The Double Standard of Racism

by msalah on October 23, 2016 - 2:09pm

In today society, racism if often associated with white people as perpetuators and people of other colors as victims, an issue that is discussed in this article through a psychological test analysing people’s perception of themselves and of others based on racial bias.

            This article talks about an experiment where a black journalist had the position of a police officer who had one second to decide if he would shoot the black or white person appearing on the screen, depending on his perception of what this person was holding (a gun, a stick, a cigarette pack…). His results have shown that he would more often shoot a white person rather than a black person, proving that our brain naturally associates other races as being bad and our own as being good. Therefore, black people will more often defend the black victims while white people are more likely to defend the white police officers (Chalabi, 2016, para. 6). Even though such an argument is based on psychological studies, I do not agree with the conclusion made by the journalist. A few months ago, when the issue of police officers violence towards black victims was at its peak, I saw a powerful Facebook video of a black woman, who was also a police officer, giving an emotional speech to all the officers responsible for the unjustified deaths of black unarmed men. She questioned their intentions as well as their actions as officers and reminded them of their duties and responsibilities towards society: the protection rather than the hurting of the population. Indeed, this woman may have been more affected by these tragedies than others, due to the fact that these victims shared the same skin color as her, however, I think that the decision to defend them goes further than her “race”, it concerns the fact that innocent human beings were killed by people who abused of their power. Hence, I strongly believe that a white police officer could have had the same reaction as her and that many other white people would also defend the victims, who are part of a minority group known to have suffered from a long history of oppression and discrimination and are still to this day, the subject of numerous injustices in our world.

            This comes back to the fact that white people are seen as perpetuators and other people of colour as victims, however, this only happens because we do not live in a racially neutral society, but rather, a white dominant world (Chalabi, 2016, para. 9). We can relate this tendency to the concept of “white privileges”, where white people are granted with certain advantages that are superior rather than equal to the advantages of people of colour. Such a theory could explain the questionable judicial system in America and the way that people are being treated by police officers depending on their skin colour. However, I do not think that it means that black people believe that they are “good” and that white people are “bad” or the other way around, it rather means that a great number of the population believes that everyone deserves the same rights, freedoms and judiciary protection, no matter what their skin color is.

            Psychological test, such as the one discussed in this article, can be rather surprising, it can emphasize some of the racial bias that are automatically produced by our brain. Hence, we should all question ourselves regarding our own racial tendencies before criticizing others.

 

Comments

Hi, msalah, your post is really helpful and interesting. You explained the racism from the psychological factor of humans, which is also supported by the results of an experiment. Your arguments are logical and objective. Sexism is also a serious social problem, just like racism. Indeed, many black people have more than one marginalized identities. They are suffering not only because of their skin color but also their gender. Sometimes, we ignore the fact that the marginalized individuals unusually have more than one marginalized identities and everyone has their unique concern. The feminists have not thought about this until the Third-Wave Feminism, thanks to the Black Feminism. Black feminists taught us that different inequality systems can overlap and reinforce one another because the logic of the equality and freedom can be applied for all the discriminations and segregations. This is the principle of the intersectionality. Meanwhile, the social constructs limit unconsciously everyone and create the stereotypes and labels for a specific gender or race. For example, the black men are usually seen as athletic, violent, and tough. Even though some black men are known as sports stars, black people are always seen as violent and even criminal. As you pointed out in your post, we may naturally be more likely to admire people who have similar traits to ourselves, but we are also influenced by the society and media. In the white dominant world, black men have been socialized to the expectations of the society: violent, athletic and poorly educated, which creates the glass ceiling that prevents black men from getting a higher position in the American world. The cases of killing black people by white police also prove the danger of this stereotype. Black men are just automatically associated to a dangerous being. The link address below includes some statistics that show the gender and racial wage gaps in U.S. 1 (Black people earn much less than white, and the wage gap between the genders is also considerable.) In short, the racism, sexism, and all the inequalities in society are linked and related one to another. Many people are suffering for more than one marginalized identities; the communications allow us to be aware of different positions of the minority and take their unique concern into consideration while defending the freedom and equality of individual in our society.

PEWRESEARCH, Racial, gender wage gaps persist in U.S. despite some progress, July 1 2016,
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-..., accessed 31 October 2016.

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