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Standing Up Against Whitey – Unpacking Today’s Racism

2276 words - 10 pages

First, we must understand the background of the author. I am a thirty-something white married male with two children. I was born in Florida, raised around the rural outskirts of the St. Louis area, moved to the “Big City” (inner-city) when newly married, and then fled to farm country when the inner-city crime became too much to bare to raise a family. When in the educational system, I wasn’t completely isolated from racial concerns. There was a black family with kids in grade school and a couple of black kids in high school. We thought we were high society, progressive “color-blind” people, though I can’t remember ever going to their houses, or seeing them outside of school, or even hanging ...view middle of the document...

This institutional power is simply the mechanism in place that as a society we recognize as the “right way” or in other words the “white way” to measure our norms within this society. It is the white way because it is the white society that has set forth these societal norms. For example, one of the institutional powers, or rules, on the public transit is to refrain from bothering other passengers. Can you only imagine the open-ended possibilities this allows to deny someone the privilege or in some cases the necessity to ride a public service? A passenger could be denied because their body odor might be bothersome, their loud speaking voice is troublesome, and their obesity might be rubbing against someone or worse because they’re sitting there. A person who knows the system of institutional power could easily contrive excuses and false reasons to exercise their right to not be bothered and deny someone a more meaningful right to getting home.
If you were to conduct a study and told your subjects that they had the ability to “deny or grant people and groups of people rights, respect, representation, and resources” and then question them whether that ability could be considered discriminatory, I believe every one of the subjects would give a resounding affirmation. We intuitively know, thanks to a couple of civil rights amendments, that denying or granting privilege to a particular group is discriminatory. So if we know this and can recognize that we shouldn’t do it, then why do we continue to perpetuate a system that allows discrimination? For example, the State of Illinois was discussing a radical redesign of education funding. Funding from local tax bases would no longer go to the local district but would be lumped into the greater pot of the state. Then from that great state pot, the funds would then be redistributed equally to all districts throughout the state. On the surface, this was a great idea! The students of poor neighborhoods would be uplifted by their richer neighbors. Every student would get an equally funded education. The elites of the institutional power holders did not want to play along. They know the systems and preemptively started implementing strategies prior to the bill’s introduction into the State Legislature. The affluent neighborhoods quickly dropped their tax rates to almost nothing and then “encouraged” the members of the community to “donate the difference” directly to the school of their choice. Other movements included creating charter schools that did not have to comply with the proposed regulations. The ability to deny an equal education to those in impoverished areas and grant those students of affluent families continued privilege was socially accepted by the death of the legislative movement.
A fragment as simple as “based on their skin color” seems pretty self-explanatory, when viewed through the lens of a white person. It is easy to lump any person with a complexion into a category, give them a...

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