A Definition Essay On Discrimination

According to Dictionary.com, “racism” is a belief that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement; usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. “Racism,” however, may have definitions of different stature and connotation, all depending upon your definer. To some people, “racism” means discriminating against someone because of their race, skin color, or the ethnic stereotypes in which they’re placed. Some people also believe that the use of racist terms or the act of hate crimes is what defines someone as a racist. To others, it may mean getting special opportunities due solely to the fact that the ethnic group to which they belong is a minority. So what, really, is racism?

Racism is everywhere, surrounding everyone at all times, whether people are aware of it or not. Sure, modern “musicians” use racist terms in every other line of their songs. Sure, more than often, people subconsciously place others into ethnic stereotypes. To me, however, this is not being racist. Racism, to me, exists largely within the fear of racism. Racism, to me, exists in people fearing that which they do not fully understand. To be a real, genuine racist, you have to place one ethnic group higher or lower on a scale of importance or significance than certain other ethnic groups. To be a racist, it is required that you view people for their race or skin color, rather than their capabilities or contributions to the world as a human being.
In American society, “racists” are openly frowned upon. Accusations of racism are constantly flying around, much of the time, towards people who base their actions and decisions solemnly on what is fair. Viewing people as equals constantly gets business owners, employers, coworkers, and even peers in trouble. People don’t often acknowledge it, but racism occurs against majorities just as much as, if not more than, it occurs against minorities. University scholarships and admissions, for instance, are two of the biggest examples of racism against majorities. If two athletes, one Caucasian and one African-American, both of similar athletic and academic capabilities, were to apply for a scholarship to the same school, it is more than likely that the scholarship would go to the African-American applicant over the Caucasian. Why is this? Why is it that during the determination as to whom will be accepted, an African American student with a 3.5 grade point average may be granted admittance over a Caucasian student with a 4.0 grade point average? Universities, in order to avoid accusations of racism, must meet a certain quota for different ethnicities; Affirmative Action imposes this admittance shackle on the administrators of universities. Admittance into universities, in my opinion, however, should be based upon one criterion alone: qualification.

In universities all over the country, race plays a significant role in the decision process of who might be eligible to receive scholarships and acceptance. Why is this fair? Why is it fair that someone who works just as hard to maintain a high grade point average, someone who has all the extracurricular activities, someone with a higher SAT score gets overlooked for an opportunity mainly because they are a part of the majority group in America? Why is it fair that African-American and Hispanic students will qualify for so many more scholarship opportunities at the end of their high school career than Caucasian students?

Racism can be defined many ways from many perspective viewpoints. It is not my intention to say that things such as racial profiling, hate crimes, and discrimination aren’t the basis of racism, as they are an ongoing problem. Racism and discrimination come in many different forms. It is, however, my intention to bring it to attention that racism towards majorities has become a commonly ignored norm in American society.

Another factor of racism is the offense that people take to it. Certain commonly used terms and situations have “racist” connotations attached to them. Does that mean that every time a racist term is said, it is being used in hate towards another race? Does it mean that in every situation in which race is brought up it is a racist situation? No. People overreacting to “racism” is much of the reason why universities, business owners, and school administrators go so far out of their way to avoid it. Unfortunately, in doing many of the things they do to avoid racism, they only transfer it from one ethnic group to another. Throughout time, all people have strived for equality. Now that we’re making progress towards including minority ethnic groups in things that used to be exclusively for Caucasians, why are Caucasians feeling negative effects? Perhaps people of other races that receive discrimination feel that they deserve special privileges because of it; maybe some of them do. Those privileges, however, should not be denied from people who have not been “openly” discriminated against, as this is just as racist as the initial discrimination was to begin with.

Racism is a ubiquitous force and a worldwide problem experienced everywhere by everyone at some point. Although levels of racism seem to be slowly decreasing in situations around the world, it is probably true that racism will never completely die. It is important not to ignore such a problem. Even groups who appear to be unaffected by it, most likely are in some way. Perhaps bringing racism, both towards minority groups as well as majority groups, to the surface can help to slowly dissolve the issue and promote worldwide equality amongst people. Hopefully looking at the issue from different perspectives can help to achieve that goal.

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