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03/02/2005 - 9:49pm

Natural Racism


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This issue seems to be discussed to death, but I'm going to put a new spin on it. Most of what I've seen of people that are "admitted racists", including those who decide to make appearances on various unnamed daytime talk shows, will say that racism and hate is a natural thing, so they are doing their children a service by making them aware of the differences in various ethnic groups. Racism is a form of prejudice -- It's prejudice towards a particular ethnic group.

Prejudice is commonly thought of as a bad thing. And while this may be the case, it is very natural. And by this, I don't mean that it's good or bad; I mean that's instinctive, something that you're born with; not something that you learn. It goes back to evolutionary times when the one and only goal in life was survival. If you were alive 20,000 years ago and encountered a bear in the woods, you wouldn't know what it was. If, after it decided to attack you, you happened to survive; you would not have a very good feeling for bears. If at some point later in your life, you came across another bear, you would already decide what that bear was like. Even though it was a different bear, you would think that you knew what that bear was going to do. Because of your past experience, you would think that that bear is going to attack and so you would run; without sitting down and taking the time to talk with the bear and get to know it first.

While this may be unfair to the bear, it was required for survival. This is true with animals as well. We adopted our dog from the Arizona Humane Society about a year and a half ago. He had been abused by his previous owner, and you could see it. Whenever we were stern with him for doing something wrong, he would curl up and cower as if he knew what was coming. Not that we'd ever hit him, but someone else did, and so he was trained to think that if he was spoken to in a low tone of voice that he was about to be hit, and his behavior reflected that.

So if someone, let's say his name is Joe, is white, and he grows up in an area of predominantly white people, then he's likely to know very little about other ethnicities. In fact, it's very possible most of his exposure to other ethnicities is going to be through media; either television or the movies. And how are non-whites usually portrayed?

This isn't to say that television and movies are to blame for racism. It was here long before any of that technology existed. The question is not the origin of racism, since we already know that. In the context of being a subset of prejudice, racism was a natural part of survival. I say "was" because it's not anymore, however genetics and human evolution are many times slower than the evolution of society and culture.

So the question is the continued propagation of it. Why does it still exist today? Do people still think that because African-American "Bob" robbed a convenience store that all people with dark skin are evil? Are some people really that stupid? Yes, some people are.



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Posted by: Monterio
06/26/2008 2:35pm

I agree with you. I also feel african amercians, like me, bring racism and predjice upon ourselves when we convey ourselves as criminals. Which in sense they want us to be so they can create more contrversity on our uprising race.

Posted by: Monterio
06/26/2008 2:35pm

I agree with you. I also feel african amercians, like me, bring racism and predjice upon ourselves when we convey ourselves as criminals. Which in sense they want us to be so they can create more contrversity on our uprising race.

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