It’s been years since people have collectively fought against racism. However, in American’t, a book about life as a black person, readers see how this issue persists despite the effort. The question is, why?
Due to the various initiatives performed against it: the continuous protests, worldwide acknowledgment of its harmful consequences, and the proliferation of materials against it, many would believe racism has already been long abolished. However, despite years and years of people uniting to stand against it, there still seems to be a fraction of the population living with this prejudice.
Every individual holds their perspective about life. And this difference can easily become a root cause of this issue. While there may be a long list of people fighting against this issue, it can’t be helped how there will be one or a few going against it. In American’t, a book about life as a black person by King Bell, readers are shown how racism still exists in today’s society. It is an omnipresent issue that surfaces every once in a while and dies down, only for it to resurface relentlessly. While black people’s rights and quality of life may have significantly improved, it can’t be denied that they still suffer.
Why Does Racism Continue to Exist?
Time after time, people encounter news of aggression acted upon racist motives. And time after time, social movements will be initiated to counter them. This has become a cycle and stays as a cycle. However, when concerns about racism aren’t raised, it seems people forget to care about it, or else racism would have long gone.
Where should people associate this ever-present prejudice?
White fragility is one of the primary reasons why racism continues to exist. Somehow, despite how most white people acknowledge the prejudice their race holds, some white people still stay blind about the issue. White fragility refers to white people’s reactions toward the discussion of racism. This includes guilt, excuses, dismissal, anger, or defensiveness. This refers to the circumstance wherein, instead of acknowledging the issue, white people choose to dismiss it, believing they have no prejudice.
People are social beings, but this doesn’t mean they can accept everyone equally. As social as they can be, they still tend to form in-groups and out-groups. They naturally distinguish themselves from people they don’t identify with on various factors such as race, gender, or personal interests. The sense of membership influences how they interact with other people, especially those they don’t group with. This fact can explain how easy it can be for some white people to make harmful or damaging decisions towards black people or those they don’t group with.
This separation is amplified among people who have yet to establish a self-identity. They might struggle with insecurity and thus may stick closely or depend on this sense of membership. They may reflect or mirror the group’s decision or actions to gain validation from this group. As long as people naturally lean toward this division, there will, perhaps, always be manifestations of racism.
Lack of Compassion
Humans are naturally compassionate. Individuals may see someone who needs help and can quickly act on their instincts to help. Compassion is deeply etched into their nature. As people stick to their in-groups and out-groups, their adverse treatment of those they don’t relate to or find similarities with intensifies. People may easily sympathize with those they can relate to, as they can see themselves in their shoes. But the opposite happens with people under their out-groups. Since they don’t feel a connection with these people, this leads to fewer feelings of sympathy toward them.
With regards to the matter of racism, while some may still feel compassionate towards the issues black people fight for, this isn’t a complete experience. Some white people may less likely be able to sympathize with black people’s struggles. Hence, they may easily dismiss accusations of discrimination, contributing to the propagation of racism.
Projection of Flaws
Projection is a coping mechanism that’s a shared experience. When someone projects, they unconsciously externalize their insecurities or the shortcomings they recognize and take them out on others. More often than not, this projection is directed toward their out-groups. This is a common occurrence that isn’t limited to racism.
When people get frustrated with themselves and want to find a means to escape or express their feeling, they can redirect it to somebody else. This is why projection is a possible reason to explain why racism persists to this day. For as long as people won’t be able to openly own up to their shortcomings and mistakes, the chances of them taking this anger out on other people exists.
Hatred and Fear
People are naturally power-hungry. They may feel threatened to lose their power or dominion over people, especially those different from them. To fight this fear, they may turn it into hatred or aggression to show dominance over the other.
For a long time, racism has been established as an individual problem and experience. With this, everyone is responsible for standing up against it and fighting to end racism.