Race, Ethnicity, and Discrimination

Race, Ethnicity, and Discrimination

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Race can be closely matched to stereotyping. Someone's race is as unimportant as the car they drive. Yet both tell us something. It tells us how much better he or she is compared to another. It has nothing to do with that person's abilities or intelligence. The fact is a better car equals a better person. We see this not as a biological reason, but as a way that we divide ourselves as individuals. This is very similar to the "micro-level" of racism mentioned in the writing by Michael Omi and Howard Winant, which separates two people by a noticeable factor. This factor seems to be only a physical factor; it has nothing to do with a difference in biology. The "micro-level" of racism is tied to the "macro-level". The "macro-level" describes the entire group of individuals that show a certain set of difference that separate them from others. We can call these groups' stereotypes. When we look at a group of people that stand out from the norm, we put them into another category. The reason is to not overload ourselves with information. It is hard to remember everyone's individuality. That is why we stereotype people. However, we sometimes put a tag of superiority or inferiority onto a stereotype. We judge these stereotypes, and we do not even recognize the individuals in their group. Each person from that group has the same qualities as the stereotype describes. That is how we look at stereotypes. Racism is almost the exact same thing. We see an African American person and we think of them as a stereotypic African American. This is the same for other groups as well. It is such an easy way to group people together that our even our government stereotypes. It is too hard to help every individual, so the easiest thing to do is help out the general group. When the government helps out a group, the help does not directly help out the individual, but it helps out the majority of the group. Some individuals are then forgotten or received no help from the government at all. This can hurt some minorities economically if the government action does not get to them. Especially since minorities are sometimes hurt from stereotypic discrimination.

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The understanding of race does not begin immediately, but happens in early childhood. As children we believe to all be the same, but we soon learn that we are different from all the other people in the world. We first notice what is different on the outside, and then we learn what is different on the inside. Although we learn about the inner and outer differences, we like to use the outer differences as our way to judge people. Just like stereotyping, we do not see the individual. We only see the outer side of the matter. One example of a race learning experience is mentioned in, Honky, by Dalton Conley. He was a white child surrounded by a black dominated neighborhood and school district. In his neighborhood Dalton encountered discrimination based on his race. If Mr. D'Souza were right; then would Dalton's white family have to perform competitively? In these cases Mr. D'Souza is wrong. Another example of developing racist views toward others would be from Mary Brave Bird from her book, Ohitika Women. Here the author's education and culture along with her life on the reservation gives her a negative view about white people. Her mind is burdened by racist thoughts since she is forced to accept the white ways. The collective identity of her Indian culture has been strongly opposed to the white race, because of their struggle against each other throughout history. The white's treatment of Native Americans has lead the author to turn her back on the "white ways" and look at her own culture. Many times in her life the government and white people in general looked down on the Native American culture, which she was a part of. Even today, she says, white people are taking away Native American reservations for their new businesses just as they did many years ago.
Today advertisements seem to reach out to certain groups. Basketball for the most part has done nothing but appeal to the African American crowd. It seems like they think basketball a black sport and so they must only appeal to the black crowd to buy their stuff. The commercials seem to be dominated by African American players and appeals to their liking. Businesses want to sell to the people they know will buy their stuff, so they seem to only appeal to the stereotypic African American.
As I said before, defeating race is harder than just being, "capable to perform competitively in schools and the work force". Race is a big stereotype that we come up with to judge and pick out individuals or groups. Because it is a stereotype, it is hard to change the opinion we have of the person who our thoughts are set on. One nasty problem because of this is in the work force. An African American sometimes does not get the same pay as an Anglo American who both do the same amount of work. This may be from the negative stereotype we put on minorities. A black man can give the best interview in the world, but it may not remove a negative thought the interviewer has from a bad stereotype. Such harder conditions in the work force may discourage minorities, and that may be a leading cause for minorities to be caught in poverty. Also the minorities in poverty in the United States do nothing but help create a more negative stereotype about them. Of course this is nowhere near the truth about the race itself. There are usually wealthy people from all backgrounds. However, the sad fact is that more minorities in America are in poverty than Anglo Americans. This is not because minorities over all are bad performers, but it has to do with the wrong ideas each race has on one another.
The fact of the matter is race is something that we create with our minds. It is not something concrete that can be easily used to classify people. The illusion that someone from a certain stereotype resembles that stereotype completely is false. What is true for the macro may not be true for the micro level. Individuals may resemble their group or race in some ways, but they are individuals with their own separate identities. We along with other agencies use stereotypes to easily pick out certain types of people. It is when we rely on these stereotypes to judge someone's personality that it is false. These ideas are formed early in our childhood. We are not born with the knowledge about race, or even ourselves. That is something that we have to learn about in our lifetime. Race and Individuality is learned early on in our lives. Dalton Conley and Mary Brave Bird both discovered that they were different that other people early on in life. Dalton's life was the reverse of the normal racism issues that go on in America. He found out early that he was physically different from his classmates and neighbors. He had no real collective identity to hold on too, this led him to adopt some other cultures since he could not find people like himself. Brave Bird lived on a reservation, and learned early on that there were different people from her. She seemed to dislike white people and their ways, even to the point of accepting that all of them were bad, which is a problem that racism brings. Finally poverty can be linked to racism. Being less qualified in the eyes of employers because of someone's differences makes minorities have a hard time sometimes in the work force. Discrimination and a lower salary than other groups keep some minorities in a depressed state that allows for poverty to set in. When we think of one group as a lower level worker and nothing else, then that's when that group no longer has the ability to move up in the work force. Overall race and ethnicity is not something that can easily be changed by the minority, it takes changes to the way we think about people for racism to truly vanish.
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