T Nation

Psychology of Racism


#1

I am doing this paper for English class and am trying to find potential psychological factors that may lead people to hate. There are the obvious like a family's influence on their children and extreme situations that can have an impact on one's mindset. But this seems like such a broad topic and the influences for hatred seemed endless. Any thoughts?


#2

Upbringing
Often the biases of the parent are displayed in front of the children. With a lacking life experience, the child could adapt the same biases.

Media
For a very long time, any shows even depicting a black family on tv involved near poverty, dysfunction, or an attitude of being trapped in the ghetto. This was changed largely by the success of the Cosby Show and subsequent roles that allowed black actors to show functional black families to mass audiences. Where I live now, it is a non-issue to see mixed couples everywhere. Before The Jeffersons hit tv, there were no depictions of this that were accepted by society as "normal".

News
There was controversy when I was growing up largely due to the reporting that took place if a suspect happened to be black. If a suspect was white, often his race was a non-issue. However, "black" suspects were identified. This could also have a hand in stereotyping. This has changed somewhat as of late.

Childhood development
While today you can find hispanic Barbies, black Barbies and even Asian Barbies, the first black Barbie wasn't even created until the early 80's. The effects of growing up with no relateable concepts of beauty can have very long reaching effects. It is why "hood heroes" like Shaft were famous in the 70's.

It was the only relateable confident hero to the black community. Today, Blade movies created such a following that I doubt it will be so hard in the future to depict black "heroes" without their skin color being a huge factor in their given name. Let's not even discuss "token black actors" in movies who have the simple job of being the stereotype. "That's whack."

Music
The first black artist to ever be played on MTV was Micheal Jackson. While some may argue whether he is still black today, you can't take away the fact that he threatened to pull his record deal from Sony (I believe that was the label) if MTV didn't play his videos. Today, Hip Hop dominates the music scene. A lot has happened in the last 20-25 years.

All in all, there are many factors that contribute to racism in America. The largest of these is no doubt the contribution of parents and peers.


#3

While not sure about why people hate others, i think there are diff approaches to proactively avoid racism.

Here's 2 that i have observed

  1. The hippies that i know actually try not to take notice of other people's race,b/c they say it "shouldn't matter"

  2. My family , brother and sister esp take a vive la diffrence approach. My brother will make a racial joke every now and then but all he listens to is rap and his only friends are black or mexican. We are both caucasian btw. I also take this approach i mean i hang out with all types , i have some black in me too from the way i act.


#4

Prof. X,

Were those meant to be reasons black people could hate white people?


#5
  1. Religion

  2. Socio-economic level

  3. Peer pressure

  4. Education level


#6

Fear of the unknown.

Ignorance.


#7

Another thing that white people do and im not really complaining this but we tend to act out our guilt over pass racism that we have done towards blacks today. I mean, and im guilty of this too, we sometimes give African american stuff or individual black people admiration sometimes. I don't know how to explain it but for the fact that white people in america have done some nasty things and are apologetic about it.


#8

Excellent analysis of external factors by Prof X.

From an internal p.o.v., racism is a sign of lack of psychological development. The individual has a small and narrow viewpoint - and therefore cannot identify people who are different as "people". They're different, so they're alien, so they're frightening. Racism is nothing but hidden fear.

People who are prone to a racist view live in a very superficial universe, from a psychological perspective. They relate to their fellow human beings in a shallow, superficial way - not through the core of their being (again, speaking psychologically) but through shallow, skin-deep (pardon the pun) mechanisms: it's a ritualistic world where the individual disappears beneath a pile of rules and norms enforced by the group.
From a jungian perspective, they are at the very beginning of the process of individuation.


#9

Who are these black people that are getting stuff because of guilty white people? What things have you given? You give black people admiration because you are guilty for being white? I have to say, I seriously doubt this is going on to any degree worth even speaking of. I suppose Rosa Parks falls into that category.


#10

I personally knew/know some very well educated racists.


#11

X, its just a personal opinion. But i think white people in general feel guilty about the effects of racism. The 60's aren't that far away! Wouldn't you feel that a culture that has finally taken notice of itself and accepted the fact that it is commiting a horrendous act to feel guilty over this? If so, would this be expressed or not?You love to argue but thats my logic take it or leave it.

btw what kind of doctor are you?


#12

When you grow up in a racially divided community, it's hard to negate the pressures to conform to those dividing beliefs. However, if you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of understanding in new experience, I think there is a potential for it to function as a shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead.


#13

1) The act of feeling any type of guilt for actions of the past is not unheard of. The idea you gave, however, was as if blacks are being given undue recognition as a result of it.
2) That's private info. I don't know you well enough and it isn't like you need to know.


#14

These are some posts I copied from a white spremacist forum. It will give you some idea of the mentality of people who are rascist. Please read them with an open mind and not flame me for it.

"I guess that I do see whites as superior to other races in alot of ways. But, I mean, at the same time I don't really wish any harm on other races in general. I just want whites to shed the self hating inferiority type mentality that many of us seem to have these days. Revival of the culture. Revival of our pride. We sure do have alot to be proud of. More than any other race."

I'm a cultural supremist.

I feel the introduction of masses of third-worlders into America is a direct threat to my higher standard of living.

It's like when city folks move en-mass to the country, and then tell the farmer his cows stink too much and try to pass laws against it. They moved to escape city life but then introduce the problems into the host area by taking over local offices and passing idiot laws.

"If Sanchez comes to America, he'd damn well be ready to speak English.

I figure if Mexico is so great..they would stay home. They had a story about these Mexicans raising chickens in their backyards in Columbus and how they paint their houses orange and crap."

"I must consider myself a Supremacist. This is only to fellow Stormfronters, mind you. When I am speaking to the unconverted, I preach separatism and equality of opportunity.

However, we must look at the big picture. While it's nice to say that we believe in geographical separation, we must consider the following: 1) Negroes really serve no purpose on this planet, and 2) if Whites are to reach for the stars, we may need the resources of the entire planet for our own, which would certainly include mineral-rich Africa. Just one example, hypothetically speaking.

The key issue here is this: we must win, regardless of who suffers as a result. Harsh, yes."

Very disturbing, but thats their way of thinking,

Fahd


#15

Yes, this is very disturbing. What is more disturbing is that I have seen similar types of rationalizations posted on T-Nation forums (e.g. Politics and World Issues forum). Obviously not to the extreme of these statements, but there are some startling similarities. It only takes a small semantic change to make a statement go from a non-racist opinion to racist garbage. But of course, anyone who will respond to what I have said will more than likely do nothing more than attack me rather than do a real examination of the some of the things posted on T-Nation.


#16

Holy crap. This is exactly what I was going to post. People's view points are all affected/influenced by the outside factors such as media, parents, societly, peers, etc...but the main and most important aspect to keep in mind the REASON why people let themselves be affected/influenced by the outside sources...Such as low self esteem, lack of insight, poor self image, etc...


#17

hatred is a learned response; either through peers and/or parental role models - all to fit in with a goup that impresses you. To impress them you mirror those aspects they espouse. race, color, religion, (dare i say) body type...

constant introspection as to why i feel this way towards another is the best way to defeat hate, or at least to begin the healing within yourself.


#18

in my opinion, hatred starts from a bad first encounter, or hearing something bad from word of mouth/reading etc.

a weakness(mentally or physically) = intimidation = fear = hate.

thats my mantra. and if you think about it its true on all levels of hate.


#19

I believe it is learned behavior based on ignorance. For example:

  1. Some whites are taught that the reason for their problems (no jobs, poor working conditions, etc) is because of some other group (blacks, jews, etc) taking what they "deserve".

  2. Some blacks are taught that the reason they are on welfare and have no money is because of their skin color and not because their father has a third grade education and can't hold a job.

So it's basically a way to blame some other group for your own problems. Problems that are really your fault, not someone else's. But it feels better to blame someone else than take responsibility yourself.

The current problem is that society treats the blame game very unequally in order to be PC. So if a poor white guy blames affirmative action or racial quotas on the reason he can't get a job it is racists. But if a poor black guy does the same thing and blames whites for holding him back, it's acceptable.

It's this un-level playing field that I believe keeps racism alive in the US. If society did not support any excuse to blame another groups or race for one's problems, and removed the special privileges given to people purely because of their skin color (Government sponsored racism), then this stuff would die off and just be confined to the real wackos. But as long as one group's racists mindset is accepted and another not, that discrepancy in itself will cause and even support more racism.


#20

I come from a different direction but I agree.

I?d say racism is an expression of pathological narcissism, the motive of racial "purity" is a strong indicator.

Basically it is just a version of the "I am better than you" game which is played by every human being.

Some grow up a little bit and become at least bearable, some don?t.