Racism, Stereotyping & PrejudiceAs we embark on a new journey with our first elected Black President and move toward a global economy, how are African Americans being perceived in the following...

Racism, Stereotyping & Prejudice

As we embark on a new journey with our first elected Black President and move toward a global economy, how are African Americans being perceived in the following areas:  Business, Education and Religion?  Are the old attitudes still prevalent when we refer to Racism, Stereotyping and Prejudice?  Or are we moving more towards tolerance, acceptance and Change as our new president charges us to do?

Asked on by indigoaka

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rolltide12's profile pic

rolltide12 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The bottom line is that some racism will always be present...but racism , as an institution, isn't hold any race back in the 21st century.

Blacks enjoy the same opportunities as any other race now.  And this was the case BEFORE Obama's election, although we can see how that symbolic election was the final nail in that coffiin.

I think many of our young blacks confuse 2009 with 1959.  Yes, their grandparents were limited in their job opportunities.  Todays young graduates are not.  And they need to be taught that they can't blame their failures on racism. 

Of course it doesn't help when we have a President who accuses a cop of "acting stupidly" when he did nothing wrong.  It doesn't help when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson paint the America of 2009 as if it were 1959 again.

All races have equal opportunity now.  The African American community has huge problems in their dropout rates and incarceration rates, but they can't blame those on racism.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

As a high school teacher in a small rural school, however, I can tell you that many areas of our country have a long way to go. It is possible that racism, intolerance, prejudice, and stereotyping has been going on so long that they have become the norm. For example in my classroom, it is a constant battle to obliterate such slurs as, "retard," "that's gay," "beaner," "jew," and etc. They have become so used to these things being bandied about as insults, that they see nothing wrong with it as long as , "We're just joking." What our children need to be made mindful of is that words hurt, and negative words like this today become the ideas that solidify in our minds tomorrow.

Dialogues like this help advance the cause, and in shining a light on the topic we make it impossible for people to ignore.

alohaspirit's profile pic

alohaspirit | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Having an African American president will help, and it shows our society is moving towards tolerance, but we are never going to completely do away with racism and prejudice.  In all parts of the country you have ethnic groups separated into neighborhoods, and as long as there is separation there will be racism with those lines drawn.  We need to restructure our cities and towns so that it allows different people to come together in a community setting where they are learning about one another's cultural traditions.  I live in Honolulu, and the one factor that I love about this city is that there is a cultural celebration for as many ethnic groups as you can think of...from Filipino to Scottish, and this way the community comes together and enjoys learning about one another.  Obama will not inflict that kind of change...its going to be us and our community leaders that decide on how we can come together.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

All the ideas presented here are valid and worthy of discussion.  Without a doubt, there is and will always be prejudice in the world--not just the USA--because that is the nature of the human beast.  However, it is important to point out that many people are more content to lean and depend on government programs for survival than they are to get out and find a job.  My grandfather said that welfare would be the ruination of our country, and I'm not so sure he's not correct.  Instead of being for orphans and widows as first intended, entire generations have lived on it because it's simply easier.  They can make more money on welfare than they can actually working and pulling their own weight.  This is not just minorities...there are many white people content to live off the government as well.  So, I agree with you--when our country is truly a nation of diverse people WORKING and GROWING together to achieve the American Dream for all mankind, we will be truly great.

I guess I am a little sensitive when it comes to this subject since my father lost his first leg when I was eight to a rare blood disease.  I went with him to the welfare office when he asked them for the money to buy an artificial limb so he could go back to work. They humiliated him by having him empty his pockets to see the little money, pocket knife, and other items he had.  He wanted a leg so he could go to work.  They denied him because we owned our home.  So, he borrowed the money from a bank at outrageous interest rates putting us further in debt, but we all worked together (me included--I pitched in my snow-shoveling money, babysitting money, grass-cuttting money) to pay off the loan.  It took a lot for him to ask the government for help, but it was worse that he perceived them slapping him in the face because he needed a temporary helping hand, and they denied him in favor of those who don't work at all but expect handouts for life.

We must ALL put our pasts behind us and not think that the world owes us something for being here.  We must all pull our own weight and earn the money to pay our bills--living within our means--so that our self-esteem isn't wounded and we can walk down the street with our heads high.  We must not be ashamed if we need a temporary pick-me-up, but we must not use that crutch for the rest of our lives and teach our children to live this way as well.  Only then will our country truly be great and a nation of equals.

 

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

Posted on

The previous post was quite lucid.  I think that the election of the President might help to start the dialogue that could allow individuals to overcome the discriminatory practices and sentiments that have been a significant portion of American History.  However, few, if any, would argue that the election of the president would, in its own right, eliminate this element of stain in the national historical consciousness. One can only hope that discourse and dialogue can replace silence and tradition, and the election of the President might be one step to undertake such an endeavor.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am not African-American, and cannot possibly know what it feels like to be the victim of racism.  However, I am able to observe the world around me, and as hopeful as I feel, I do still observe what I perceive to be racism in the United States.  Let me give you some examples.

In Texas, school districts and parents are making a fuss because schools planned on showing a televised speech by President Obama on the topic of education.  He plans to discuss how important it is to work hard and get a good education.  There are parents who are claiming this is propaganda.  Would they make this claim if Obamawere not African-American?  Frankly, I doubt it!  I have never heard of any protest in the past whenever any school district planned to show a speech by a president, and certainly, I have never heard advice on the value of hard work and education being characterized as propagandist. 

Insofar as religion is concerned, I still see tremendous intolerance on the part of some religious groups, particularly those who mingle in politics.  As a person who is Jewish, and who has experienced anti-Semitism, that is of great concern to me. Since we have African-Americans of every religion in the United States, I think there should still be some concern about intolerance, particularly for those African-Americans who are of the Islam faith.  A suspicion that Obama was Islam nearly wrecked the election for him, and that should tell you something about religion in America. 

In business, it is my understanding that African-Americans are still terribly underrepresented in corporations, particularly in the upper echelon of corporations.  Of course, the same is true of females.

I do believe that having Obama as a president is an incredible breakthrough for minorities, and my children and I danced and cried with happiness the night he was elected, feeling that at last we had evidence of the American dream being available to everyone.  I also believe that having an African-American president will have a kind of "trickle down" effect, persuading people that if an African-American is good enough to be president, perhaps he or she is good enough to be considered in education and employment, just like anyone else.  

 

blacksquared's profile pic

blacksquared | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I also believe we give in to the ignorance of the "one drop of black blood" nonsense when we refer to President Obama as "black", the man is biracial. His MOTHER is white. Granted most black people in America are biracial somewhere down the line in their family but the president is clearly biracial. It IS good to finally have a president that is at least partially non white as a symbol of progress but at the same time both black and white people show their ignorance by refering to him soley as black.

blacksquared's profile pic

blacksquared | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The bottom line is that some racism will always be present...but racism , as an institution, isn't hold any race back in the 21st century.

Blacks enjoy the same opportunities as any other race now.  And this was the case BEFORE Obama's election, although we can see how that symbolic election was the final nail in that coffiin.

I think many of our young blacks confuse 2009 with 1959.  Yes, their grandparents were limited in their job opportunities.  Todays young graduates are not.  And they need to be taught that they can't blame their failures on racism. 

Of course it doesn't help when we have a President who accuses a cop of "acting stupidly" when he did nothing wrong.  It doesn't help when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson paint the America of 2009 as if it were 1959 again.

All races have equal opportunity now.  The African American community has huge problems in their dropout rates and incarceration rates, but they can't blame those on racism.

 

I agree 100%. We have to stop using racism as an excuse  for not changing things for ourselves, it's time to stop seeing ourselves as victims. Race will stop being an issue when we stop focusing on it. We claim to want respect and proper representation in the world yet we don't respect ourselves in the eyes of the world and we have the nerve to act suprised when we are looked as fools. Even if the entire planet sees us as fools and baffoons it's up to us to see ourselves in a positive light and project that through our actions and we can't do that by not embracing education, family, sexual responsibility, responsibility for our actions, making excuses for ignorant and idiotic behaviour, not mastering the English language.

jiggle-boi's profile pic

jiggle-boi | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

The bottom line is that some racism will always be present...but racism , as an institution, isn't hold any race back in the 21st century.

Blacks enjoy the same opportunities as any other race now.  And this was the case BEFORE Obama's election, although we can see how that symbolic election was the final nail in that coffiin.

I think many of our young blacks confuse 2009 with 1959.  Yes, their grandparents were limited in their job opportunities.  Todays young graduates are not.  And they need to be taught that they can't blame their failures on racism. 

Of course it doesn't help when we have a President who accuses a cop of "acting stupidly" when he did nothing wrong.  It doesn't help when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson paint the America of 2009 as if it were 1959 again.

All races have equal opportunity now.  The African American community has huge problems in their dropout rates and incarceration rates, but they can't blame those on racism.

I agree with your reply too. I, myself, am a high school student and I believe (<---Note this word) that racism (in fact, all forms of discrimination/prejudice) will be present. People just learn to hide it better, as long as there are humans there will be discrimination and prejudice. It is within human nature and I believe it is how we respond to something/someone new or different. For me, it is a matter of treating others they I would like to be treated.

 

xxlinkinparkxx1990's profile pic

xxlinkinparkxx1990 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

The bottom line is that some racism will always be present...but racism , as an institution, isn't hold any race back in the 21st century.

Blacks enjoy the same opportunities as any other race now.  And this was the case BEFORE Obama's election, although we can see how that symbolic election was the final nail in that coffiin.

I think many of our young blacks confuse 2009 with 1959.  Yes, their grandparents were limited in their job opportunities.  Todays young graduates are not.  And they need to be taught that they can't blame their failures on racism. 

Of course it doesn't help when we have a President who accuses a cop of "acting stupidly" when he did nothing wrong.  It doesn't help when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson paint the America of 2009 as if it were 1959 again.

All races have equal opportunity now.  The African American community has huge problems in their dropout rates and incarceration rates, but they can't blame those on racism.

i agree to this high iam a student a senior in a center in canton,and i see what u mean evryday i think they still hold a 100 year old grude against white people for slavery and it needs to stop,iam not a racist or activist in any nazi group our kkk clan dont treat me as such

donjohn8's profile pic

donjohn8 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am not African-American, and cannot possibly know what it feels like to be the victim of racism.  However, I am able to observe the world around me, and as hopeful as I feel, I do still observe what I perceive to be racism in the United States.  Let me give you some examples.

In Texas, school districts and parents are making a fuss because schools planned on showing a televised speech by President Obama on the topic of education.  He plans to discuss how important it is to work hard and get a good education.  There are parents who are claiming this is propaganda.  Would they make this claim if Obamawere not African-American?  Frankly, I doubt it!  I have never heard of any protest in the past whenever any school district planned to show a speech by a president, and certainly, I have never heard advice on the value of hard work and education being characterized as propagandist. 

Insofar as religion is concerned, I still see tremendous intolerance on the part of some religious groups, particularly those who mingle in politics.  As a person who is Jewish, and who has experienced anti-Semitism, that is of great concern to me. Since we have African-Americans of every religion in the United States, I think there should still be some concern about intolerance, particularly for those African-Americans who are of the Islam faith.  A suspicion that Obama was Islam nearly wrecked the election for him, and that should tell you something about religion in America. 

In business, it is my understanding that African-Americans are still terribly underrepresented in corporations, particularly in the upper echelon of corporations.  Of course, the same is true of females.

I do believe that having Obama as a president is an incredible breakthrough for minorities, and my children and I danced and cried with happiness the night he was elected, feeling that at last we had evidence of the American dream being available to everyone.  I also believe that having an African-American president will have a kind of "trickle down" effect, persuading people that if an African-American is good enough to be president, perhaps he or she is good enough to be considered in education and employment, just like anyone else.  

 

We are all victims of racism if we recognize race as a valid construct which it is not, scientifically. Whenever I hear politicians refer to race in anything but an historical context, I cringe since it is nearly always a pander to a constitutency for the purpose of gaining some minor political advantage.

Also a Texan, I cannot say with conviction that the effort to prevent Obama's speech from being televised in some schools was race-based although there is some eveidence of racist exploitation on the part of some of the radio talk Show announcers suggesting it had a nefarious purpose other than education. The schools here in Houston simply chose to avoid controversy, but in doing so, they invited more. This likely has more to do with the nonconfrontative approach favored by big school administrators than with a furtive religious or racist agenda on their part.

Your overlong post mixes too many concepts without defining them. It tends to ramble uncontrollably by the third paragraph, losing focus and simply tosses unsubstantiated accusations about.

donjohn8's profile pic

donjohn8 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

Racism, Stereotyping & Prejudice

As we embark on a new journey with our first elected Black President and move toward a global economy, how are African Americans being perceived in the following areas:  Business, Education and Religion?  Are the old attitudes still prevalent when we refer to Racism, Stereotyping and Prejudice?  Or are we moving more towards tolerance, acceptance and Change as our new president charges us to do?

Why do you purport to speak for African Americans? This seems to be an attempt to stereotype a monolithic black culture when, in fact, Barack Obama consistently stated that the time has come to transcend the narrow race-consciousness and speak for all Americans. His father was African. His mother was born and raised in America's Euro-based heartland. That he was the product of such a disparate mating attests to his lack of identification with typical American culture.

For us to move towards tolerance, we must have an honest recognition of that which we know little, of the aspects that may require discomfort to explore. Stepping out of our comfort zones will be necessary here as we get to know people for what they are, not what we believe them to be based on the cheap stereotypes and prejudices which we all naturally bring with us.

larabeth's profile pic

larabeth | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

In reply to sentence #1:  Please note that "we" did not necessarily embark on a new anything.  Indeed, whose word would you accept as proof of change?  I would suggest changing your perspective since one must be welcomed "in the door" so to speak.

In reply to sentence #2:  No one can say that old attitudes do not prevail about words (racism, stereotyping and prejudice) undefined in the first place.  Who can witness humanity's constantly fluctuating consciousness of prejudice?

Your questioning flattering manner deceives the answerer and answer.

In reply to sentence #3:  If anyone replies to this, it should remind us that we are not moving more towards change.  Tolerance, acceptance and Change, agreed with by you, might so involve a change of addresses.

Who cares that he has black skin?  It's insulting that you think this president's blackness and economic globalization--present when Bush was president--constitute a means to change how all African Americans are perceived.

I might argue that, encouragingly, Obama succeeded to get many individuals aware of the globalization of the economy as an issue to regulate at all. But it remains unclear who we are if you single our African Americans as such.  The series of questions and 'we' make sense if we do not so categorize any US citizen.

Nothing is new under the Son, so what is your point?  Now, will you, at least begin to think for yourself--not just to entertain yourself by toying with others?

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Very rightly said in post # 6 & 7 that we must not teach our future generation to crutches of assistance from others. But we must differentiate between using crutches as a means of avoiding work, and using crutches as a means of overcoming handicaps. If my leg is fractured and I need to use crutches to get around till my leg heals, I see nothing wrong.

If a class of society is suffering from some disadvantages for historical reasons, I see nothing wrong in giving some special help to that group of person to overcome such disadvantages.

indigoaka's profile pic

indigoaka | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Well said.  I too agree that we must not use these crutches as a way to live and then teach these principles to our future generations.  Assistance is meant to help those who are truly in need  for a specific time period; not to use it for their remainder of their lives. But to deny people who truly need it is disheartening to say the least.  I have watched many abuse these services while people who have worked to build a better tomorrow fall on bad times and are denied access to the very services that are suppose to provide assistance.  Policies need to be restructured so that individuals who have indeed worked are able to have access.  Those who simply choose not work but are more than capable of working should not be allowed to abuse these services.  You are absolutely correct we can become a country that is great and a nation of equals if we ALL pull our own weight..  Thanks for your insightful perspective.

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