Blog #4 – Racial Perceptions in America

W.E.B Du Bois thought in radical terms about why people are racist and how we can alleviate the problem of racism. With that, he believed that race created a very clear class boundary that was almost inescapable because it is impossible to change the color of your skin. Today, it is hard to say that this is true when we have an African American man as President, Eminem (a white man) is one of the best rappers around, and there are many Asian people working in restaurants instead of pursuing a career as a doctor. But why exactly do we set certain expectations for certain races?

Our culture relies heavily on observations such that our view are shaped around them. It is important to realize that there are stereotypes against EVERY ethnicity – white people are racist, Asians are smart, African Americans like to eat watermelon, Hispanics are all (illegal) Mexicans, and the list continues.  Americans tend to generalize everything, this becomes a problem when one group cries racism from another as is very common. As a white female I have been targeted just because of that – I have been called everything from a snob, racist (because of my blonde hair and blue eyes I’m linked to Hitler somehow?), and rhythmless (despite taking dance for 10+ years). But if I were to say these comments were racist to the person who said them, they would tell me its true. 

We set expectations based on things we have seen a very select group of people do. Being exposed to many illegal Mexican immigrants in both media and on Main Street, we assume that people are Mexican if they are Spanish because we have seen it. It is so hard to wrap your mind around things that you haven’t seen. I grew up hearing so many things about certain groups of people, blindly believing it because my mother told me them, and going out in the world by myself to discover that these stereotypes aren’t all true. Yes there may be some validity in them, but most of the time if we hear it from someone who we place in an authority position (parents, professors, etc) then we believe it blindly until experiencing it for ourselves. 

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2 responses to “Blog #4 – Racial Perceptions in America

  1. I completely agree with your ideas on stereotypes, but one thing I must say is that people who strongly believe that every “Asian is smart” and “every hispanic is illegal” only makes the person seem ignorant. To judge a certain race/ ethicity as a whole is silly because its 100% not true for all people. I believe that if people were less stereotypical we wouldnt have so much of a division within other races. More specifically, this happens at job interviews. When the employer has certain expectations about a race or ehtic group it puts pressure on the employee on getting the position because most employers dont look past the “stereotype” and end up not picking a person soley based on what they “assume”. Stereotypes create hatred for specific groups sometimes and if this was sowly to end we would have a lot less issues in the world.

  2. ciarasullivan25

    I agree. I’ve often thought that is is important to realize that there is racism and stereotypes against each ethnicity. I feel like maybe if people were to be more aware of this we would have less problems concerning racial issues. However, I think that racism is a very touchy topic in our society and sometimes people jump too quick to think others are being racist.

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