What does it Mean to be a Subtle Racist?

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Subtle racism, or casual racism, refers to when an individual acts in a racist way that is indirect, or a ‘harmless joke’ of some sort. Say you start a sentence with “I’m not racist but…*, or you cross the road to avoid people of a certain race, even getting nervous around different races on airplanes. All these simple events happen to almost every individual and even though the comments may seem harmless, they still are examples of subtle racism. The reasons behind them are simple.

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Beginning a racist statement with “I’m not racist but” doesn’t make the statement less offensive. Getting nervous around other races or crossing the road to avoid people of a certain race is a part of racial profiling, which happens daily.

From this, what we may call a ‘harmless stereotype’ often impacts the lives of entire groups of people. From what we learned in class, prejudice, bias, and oppression are examples of subtle racism. These terms have significant differences in their definitions. Prejudice causes the victim to feel less than fully human. When people feel undervalued, their self-esteem suffers, and they lose interest in “their” development. Prejudice can often lead to bullying and other forms of discrimination. In practice, prejudice occurs when a person is judged by race, age, gender, sexual orientation, class status, religion, and nationality. Prejudice can occur in any workplace and affect anyone. In practice, bias occur when someone favors one idea or a person over another in characteristics that are not necessarily within the individual’s control. Cognitive bias are a systematic error in thinking that affects a person’s decisions and judgements.

To wit, one’s recollection of an event may be influenced by a number of factors that can lead to biased thinking and decision-making. Oppression refers to the unfair or cruel use of power to control another person or group of people. The term is often used in a political context to refer to the oppression of minority groups such as women and racial minorities. The goal of oppression is to gain power by taking away another person’s power or value as an individual. An example of oppression is when schools separate young people into groups, training the young people to be part of capitalism and the oppressive society. They reinforce racism, classism, and sexism. Teachers get little support and become agents of young people’s oppression. The natural way young people learn is not how schools are set up. Neither, the students nor the teachers are the cause of the problems. Instead, it’s the oppressive system.

Why could there be significant differences in perceptions and values of members within the same ethnic group? Members from the same ethnic group may have had different experiences with racism. For example, someone who is Muslim in America is more judged than someone who is Muslim in the Middle East. Different upbringings are also examples because white children who grew up with a family that normalized racism and white children who grew up opposing racism will have different views of racism. Even men and women in the same ethnic group can have different perceptions and values. For example, some women believe a woman is as good as a man while a man may believe males are superior.

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What Does It Mean to be a Subtle Racist?. (2021, Mar 23). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-subtle-racist/