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The American Way : An Introspective On Racism

2040 words - 8 pages

My understanding of race has been drastically shaped throughout the duration of the Race and Urban Studies course, taught by Dr.MMM State University. My former naïve perception on how race functions within American society, immediately began to dissolve when first introduced to Joe Feagin’s literature on systematic racism. My new understanding of race is articulated best by Feagin’s words, “One can accurately describe the United States as a “total racist society” in which every major aspect of life is shaped to some degree by the core racist realities” (Feagin, 2004:16). This sentiment was initially unsettling, however, I found Feagin’s words to be the greatest influence toward my acknowledgment of existing, participating, and even benefiting from a racist society as a white woman.
Upon the acknowledgement of power possessed by my race, I began to question why whites have failed to respond to the cunning implications of racial inequalities in America. The conclusions drawn from my inquiries left me feeling embarrassed, and slightly ashamed of my racial group. How is it that these human beings have become so apathetic to basic humanity, turning the other cheek in the midst of perpetual hatred being projected onto our fellow man? The conclusions drawn from this question was reiterated daily throughout the course, and can be witnessed simply by just driving around one’s own city. In the poorer communities of a city, what do you see? What groups of people exist within this space? What do the schools look like in these communities, better yet, how are these schools performing in comparison to other districts in the state? Now, what about the more wealthier parts of the city? What types of people occupy this space? Do their public facilities differ from those in poorer communities? The answer to these questions stem from racist ideologies dating way back to the colonial era, and have evolved into a more discreet and subtle beast in current day. Feagin’s research states, “racial oppression and its rationalizing and structuring frame have long been central to modern and imperialistic Western societies, indeed to the present day” (Feagin, 2010: 7). Furthermore, I would argue that racism in America is just as coercive, abusive, and powerful than ever before. I make this claim to suggest that aspects of the white racial frame, have actively penetrated and altered perspectives of all individuals living on American soil, drastically controlling the specificities of human beings engagement with life, and perhaps even unknowingly so. Moreover, Feagin’s statement prompted a genuine eagerness within me to explore the very facets in which systematic racism infiltrates, and how this force affects all lives living in the United States. In order to highlight the aspects of which my understanding has been affected, it is imperative to note the historical implications that inspired such constructs of race.
When considering the origins of race, it is important...

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