Twenty Time Project

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Is Racism a Social Construct?

by Lauren Wardega

This is one hell of a question that can not be answered in a yes or now answer, but I think I have come to a general conclusion of the answer. There will always be somebody with an opposing opinion and that is why there is no straight yes or no answer.

The general conclusion I have made is that racism is something created society. It is not a trait that a person is born with. It is learned by ones surroundings and the environment they are brought up in. We are all the same though and the fact that there is such a prominent barrier between us such as skin color bothers me. Just because someone is white or black does not make one better than the other. This concept that one is better than the other better and that there is a supreme race completely and utterly baffles me.   Bill Nye puts it the best " Researchers have scientifically proven that humans are all one people. The color of our ancestors' skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultra violet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts, here in the U.S., there really is no such thing scientifically as race. We are one species. Each of us is much more alike than we are different."

Now, even though racism is dumb. It is still a major problem in the U.S. and around the world. This leads to more questions now the the conclusion that racism is learned is made.  

When and how is racism learned?

In the past decade many research on neo-natal and later infants has been done to answer this question and "to understand different ways that children express attitudes that our society, in general, condemns overtly and yet embraces as practice." For one to understand how racism is learned a person has to understand how other traits are learned.  Learning is a process of learning what counts, which things to pay attention to, which things require decision making, and which are simply second nature and don’t require us to think. Because the whole process of learning is building and reinforcing some basic patterns, so that once those patterns become habitual, they no longer require our full attention.

So this leads to the question how is racism is learned. It is learned in the first years of life. Now most parents don't out right teach their child how to be racist, but racism is learned in the culture they are brought up in. Most parents unknowingly teach it to their child because children mostly conform to the values of their parents. This is why most children are products of their parents when it comes to beliefs and values. Also, this is how stereotypes are made such as the southern white person that is racist. These traits are taught to generations and the children of these generations repeat these actions because they think it is right. In return this creates a never ending cycle.

What if it all would of been switched?

This is the second question that spikes my curiosity when it comes to racism. What if white was the race most looked down upon and not black. What if everything in history surrounding race was flipped? If Hitler wanted dark skin and chocolate eyes and not the Aryan race to prosper, slaves were white and the supreme race in America was black. What if it was all different?

This all happened by chance and that does not give people of white decent to think they are above someone because they happened to be born with less melanin in their skin. Some godly deity did not decide that the white race was going to be supreme. Race and the separations of the skin colors of humanity are caused by  where our ancestors lived. The closer to the equator the darker the skin and the farther away the lighter it is. Skin color is a genetic mutation to environment and nothing more. Each serves as a protection to prosper in the original environment it came from. One is not better than the other. We are all equal.

More people need to understand these simple facts and the world would be a better place.

We need to...

We need to as a species learn to not judge people on looks but whats on the inside. By their intellect. Their character. The choices they make. The way they present themselves. We need to get to know instead of thinking "oh they are different than me". We need to as a species grown and learn from our mistakes and stop making the same ones over and over and over and over. We need to as a species get over our prejudices for one another and become one again. We need to do this or who knows what will happen.

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