Racism is an evil that has baffled humanity for a long time. People from different races always find something in each other with which they use to cause pain. Racism can be defined as the unfair and illegal mistreatment of a person because of the color of their skin or their origin. In the United States, racism is predominantly directed towards Indians and Mexicans. Although the conditions are much better now than they were in the past, people from these races still face some form of discrimination. In the last century, the word racism would go hand in hand with African Americans. However, with the recent changes in the country, the African Americans seem to have been fully integrated by the American society.
Racism does not have to be an intentional act. One is said to be racist if the effects of his actions cause harm to another person. Effects of racism can be felt both by the offended party and the ones committing the act. This paper will look at some of the ways in which racism is perpetuated in the USA.
For the Indians living in Diaspora, most of them are in the USA. In fact, they form the larges racial group after the natives and Caucasians. For a group with such a strong standing, one would think that they have the numbers to stop any harassment that might be directed their way. However, the Indians have been subjected to years of mockery by the American natives. Part of this would be due to their extensive and tasteful culture. There are many artifacts with which one can express the Indian culture. “Some users of these artifacts may claim that they do so in order to preserve their culture” (Munson 1997). However, use of these artifacts without the honorable intention results to racism.
One might not experience racism first hand in the United States. This is because incidences of racial discrimination have been downplayed. Nowadays there are no racial segregation camps or schools set out for people of one race. However, there is a mild form of racial discrimination that is taking from in social institutions. The platform most used to further this agenda is schools. As much as students are taught about equality and fairness, there are some actions being undertaken by school boards across the country that are not in the spirit of unity.
America is a land of no man. The country is made up of people from different parts of the world who came to settle in a place where they would get a better life. It is hence unethical to subject people to ridicule and shame based on their history. “Universities are doing these by incorporating demeaning art into their compounds and programs such as sports. In Florida State University, for instance, there is an abundant display of Seminole culture and artwork” (Lapointe, 2006).
While some young people from the cultures under attack might not fully appreciate the extent to which racism has penetrated them, the older generations know the extent to which their culture has been tarnished. In sporting activities such as football, mascots and other imagery of the Indian culture are used. Some school teams also wear costumes that depict an aspect of a particular culture. This might not be a direct insult to the people who belong to these cultures but it is a misrepresentation of their values and beliefs. If the country was really geared towards eliminating racism, there would be policies in place to prevent such occurrences from taking place.
Some perpetuators of logo based racism may not even be aware that they are doing something contrary to what is expected. For instance, an institution may adopt the phrase,”We are honoring Indians” (Munson, 1997). This might seem like a noble idea, meant to bring honor and respect to a community. However, it underplays the intensity of the situation. There are very cultural backgrounds represented in a typical American school. It is hence racial to single out a race and claim an act of honor, especially when their cultural beliefs are being interpreted wrongly. Also, students participating in high school events are doing so for the sake of their school, and should not be used as a stepping stone for racial based comments or actions.
American schools should be built on a platform of togetherness and unity. Children going to these schools are innocent. There is no need to fill them with messages of differentiation among themselves. The school environment should be safe. Students attending these institutions should feel like part of one nation, and not like some are superior to others. Incorporation of racial logos serves to breed a generation of inequality. These are the leaders of tomorrow and hence the country should be very wary of what kinds of students are being produced from these schools.
Natives might argue that the term Indian is not offensive. While in the general sense it is not, there will be a context where the term will be used offensively. The Indian community may feel victimized because there is no other race that faces as much direct interference. It is uncommon to see images and art originating from Africa in schools. This begs the intention with which Indians are victimized. Some will also argue that the Indian race is depicted as a strong a brave people. However, one might not fully understand the grievances of a situation until they have put themselves in the offended shoes. Only an India, who has extensive knowledge on the culture and beliefs of their ancestors, will appreciate the pain that is felt when one’s culture is ridiculed.
Most Native Americans have lost touch with their beliefs and practices. As a result of modernization, most of them might not have a firm basis with cultural matters. This is, however, different for Indians. Most of them were brought up with strong rooting into their culture. It is however inhumane for schools across the country to disregard such strong roots and instead use their inheritance for fun. This issue should be in no manner played down as simple. Individuals are hurt everyday by actions that are directed towards them. There is even a claim that some suicides in the country result from racial abuse. Human rights groups should rise to these racial profilers and speak out without fear. This is the only way to make the world a better place. By speaking out against such crimes, the country will be a safer place and will hence attract more people from different parts of the world.
As the two articles clearly show, one does not have to fully intent to be racist, but their actions may betray them. For instance, a person may think that it is okay to chant Indian sayings or showcase their artwork while celebrating a win in school. This may however, come out wrongly and depict the wrong idea. “If people want to celebrate diversity and honor others in a good and unoffending way, they should do so by use of means such as, giving them an eagle’s feather” (Munson, 1997). These are some of the generally accepted ways of showing honor to people, especially the elder ones in the society. Anything contrary to this is hypocrisy. By incorporating such behavior in the school system, students get a chance to learn that members of the society are not equal, and that there should be a racial divide. This is a habit that the society has struggled to kill and encouraging it will be like spitting in the graves of the forefathers. In the spirit of unity and togetherness, the school system should abolish all slogans, imagery or artwork that is directed towards a particular community or race.