Racial Segregation in America

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Racism is a term defined in many different ways depending on who you ask. According to Dr. Tatum racism is a system of advantage based on race. Prejudice can be a way to refer to racism, “a preconceived judgement or opinion, usually based on limited information about something or someone. (p.85)” Racism is an issue that has been around from the beginning of time. Historically racism can be related to slavery between blacks and whites. While our nation has gotten a lot better with racism as a whole, “some patterns of segregation still persist, predominately in schools and neighborhoods.(p.3)” But how many people do actually talk to their children and the importance of not being racist and prejudice towards others simply because the color of their skin. Dr. Tatum wants to express the importance racism plays in everyone’s life from a young age and how parents shouldn’t be afraid to talk to their children about race to help prevent racism.

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Dr. Tatum effectively backs her points on why racism is so important. People of different races may see racism differently. Talking to our children from a young age of how multi-cultural our society is can help minimize racism and acceptance of all. Instead of being afraid and being prejudice one should be inclusive and not see others as white privileged. Racism can be started from a young age with disintegration. While prejudice and racism are inevitable helping build children’s, racial identity plays a huge role in how bias a child may grow up being against another race/gender. Children’s racial identity should begin being made from a young age, so they fully understand what a diverse nation we live in and its ok to accept everyone for who they are no matter where they came from. A great example was that of young Africa-American Trayvon Martin mistaken for an intruder being fatally shot by George Zimmerman. This young man was simply walking to his father’s fiancée’s home when he was seen as up to no good because he was a different race and wearing a black hoodie. This event unfortunately led to the death of Trayvon and a verdict of not guilty that brought up how even as a nation with a black president we still have a lot of racial segregation.

Conflict theory is based on class conflict and that laws tend to reflect the interest of the powerful. This is a theory were money and material issues affect everyday life. Dr. Tatum refers to the white privileged and how being privileged is an advantage to many. Then there are those who live in not the best conditions and are typically those of other races and how they are automatically judged from where they come. From a young age we see the separation of advantages schools in different neighborhoods. From a young age a child begins his or hers identity development. It’s how exposed they are to it that they will be able to achieve a strong identify and not be so judgmental. Even into adulthood, “on predominantly white campuses, black students express their sense of alienation, hostility, racial discrimination, and lack on integration. (p.169)” This has a lot to do with not achieving ones identity development and relates to conflict theories where those of lower income neighborhoods probably never interacted with those more privileged races and once in adulthood the prejudice continues.

One can consider how Dr. Tatum may have been biased in her book, simply by reading the title of the book. Further into the book you realize the book is not only focusing on whites being racist against blacks. She talks about all races and how we all can encounter racist or racial prejudice. Not all whites are racist some are more passive racist, “ laughing when a racist joke is told, and avoiding difficult race-related issues. (p.91)” While passive racism is not a bad thing, she tries to move on to a more positive way in which we can move towards active antiracism. As a Hispanic I can relate to, “having Spanish speaking parents stripped away from their native language in school and asking parents to speak only English to their children at home. (p250-251)” This happened to my mother whose first language was Spanish but once she went to school and Spanish was not an accepted language her Spanish went away. While she still understands it, she no longer remembers how to speak it.

Affirmative action was introduced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. This is an executive order I didn’t know existed. This order , “obligates all contractors who employ more than fifty workers to ensure all their employees are treated equally during employment without regard to their race, religion, sex, or nationality. (p.215)” She goes on to explain the process a bit more and how even a qualified white person may not be hired and feel disappointed. While affirmative action is an act to ensure bias isn’t being made and everyone is given an equal opportunity this is just another act to show bias will always be in place. In most cases the best qualified person for the job will be a person of the dominant group. I can personally agree with this action firsthand in the environment I work in it doesn’t matter how qualified you are, or what your race or even gender are but more of who you know.

Racism or racial prejudice is something that has been around for ages. Slavery was one of the biggest issues our country has had to go through. How we control it and present it to our children can help with there being less racial division. While we as a whole cannot get rid of racism, we can work together more so to ensure inclusion of all. Also, as more and more multi-racial families come along, we can see I can see how it may be hard for some to accept because of their beliefs but this will open up a lot more peoples mind to inclusion and growing a racial identity. Dr. Tatum gives multiple examples from the beginning of time how we’ve experienced racism but also overcome many obstacles that bring us just a little closer to being antiracism. While the fear of violence and institutional racism will always be present it is our responsibility to help minimize it by not being afraid and speaking up.

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Racial Segregation in America. (2022, Oct 05). Retrieved February 7, 2023 , from
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