It is well known that racism has been a problem in American society for many years. Racism is prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of race. Prejudice and discrimination are different: one can have a preference for, prefer to associate with, or select as a member of an economic class or social group, someone who belongs to the same race; prejudice is an irrational feeling you have about someone because they belong to the same race.
The following strategies will effectively reduce racism:
1) Teach people about tolerance in school
2) Tell people that everyone deserves equal rights
3) Show examples of immigrants succeeding
4) Have more public outcry against racist practices
5) Provide statistics emphasizing our similarity
6). Increase economic inequality
The idea of teaching tolerance in school might seem like it would undermine a childs sense of individuality. This is not the case; it can actually enhance it. If people understood that they have a fundamental right to be who they are, they would be more likely to respect others. In today’s classrooms, the issue of racism is dealt with as a controversy between two opinions.
Telling everyone that everyone deserves equal rights is another way to stop racism. Tell everyone they are equal and deserve to have equal opportunities and you will see positive results fairly quickly because most people want equality and do not want to be racist. Telling immigrants that they are welcome in America also goes hand-in-hand with this strategy. It is important to show that people who are not born in the United States can succeed in our society.
Since racist actions are often hidden from public view, it is good to increase public outcry against racist practices. People need to be aware of what racism is and they need to know that it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Provide statistics that emphasize our similarities. In recent years, psychologists have proven that people of all races show similar intelligence when tested under similar conditions; they score about the same on IQ tests.
Increasing economic inequality also goes a long way toward ending racism. People feel that if they are in a position of relative poverty, they cannot be racist to those who are wealthier than them. For the society as a whole, it is important to maintain economic equality because we want every person to have opportunity and equal access to the American dream.
Racism is often not linked directly with discrimination; it comes from feelings of superiority or inferiority. Some people in America feel so superior that they cannot imagine treating others equally. They think everyone else should be treated differently because of their race and religion, for example (Crenshaw 1999).
There is a strong link between prejudice and discrimination in people’s minds, though. The United Nations defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” (1998). Discrimination is not always linked to prejudice. If a woman is paid less than a man for different work because the man has more experience and education than the woman does not necessarily mean that he has a prejudice against her. It is just that she deserves to earn a little less because she lacks the credentials of the man with more experience and education.
Racism can be defined as prejudice or discrimination that is directed toward someone of another race. The term is usually used in American society when speaking about the treatment of African-Americans. Many people in America today feel that racism has been overblown, that it has been “tossed into the category of political correctness” (Heatherington, Adkins and Wagner 1999).
Racism is a difficult problem to confront because prejudice and dislike are so deeply ingrained in some people. Psychologists who study racism believe that we learn both prejudice and dislike from our surroundings. If you were raised to distrust people because they are different from you, you might learn to be a racist when you grow up.