What I find most fascinating from the book is their look into how racism and the distinction of skin colors started. Race is not something I think about often and I admit I am slightly uneducated when it comes to it. For instance, I did not know the difference between race and ethnicity.
All of the readings in the module seemed to be focused on the fact that scientifically, skin color does not indicate race. They state the common fact that dark skin was a evolutionary trait evolved to protect people from the sun in certain areas of the world where it is hottest. Light skin also has its advantage in places where dark skin wouldn’t. We all can be traced back to Africa and more and more people today are becoming mixed races. A lot of Americans come from all over the world, we are a country of immigrants after all.
We have come a long way from slavery and segregation and new generations are growing to be more tolerant. It is interesting to see where it all started. Many minority groups in American still experience oppression. Housing is a big target of racial discrimination. It is the reason for growing segregation of neighborhoods. Blacks lag behind whites in education in a vicious cycle as the teachers have less experience and are teaching outside their fields of study. Health care affects hispanics and other minorities as whites tend to receive better care. The media also portrays stereotypes that lead to more racism and reinforce false ideals. Lastly, the book talks about how Blacks and Hispanics are three times more likely to experience poverty than whites. These are just a few of the ways that racial and ethic inequality determine American society.
A cultural explanation for racial segregation explains that it is easier for us to socialize with people who look and act like us rather than those who look and different and have unfamiliar behavior. The latter makes us uncomfortable. The book suggests that stereotypes happen around the age of three as children are encouraged to socialize with those like them. I am currently working at a daycare at a Montesorri school. We have children of all different heritages and they all interact the same, the school also teaches them multiple languages right from the start so a lot of them speak to me in different languages. This is one way that progression is happening in schools. This is an example of contact hypothesis where individuals of different groups can reduce prejudices if they remain in contact. This also happens on many college campuses.
The readings also mention the interesting topic of “color-blind”. They raise a surprising point that this mentality actually reinforces existing racial and ethnic inequalities. The also call it reverse racism. They are rejecting efforts to reduce inequality . By denying that racism exists they are not helping reduce it when it actually does. Ignoring something does not make it go away.