How should we decide who to let in? This may appear to be a question of immigration - but is it really? In this paper we will analyze the social concepts of Otherness, New Racism, and Critical Race Theory, in trying to answer that question. As we address immigration in this country, are we talking about immigration reform or just a newer form of racism? If it is racism, what do we do about that?
SUMMARY OF THE SOCIAL PROBLEM
First let’s answer the question, what is racism? A full definition of racism according to Merriam-Webster.com is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race (2014). Every difference from the upper class, the ruling, class, the group that holds the money and power, is a stratifying call to lower class identification. Racism has been practiced throughout human history and is still used as a way to justify unequal treatment and enslavement of many groups of people. Racism provides the reasons for denying access to social status and cultural capital; and promotes segregation to lower classes by maintaining the idea that other people are less equal.
Secondly, how do we identify a different race? Edward Said, a post-colonial theorist, posits that the idea of Other and Otherness permeates our society and it supports a racist approach to “differences.” Those who are identified as Other by their differences from the upper classes or non-Others can be marginalized and suppressed in societies class systems (Dillon 2010). Apartheid in South Africa and slavery in the United States give us real life examples of extreme marginalization (Dillon 2010). Another way of making the distinction between Othe...
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Dillon, Michele. "Sociological Theories of Race and Racism." Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and Their Applicability to the Twenty-first Century. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. 371-404. Print.
Kilty, Keith M., and Maria Vidal de Haymes. 2000. “Racism, Nativism, and Exclusion: Public Policy, Immigration, and the Latino Experience in the United States.” Journal of Poverty 4(1/2):1-25.
"Racism." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 9 May 2014.
Romero, Mary. 2008. “Crossing the immigration and race border: A critical race theory approach to immigration studies.” Contemporary Justice Review 11(1):23-37.
Smith, Angela. 2006. “Paddington Bear: A Case Study of Immigration and Otherness.” Children’s Literature in Education 37(1). DOI: 10.1007/s10583-005-9453-3.
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