Societal Discrimination Essay

1166 Words5 Pages
There are commonly believed to be four major races on Earth, but over the course of history, one race almost always holds power and privilege. Race is a completely socio-historical concept that society has created based on the way that people look, meaning that the power and privilege is based on merely perceived differences. Since the “discovery” of America, racism has been a prevalent part of society. Whether it be the slaughter of the native people, the enslavement of Africans, the resistance toward the civil rights movement, or even the ongoing issues of police brutality, it is undeniable that Americans have used power and privilege to oppress other groups, most often racially. Individual, institutional, and societal oppression are the…show more content…
It has become the norms and rituals of society as a whole, not just an individual or an institution. Many times, they are not even noticed or thought of to be racist or oppressive. Societal oppression can be anything from residential segregation to the fact that standards of beauty are based on white beauty. In fact, “the word ‘natural’ or the phrase ‘that’s the way it is’ is often used often interjected … to normalize events that could otherwise be interpreted as racially motivated”, such as those listed above (Bonilla-Silva 134). Residential segregation and white-centric beauty standards add to societal oppression and racism by perpetuating further all of the other issues discussed previously. Not only are there children who grow up being referred to as racial slurs, but they are also told that their body is not is what is considered ideal and attractive. Not only do many minorities face de facto segregation in their housing, but it also might mean that they have to attend lower caliber schools. When a class of college students was asked “how many of you grew up in neighborhoods where most of the people were from the same racial group as your own?”, the majority of students raised their hands (Tatum 123). Because societal oppression is on a much larger scale and more deeply rooted than individual and institutional oppression, it is the hardest to counteract. Residential segregation is not easy to counteract because it is something that is already firmly in place in American society, whether intentional or not. Redefining what an entire culture believes to be beautiful would take generations. However, it is no excuse just to allow things to continue as they are. While no individual can change the beliefs and power structure of an entire society, change does begin with the individual. If each individual was more aware of the power and privilege they have been given and were more conscious not to abuse it, that would
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