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Category: Racism Argumentative Race Essays; Title: Racism Today
- In 2001, several bishops brought together a series of essays on the perspective of the different cultural families and on racism in general. Their insight remains relevant today and still , collated in 2013, are available.
As in many other Western-European countries, racism has been declared taboo in the Netherlands. Those who openly admit to adhering to racist ideologies are excluded. Admittedly this stance has positive effects, but it also has a darker side. The exclusive conceptualization of racism as open and blunt has marginalized those forms of anti-racism that consider its structural dimensions and less spectacular everyday expressions. It seemed as if there was no longer any racism in society because it was not allowed to be there. Those who argued that this was not the case were considered over-sensitive or on the extreme left, which was subsequently identified with the extreme right. The French scholar Leon Poliakov (1979: 18) who studied the myth of race-thinking identifies a similar mechanism concerning the history of modern thought: “that everything happens in a way as if the West, out of shame or fear of appearing racist, doesn't want to hear that it has ever been racist.” He analyses this phenomenon as the collective repression by the West of a past with which people have not come to terms. Today, this mechanism implies that in the Netherlands the term discrimination is preferred rather than the concept of racism, in order to avoid confrontation. Hisschemöller, Loewenthal and Vuysje (1988: 137-150) provide an analysis of the national consensus against racism, the pact that the official political forces in the Netherlands, ranging from the left to the right, made after the atrocities of the Second World War. In the perspective underlying this pact, the concept of race was identified with the Nazi's inhumane theories of superiority and directly linked to racism, like two sides of the same coin. Racism, from this perspective, was merely a function of fascism. In addition to the atrocities committed during the Second World War, the end of the colonial era brought about this change in the concept of racism. In this way, in the post-war years racism was pushed to the margins of society by considering it as, at best, a characteristic of extremist groups. This has led to the curious paradox that contemporary forms of racism, in particular if they are denied, are not always recognized as such.
Racism Today Essay - 555 Words - StudyMode
The most important and most far reaching forms of social inequality today are related to group relations based on gender, class and ethnic background. [Inequality on the basis of age, sexual orientation, and physical or mental handicap also plays a role.] Gender, class and ethnicity are influential concepts of social organization and processes of signification. Historically, specific mechanisms of group dominance have produced and reproduced these forms of social inequality. Racism is a typical expression of group dominance (Van Dijk, 1993: 18-48). Racism as a system of social inequality implies that social groups do not have equal access to and control over material and immaterial social resources. At the material level, these resources include employment, income and housing. Immaterial resources, however, are of equal concern, including education, knowledge, information and access to the social networks and means of communication instrumental in public debates (such as the media, politics, the judicial system, the educational system and the welfare sector). Discourse occupies a central position as far as these immaterial resources are concerned. Discursive representations imbue social practices with meaning and thus legitimate social inequality and the daily organization of dominance and exclusion. This also implies, among other things, that ethnic groups do not have control over their representation in public discourse. Few professionals working in the field of communication such as journalists, opinion makers, writers, politicians and teachers are from ethnic minorities. With a few exceptions, ethnic minority groups are represented in public debate, in the press, in politics, in scientific literature and in schoolbooks by opinion makers originating from the majority group (Van Dijk, 1993). Crucial for understanding the phenomenon of racism is the observation that racism not only refers to overt and violent forms of social domination and exclusion but also to more indirect and subtle forms expressed in daily practices, including through discursive practices. It should, however, be stressed that racism is not considered a mental property of individual persons, but rather a dynamically changing dimension of social practices.
Although Americans think that they live in a non-racist society, minorities today still live in the chains of oppression and prejudice through sports, schools, and social media.
Racism Today - Essay - 87,000+ Free Term Papers and Essays
Racism is a highly complex social phenomenon that can only be studied on an interdisciplinary basis. In this article I have shortly discussed its function, as well as some of its key dimensions and mechanisms involved while paying attention to its history and to related mechanisms of social exclusion. The discussion of racism is broadly based on the racisms that are found in western countries. It is highly relevant for countries and people worldwide. Besides differences, expressions of racism in various parts of the world are more and more characterized by similarities. Social, economic and cultural systems more and more tend to converge. The world economy today is a fact as is reflected in the lexical item of the “global village”. Modern means of communication have played an important role in this development. This development also has consequences for racism that tends towards homogeneity (Bowser, 1995; see also Van Dijk, 1993). The analysis of the discourse on immigrants in politics, the media and textbooks (including academia in different European countries) perfectly illustrate this tendency (see e.g. Mok, 1999; Van der Valk, 2002; Van Dijk, 1991, 1993; Wodak and Van Dijk, 2000). The same means of communication that have played such an important role in the development of globalization contribute to the ongoing reproduction of the phenomenon of racism on a world scale. With the means of communication the racist discourse penetrates the remote corners of the world, favoring tendencies towards ethnic conflict. This is why the knowledge and understanding of racism and the movement against racism can not stay behind.
Today, the mass media can potentially spread emotions on a scale previously unthinkable. Since politics crucially involves power, and emotional contagion is not restricted to small scale interpersonal communication, we may assume that processes of emotional contagion play a role in political practices as well, particularly since the mass media are involved. Given the dialectical relationship between emotions and cognitions, I assume that these processes of emotional contagion consequently may inform, and so reinforce, the beliefs and opinions of the public in the same way as the congruent social cognitions that are transmitted. There is, moreover, ample evidence of emotional factors such as anxiety, aggressiveness, frustration and feelings of hostility and dissatisfaction influencing individual's susceptibility to prejudice (Duckitt, 1992: 161-217). Emotions thus not only exert their influence by dialectically informing the cognitions of an actor, but also have a more direct effect on the cognitions of the public through the process of emotional contagion. It is in terms of this dual function that the role of emotions has to be integrated into a theoretical framework used to explain the production, reproduction and mechanism of ideologies such as racism and its underlying attitude of prejudice.
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