Mary Lim

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

act: research on issue

I chose ambiguous discrimination as my topic. I think this quote explains the issue pretty well:
"One of the realities of the modern era is that many of the stereotypes that people expressed freely in the past - of minorities, of women, of any number of groups - are no longer outwardly expressed. This does not mean they are less real, less important, or less damaging when they do seep out. And part of the damage comes from the very fact that prejudice today can be so much harder to pinpoint with certainty." (Article can be found here.)
In other words, even though discrimination of color, sex, or finance are no longer directly expressed, social labels and stereotypes are engrained in society, making it harder to address the problem. In some ways, subtle discrimination can be even more detrimental than outright discrimination. What needs to change is the thought process of society as a whole; instead of quietly living amongst unjustifiable patterns of thinking, we should raise awareness of the issue.
  • Since ambiguous discrimination is a rather large topic to tackle (which includes discrimination of all types such as sexism, race, economic bias, etc.), I'm going to focus on subtle racism. 
"...the roots of prejudice are many and varied. Some of the deepest and most intensively studied roots include personality factors such as right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, cognitive factors such as the human tendency to think categorically, motivational factors such as the need for self-esteem, and social factors such as uncharitable ingroup attribution of outgroup behavior....prejudice is an outgrowth of normal human functioning, and all people are susceptible to one extent or another... "(Article can be found Here )
Meaning, there are many factors involved in subtle racism: the tendency to think in categories, the need for self-esteem, the tendency to be exclusive, personality factors, etc. However, though these things are normal for human beings, it has come to a point where it hurts the individuality of a human being.
  • People are also discouraged to speak up about subtle racism, especially because society thinks of it as no longer an issue and dismiss the claim. Some simply do not know they are being subtly racist...
"...accusations of racism are looked upon with more suspicion, eye rolling and dismissal than ever, which only further perpetuates the fear and paranoia. In other words, unless someone actually calls you the N-word, no one wants to hear you whine about racism." (Article can be found Here)
  • Racism is an interaction between prejudice and discrimination...
"...prejudice is an attitude that is based on limited information or stereotypes. While prejudice is usually negative, it can also be positive. Both positive and negative prejudices are damaging because they deny the individuality of the person. No one is completely free of prejudices, although they may not have any significant prejudice against a particular group." (Article can be found Here
Everyday examples of subtle racism:
-The Trayvon Martin Case: the question of whether Zimmerman acted in self defense or out of racism
-A woman clutching her bag when a black man walks by
-The idea that beauty is epitomized by white features
-The reason behind why asians are never protagonists in movies; even in movies meant to have an Asian protagonist
-viewing African people as in dire need of help
-how some fetishize asian culture & objectifying people in Asia
The solution is not color blindness. Ignoring color is also a form of discrimination - when tries to "ignore color" and "treat everyone equally", in actuality, they are viewing people within the context of their own culture. It is erasing the person's culture and background. This way of thinking still separates people as "us and them." The real solution is to take in peoples' complexities of character and background and not resort to simplification.

Signs for Subtle Racism

racism: separation of color, KKK robe, Swastika, racial slurs
discrimination: rank (numbers), anomaly (one different from the rest)
ethnicity: colors, human silhouettes, globe, circle, holding hands
equality/harmony: balanced scale, equal sign, peace sign
complexity: gears, web, maze, knot, optical illusions, puzzles, tree branches

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