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Is There Still Racism In The United States?

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In the short story “Désirée’s Baby’ written by Kate Chopin she shows several examples of how white people perceive black people as inferior. This story takes place in Southern Louisiana during the mid-nineteenth century before the civil war when the different race was the main problem in society.

Glossary defines racism is a system of dominance, power, and privilege that is rooted in the historical oppression of subordinated groups that the dominant group views as inferior, deviant, or undesirable. The dominant group creates or maintains structures and ideology that preserve their power and privilege while excluding subjugated groups from power, status, and access to resources.

Chopin shows that being shallow and judgmental about racism can lead to disaster. Désirée was a victim of racism by her own husband, Armand. Three months after their son was born his skin began to darken and Armand could not get past the quadroon baby and he threw Désirée and their child out of the house. Racism doesn’t only exist in Louisiana it is a worldwide problem! If you ask any black person if racism still exists, they will tell you about their daily challenges compared to a white person. There are multiple types of racism and it is important to understand each of them. Racism can be very vindictive and colored people argue that they are more likely to be shot by police officers than white people. Racism can be seen everywhere even in school hallways.

When people think of racism, they think of individual racism also known as personal racism which exists among individuals. This type of racism occurs when a person’s attitude or beliefs, are based on stereotypes or prejudices about another race. An example of this would include bigotry or jealousy. A second instance would be when someone thinks their race is better than other ethnic groups. An occasion of when this type of racism might take place is discrimination in the hiring phase. Such as not interviewing a colored person because of their race. Or a well-publicized example is when the University of Oklahoma fraternity members sang a racist song that included the N-word.

This type of racism can be broken down into two other types of racism. Individual racism can either be conscious or unconscious. Trying to avoid racist thoughts or saying you are not racist is an example of conscious racism. Or not sitting by someone because you feel uncomfortable by the color of their skin. A third example would be making fun of someone’s race, even if you are only just being playful. An unconscious example would be when a white woman clutches her purse tightly when a black man walks by. Or refusing to date a black woman because of her strong personality.

The second type of racism is interpersonal racism. This occurs in social and political institutions and they intentionally make decisions to single out or harm people due to their origin. Interpersonal racism can be divided into overt and covert racism. Discrimination that is obvious, harmful, or leads to violent destruction is overt racism. An example of this exists when an employer won’t hire someone based on their ethnic background. Covert racism is more discrete and harder to prove there was a harmful treatment to others. An example of this would be avoiding someone on the street because of their background. With this type of racism sometimes things are said or done that the person doesn’t think is racists to them but someone else may find it racist. For example, serving fried chicken and watermelon to a group of black people.

Institutional racism is similar to individual racism. However institutional racism occurs when an organization such as schools, banks, and court systems treat individuals negatively because of their race. An example of this would be when a school is not awarded school funding because the majority of the students are a minority race.

The fourth type of racism is cultural racism. Thinking inappropriately about groups is cultural racism. With this type of racism, people tend to think of people of color as “others” or different. Cultural racism occurs when one culture thinks of their race as more powerful while destroying the culture of other races. An example of this is people believing Jesus Christ is a white male. Or a white person calling the police complaining of noise because the colored people having their music up too loud.

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Structural or systemic racism is the least discussed but most harmful form of racism. Like institution racism, structural racism also centers its attention on organizations instead of individuals. While institution racism singles out a group of people societal racism excludes a vast number of individuals from minority backgrounds from taking part in social institutions. An example of this might be an enormous number of white managers running a business.

Structural racism can be found in police shootings. The shootings and deaths of unarmed black victims Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, by police officers sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Fisher-Stewart states Black lives matter; they matter to God and they should matter to all Americans. She also goes on to say to serve and protect is the slogan emblazoned on the sides of police cars and recruit officers hear it from their instructors at the academy. In the United States police violence happens daily and the black population has been the victim of police officer’s brutality without being held accountable. Due to the advances in technology, cell phones, and video recordings are being shared on social media making the public aware of police violence.

From the stories reported on television, African-Americans are more likely to have excessive force used on them by police officers than are people of other races. When hearing of these stories makes one wonder if racism is the reasoning of this violence. Curry reported police killed African Americans more often than you may realize. He also goes on to say an unarmed African American died at the hands of an armed White police officer at the rate of two per week from 2005 to 2012.

One way to address police violence is to educate students in the classroom. Students often feel they can express their feelings and gain an understanding of events happening in society. However, teachers must be aware of the issues about diversity in the American educational system. Racism can occur in the form of name-calling, teasing, and bullying. White students need to become aware of their messages they are sending as being superior to blacks. A school district in Western Pennsylvania canceled boys’ soccer games against teams in a district nearby when racial slurs were used. Often black girls think they can’t be smart or beautiful because they don’t have white skin. African Americans and boys especially are vulnerable to being in special education classes. Students of color often feel they need to perform higher academic levels than white students so they will not be stereotyped as academically inferior. Chapman quotes they are further cast as outsiders and trouble-makers, making it more difficult for them to successfully matriculate through schools.

Racism has been in America since slavery was brought to the United States in the colonial era. Many people believe racism stopped when slavery ended however, that is not the case. Even though all races have the same rights as each other there is still racism. Although Americans have made huge improvements in becoming a less racist nation. Two places children need to be educated about racism is in the home and school system.

While at home parents need to listen to what they are saying as well as what their children are saying that might be of racial content. Parents need to listen for any jokes or words that might hint racism. Also, show your family it is okay to interact with people of different races.

Teachers as well can help put an end to racism. Just like parents’ teachers should stop and listen not only to what they are saying but also to what students are saying that might be racist. If teachers are given the chance to attend multiculturalism or diversity programs then they should attend. They could then incorporate what they have learned in their classroom. Another way teachers can help with racism is to have their class become involved with an organization that is combating racism.

Racism is a worldwide problem that has plagued America for centuries. And yet, we have made progress. Today, more people and organizations want to work to end racism in America. Even though racism has occurred for many centuries there is still a chance to stop it. Ending racism begins with the youth. They need to embrace different races and embrace unity. While adults need to recognize how powerful being white is and see the negative impact it has on people of colored skin. Unfortunately, racism isn’t going away soon by stopping to listen to what you are saying and those around you are saying is a positive step in the right direction. In addition, understanding the different types of racism individuals can help stop racism. Being shallow and judgmental can lead to police shootings of unarmed individuals or racism in our hallways. As a nation, if we continue to work together, we will be able to put an end to racism.

Works Cited

  1. Chapman, Thandeka K. “You Can’t Erase Race! Using CRT to Explain the Presence of Race and Racism in Majority White Suburban Schools.” Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, vol. 34, no. 4, Oct. 2013, pp. 611–627. Professional Development Collection, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/01596306.2013.822619. Accessed 23 Mar. 2019.
  2. Curry, George E. “White Cops Kill Two Blacks A Week.” Skanner (Seattle, WA & Portland, OR Combined Edition), vol. 36, no. 46, 20 Aug. 2014, pp. 2–2. Newspaper Source Plus, EBSCOhost, Accessed 23 Mar. 2019.
  3. “Desiree’s Baby.” Awakening & Selected Short Stories, by Kate Chopin, Herbert S. Stone & Company, Jan. 1899, pp. 97–100. Literary Reference Center, Accessed 23 Mar. 2019.
  4. Fisher-Stewart, Gayle. “To Serve and Protect: The Police, Race, and the Episcopal Church in the Black Lives Matter Era.” Anglican Theological Review, vol. 99, no. 3, 2017, pp. 439–459. Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection, EBSCOhost, Accessed 23 Mar. 2019.
  5. “Glossary: Key Terms and Definitions Related to Racism and Racial Equity.” ASHE Higher Education Report, vol. 42, no. 1, Nov. 2015, pp. 84–103. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, Accessed 23 Mar. 2019.

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Is There Still Racism In The United States? (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from
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