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Hannah Henderson Soc 1101 18 March 2019

A Racial Worldview

As a white child growing up in America, my racial worldview was probably something I

was unaware of on a daily basis. I am sure that I perceived white people as more successful,

more dependable, and more law-abiding to some degree because I spent much of my childhood

in the deep South. I had grandparents who could remember sharecropper families who had no

money, lived in shacks and bought everything on credit. I heard my grandparents use offensive

language about African Americans and I heard them brag about "helping" THOSE people as if

they had done them a favor. However, because I grew up in a military family, my parents were

very aware of these attitudes in our family and made a point to expose me to many cultures and

we had friends of all races. We often had people of two or three races at our dinner table and I

didn't see that as unusual at all. I believe my parents did a great job of shaping my racial

worldview. They certainly didn't do a perfect job, because their point of view was Caucasian and

limited, but they did much better than the parents of my friends. As far as how my racial

worldview impacted what I thought I was due, I'm sure it made me believe I could be successful,

and that all opportunities were open to me as a white female. I don't think I gave it much thought,

but I certainly didn't have to face the difficulties many of my friends did.

The video was interesting because though many of the experiences were similar, some

were very different. The video showed that multiracial people in America often have a hard time

fitting in or knowing how to identify. I found it interesting that one female even said she was

chastised for marking "mixed " on forms in elementary school and was directed to mark "black."

I found it very sad that so many females remarked that other black girls would challenge them or

become violent because they didn't look "black enough" and yet lighter-skinned multiracial

people also reported that they didn't always fit in with white people. Many of the people

interviewed seemed to identify with the family they lived with the most, and yet one girl said that

her white mother had told her to identify as black because her father (who wasn't present in her

life) was black. Obviously, there are many different opinions about how to handle the situation,

and none mentioned really seemed to satisfy fully the feelings of those interviewed. In the text, it

states that Merton refers to white servers who don’t want to serve a person of color but do it for

their business as, “timid bigots,” (Anonymous, 2016). It is so sad to think that some people are

prejudiced. In my family, two of my siblings have a multiracial boyfriend or girlfriend. I've had

the opportunity to hear their thoughts and experiences. Both often refer to themselves as black,

because other people generally think they are. One has white siblings, so is more comfortable

around white people, but the other has spent more time with her black relatives and so often

identifies more with them. There seems to be an identity that comes primarily from family and

peers.

According to conflict theory, the current racial worldview in America would be a result

of the racism that has existed because of the conflict between whites and other Races.

Caucasians, the dominant group in America have held wealth and privilege since our beginning.

This is in direct conflict with the other races, who have been enslaved and eventually still

discriminated against through policy and prejudice because of the threat that white people

historically and even currently have perceived them to be to their peace and success and

dominance. A functionalist would say that racism has a specific function in society, and that

would be to benefit the more dominant group. Obviously in America, Caucasians are benefited

most by the commonly held racial worldview. But even a functionalist would have to agree that

eventually, racism hurts the entire society, because of issues that plague oppressed people, like

poverty and crime and illiteracy.

I would say that in America, white people still are the ones who benefit the most from

the commonly held racial worldview. White is more trusted, are given more opportunity, and are

generally thought of as more successful. While my family is proof that great strides have been

made, we still have a long way to go. I don't have to worry about being pulled over because of

my race or being questioned because I have on a good and am walking at night. I believe that the

multiracial and black men that I know don't have that same sense of freedom.

In America, we can all make an effort to be aware of our racial worldview and work to

change it. By being more open to those around us and giving each person an opportunity to prove

themself before we judge them, we can make strides to overcome prejudice. During an interview

from Harvard University, the document demonstrates America’s racial worldview. The author

exposes the bias of race in America and states, “Racism is a lens through which people interpret,

naturalize, and reproduce inequality,” ( Fieseler, 2016). America has created a race to be

something different than it is. We can teach our children to value other cultures and to be open to

people of all races. We can evaluate our circle of friends and ask ourselves if we have sought out

opportunities to enlighten ourselves through knowing people of many cultures or if we have

stayed in our comfort zone and perpetuated the segregation that has long plagued our nation.

References

Anonymous. (2016). Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World.

Fieseler, Robert. (2016). Exposing Bias: Race and Racism in America.