What is Racism? To put it simply, racism is a deeply embedded idea within our society that places people on a social hierarchy based on what we deem is the “best race”, which would be White people. It is a system that was created for the appeasement of the human condition to categorize ourselves into groups that we can identify with. However those who helped create this system of ‘Us versus Them’ has allowed it to penetrate our values and beliefs and allowed this racism to dictate how we are perceived.
In the United States, more than ever, the strain of the past has smeared itself into our modern age and tormented people of color (POC). However racism wasn’t always a problem that was specific to people of color. In the 1800’s, during colonial America, millions of immigrants migrated the United States in which the colonialist saw a wave of different cultures coming into their neighborhoods that were different and subordinate to their own. Once this wave of White immigration, from Irish to Italian immigrants, happened there was categorization to find out who was the most superior White ethnicity.
For years White people fought each other to determine who was the superior White. However once they found the ultimate opposite of beauty and intelligence in the African slave it wasn’t about which White was more superior, but which race was. White people took it upon themselves to oppress people of color and prove it to the world through guns, germs, and steel that they are superior.
Racism is an idea that is perpetuated by dominant society, which in our modern era is dictated by White people. Until we are able to understand how that ideology of the “lighter your skin the better” leaves a negative impact on our society and marginalizes a group of people then we can’t move forward as a society. We are all equal. We share the same anatomy, but ignorance runs rampant even within our own communities of color. It’s hard to undo hundreds of years of racism in a short amount of time, but we can sure try.