Free Essay

Rasicm in Childhood Upbringing

In: Social Issues

Submitted By LUNA8879
Words 1487
Pages 6
Racism in Childhood Upbringing

Racism is an issue that has existed throughout human history. Caused by people who believe that a person has predisposed stereotypes based solely on the color of their skin, it is an issue that is difficult to eradicate. Although there are many people who are racist, I was having a difficult time figuring out why this was. There are many different factors as to why a person could become intolerant of people with different skin colors, but the one that I felt was the most prominent factor contributing to this social disorder had to do with interference from a young age. I believe that childhood upbringing is a major contributing factor in the roots of racism.
When children are young, they are extremely moldable. While some parents choose to allow their children the freedom of learning and exploring to create their own opinions, others do not. They take advantage of the naivety of young kids and shape their minds into what they believe is right, which includes racist thoughts. By forcing their opinions onto a child, it leaves no room for personal interpretation, thus continuing the never-ending cycle of intolerance.
There are several reasons why I believe this happens. First, familial beliefs have a lot to do with the promotion of racism, because if a parent is very opinionated they are less likely to allow their children to make their own judgments. I also believe this occurs because some adults cannot get their own points across to others in their lives and have to continuously state their beliefs to their children. Also, some parents believe in something so strongly that they are unwilling to let another make their own opinions on important cultural issues. By doing so, it allows a false sense of control. However prejudiced the former points seem, I believe that there are also people may not believe what they are doing is wrong, or are unintentionally making this happen. There is a possibility that promoting this racism is unintentional. By merely listening to someone else’s beliefs, people make their own. Although it seems like one of the lesser causes, children do listen to their parents and draw opinions on things that they are not fully informed about.
The first article I explored, Perceived Racism and Discrimination in Children and Youths: An Exploratory Study, focused on children who have identified racism in their lives. Because there were very few studies on the effects of racism in children, Cynthia Garcia felt it important to look further into what these children were going through. In her study, Garcia used children ages eight to eighteen from four different areas in Connecticut and Rhode Island who serve children from predominantly poor urban settings. These kids were instructed to fill out a questionnaire about their experiences with racism. Preceding this questionnaire, children were interviewed about their experiences with racism. The results of this survey were rather shocking. “One-third to one-half of the respondents perceived racial discrimination at school as well as at shops and restaurants” (Garcia). Keep in mind, these are children who are answering these questions, so knowing that this many had been affected by racism at such a young age is rather appalling.
There were very few significant differences found in the occurrence of perceived racism when it was analyzed due to ethnicity. However, out of the many who had participated in the survey, the Latino and African American children felt that they were being racially discriminated against differently. The African American children did feel that their triggers of prejudice were based on their ethnicity, while the Latino children believed their attributes to racism were as a response to their language or accent. The author states, “On a systemic level, racism can be seen as a social stratification mechanism that contributes to inequality in care, with resulting disparities in outcomes.” I have to agree with her here. Although the study she conducted did not touch upon how childhood upbringing promotes racism, it leads me to further believe that this is true. If there is prejudice from child to child, it means that these children discriminating against each other are learning it at a young age, which most likely has to do with their upbringing.
Rory McVeigh wrote the next article I researched, which studied organized racism in the United States. “The white supremacy movement contains four primary wings, consisting of Ku Klux Klan organizations, neo-Nazi organizations, skinheads, and adherents of Christian Identity theology” (McVeigh). The article states how these organizations have come to be, and how most of the members are concentrated in the working class or lower middle class. This hatred is usually fueled by people who believe they are entitled to more based on their skin color and are not getting it. McVeigh uses the concept of “structured ignorance” throughout the research and states that the term acknowledges that the world can look quite different to individuals depending upon their position in the social structure.
“The theory of structured ignorance provides a framework for understanding the causes of racist organizing in the United State by identifying structural conditions that produce a critical mass of individuals who view organized racism as a reasonable response to the problems they face in their daily lives. Interactions with nonmembers in the broader community are insufficient to sway them from their beliefs” (McVeigh). By stating this, McVeigh further proves that no matter the education they receive or the interactions they have with others outside their social beliefs, these people are very adamant about what they think and will not change their views. By being so unwavering, they keep a firm hold on inequality and do not allow anyone they influence to feel any different.
In the third article, The Face of Racism, the author, Edward Delgado-Romero shares his experiences with racism. In the opening paragraph he states, “I learned about racism in the face of my father.” He speaks of growing up in a home where his father, a Spanish man, tried to reject his natural culture, in turn, teaching his children to hate it as well. His father wanted to be white so badly, he would blatantly insult and degrade any and every other race in order to prove himself. “It shocks me to realize how racism had blinded my father to the fact that his fate as an immigrant and a minority group member in the United States was tied to the fate of other minorities” (Delgado-Romero).
Growing up constantly not feeling good enough about his status in America as a Latino boy, the author eventually turned his racism inward and began to hate himself. However, with his mother and father’s divorce, he began to embrace who he was and turn that around. He wraps up the story by stating, “I learned that because of my experiences, I can understand why someone would be racist. I can understand what it is like to be both a perpetrator and a victim of racism. I have also come to understand that the answer to fighting racism begins with a moral inventory, a fearless look at oneself.” It’s an uplifting way to end this story, for you realize that even with parents who force racist opinions upon you, there is a way to break out of this and that it can be overcame.
If anything, reading these articles has further reinforced my theory on how childhood upbringing is the catalyst of racism in our society. The first article showed to me that because children are being discriminated against by other children, either their upbringing at home or at school are contributing to this negative influence. Structuring ignorance and organizing racism also keeps prejudice alive. If a child is born into a family who practices organized racism, they will never be allowed to make their own decisions on race and are further stuck in this rut. In a way, the third article is perfect in describing how childhood influence can sway ones decisions. Although the author of the article grew out of the racism that his father instilled upon him, it still took him many years to open up to new ideas. By not allowing kids to make their own opinions, we are further reinforcing segregation and inequality in our society. To begin ending racism today, we need to not work on the children, but instead the parents.

Works Cited
Cynthia García Coll, et al. "Perceived Racism and Discrimination in Children and Youths: An Exploratory Study." Health & Social Work 35.1 (2010): 61-70. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 1 May. 2011.
McVeigh, Rory. "Structured Ignorance and Organized Racism in the United States." Social Forces 82.3 (2004): 895-936. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 1 May. 2011.
Delgado-Romero, Edward A. "The Face of Racism." Journal of Counseling & Development 77.1 (1999): 23. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 1 May. 2011.

Similar Documents