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Discuss the implications of the following statement:  "Racism is a product of...

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omzy96 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 16, 2012 at 6:45 AM via web

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Discuss the implications of the following statement:  "Racism is a product of cowardice regardless of skin colour."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 16, 2012 at 8:39 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that there is much in way of validity in the statement.  Certainly, a strong case can be made that there is a cowardice present in seeking to eliminate dialogue, as opposed to increasing it.  Yet, I think that there might also be more to it, as racism, or any type of discrimination, is a complex problem that requires as much analysis as possible.  While cowardice is a part of the equation, I would also suggest that there is an element to power involved.  Racism is a product of a power dynamic in which individuals in the position of power face a critical decision to be made about racism and whether they comply with it or stand against it.  I think that the issue of power places an appropriate amount of culpability on those in the position of social, political, and economic power to test what positions they take in the face of the problem of racism.  While the courage to stand up against racism is a part of this, the issue of how people use power needs to be examined.  Consider that with the abolition of power, there was a rather concerted effort by many in the position of power to use racism as a way to consolidate their own power and close out newly freed African- Americans from being able to exert power in the construction of their identities in a post- slavery world.  This is where moral cowardice meets a concerted effort to deny through the use of power to close, rather than open, opportunities to a group of people.

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