st Century such that is the inescapable feature in the U.S society. The racism in the 21st century is as a result of mutation from the previous centuries into a new form known as modern racism.
Modern racism is the new form that results from the evolution of earlier violent and aggressive forms of racism in America in the late 20th century. Modern scholars define racism as the belief that people fall into categories based on certain features (Hirschman, 2009). It is an explicit rejection of stereotypes and resistance to the changing structures of discrimination non-racial reasons. People hide racism through outwardly acting unprejudiced while they inwardly maintain their prejudiced attitudes. Currently, people define racism as the difference between cultures. America displays differences in its cultures owing to the years of racial discrimination. Discrimination is no longer a common practice, but still implicit discrimination in the American society. Racism keeps on changing, and a new form of racism has surfaced that is complex to define. Evidently, racism is still present in socioeconomic and political matters.
Modern racism considers an opportunity on individual basis and race is not a determinant in giving rights and privileges (Pettigrew, 2010). In 2008, the United States presidential elections’ MSNBC poll found race as a major factor in identifying a candidate who is ready for office. Americans participate in electing President Obama, a first black president in the United States. The elections showed a fight to end racism. Modern racism is hidden and less detectable as it embeds in the social processes and structures as they are difficult to explore and challenge. Therefore, without a clear definition of racism, the racism shall continue to exist in the American society.
- Hammond, R. A.; Axelrod, R. “The Evolution of Ethnocentrism”.Journal of Conflict Resolution 50 (6): 926–936. 2006.
- Hirschman, Charles. “The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the U.S. Population: Emerging American Identities.” Population and Development Review 35: 1-51. 2009.
- Kaufman, Stephen &Bodino, Angela.Racism : a global reader. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe. pp. 45–52. 2003. ISBN 978-0-7656-1060-7.
- Pettigrew, T. F. The nature of modern racism in the United States.Revue Internationale de PsychologieSociale; Revue Internationale de PsychologieSociale. Chicago. 2010.