First, in identifying the root causes of racism and other forms of prejudice we must first differentiate between contemporary racism and traditional racism. Traditional racism is that which was present prior to and during the civil rights movement of the 1960s; it is, according to Phillip J. Bowman, Ph.D. of the University of Michigan, “beliefs about biological inferiority, racial hatred and explicit discrimination.” But as we move further into the 21st century we have seen more and more contemporary racism in which certain subgroups are associated with negative ideals that then lead to instances of discrimination: mass incarceration of Blacks, and the rejection of Hispanic Immigrants.

In a report on the roots of prejudice, UNESCO asserts that “the most obvious cause of prejudice is that it creates advantages and material benefits for those who are prejudiced. Prejudice can provide an excuse or rationalization for economic exploitation or political domination.” For example, many who are against the immigration of Hispanics and Syrians into the United States often state economic concerns or safety concerns. They believe that immigrants steal our jobs and put us in immediate danger. While on the surface this may seem less detrimental than the “in-your-face” racism of the 60s it is specifically concerning because this new, contemporary racism is becoming politically mainstream. Regardless of your political views the fact that David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, feels that the political climate today is favorable enough for him to run for the US Senate is at the very least concerning.

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3 Comments
  1. Carlos 1 year ago

    Dear Seth,
    One thing you said that stands out for me is “the most obvious cause of prejudice is that it creates advantages and material benefits for those who are prejudiced. Prejudice can provide an excuse or rationalization for economic exploitation or political domination.” I think this is interesting because it is disrespectful to other people because some of them stand but others don’t so that is disrespectful.

  2. Anna 1 year ago

    This was interesting to me because I didn’t know there were different types of racism. This different outlook on racism is very different to what people think about when they think racist. I wonder what can people of all races do so that racism all together goes away. Good job!

  3. Monica 1 year ago

    Dear Seth,
    I am interested on your post because racism is a huge deal in our society and I’m sure that not a lot of people know why it happens or even how it started. I never realized that there are two different kinds of racism, I just knew it had changed overtime.

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