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Racism at Every Level of Society

A recent study demonstrated that people of color are told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than whites. But the day-to-day reality for African Americans is quite different. More than half of all young black Americans know someone, including themselves, who has been harassed by the police. Blacks are twice as likely to die in pedestrian accidents than whites, perhaps because, according to one study , motorists are less likely to stop for blacks in the crosswalk.

African Americans in particular face discrimination in the world of healthcare too. Black Americans are far more likely than whites to lack access to emergency medical care. The hospitals they go to tend to be less well funded, and staffed by practitioners with less experience. But even black doctors face discrimination: they are less likely than their similarly credentialed white peers to receive government grants for research projects. And it seems that facing a lifetime of racism leaves African Americans vulnerable to developing stress-related health issues that can lead to chronic issues later in life.

Skip to main content. In fact, racism is built right into every level of our society in ways that might surprise you.

Racism and Discrimination in the US | InterNations

Racism at Every Level of Society Racism of this kind, racism that infects the very structure of our society, is called systemic racism. Report of abuse at juvenile detention center.

Racism : Racism And Racism

But following an uproar over a neo-Nazi being interviewed on national television and repeated comments by top politicians over "African gangs," questions are emerging over whether Australia is a more racist country than it would like to believe. On Sunday, nationwide broadcaster, Sky, aired an interview with far-right agitator Blair Cottrell, who has previously been accused in local media of calling for a portrait of Adolf Hitler to be hung "in every Australian classroom and every school.

The interview was pulled from social media and the network apologized after a large backlash, but the fact it was aired in the first place has raised questions about Australia's attitude to race. In a speech to the Whitlam Institute in Sydney on Monday, after the interview aired, Soutphommasane said Australia's "racial harmony" was under threat.

Australia's population is expected to hit a record high of 25 million within days, according to the country's Bureau of Statistics, partially due to an influx of migrants, among them more than , Australian residents who were born in China. But this diversity has often come hand-in-hand with discrimination against immigrants, from the infamous White Australia policy in the midth century that effectively banned non-European migrants from settling in Australia, to the One Nation political party formed in to oppose Asian migration.


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Polling by Australian research company Essential shows opinions on immigration are divided -- more than half of Australians considered multiculturalism to have "enriched the social and economic lives of all Australians," in a survey published in April How Australia is failing its indigenous population. Law said the majority of non-anglo Australians had experienced racism in their lifetimes, something the rest of the population might not appreciate.

Race: A Social Construct

Since his term in office began in , Soutphommasane has staunchly opposed a push by conservative politicians, media and commentators to change Australia's Racial Discrimination Act. Efforts to reform the act have been a signature policy of Australia's conservatives in recent years. Everywhere a white person looks in his culture, he tends to see other white people: the leaders who filled his history textbooks, the authors of the novels he read in his English classes, the pictures of celebrities he sees in magazines, the directors and stars of the movies he watches and so forth. By holding up these predominantly white figures as the exemplars of its culture, American society is depicting itself as a predominantly white society, thus sending an implicit message to white people: you belong here.

Another advantage that white people have is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Because of racial prejudices that are reinforced by stereotypical depictions of black and Latino men in the media, white people tend to associate them with criminality. Research also shows that police and judges are susceptible to making this association as well, which leads to disproportionate arrests and prison sentences for black and Latino men compared to white men. Black men are unsympathetically branded as being inherently prone to crime, whereas Latino men are sympathetically excused as having had rough childhoods or as going through tough times.

Thus, black and Latino men accused of crime are seen as hopeless cases who should be locked up to protect society, whereas white men are seen as redeemable and deserving of leniency. There are a few other assumptions that play important roles in the formation of white fragility and lead people to deny the existence of racism and racial prejudice.

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Two of these ideologies are closely related. The first is individualism , which holds that individuals can determine their own destinies without influence from the society around them, the circumstances into which they were born, or the groups to which they belong. The second is meritocracy , which holds that people get what they deserve, based on the merits of their skills and efforts.

In combination with each other, these ideologies allow people to justify the inequalities that exist between different racial groups. For instance, they allow white people to shrug their shoulders at statistics showing income disparities between white and black people.

Race: A Social Construct

After all, according to meritocracy, if white people have more money than black people, they must have worked harder for it. Thus, according to both of these ideologies, black people have no one but themselves to blame for their being economically unequal to white people.


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The third ideology is objectivity , which holds that people can be free from biases in their understandings of the world. White people in America are socialized into acquiring a set of racist assumptions and behavior patterns, which are wrapped up with some of the fundamental ideologies of American society. When their assumptions and patterns are challenged, they react in highly emotional ways, which prevent their racism from being addressed, thereby reinforcing it.

If you are a white person, keep in mind the true nature of racism next time your beliefs, words or actions are questioned or cast as racist. Try to use the occasion as an opportunity to examine, reassess and change your behavior and your way of seeing the world. Sign in.

Racism still prevalent in Australia: report

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