How has race shaped and impacted society throughout history?

Cindy Payano

“Our failure as a society to properly acknowledge and confront the psychological, social, and political effects of white privilege has perpetuated racial inequality and race-based political resentments”.

– Tim Wise


In order to understand how race has shaped and impacted society we have to know what race is. Race is a phenomena  that has been given a biological meaning, rather than what it actually is or has, a social meaning.

Race is described as people’s identity, it portrays their culture, customs, and where they come from.  Throughout history there has been a belief that some races are superior than others and as a result many disagreements, violence, hate, prejudice, inequality and most important,  racism have developed and impacted society in a negative way. Racial problems have become part of humanity, there are problems that have always been there and even though people have tried to solve them, it seems not to improve.jim_crow2

From the 1880s into 1960s, the United States was extremely racist. During that time period there was a great amount of segregation, the division of blacks an whites, happening. The segregation was enforced by the Jim Crow laws. Laws that could make it acceptable for black people to be punished for intervening with whites. Black people were treated harshly, as if they were animals. White people marginalized them by making them feel like they didn’t belong there and making them feel worthless. Thanks to brave activists that somehow had to pay consequences for going against the those laws, segregation and racism problems were minimized.

As a result of racial differences, stereotypes came into place. Stereotypes are ideas that give a specific image or suggestion about a  particular type of person or thing and it is very commonly used today. We have a misconception about how all Muslims are terrorists, all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, all Asians are pretty smart, and how all blacks are “ghetto” or love fried chicken. What we don’t seem to realize is that these stereotypes and racial differences are the main factors of us not being able to  move forward together. Race has impacted society in a way that some of us judge people by how they look,  feel superior to others and promote hate. There is a need of inspirational people that would stand up and fight for what they believe is right, no matter what anyone else has to say.

Race has made it hard for our society to unify, to understand each other and this has become the reason why many people have not been able to succeed. They have been limited to what they can due to racism and its ignorant factors . The color of our skin, and the way we speak or act should never be the reason why we can’t become one. Racism is unacceptable and like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from Americanah said , “ “Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”



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