Low-Key Discrimination

by RayCharles05 on October 22, 2016 - 4:12pm

Shamal Henry

Anthropology 381-204-LA

The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism

Group 544

Friday October 21st, 2016



The devastating act of slavery has ended for quite some time now, but has most definitely left its mark on society today, and for years to come. Now a days we do not have ¨White people only¨ signs in front of restaurants, water fountains etc. but there are sneaky ways to get the same message across without really making it that obvious. What is subtle Discrimination? Does the new subtle form of discrimination effect African Americans more than the old straight forward form? The article ¨Racism's Cognitive Toll: Subtle Discrimination Is More Taxing on the Brain¨ discusses the effects that the new subtle form of racism has on the brain of African Americans. The human brain loves to make sense of things right away and it creates problems when it is deprived of doing so. For example, Discrimination was straight forward, there were signs that allowed white people more privilege in contrast to African Americans who visibly had no rights. African Americans were not allowed to drink from the same water fountains as whites, could not go to the same bathrooms, eat at the same restaurants and even go to the same schools as whites did. That form of discrimination was to the point and obviously was understood by the brain because it was everywhere and was the norm of that specific society. In society today we are supposed to live equally and discrimination should not be a factor but clearly that is not the case. Discrimination is far more subtle but does not hurt any less to the African Americans in society today. For example, when applying for a job and you are perfectly qualified for that specific job but still do not get it because you are black. The article states that, the brain cannot really make sense of this situation right away because it is not clear cut, the manager at the job did not tell the black guy that he was not hired because he was black, he left it up to interpretation fully knowing that that was the reason.

Furthermore, in class we learned that the idea of race is a social construct, and it only exists because society allows it to exist, mainly the dominant group in society (whites). In my life I have experienced a lot of subtle racism. I remember I was on the metro going to school, and this old white male came on the train and wanted a seat. I was in the corner of a two seater pretty far from where he was. There are seats reserved for the elderly and the ones next to me were takin by two white teens my age. The old man looks everywhere until he spots me in the corner and tells me that he wants my seat and that I must get up. The white teenager got up and said ¨here you go¨ to the old man and he did not want the seat, all he wanted was for me to get up and give him mine. I looked at him, at put my headphones in and pretended that did not happen. Meanwhile the other white people on the train were giving me dirty looks as if I had done something wrong. All in all, discrimination still exists, not as extreme as it once was but still hurts no less than it did.  



Association for Psychological Science. (2007, September 24). Racism's Cognitive Toll: Subtle Discrimination Is More Taxing On The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070919093316.htm


Hey! I loved your piece on subtle racism, and I relate because it has happened to me many times before. I appreciate your shared experience at the end because in addition to “lecturing”, you are able to give a real life example to those who may not see it. I like that you pointed out that race is a social construct, though at this point in history I honestly believe that fact to be totally irrelevant. As the Thomas Theorm says “things that are identified as real are real in their consequences”, meaning, whether or not race is real, it has already had so much of an impact on our world that it no longer matters where it came from. I do not know your gender, but I know in my case, as a visible minority, as well as a woman, amongst other “minority statuses” I may hold, the term intersectionality is highly important. Intersectionality is the constant reinforcing of minority statuses in one person. For example someone who is of Hispanic decent , but also a woman, has her gender and race reinforcing each other and oppressing her more than a white woman or a Hispanic man. This being said, I’d just like to bring light to how much worse things can be when you are a double or triple minority. Especially when it is visible, you may not only be subjected to racism, but also sexism and homophobia. When they are compounded they actually create a worse problem than had they been just by themselves. This was an interesting topic and I think looking at it through a gender lense makes it even more interesting!


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