Article “Defining Racism” by Beverly Daniel Tatum talks points out many issues of problem of racism in our society. She concentrates on how people are exposed to information about other races and how stereotypes about them are introduced to us. This article applies to the sociology of ethnicity and race. The best of points of the article are the paragraphs where she explains reason why people are so influenced by stereotypes. First she mentions the problem of being isolated from other racial groups. Without the firsthand experience people are not able to confirm the information we have about other races with the reality.
People tend to believe what they have been told about different people without trying to verify if this information are true. People do not know all the fact about other and making assumptions on secondhand information which are very often distorted, shaped by cultural stereotypes, and left incomplete. Second, the author points out the seriousness of the problem of omitting information. This issue might have similar effect to misinformation. As an illustration she gives the example of the teacher who tells student that there are no Black authors what makes student think the same way.
If nobody would change this statement all student will assume that they are no Black writers because they have never been exposed to anyone. The author mentions the problem of prejudice as an effect of mentioned above misinformation and omitting information. She assumes that everyone have prejudice, not necessary because we want to have them but as a result of being exposed to misinformation about others. The author compares prejudice to smog – we do not see it but we all breathe it. Even if we do not do anything to produce the smog we are still responsible for its existence.
Stereotypes may lead ineffective communication when we communicate with strangers. Our stereotypes tend to be activated automatically when we categorize strangers and when we are not communicating mindfully (see von Hippel, Sekaquaptewa, & Vargas, 1995). We, therefore, unconsciously try to confirm our expectations when we communicate with strangers. Our stereotypes constrain strangers’ ...
People just cannot avoid facing the prejudice same as we cannot do anything with the fact we breath the smog with the air. The weakness of the article is that it might seem as a not fully objective. In the last paragraph the author discovers herself. She is an African American, well-educated psychologist. For some people that not familiar with the topic can assume that her statements are subjective and based on her own personal experiences. She mentions the White’s racial advantage and she refers to the term “White Privilege. She says that Whites have access to better school, housing and job and can get a lot of social benefits and privileges. She points out that White person is most of the time viewed as a member of a racial group not an individual. The author makes a few statements which might seem irrational statements like: White person can be late for meeting or is not seen in the store as a potential thief. My first reaction after I read was “this is ridiculous. ” I based my opinion on my own, everyday experience: I work at the bank and I react in the same way to all suspicious activities at my branch regardless of race of the suspect.
When I think about it more I conclude that my opinions are different because of my background and the history I know. United States is very racially diverted country with history of racism, prejudice and racial segregation. I grew up in the culture where such divisions are irrelevant and they simply do not exist. Because of that I can understand if someone who is not familiar with topics of racism and social inequality might understand this article as a subjective and against Whites.
I chose this article because I became really interested in racial and social problems in United States. I was always ignoring problem of racism and prejudice because I do not concern as an important. I have realized that ignoring the problem is not a solution; it is like fighting with the smoke instead of the fire. I believe it the people want to make a change and create better world they need to know the problem and its history. It is not enough to have own opinion, everyone should know how to defend own point of view and present it to others.
In the essay “‘Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History” written by Jane Tompkins, an English professor at Duke University, the author criticized the history writers and described the issue of problems that are often created by different perspectives from the history on the topic, European -Indian relation, that cannot be determined from right or wrong. ...