Racism Is an Insidious Social Problem Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2200 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Race

Racism is an insidious social problem that has its roots so far back that defining when such issues came to be would be impossible. Furthermore there is a great deal of idealism surrounding the current state of racism in western society. Many people are under the mistaken impression that it does not occur any longer, or when it does uneducated and backward outsiders usually perpetrate acts of racism. Though, uneducated and backwards outsiders are not excluded from the pool of potentially racist actors they are not the exclusive purveyors of opinions, actions and words that are seated in racism. This proposal will demonstrate a need to have a better understanding of the occurrence of racism on the college campuses in the United States through a study that will assess the identification of both subtle and overt acts of racism that minority students experience daily.

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As an issue racism seems to be an underground idea, as if not speaking about racism on a genuine level, will eradicate it from existence, and yet acts of racism occur on a daily basis, and in some of the most illogical places, one of them being in the seat of academia, a place that is comprised of the very opposite of uneducated individuals. In an extensive work written in 2001, about racism on campus Fox likens the kind of everyday racism to a hidden agenda associated with the illogical but real practices and beliefs we are taught as children, by countless care providers in very subtle ways, but that we do not speak about, but rather openly pretend they do not exist. (Fox, 2001, p. 8) While Keigher blames subtle racism and not so subtle racism on both socialized racism, such as Fox mentions and institutionalized racism, or the racism that effects institutional opportunities, such as health care, employment, education and basically all the formal needs an individual has that will help them to get ahead, and realize the American dream. (Keigher, 1999, p. 243)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Racism Is an Insidious Social Problem That Assignment

Fox's work discusses the difficult nature of discussing race in a college setting, as facing the realities of racism in an open environment can be charged and even emotionally debilitating to all who are involved, but her particular point is the stress it places on the instructor, who is given the task of mediating often deeply held beliefs, that are in conflict with the real people involved. (Fox, 2001, p. *) Challenges to open, honest and still civil conversations about race are many and yet the needs for such conversations are also countless. Race relations in the United States, and elsewhere will not improve if they are ignored, with the well meaning idea that they are innocuous and/or non-existent in society today. In another comprehensive work on racism in education, speaking of the secondary education level, and the education system in general in the United States, Donaldson discusses the curriculum trap for minority students.

In most cases, the curriculum that is used in schools today is monocultural, with superficial additives concerning other groups. Pine and Hilliard (1990) agree that the curriculum reinforces institutionalized racism by omitting the intellectual thought, scholarship, history, culture, contributions, and experiences of minority groups. They further suggest that the system prepares minority groups to fail while it prepares white students to succeed. (Donaldson, 1996, p. 16)

In a seminal work on racism in education The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo

Freire, describes the problems associated with the type of education that has been consistently available in the United States.

Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in "changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them," (1) for the more the oppressed can be led to adapt to that situation, the more easily they can be dominated. To achieve this, the oppressors use the banking concept of education in conjunction with a paternalistic social action apparatus, within which the oppressed receive the euphemistic title of "welfare recipients." They are treated as individual cases, as marginal persons who deviate from the general configuration of a "good, organized and just" society. The oppressed are regarded as the pathology of the healthy society which must therefore adjust these "incompetent and lazy" folk to its own patterns by changing their mentality. These marginals need to be "integrated," "incorporated" into the healthy society that they have "forsaken." - (Freire 1993, p. 71)

Freire referes to the lecture, didactic, style education system, within the United States as a "banking" system of education, where those who are a part of the minority are taught a monocultural set of standards and beliefs, in a manner of attempting to control them to a greater degree, rather than determining their value and allowing multicultural expression. Though this could easily be applied to any nation, and often is, the banking system of education can be explained in an example of colonial education, even forced white education of Native Americans in the United States, (Fredrickson, 2002, p. 67) though there are subtler forms of this type of education at play currently in the education system. In a banking system of education, there is no acknowledgement of racism and/or race in general, which is openly a part of the conversations in schools. So, as a general rule, we as a group are raised and educated to "not talk about it" the it being the subtle and overt acts of racism that occur daily in the education system, including the post-secondary system.

Subjects of Study:

This work will concentrate on college student volunteers of minority status. The work will seek 100 volunteers who will be asked a series of questions with regard to acts of everyday racism that may occur within the college environment as well as within the local community. The volunteers will be recruited through flyers that will be placed around the campus, with electronic contact information regarding the study and with a brief description of the purpose of the study. Volunteer participants will then be asked to send an email, from their student account to request a copy of the questionnaire that will form the basis of the research, which will then be emailed to them via the student account address. Responses will be collated and tabulated via the self-report of race identification and a student volunteer with faculty supervision, look at the electronic database, which includes the student ID card photograph to determine minority status and help ensure against fictitious respondents. Participants whose race obviously does not meet the designated self reported racial category will be excluded from the study. Race will be considered the only mitigating requirement for the study, (excluding age of over 18) and some attempt to be made to split the group, via gender, and self identified ethnicity. In an attempt to create a representative study the group will be statistically representative, as much as possible of the proportion of race in the United States, and will include, Black, Native American, Hispanic and Asian at the percentile representation found in the general population of the United States, of minorities as a whole.

Ethical Consideration:

As this work will be conducted on the campus, through the campus email system and on student participants the ethical considerations of the work include submission to the human subjects committee of the university. All participants will be informed of the purpose of the study via the flyer as well as in an introduction statement on the electronic questionnaire. Collecting volunteers as subject participants reduce ethical considerations significantly, as at least partial informed consent is implied by a response to information on the flyer. Though viewing the students ID card may be an issue that needs to be addressed by the human subjects commission and personal meetings may need to be scheduled instead to ensure minority status. Though the study will not be anonymous the correction for difficulty with this will be associated with volunteer status and by the assurance and reality of the identifying information being removed from the data set upon collation of the data and all data identifying the individual will be shredded soon thereafter. Upon acceptance by the human subjects committee the study will commence.


believe this study will indicate that the level of subtle and overt racism on this campus is far greater than would be assumed by non-minority students as well as faculty and staff. The independent variable of the study is the race of the student volunteer while the dependant variable is the occurrence of racism on the campus and in the broader community, represented by the responses to the questionnaire.

The questionnaire will consist of five questions regarding the number and severity of occurrences of racism that are experienced by the individual in a matter of a week. First the individual will be asked how many occurrences there are total in a week and then each question will be a simple question and then number response, with questions associating with severity linked to a degree scale from 1-10. 1 being the least serious, while 10… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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