P Ast Present And Future Racism Essay

2065 words - 8 pages

Racism, past and presentStepping back in time equip us with some basic conceptual tools that can be employed to understand and deal with issues of racism, rejudice, and discrimination. For example, in our readings the Article Psychology and race discusses how Caucasian doctors believed that Caucasians had larger cranial capacity to house more cerebral matter and thus were thought of as more intellectual. Not only has this been proven false in later years, the data used in such studies was fraudulent. We are all familiar with the cultural biases of intelligence tests that sought to prove intelligence was solely based on hereditary factors. Mention of the significance of heredity arguments can be found in examples ranging from the Plato to biblical verses. Much later during the 19th century Darwinian concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest become justifications for "race betterment" schemes (ex: sterilization of societal misfits, insane, etc) and it was psychology that provided the standards and tests for determining who was a misfit and who wasn't. For example, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test was one of the methods used for testing for the mental deficiency. It was lawful in the 30's in state of California to sterilize those deemed mental defunct. Much of this sort of thinking was propagated by the studies completed at that time. For example, family histories were conducted and published outlining pedigrees of defiencies. The 20th century marked the cycle of scientific racism where Eurocentric psychometricians revived national conscience and debate with their sordid schemes of racial intelligence superiority. Each one claimed the same message: " black people occupy the bottom rung of the mathematically useless intelligence quotience ladder, and social programs are unable to narrow the gap." This social stratification marked the end of compensatory educational programs and the beginning of racial integration. Into the 1970's much focus was again put into mismeasuring intelligence. The old racist them that inheritance of intelligence accounts for 80 percent of the variability in intelligence was revisited. Racially biased scientists supported the fact that intelligence levels differed among ethnic groups and ignored the social-environmental factors that were operating.Racism feeds on, and into, existing systems of 'racial' prejudice and discrimination. More specifically, the ideology harnesses existing and emerging prejudices and systems of discriminatory practices against a target 'race' group/groups as a means of perpetuating itself, and in the process, it simultaneously elaborates and entrenches these prejudices and systems of discriminatory practices (Stevens, 1997). However, while 'racial' prejudice and discrimination are integral aspects of racism, they do not necessarily amount to racism.Racial prejudiceRacial prejudice was defined by Allport (1954, p. 280), one of the first researchers in psychology to investigate the...

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