Wait…. Racism is a “Big Problem”?

The fact that racism is a big problem will most likely not come as a surprise to many people. Yet, there are people who are just now seeing racism as a  “big problem” in the United States. According to a Pew research center poll, 58% now see racism as a big problem in the United States. What about the other 42%? These are the people who either think racism is somewhat a problem, small problem, or not a problem at all. This is most likely due to the fact that people believe that they do not have biases towards minorities when they do. This is referred to as aversive racism.

Racism comes in many forms and sometimes these types are unconscious. This is problematic because implicit bias is harder to identify and address than explicit bias. The fact that women of color make less than average (much less then white males) does not upset people as much as when they see violence happening against people of color. According to market watch, forty percent of women of color report feeling uncomfortable in the workplace. People are much more willing to ignore more subtle forms of racism then overt forms of racism.

As more explicit racism has been happening such as, shooting directed towards minority groups, increase in police brutality, presidential statements, Charlottesville, etc. it’s harder for people to ignore and deny that racial discrimination is a big problem. When Barack Obama was president many people thought that race relations deteriorated because of the election of the first black president. Did racism just disappear? No, it did not. So why is there an increase in labeling it as a big problem? Americans were less likely to believe that our country has racism problems. Those who continue to hold colorblindness as a solution and those who are implicitly racist continue to believe that the world is a just place. The more modern form of racism is when people hold more implicit bias and that is why people have a hard time confronting racism. The 2016 campaign was important to remind the country that having a black president does not solve our countries racial problem. Although there has been an increase in belief that racism is a big problem these ideologies have been imbedded in our country the whole time. Yes, racism is a big problem but this is not new news. How do we address racism that happens without it being conscious to the person?

3 thoughts on “Wait…. Racism is a “Big Problem”?”

  1. The statistics you included really surprised me. I can not believe 42% of people still do not see racism as a big problem or even a problem at all in our country. Before taking this class, I was unfamiliar with implicit racism and aversive racism. Most of the actions, I classified as racist were blatant and overt. By educating myself, I have become much more aware of what unconscious biases I have. Being open to your own thoughts and feelings helps you understand your own actions. Racism is a big problem, and people should be educated not only on explicit forms but also implicit forms. Implicit forms of racism are so subtle thatI believe many White people do not even realize the microaggressions they are expressing. However, that is not an excuse.

  2. Sarah, I think this is a good question you pose! How can we get people to recognize racism that is implicit, or more subtle? It is such a shame that tragedies need to occur in order for people to recognize that racism is still an issue. As you mentioned, the Charlottesville shootings and riots actually drew attention to the fact that racism is still an entirely prominent issue in our society, but why did it have to take a blatant racist act to do so? It is shameful that we can be so blind to racism in our country. Your statistic regarding the 42% of people who disregard racism as an extreme issue actually shocked me. I did not realize the severity of the issue; I knew that there were people who did not take racism seriously for the problem that it is, but I did not realize the extreme to which people do not understand the weight of the issue. I think this is where it becomes extremely important for education regarding racism to become much more integrated into our education systems, workplaces, etc. This way, people will begin to recognize the implicit forms of racism we miss constantly.

  3. Sarah- I thought this blog post was very important and tied in a lot of things that we have spoken about in class. I think that the movie “Get Out” addressed the other 42% really well. The “we had Obama as President of the United States for not one but two terms so racism can’t possibly exist!” mentality. On your point that, “The more modern form of racism is when people hold more implicit bias and that is why people have a hard time confronting racism,” I feel that many times nowadays when people confront racism or implicit bias, they are told that everything in recent years has become too politically correct, people are too sensitive, or that these issues don’t exist. It is important to keep fighting the good fight even when the people against your argument keep coming back to try to silence you.

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