Racism and Its Affects

4807 words 20 pages
Racism and Its Effects


Racism is an ongoing force that negatively impacts the lives of Americans every day. The racist mindset in America stems from the times of slavery, where blacks were thought to be inferior to whites. Throughout history, the ideology of race and racism has evolved and developed several different meanings. Today, we can still see the devastating effects of racism on people of color, as well as whites. “Racism, like other forms of oppression, is not only a personal ideology based on racial prejudice, but a system involving cultural messages and institutional policies and practices as well as beliefs and actions of individual” (Tatum, pg. 9). As a result of this system, it leaves the
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Connections to Racism: Prejudice and Internalized Racism

Racism exists because of prejudice. Prejudice is defined as a “preconceived opinion or judgment, usually based on limited information,” (Tatum, p. 5). If a person’s has prejudice attitudes and opinions, they allow it to effect their decisions and actions, creating the racism. Stereotypes, omissions, and distortions all contribute to the development of prejudice, and most of these are found in the media. Prejudice is one of the inescapable consequences of living in a racist society. It is like smog in the air. Sometimes it is so thick it is visible, other times it is less apparent, but always, day in and day out, we are breathing the air in. None of us would introduce ourselves as “smog-breathers” (and most of us don’t want to be described as prejudice), but if we live in a smoggy place, how can we avoid the air? (Tatum 1997)

It is the responsibility of all those who are aware of the pollution to clean it up, even if were weren’t the ones who polluted the air. It is important that we do not pass prejudice views to our family, friends, or anyone else around us. When you combine “prejudice plus power”, you form a strong e system of oppression. Tatum (1997) explains this: “Racial prejudice when combined with social power, (access to social, cultural, economic resources and decision-making), it leads to the institutionalization of racist policies and practices,” (Tatum


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