Melanin-Based Racial Prejudice Essay
Melanin-Based Racial Prejudice
Do you think humans are born to be judgmental? We usually make judgments based on what we see first, and most of the time an important factor is skin color. Social racism is known as the discrimination or intolerance of people of other races or skin colors. Racism occurs in many ways; however, it is not always obvious. Where did this type of behavior begin? Racial prejudice has many causes and effects from and on society that are inevitable. There are many ideas thrown around as to how racism began, though the truth lies in the historical facts. From slavery, to imperialism, to wars, we have always felt superior towards others with different skin colors and races. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” (Mandela, 1994). Racism has been a part of history for as long as humans existed and has been enhanced by early capitalism’s use of slaves for plantations and colonies. Back then, the colonists and imperialists used it as a way to show domination, but it resulted in dividing the modern world. A main factor of this division is that people who believe in stereotypes detest any communication with other races, causing a defense mechanism against them, and finally creating tension and animosity.
History is proof that colored people have been treated unfairly and tortured over centuries. “Black” has always been perceived as negative. Black cats are told to be a sign of omen, black clothes are worn to funerals, and hell is pictured as a deadly place filled with darkness; these have all caused misinterpretation and created a wrong impression in people’s minds. Last, but unfortunately not least, pictures from The Holocaust -a genocide where about six million Jews were killed by the Nazis under the command of Germany’s Adolf Hitler- still haunt us (Mukherjee, 2014). Just as kids grow up imitating their parents, upcoming generations will grow up to be racists in a society where each individual thinks they are superior to everyone else if they have lighter skin. It is a never ending cycle that will most probably end in bullying. Children who grow up watching discrimination happen everywhere around them will end up feeling a need to bully classmates of other races. Racial discrimination has had several effects on society and employment. Studies have shown that people with darker skin colors usually have trouble achieving ordinary goals like a job that pays well, a house in a nice neighborhood, and all the basic necessities. Why should a person with a darker skin tone suffer to obtain these essential rights and needs?
The unemployment rate for African Americans in 1995 was 10.1 percent compared to 4.7 percent for white Americans (Berry, 1995). It is widely known that colored people face higher rejection rates when applying for jobs and are usually put second to whites with similar credit characteristics and also get paid less (Ross & Yinger, 1999). In addition, racism is associated with poor mental health. Studies show that the victims of bullying based on their skin color are at a greater risk of developing a range of psychological and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. These conditions can contribute to more serious mental disorders. Therefore, eliminating racial prejudice is vital to improving mental health and emotional stability. Even though all that is happening, proper awareness is still not being taken into consideration. Racial discrimination is often practiced subconciounsly because societies from all around the world have successfully managed to mind wash generation after generation. In movies, for example, people do not realize that the African Americans usually die first. In crime scenes, they are usually the criminal.
As a result of this, children are unintentionally forced to believe that dark skinned people are bad. Statistics show that majority of the public believe that African Americans are not accurately portrayed in movies. The use of offensive words regarding the Natives has become very common, as well, especially in modern rap songs. Rappers include offensive and extremely racist words in their lyrics. Another example is advertisements, and how they stress on promoting whitening beauty creams. The racism in this is not obvious, but it is obscene for the people who are not fair skinned. Finally, as a cause of predictable racism, an innocent African American man named Michael Brown was shot fatally by a police officer earlier in August this year. The protesting citizens of Ferguson remain at unrest until this very day due to the injustice that had occurred.
In a nutshell, social racism has had many causes and effects throughout the years due to the growing complexity of the world around us. Racial prejudice is surely not a biological characteristic. In other words, humans do not differentiate between races because of their genetic makeup. In an ideal world, racism would be eliminated and justice would take over. To cut a long story short, why should the amount of melanin is someone’s skin define them?
Mandela, N. (1994). Long walk to freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little, Brown. Mukherjee, R. (2014, June 18). Top 10 Reasons why Racism Still Exists – List Crux. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://listcrux.com/top-10-reasons-why-racism-