What does it Mean to be Racist

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Category: Bias
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In society today, there are many issues that have been associated with racism. Racism can be defined as a negative predetermination of thought or action based on a specific race. The term racist is then used to describe someone or something directly that falls under the definition of racism. Racism is not something that is naturally developed. The way people think depends on the environment they grow up in. For example, if a child grows up in an environment in which racism is socially accepted, then that child will also grow up believing his or her bias ideals are true.

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They may believe that their perspective on a race is right, but they have most likely never been exposed to anything outside of their environment.

This creates conflict when talking about who and what is racist. The problem with calling someone or something racist is that it becomes a matter of opinion. People who are racist do not believe they are racist, and people who aren’t racist believe they know what racist is. So, specifying what makes someone racist prevents debate and determines who’s guilty. When determining if someone is racist, there are two key factors. Factor one, the person has a bias opinion towards people of a certain race. Factor two, the person acts on those bias opinions and expresses it in a way that is unfair, unjust, or negative towards people of a specific race. However, this is not the only form in which racism can be expressed. People can also use forms of art to depict racist ideas. A factor to take into account when determining whether someone or something is racist is context and the way something displays itself.

To continue, some people can depict their racist ideals in a way that’s direct and obvious. A prime example of a person like this is United States president, Donald Trump. Trump has made it very clear that he has a bias towards certain races of people through the means of media, speech, and action. In fact, he has been titled racist over the course of his political career. When breaking Trump’s statements down, it is not hard to see that he does meets the criteria of someone who is racist. Authors, David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick, in the online news article, “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List,” from The New York Times, displays many of the racist claims Trump has made over the years. For example, the authors included that during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign speech, he referred to all Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists”. All Mexican immigrants are obviously not “criminals” or “rapists”.

This then demonstrates that Trump is trying to express his own bias against Mexicans and use it when talking about Mexican immigrants. Trump’s statement can be used to describe what makes someone racist. Another statement by Trump from the article reads, “…40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never ‘go back to their huts’ in Africa”. In this case, Trump generalizes Nigerian people by stating they live in poorer conditions to that of people in the United States. This idea is also not true which makes it a form of opinion. This is covering the first key factor. Trump then uses his opinion to negatively represent Nigerian people and their home land in a way that is direct. This then covers the second factor. To add on, racism is spread through people like Trump. In the end, Trump is a good representation of what kind of things make someone or something racist. While Trump was able to display his ideas vocally, a statue located in San Francisco called “Early Days” displays the term racist in a non-direct way.

When considering something to be racist, context and presentation should be taken into account. For example, San Francisco has recently removed the “Early Days” statue that has been around since the 19th century. The statue was taken down because it was considered to be racist towards Native Americans. Writer, Jose Fermoso, in the online news article, “A 124-Year Old Statue Relived by Native Americans – And How It Came Down,” by The Guardian, explains that the statue depicted a Native American laying on his back at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary. The way the people on the statue are positioned can demonstrates a sort of power dynamic between each person. In this case, the Native American is positioned at the feet of the Spanish Cowboy and the Catholic missionary demonstrating that the Native American is submissive to the cowboy and the missionary. The statue depicts what a factor of racist because it represents the Native Americans as inferior. In result, present day Native Americans heavily protested the statue in order to have it taken down. After a large amount of time, Friday, September 15, the statue was removed. To conclude, many aspects of the way things are presented can hide a potentially racist remark, so it is important to take apart every aspect of a statement or object and analyze each bit. In this case, it was revealed that the Native American statue was is a good demonstration of the term racist because negatively represented a race through and expressed idea.

In conclusion, there are two main aspects that both president Donald Trump and the “Early Days” statue have that define the term racist. They both present a bias opinion, and they both negatively represent a race based on that biased opinion. In the case of Donald Trump, it was directly stated and obviously racist toward a certain racial group. In the case of the San Francisco “Early Days” statue, the way the statue was positioned determined a meaning that represented the Native American people as inferior. So, it is important to consider context and details that could possibly give off a message. Lastly, it is important to remember that a person that is grown into an environment that is racist, will have racist ideals. The only way that person can acknowledge if he/she is racist is by finding the definition and comparing their self to it.

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What Does it Mean to be Racist. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-does-it-mean-to-be-racist/