Causes Effects of Racism on US Essay

Total Length: 1056 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

Page 1 of 4

Racism in America -- the Causes - Effects

Why has the ugly social scar of racism -- whites demonstrating racially biased attitudes and actions against African-Americans -- continued in the U.S. through the years? What causes people to look down on those of another race -- or to otherwise hold people of another ethnicity in contempt? Given the fact that the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965), and that Americans elected and re-elected a bi-racial president (Barack Obama), an objective observer from another country might imagine that racist attitudes have subsided (and in ways things have improved on racial issues).

There is still today -- and may always be -- white racism against blacks, and this paper points to the fact that racism has continued to be a social and moral blemish in the U.S. because it has become institutionalized and carried from generation to generation.

The Legacy and Institutionalization of Racist Beliefs and Behaviors

Jim Wallis writes in the peer-reviewed journal Crosscurrents that the most visible "…and painful sign of racism's continuation is the economic inequality between blacks and whites" (Wallis, 2007, 199). This is a classic example of the cause and effect of institutionalized racism; that is, the median income for white Americans in 2007 was $48,500, while the median income for black Americans was about $31,000 (Wallis, 199). The unemployment rate for black teenagers is "…twice that of white teenagers" and this has become an institutionalized reality for black youths in the inner city (Wallis, 199).

Other examples of the institutionalization of racial bias can be found in the nation's capital, Washington D.C., which has traditionally had African-American mayors.
Wallis points out that the subway routes follow class and racial lines; middle class commuters are carried through "gentrified areas…into the suburbs…avoiding black ghettos" (200). Also, the busses that ran through the more affluent areas of Washington, D.C. (16th street) have typically been newer and air conditioned while the busses that run on the 14th street corridor -- "…just two blocks away" from the "gold coast" upscale neighborhoods of 16th street -- are typically "…old, hot, and broken-down" (Wallis, 200). Wallis concludes his essay by explaining that racism has much to do with who has the power to "…dominate and enforce oppression," and currently that power in America is "…in white hands" (202).

In the peer-reviewed journal Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, there is more evidence of the institutionalization of white racism. The article points to a survey of 294 public schools in America, and in that study it was discovered that when black students are disciplined for rule-breaking, they "…tend not to receive more benign sanctions" like counseling or meetings between parents and teachers, as misbehaving white students often receive. In fact black students -- a group that makes up 33% of the study body in some schools -- served "…53% of the suspensions over the last 10 years" (Nagel, 2011).

The studies referenced by Nagel show that black girls in middle school are "…suspended at four times the rate of white girls" (Nagel, 304). The survey Nagel refers to also shows that black students….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?