Racism Essay

1409 words - 6 pages

Racism Intro to Psychology What is racism? The Webster's Universal College Dictionary defines this term as; a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, involving the idea that one's own race is superior. (Webster's, 649) More simply put, the idea of racism is hatred or intolerance toward another race or races. If all men are created equal, then why does such an idea exist? Should differences in skin tone or cultural background be the grounds for hatred? On top of that, where did it all begin? Racism is not at all new. It has been around for thousands of years, ripping apart nations and building empires.Before understanding the history, one must understand how a person can become racist. One of the most common reasons for racism is the outright refusal to accept differences in skin color, personal belief, or cultural tradition. Other people may become racist because of a traumatic experience in which a person of another race has caused some harm to them. They may adopt the idea that all people of that race are bad and may harm them.Another major reason for racism is the way a person is brought up. From the time they are born, children believe anything and everything their parents tell them because they have known nothing else. If a child grows up in a racist family, that child will more than likely share those racist beliefs. However, there are certain cases in which a child may change his or her views later on in life. In any aspect, racism has plagued the world for centuries.There have been early accounts of racism that most people do not know about. For example, early Chinese writings show that they believed the white man was the direct descendant of monkeys. In addition, Native Americans also had their form of racist beliefs. They believed that God had created black men too burnt and white men too pale. This would lead them to believe they were perfect with their golden complexion. However, most of these early accounts did not lead to violence. The reason for conflicts in this age was very hard to determine. ("Early Forms of Racism", geocities.com) As time went on, the world was being explored by many nations. The period around 1400-1650 was known for its extreme ethnocentric ideas. Ethnocentrism is the belief that one's race is superior to all other races. This belief would be the cause of many disputes as explorers landed in certain, uncharted territories. Because no one took the time to learn about the other cultures and lifestyles, most explorers saw the new races as uneducated and unskilled. Thus, immediate stereotypes were formed about cultures all over the globe. ("Ethnocentrism", geocities.com) The concept of hatred toward skin tone was also well developed during this time. Europeans of this time believed that their white skin tone resembled cleanliness and purity. On the other hand, they believed that dark skinned people represented filth and evil. They...

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