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racism and prejudice

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Racism and prejudice has been present in almost every civilization and society throughout history. Even though the world has progressed greatly in the last couple of decades, both socially and technologically, racism, hatred and prejudice still exists today, deeply embedded in old-fashioned, narrow-minded traditions and values.

Racism is a case of ‘misplaced hate’ and ignorance, being not only discriminatory, but also seemingly foolish with disregard of all human commonsense. Why does racism still exist in today’s world? If it still occurs, has the world really progressed at all? Through extensive research methods and wide reading, it can be proven that racism is still present in the modern world.

Racism is based on the belief that one’s culture is superior to that of others, and this racial superiority provides justification for discrimination. Racism begins with categorising by race, and therefore stereotyping particular cultures. A simple definition of prejudice given by St Thomas Aquinas states prejudice as “thinking ill of others without sufficient cause” (1. pg 21). Racism is a major issue in today’s society, affecting a large number of the world’s population and causing political and social turmoil. To evaluate the true meaning, effects and views concerning racism in today’s world, a number of literature sources were researched including novel, films, short stories, poetry, song lyrics, textbooks and magazine articles.

“Black Like Me” written by John Howard Griffin is an excellently written novel, based on factual events experienced by the author himself. It is based in the 1950s, a time when racism was widespread throughout America. The basic outline of the story is the following of one man (Griffin) as he embarks on a journey that takes him to the ‘other side’. Griffin is a middle-aged white man, and decides to personally experience the life of a Negro. He achieves this by literally changing the pigmentation in his skin so that he is no longer white. Griffin moves to the deep southern states of America where he is subject to harsh racist treatment by the whites. By doing so, he experiences first hand the reality of racism and prejudice, almost to the point of disbelief. The story focuses on the lives of Negroes: restricted, brutal and harsh. “My skin was dark. That was sufficient reason for them to deny me those rights and freedoms without whi...

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...wn comes under siege as racism rages within the community. The Klu Klux Klan is also featured in the film, a group that symbolizes hate. The eerie looking hoods in the film are a reminder of America’s dark past, and of current racist groups still present in society. Many of the characters in the film are stuck in old values and teachings, misplacing their hate towards the coloured. The film “Mississippi Burning” supports the hypothesis as it deals with society still living in the past and acting narrow-mindedly towards its fellow human beings.

Within all of the texts mentioned, the theme of racism is present, just like in most of today’s societies. All of the researched sources deal with the effects of racism, the foolishness of it and the fact that it still exists in today’s modern and so-called advanced world. No matter how much social attitudes evolve, prejudice, hatred and racism will still exist within aspects of society, whether it be in the heart, in the mind or in the souls of those too ignorant to realize the damaging consequences. While technologically today’s world has advanced, if society cannot overcome issues such as racism and prejudice, it has not evolved at all.
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