Racism is discrimination directed to certain groups due to their race by other groups who deem themselves superior. In Canada, there are several races including French 15.5%, Scottish14.4%, Irish 13.8%, German 9.8%, English 19.8%, and Italian 4.5% of the population. During the slave trade, Africans were transported from West Africa to European nations where they worked as slaves. African Americans after gaining independence they moved to other areas of the world where they could build a life. Other races such as Chinese and Latinos among others have migrated into different countries looking for a better life. Canada is one of the countries that have a population of people from different countries and cases of racism have been reported in the country. Racism in the community stems from religious beliefs, social status, upbringing, education as well as the governments’ standing on the issue. There are several effects of racism in the community such as violence, low self-esteem for the discriminated, unemployment, division, and low economic development among others.
Causes of racism
One of the major causes of racism is politics. Immigration has made it possible for people from different parts of the world to apply for citizenship in other countries and they are accepted. However, politics can be divisive in that there will be those who do support immigration while there are those who are against it. Individuals who believe that they are rightfully born within a country might feel that immigrants are taking up their job opportunities as well as opportunities that are meant for them (Burt, Callie, Ronald, and Frederick). The dislike increases especially when people who have citizenship in any country through birth feel that other individuals in the community are the cause of their problems.
In addition, racism can be as a result of differences in religious beliefs. Individuals who prescribe to a given faith might be subjected to racism due to other people’s understanding of the said religion (Bailey). Individuals who prescribe to the Islamic faith are one example of racism that stems from religious differences. Many people in first-world countries believe that Islam is the reason behind the prevalence of terrorism. Their beliefs stem from an understanding that terrorist attacks in America and other countries have been carried out by individuals who prescribe to the Islamic faith. The ideology that a given religion allows people to kill innocents in the name of their god is not true but lack of knowledge and understanding makes people believe that every individual who participates in this faith is a terrorist. Therefore, individuals can practice racism on the basis of religion.
Moreover negative stereotypes developed by the media have contributed to racism. Many people react to people from different ethnic groups based on the information that they have received from the media. Blacks for example are deemed as criminals due to the way that they are portrayed in films (Aiken). Moreover, people do not take time to interact and learn people before making conclusions about them. Therefore, the media and other sources of information misguide people about different races thus leading to racism.
Another cause of racism in the society is difference in social status. Many of the immigrants end up performing menial jobs for other individuals born within the country. Immigrants move to foreign countries in search of better jobs and living conditions. Many of these immigrants end up performing those jobs which cannot be performed by the successful and affluent in the community (Burt, Callie, Ronald and Frederick). Competition for jobs is so high that only a few people get to work in white collar jobs. Therefore, individuals who are holding white collar jobs end up looking down on those individuals who are not holding well to do jobs and coming from certain ethnic groups. Therefore, racism in the community can arise as a result of difference in social status.
In addition, racism is as a result of upbringing. Cognitive development theory stipulates that children get to copy the behaviors of their parents. Individuals born in areas where individuals look down on others due to their race will grow up believing that it is okay to be prejudiced against certain groups (Montgomery). Children of color experience bullying in schools since the bullies believe that these children belong to a lower class within the society. There is a conditioning in the society which leads children believe that it is okay to look down on other people since they look different from them (Codjoe). Moreover, since children do not understand why their skin might be different from another student in school it is the duty of the teachers as well as parents to explain to them about the differences and help them understand that difference in color does not mean that individuals who have different appearances are not any less human being. Therefore, racism in the community develops as a result of upbringing.
Moreover, lack of an education can be another cause of racism in the community. individuals who have no understanding of race and origins might not understand why it is possible for humans to have different colors but still be the same in many other ways. The history of some of the people of color might lead individuals who practice racism believe that these individuals are of lesser value and therefore despise them. The history of African American people is one of the examples on why people can believe that some people are of lesser value (Burt, Callie, Ronald and Frederick). African Americans came into the United States and other European countries as a result of slavery. Many of the individuals who look down on blacks do so since they believe that they can only be deemed as servants and nothing more. Racist individuals fail to look beyond the skin and allow history to have an impact on the conclusions that they make about certain people in the community. However, there are individuals who have an education and yet they do practice racism.
Changes within the Community
Racism leads to division in the community. Individuals who practice racism in many cases do not have to hide their dislike for certain people and this direct confrontation can lead to division in the community. America is one of the nations which have been in the headlines due to divisions which have risen as a result of racism. Police brutality against people of color across many European nations has led to mass uprisings thus dividing a community. Atatiana Jefferson is one of the African American victims of police brutality. The lady was shot in her apartment while her nephew watched and this has caused uproar across the community (Anglin). Racism puts people on opposing sides and there has been a long history between the Whites and blacks. White supremacy has led Whites to believe that they are superior to any other race in the world and they should be in control. Many of the other races in America and other European nations have always been on the defensive side trying to fight for their rights. In the past there was segregation where Whites and blacks could not live or attend the same schools and although the practice is almost coming to an end the damages caused by segregation are still being felt today.
In addition racism leads to low economic development among the people who are deemed as inferior. Racism can lead employers to decline employing individuals from certain communities. In the United States the number of White people holding White collar jobs is higher than any other ethnic group, the scenario is similar to other European and White dominated countries (Bailey). As a result, individuals from other ethnic communities have to carry out jobs which cannot be performed by the dominant group. Therefore, these individuals end up belonging to a lower social class which is looked down upon by the community.
Moreover, racism leads to increase in crime rates in the community. Victims feel the need to protect themselves from racist individuals and they achieve this by retaliating when they feel threatened (Codjoe). Moreover, since many of the people from the minority groups do not hold well-paying jobs they end up looking for other ways which they can earn a living to maintain their lifestyle. Some of the activities that many individuals of the minority groups participate in are organized crime which can involve even murder. Ku Klux Klan was a White supremacy group which believed that Whites should have dominion over other races (Alexander). The group killed many individuals from other races the majority being blacks. As a result some of the members of the minority groups organized themselves and fought back against Ku Klux Klan and apart from a rise in violence there was also a rise in crime. Therefore, racism can lead to increase in crime rates in the community.
In addition racism leads to the development of negative stereotypes which affect the communities involved. The media is partly to blame for the development of racism across the world and this is because they air events and occurrences which are meant to showcase individuals in a given light. Moreover, many of the films developed by Whites and involve characters from other ethnic groups tend to stereotype them which also leads to racism (Burt, Callie, Ronald and Frederick). Instead of coming up with content which will change the public’s perception about people from different backgrounds the media ends up enforcing the existing beliefs. Blacks or example are given roles where they are depicted as thugs while Latinos are depicted as belonging to gang groups. The media does little to help focus on the issues of racism and call for change (Bailey). Although the media has been able to highlight some of the racism cases which have happened in first world countries such as the shooting of blacks by police, it is yet to comprehensively address the issue of racism (Entman). Therefore, through the media racism leads people to have negative beliefs about certain groups.
Moreover, the government is to blame for the rising rates of racism since it has not done enough to ensure that cases of racism are legally dealt with. Legislations such as Bill of rights do state that each individual is equal under the law; however there are circumstances when the law has not been able to bring justice to individuals who have been victims of racism (Aiken). In the United States for example, cases of police shooting black people have been on the rise yet many of the officers involved in the shooting are rarely convicted for their crimes. The government has embraced a slow process of change which is not sufficient. There are individuals who own businesses yet they cannot employ people from a certain group due to racism yet the law rarely protects them against such occurrences. Multinational organizations are led mainly by Whites because they believe that only Whites have the ability to run such organizations. Moreover, the law has been unable to ensure that there is equality even in the government structure. People of color in the United States have minority seats within the government and that is the reason why it is difficult to effect change which will help end racism.
On the other hand, the community has evolved since the slave trade days and embraced the concept that people are equal under the law. The Canadian Bill of rights provide a list of the rights that individuals are entitled to and this helps to ensure that all people despite their background are protected under the law (Aiken). One of the provisions of the bill of rights is that individuals have the right to belong to any given religion. The right to religion has helped to protect individuals who might be discriminated by community members due to their religious background.
Racism is discrimination based on an individual’s ethnic background. There are several causes of racism and they include; upbringing, education, religious beliefs and social status. Racism has had effects on not only the individuals facing discrimination but also the whole community. Racism leads to division within the community since it places different groups on opposing sides. Moreover, it has led to increased crime rates within the community as the oppressed groups look for a way that they can be able to sustain themselves amidst rising economic instability. In addition, racism has led to low economic development. The government can be blamed for the rising cases of racism in the community since it has done little to ensure that the oppressed groups do have access to the legal help that they need. Although there are laws which have been passed to weed out racism in the community, the cases of racism within the United States and other third world countries still persist.
Burt, Callie Harbin, Ronald L. Simons, and Frederick X. Gibbons. “Racial discrimination, ethnic-racial socialization, and crime: A micro-sociological model of risk and resilience.” American sociological review 77.4 (2012): 648-677.
Bailey, Kerry A. “Racism within the Canadian university: Indigenous students’ experiences.” Ethnic and Racial studies 39.7 (2016): 1261-1279.
Montgomery, Ken. “Imagining the antiracist state: Representations of racism in Canadian history textbooks.” Discourse.
Aiken, Sharryn J. “From slavery to expulsion: Racism, Canadian immigration law and the unfulfilled promise of modern constitutionalism.” (2007).
Codjoe, Henry M. “Fighting a’Public Enemy’of Black Academic Achievement—the persistence of racism and the schooling experiences of Black students in Canada.” Race Ethnicity and Education 4.4 (2001): 343-375.
Entman, Robert M. “Blacks in the news: Television, modern racism and cultural change.” Journalism Quarterly 69.2 (1992): 341-361.
Weissglass, Julian. “Racism and the achievement gap.” Education week 20.43 (2001): 49-50.
Anglin, D. “Pressure escalates for police oversight in Fort Worth after Atatiana Jefferson’s death.” Fox News. (2019)
Alexander, Charles C. The Ku Klux Klan in the Southwest. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.