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Whites Swim in Racial Preference - Essay Example

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One of the central problems in sociology concerns how to align the biological concept of race with the social, and to understand how race and racial preferences shape our social world…
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Whites Swim in Racial Preference
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Download file to see previous pages However, many people find this concept disturbing as it seems counter-intuitive to the American meritocratic society (Feagin, 2000). However, the reasons why minorities may not be as outwardly qualified as white people is due to a deeper social problem rather than any inadequacies with the people themselves (McConahay, Hardee & Batts, 1981). The purpose of this paper is to explore how white people have (and still do) experience racial preference and to show that it is so ingrained into society that it can be difficult for many people to understand the level at which it operates in America today. Wise (2003) explained the long history of white affirmative action in the U.S. in his article Whites Swim in Racial Preference. For example, the article states that white families have eleven times the net worth of the average African American family. To put this into context, this would afford the average white family a far higher quality of healthcare and education than the average African American, and therefore make the children of the white family appear to have more merit. This would then translate into the white children having more opportunities in college and the job market, allowing them to earn more money than their African American counterparts, ensuring that the cycle continues. This, therefore, explains the purpose of affirmative action, in that it goes some way towards counteracting the “culturally sanctioned beliefs” (Armour, 1997) of white supremacy that have led to this situation in modern America. What is perhaps most striking is that much of the information provided by Wise (2003) seems historical, but many of the statistics date from modern society. Feagin (2000) has used information such as that described in the article (and from further afield) and come to the conclusion that America is a “total racist society” (p121). This may be inadvertent in many cases, and many sources have shown that racism is either changing in form to become less aggressive or less commonplace (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004). However, despite these positive changes, it is evident that there are still huge improvements to be made with respect to racism, particularly in the world of work and education (Armour, 1997). Again, minority discrimination seems historical to modern Americans, but as recently as 2011 the Bank of America was sued for racial bias (Savage, 2011). One of the major points that Wise (2003) made was that white people perhaps struggle to recognize the priveledge that they are afforded in modern society. One of the major reasons for this is that, as previously mentioned, racism is changing in its form. If we apply the theories of cultural and moral relativism to racism, it is easy to see how this has happened. For example, when slavery was still legal in the US, there was a clear hierarchy that was based on race – black people were slaves, whilst white people were their masters. In a system such as this, overt racism and violence towards African Americans was viewed with a completely different mindset to how it would be today. Slaves were a different type of being, and therefore traditional moral laws did not apply to them (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2004). Thankfully, this mindset has changed dramatically. Slavery was abolished, and soon after, so was segregation. Racism as a cultural norm would therefore have to change to fit the morals and societal features of this evolved society. Violence and outward racism was no longer seen as appropriate or fair (Armour, 1997) because African Americans now play a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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