Racism appears to have existed for a very long time. It’s a topic that’s been discussed in the corridors of Congress. People pretend to be non-racist all the time, yet racism does not go away. Why does racism persist, even though so many individuals claim to believe in equal rights for all?
For me, the term “race” refers to enduring and hereditary marks on human bodies—skin color, hair texture, bone structure—that have come to be associated with social expectations that are more or less reasonable and social meanings that are more or less durable despite having no essential value. When we talk about race in America or elsewhere, we’re talking about two different processes: categorization and signification. Categorization is grouping people into a small number of subsets based on physical characteristics and separating their interactions accordingly. It’s a pointless task and attempts to comprehend the social environment around us.
Signification is an interpretive act in which specific implications or “social meanings” are associated with certain categories. There are both informational and symbolic factors at play. Alternatively, when we talk about race, we’re talking about “embodied social signification.”
It’s helpful to contrast a social-cognitive understanding of race with biological taxonomy—the classification of individuals based on assumed genetic characteristics across previously geographically isolated subpopulations. Until recently, such solitude was the human condition, and it is possible that it contributed to the creation of separate races. However, using the term “race” in this context is debatable, especially if the goal is to explain social differences between groups.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem at a professional football game in which he was a prominent player nearly five years ago in an attempt to bring the issues to the public’s attention. Then he was joined by other players. Instead of concentrating on the reason for his kneeling, he was heavily condemned for being anti-American and anti-military. That wasn’t the case at all.
In interviews, he has indicated that he is using his position to raise awareness of the country’s inequality and the police violence frequently displayed against black men. He understood he had a position that others did not. Therefore he attempted to use it to raise public awareness. He wasn’t doing it for himself but to make the world a better place for others. Instead, he was criticized for being anti-military and un-American. He lost his job as a result of it, and he was reportedly blackballed in the National Football League.
His views as a part black person with a white birth mother and a black father who a white family adopted were not entirely similar to those of many other black individuals growing up in various places of America. Even the wealthy and successful felt compelled to warn their black sons about the dangers they would face if confronted by the police. Racism was alive and well, and it could be used against them for no or minor reasons. He was doing what he was doing to benefit others who needed a voice and a platform.
For professional sports leagues, black professional athletes are the bread and butter. Professional sports would struggle without them, including over 70% of players on most teams being black.
They are incredibly significant to the teams’ franchises and owners. Despite this, they and their issues about racism have remained unaddressed. Even when the NFL ultimately issued a statement stating their support for Black Lives Matter, Colin Kaepernick was not mentioned.
Perhaps none of the turbulence and confusion surrounding George Floyd’s death would have occurred in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and others had listened five years ago. Undoubtedly, if the issues of police violence against black men had been addressed at the time, perhaps that tragic death would not have happened.
Racism has affected people of many races, not only African Americans. Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and plenty of other groups have been harmed. During Second World War, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly abducted from their homes on the west coast and imprisoned in American concentration camps, resulting in severe racial hate. It was racial profiling-based mass incarceration that resulted from racism and hatred.
However, it is doubtful that any other ethnicity has experienced the level of racism that some black people experience just because of their skin color. The police hound some people because of their appearance, but there are still too many unarmed and innocent black people, especially men, who experience hardships and harassment merely because of their appearance.
Even though most police officers are generally sympathetic and compassionate people, it is challenging, and there is still far too much prejudice among police departments and the wider population. It will not go away until the world is filled with greater compassion, love, understanding, and acceptance. Racism is fueled by hatred, and it is still a significant issue.
Ultimately, the peaceful protests after George Floyd’s sad death will result in significant changes in the United States. It will require a considerable number of people to change their views and mindsets. It’s encouraging to see so many white people and others joining together with the black community to address the issues that have come up so frequently in the past.
Racism has no place in our culture and must be destroyed. It is past time for everyone to do their part, contribute back if they can, and make the world a better place for everyone.