Racism without Racists
People often judge others on the basis of their skin color and descent. While people, organizations, and movements have attempted to unite people regardless of their ethnicity or religion, these efforts have been as unsuccessful as anticipated due to the embodiment of racist behaviors. Racism, which has many types, is embedded in the society due to structural and institutionalized discourses, color-blind perceptions, and the negative portrayals of people by the media. Racism without racists represents a new racial philosophy explaining how people conceal and justify racism in contemporary societies.
Racism is permeated in the society in different forms. These include individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural. Stikkers opine that individual racism embodies having negative feelings and beliefs against one’s culture (5). Such individuals tend to be are unhappy with their cultural values and beliefs. Interpersonal racism is perpetrated by people who think they deserve more opportunities than others, while institutional racism denotes racially discriminative rules meant to deter equal participation of people in society. Lastly, structural racism is when majority races assert that minorities do not deserve certain advantages.
Color blindness has perpetuated racism in the American society. According to Stikkers, the tendency of people name-calling others with reference to their skill color has considerably reduced (12). As a result, color-blind frames like abstract liberalism, naturalization, cultural racism, and minimization of racism are used to conceal and justify racism. Bonilla-Silva believes that racists are framing race-related matters in abstract political and economic liberalism languages (468). In this way, white racists pretend to support political and economic ideas that appear reasonable and moral yet criticize practical programs meant to address inequalities. Similarly, white folks utilize naturalism ideologies to conceal racism by claiming everybody’s status in society, including those derived from minority communities is naturally decided by birth. Besides, cultural racism lens is used by racists to obscure racism by blaming the victim’s culture. In this case, racists claim that barriers responsible for inequalities in society result from the minorities’ cultural ideologies and beliefs. Lastly, minimization of racism involves majority races believing that racism does not affect life choices. In this regard, if minorities complain about discrimination, they are dismissed as merely playing the racism card.
Academia is one way in which racism is embedded in the American society. According to Volscho, non-white research subjects are subjective when answering race-related questions (25). The white researchers, on the other hand, pretend to be objective and uninterested in biased responses. However, Dwanna posits that even though white folks pretend to be uninterested in race-related responses, they are interested in sustaining racial social order (131). The only difference is that they hide their interests in ways that are invisible to other races. Additionally, racism is embedded in racial grammar used on a daily basis in which programs and objects are categorized as racial or non-racial (Bonilla-Silva 475). In the United States, for example, there are dedicated black TV programs like Cosby shows used to portray black way of life.
The media plays an essential role in promoting racism. There is a causal link between media and the public attitudes they elicit. The negative media stereotypes that portray black people as criminals, fools, and disadvantaged sets the stage for killings and meted violence against them by the police (Richardson-Stovall 82). Similarly, color blindness contributes to blacks’ killings because white folks fail to perceive racism as a systemic issue in the American society. By adhering to color-blind ideologies, the society is sustaining white frailty and privilege at the expense of black lives. Entrenchment of racism equally perpetuate black killing by the police because the white folks maintain a safe distance from any discomfort experienced by blacks.
Concealing and justifying racism ideologies concur with Alternative right viewpoints and critics of Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The Alt Right and critics of BLM tend to utilize liberalism and naturalization arguments to dispute political efforts and social justice aimed at reducing inequalities. Per Lindsey, Alt right movement believes equality programs are geared at undermining white civilization (233). The BLM movement, on the other hand, attempt to correct racism perceptions concealing racism in the American society. BLM movement argues that the fight against justified racism needs concerted efforts of all stakeholders.
Racism is embedded in the American society in numerous ways. The racism discourses does not focus on structural and institutional barriers encouraging inequalities but revolve around concealed discriminatory arguments. Notably, the varied types of racism demonstrate how racism is permeated in the society in which individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural factors are utilized to explain racism targeting minority races. The media equally plays a significant role in the racism discourses through its negative portrayals of the blacks. The negative portrayals encourage black killings and opposition to BLM movement initiatives. Nevertheless, BLM movement attempts to advocate for the rights of black folks.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. ‘‘Rethinking Racism.’’ American Sociological Review vol. 62, no. 3, 2010, pp. 465-480.
Dwanna, Robertson. “Invisibility in the Color-Blind Era: Examining Legitimized Racism against Indigenous Peoples.” American Indian Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 2, 2015, pp. 113–153.
Lindsey, Treva. “Post-Ferguson: A ‘Herstorical’ Approach to Black Violability.” Feminist Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, 2015, pp. 232–237.
Richardson-Stovall, Jennifer. “Image Slavery and Mass-Media Pollution: Popular Media, Beauty, and the Lives of Black Women.” Berkeley Journal of Sociology, vol. 56, 2012, pp. 73–100.
Stikkers, Kenneth. “But I’m Not Racist”: Toward a Pragmatic Conception of “Racism”. The Pluralist, vol. 9, no. 3, 2014, pp. 1-17.
Volscho, Thomas. “Sterilization Racism and Pan-Ethnic Disparities of the Past Decade: The Continued Encroachment on Reproductive Rights.” Wicazo Sa Review, vol. 25, no. 1, 2010, pp. 17–31.