Essay on Racism and Discrimination in Modern Society
In today’s society, racial discrimination continues to be an issue across all cultures. Regardless of the advancements we make in our society in terms of race, discrimination is a prevalent issue with serious effects on society. For example, racism, feelings of inferiority, mistreating others and stereotyping can lead to negative consequences. Thus, discrimination is the most critical issue across cultures because it leads to inequality and injustice.
As discrimination exists, it also causes inequality, an issue that is brought to light through racism and feelings of inferiority. Firstly, in the story “The Indian Father’s Plea” by Robert Lakes, Windwolf, a native Indian boy attends school in western society. Because of his cultural identity, he encounters cases of racism that made him feel inferior about himself and his culture. Lakes states “ Because you are Indians and we are white, and I don't want my kids growing up with your kind of people” (19).
In this case, Windwolf’s plan to play with his friend goes south when he encounters racism from his friend’s mother. Because of his cultural identity, his friend’s mother wasn’t willing to let them play together. In her eyes, Windwolf and his mother were “different kinds of people”, which is why he wasn’t permitted to play with his friend. Her prejudiced behavior shows how she considers Windwolf as someone who is different and doesn’t belong. Heartbroken from this event, Windwolf stops all of his cultural activities and develops shame for himself and his own culture. “Now he refuses to sing his native songs, play with his Indian artifacts, learn his language...because he says ‘that’s wired’” (Lakes 19).
After encountering racism for the first time, his opinion on his heritage and culture vastly changes. All the bullying and racism caused him to give in to other people’s remarks and think of his cultural difference as something negative that he shouldn’t be proud of. Consequently, he developed feelings of inferiority towards himself and his own heritage. His experience made him think that his culture and all of its aspects are bizarre and that he isn’t normal like the others and won’t ever be. Instead of being proud of his culture, he felt that it was ‘weird’. This lead to inequality because he now considered other cultures superior to his own. Thus, Windwolf’s experience shows how racism can severely hurt others and as a consequence, cause them to develop shame for who they are, instead of being proud of it. Thus, discrimination can damage other’s hearts, and also cause inequality amongst people at the same time.
Correspondingly, discrimination also causes injustice through the means of stereotypes and mistreating others. To begin with, in the story “By Any Other Name” by Santha Rau, Premila attends an Anglo-Indian day school along with her sister. To her surprise, her teacher doesn’t treat her or her Indian classmates fairly, for which she leaves the school for good. Rau states “She made me and the other Indians sit at the back of the room ...She said it was because Indians cheat” (16).
In this case, Premila and the other Indians were specifically instructed to sit in the back of the room because the teacher was under the misconception that Indians cheat. Because she and the other students are of Indian ethnicity, the teacher treats them differently from the other students by making them sit in the back. The teacher’s unjust behavior clearly shows that she is biased and doesn’t think well of the Indian students.
Consequently, she discriminated against the Indian students which caused injustice because they weren’t treated the same way as the others. Hence, Premila’s experience shows how discriminating can lead to others being treated unjustly. Lastly, the poem “Sure You Can Ask Me a Personal Question” by Diane Burns addresses the issue of racial stereotypes that occur because of discrimination. Burns states “Yeah. Spirituality. Uh-Uh. Mother Earth...No I didn’t major in archery” (21). In the poem, the Native-Indian author is being questioned by someone on popular Indian Stereotypes.
She is asked about spirituality, mother earth, archery, and other topics. From her replies, it's safe to infer that the person asking the questions isn’t educated on her culture and is just blurting out as many stereotypes that come to mind without considering the author's sentiments. The person just considers the author as someone totally different and thus just rambles on and on. Consequently, it results in the author not being treated justly by the person with regard to her personal feelings. This shows how discriminating through stereotypes could also lead to injustice among people.
Overall, Discrimination is a big challenge in our society. It is everywhere and is a part of our everyday lives. It directly violates the rights of a person, leading to inequality and injustice amongst people. This makes discrimination the most severe issue across cultures that needs to be addressed as soon as possible so that it doesn't lead to any of the consequences described above.