In an article by Adams et al, entitled “Beyond Prejudice: Toward a Sociocultural Psychology of Racism” Adams discusses many misconceptions people have about racism in today’s American society. One point made stated that racism is a product of abnormal personalities. Most people would swear up and down that they do not have a racist bone in their body, because being called racist is a fear of many. The term “abnormal” infers that racist is not only strange and pathological, but also infrequent. Racism is all around us, and I wanted to address this because racism is really all around us in every day life, and it is anything but infrequent. Racism is actually quite “normal,” even people that have non prejudice personal beliefs are still affected by racism at an unconscious level. It is important to accept that, as human beings, we are susceptible and influenced by the stereotypes about minority groups around us, and the only way to eventually change our actions is to accept that racism is the norm and it is everywhere.
Another misconception is that racism is only the direct consequence of some tangible act by one person or source onto a target individual or group. In other words, racism is only classified as a direct action with the intention of hurting another individual. But according to Adams et al, from the target’s perspective, the negative consequences of historical oppression can have racism like effects without the impact of one direct act. Racism can be felt everywhere without one tangible act against a target individual. I think this is extremely important to remember that people of minority groups can feel the consequences of racism without any specific differential treatment. One example listed in the article is stereotype threat, so in school, children of color are thought to be less intelligent than white students, and therefore, they perform worse on exams.
These are two very important misconceptions that I believe people should always keep in mind when talking about racism. We are all aiming for a change, but the first step is definitely accepting that racism is real and it is everywhere. Now, what are other misconceptions of racism that we should share with the world? How can we use them, to start educating people about these issues to somehow make a change?