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Racism: Beyond Recognizing The Problem Essay

1405 words - 6 pages

Thus far in the course we have discussed many issues pertaining to racial identity and in particular to assimilation and self assigned racial identity versus the perceived and expected racial identity. We are aware that race is a complex issue and it is clear that there is not set way of defining race, in fact, it seems to be a very fluid definition. However, the ambiguity of what race really is often leads to many misunderstandings. These misunderstandings exist in the larger scale, among whites, among minority groups and between minority groups. In order to move forward and deal with some of the most important effects of racism, it is important for these misunderstandings to be ...view middle of the document...

I am Hispanic but due to years of colonization and racial mixing I cannot be sure of my “racial” roots. Technically I am told to mark the box that says “white” But, honestly, I do not feel comfortable saying that I am white. I don’t feel white or feel that I have been given the privileges that come with being part of that group.
An interesting point is the idea that Hispanic people may assimilate to American culture in a way that black people may not be able to do and this may be due to the fluidity of what it means to be Hispanic and the ambiguity of race. As Powell points out, the idea of eventual full assimilation causes tension because it implies that Hispanics will lose their sense of culture and traditions. Furthermore, it implies that Hispanics want to assimilate which may cause tension with other minority groups that may not be able to do so as easily.
As a Hispanic woman, the idea of fully assimilating to American culture disheartens me. While I am a second generation Mexican, my family has actively tried to ensure that I am aware of my culture and that I pass this on to my future children. I have been told time and time again that it is important for me to be fluent in Spanish and never forget where I come from. However, at the same time I know many first-generation that do not speak any Spanish and do not identify as Mexican or Hispanic. It is hard to identify the reasons behind this stark difference in upbringing but it is clear that, already, assimilation is very strong. I believe that part of this can be attributed to the inequalities that exist in society. For many families America is the answer and they are willing to so anything for the American Dream and they feel that the answer is to blend in as much as possible.
Yet, there are many American minority groups that have roots in the United Stares and are also denied the pursuit of the American Dream. However, it is highly likely that in the not so distant future minority groups will make up the majority and that there is a possibility for things to change for the better which promising and provides hope for people that are looking for an opportunity.
However, when looking at other countries where people of color have been oppressed despite being the majority of the population it becomes clear that control comes form organization not just numbers. Furthermore, “minorities’ ability to turn numbers into political capital will greatly depend on their ability to address and confront the structural barrier[s]” that have been prevalent for so many years (Powell, p. 1411). While it may sound easy the truth is that is idealist and that it may be hard to bring different groups together. However as Powell himself points out “some Hispanic groups have a much older history in the United States than European immigrants and have suffered from various forms of discrimination in this country for as long as black have”. This long history of discrimination...

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