In 2018, a particular movie created a big wave in culture around the world. Black Panther, (2018) made millions of dollars worldwide and featured the first all leading roles of African descents. The audience goes through a journey of emotional battles between characters and what they believe is right and wrong.
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It follows a Wakandan King named T’challa. T’challa has to make a choice to unveil to the world the truth about the technology they possess, or to remain in hiding. When his cousin from America comes, unannounced and unwelcomed, everything changes drastically for the young King. The American who has grown up in poverty and crime wants his cousin to help those in similar situations. Black Panther has brought forth questions about culture and race to a broader audience globally. Race was the main topic presented in Black Panther (2018). Stereotypes, economic standing, and perception of others were constantly being questioned in the fictional universe. This lead herds of people to question what they knew or perceived of race and ethnic diversity. This begs the question: What does racism look like today? It is not limited to certain people of color through name calling and sideways glances, but a system is built on it. From Islamophobia, to Jim Crow laws, racism is apparent in American culture particularly
Hate and fear has taken new names over the past decades and more. Islamophobia is defined as, “fear of imagined Muslim enemies and is a form of racism.” Skinner, (2019) reported that islamophobia has a negative impact on Muslim immigrants particularly. It’s most commonplace in the western world. After September 11th, 2001 hate crimes against Muslims increased. Many North American, and European culture stereotype that more Muslims in the community will increase crime and terror. (Skinner, 2019) Skinner also references the recent Travel Ban by the Trump administration. This is an example of having stereotypes on a group will lead to discriminatory laws. Islamophobia has also led to extreme terrorist attacks against Muslim communities. This year forty-nine people were killed by a terrorist who claim, “Was defending our land from invaders and ensuring a future for white children.” (Stanley-Backer, 2019) Stanley-Becker, (2019) reported two Mosque in New Zealand were attacked by a white man. In the terrorist’s manifesto titled, “The Great Replacement,” it puts down and stereotypes Muslim communities and culture. However, there are people who agree with stereotyping other groups of people. Clegg testified against ending the Racial Profiling Act (2015). He argues, “If racial profiling can save lives, it should be allowed.” When police officers are monitoring locations with a high-crime rate and the area is a majority of a certain color, it is not racial profiling. Racial disparities are not the same as racial discrimination. (Clegg, 2015) If someone was to fit a physical description of a suspect, it is not racial profiling to look for that individual. It is clear to Skinner (2019), Stanley-Backer (2019), and Clegg (2015) that racism is apparent in Western culture.
Everyone can experience racism. A common way racism is expressed in stereotypes. Negative stereotypes use the ideas of criminality, laziness etc. which, “makes them inferior or intolerable to others.” (Racism, 2018) There are also positive stereotypes as well. A well-known example of this world be classifying Asian American people as intelligent, hardworking, and wealthy. While it is a positive perception of a race, it is still a form of racism. Racism (2018) explains that these are also identified as implicit bias. Implicit bias is defined as, “unconsciously-held set of associations about a social group.” Alexander demonstrates how the United States criminal-justice system has benefitted from implicit bias and is today’s Jim Crow. Alexander states directly, “The earlier system of racism created a political, social and economic sphere of inequality in America has not been breached.” Implicit bias has led to an increase in mass incarceration of people of color. Over two million African-American individuals are in prison, on probation or parole. (Alexander, 2016) Once someone is convicted of a crime, or are a felon, rights such as voting, and employment discrimination are allowed and not questioned. It’s common for law enforcement to search without a warrant as well. The evidence presented by Alexander conveys the questions; are police racist? Comey, former FBI director spoke about why “Police Are Not Racist Against Minorities.” in 2016. Comey says history is the cause of racial tensions now. He also acknowledges implicit bias in white culture and the reactions because of stereotyping as well. Comey states, “However, why are people of color more often locked up? Is it because police, prosecutors and judges are racist? This can’t be true. If it was, it would be easier to fix and change.” (2016)
Some societies believe law enforcement should have more power to address racial issues. The 287(g) Program is a system that allows local and state police the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. It would save money for the federal government and stop alien individuals from coming crime. “Illegal immigrants create negative effects on the U.S. economy and social structure.” (2010) Local and state authorities should have the power to address and stop illegal immigrants. However, those against the 287(g) Program claim this will only lead those in positions of power to hold to impact biases and stereotypes. The advocates for the program rebuttal with a statement that no complaints of profiling or discrimination have been reported. Black Panther (2018) demonstrates different instances of racial profiling and implicit bias. When Killmonger is visiting the museum, there is not an instance of him not being watch by guards. Wakanda is also a nation deemed as “Third World.” Partly because it is hidden well by technology and also because of its location. Africa is an under-developed continent to the western eye.
To conclude, it’s clear that racism is a legitimate, constant theme in American and western society. It is incongruous to deny it it’s place in social and economic systems. From the past of slavery, Jim Crow laws, Muslim bans, shootings of unarmed men and terrorist attacks, racism is expressed. Less extreme examples, like stereotypes and slurs can escalate to those extremes however, and it is erroneous. Implicit biases are a peculiarly interesting fault in perception. Everyone has them, it is a natural process our mind goes through, but it does not make it right. Everyone should take their stance against Racism to make the world a better place for all.
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