Sierra Druyon February 23, 2013 Prepared for Dr. Dugan ENG 101 Paper 1 Argumentative Synthesis on Race and Racism In comparison to the almighty universe in which people all live in, human beings are merely a speck of dust at the size of it all. Then here are these beings on planet earth, with all 7 billion people under the same moon, divided. No longer are human equals as beings, but separate because of the system of ignorance, exploitation, and power used to oppress people on the basis of ethnicity, culture, mannerisms, and culture (Marable 1).
Racism is the issue Americans have swept under the rug; the problem is being ignored, leaving cultures in the dark of their own history causing blame to be shifted on to all sorts of hosts, and it’s time to pick up the rug to dust. Society as a whole seems to have broken down what makes a person unique, dehumanizing them and leaving them susceptible to oppression (Marable 2). One must not be so quick to forget that every single human being is made up of the same genetic material, to forget something so broad is to undermine the gift of thinking itself.
Manning Marable writes in Racism and Sexism that stereotypes are at the heart of every form of racism today. Racism is not a topic that sits around at the front of everybody’s brain. Racism does not twist on the tip of your tongue begging to be talked about. Racism is something that is ignored and denied. Shocking statistics from Tim Wise’s On White Privilege were discussed, stating that in 1962, 80% of white folk believed that racism was not even a problem.
In the same year, 90% of white folk believed that colored children had equal education opportunities as white children. To believe that racism was not even a problem would be to say that over the 750 race riots 228 people were not actually killed, 12,741 people were not critically injured, and that the 15,000 acts of arson did not leave black urban neighborhoods in ruins, in the same year of 1962 (Postrel). White people are completely unburdened by race; where as colored eople constantly feel their capabilities are always being second guessed. However, Charles M. Blow, author of Escaping Slavery, explains to the reader that apparently white people think their actions are justified! And Blow goes as far as to say that “the idea that progress toward radical harmony would or should be steady and continuous is fraying” (Blow 1). In On White Privilege, the speaker Tim Wise pointed out that white people were asked in 2009 if they believed that racial discrimination is still a problem and only 6% said ‘yes. To put that into perspective: more people would believe that Elvis is still alive than to believe that racial discrimination is still a problem (Wise). Perhaps the density of the universe compromised the carrying capacity of the human brain causing a malfunction making it so the only thing people can think about is them self. Definitely not progress (Blow 2). The white system of ignorance and exploitations is causing the cultures of color to completely lose track of their own histories (Marable).
People who are oppressed themselves begin to lose touch with their own traditions of history, community, love, celebrations, struggle, and change (Marable). Tim Wise reminds viewers whose history we are truly learning in school- text books are filled only with white history; people of color are forced to regurgitate white history, white literature, white art, white theater, etc. , while if a white person does not know an ounce of black history, it can go virtually unnoticed in this country (Wise).
Actions speak louder than words and people seem to continue to prove their ignorance. As part of the Civil Rights Movement and an effort to create a solution to unlawful discrimination in housing based on race, color, sex, nation origin, or religion, the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 (Russell). Fast forward 38 years later where 2006 showed the highest level of discriminating housing complaints based on race (Wise). 38 whole years later and the only thing society can show on terms of progress is the lack of acceptance being distributed around the country.
There is not enough change taking place as a country in order to move forward into truly being the United States of America; home of the Brave but we still fear what we do not know. It is always easier to accuse other forces for a problem than to admit that you are actually making the mess yourself. It has been said that if one is not a part of the solution then one is a part of the problem; however, some people are purely unburdened by race, they don’t know racism because they have never had to experience it- people are completely surrounded by and completely oblivious of the problem.
Failure to talk about racism feeds the denial (Wise). The finger can be pointed in any direction, and instead of calling it “blame” the word “cause” is used instead because that is more constructive, and let’s face it, we need as much progress as we can get. However, progress seems to be unbearably intangible when Blow points out that the pillars of the institution- the fundamental devaluation of dark skin and stained justifications are for the unconscionable- have proved surprisingly resilient (Blow). The ignorance and lack of education only feeds the pillars’ strength.
Completely blinded by utter fear, America seems to be in a standstill of progress towards the issue on racism. Starting with Charles Blow’s work in Escaping Slavery, down to Manning Marable’s Racism and Sexism, and what Tim Wise said in On White Privilege, it can be assumed that progress will always need to be made to bring this country closer to unity. Breaking down racial barriers and stereotypes have proven to be an especially lengthy process, however that does not justify the slothfulness of it all. Open minds and hearts is what it is going to take to shatter the structure that leaves this country divided.
Word Count: 1,100 Works Cited Blow, Charles. “Escaping Slavery. ” New York Times 4 January 2013. Marable, Manning. “Racism and Sexism. ” Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, 5th ed. Ed. Paul Rothenberg. New York: Worth Publishers, 2001. 124-129. Pring. Wise, Tim. On White Privilege: Racism, White Denial, and the Costs of Inequality. The Media Education Foundation, 2008. DVD. Postrel, Virginia. “The Consequences of the 1960’s Race Riots Come Into View. ” The New York Times. N. p. , 30 Dec. 2004. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.