21st-Century Racism

Contrary to what most people choose to believe, slavery continues to shape our society by influencing individual perceptions and societal expectations. The idea of minority race and dominant race is still widely held, albeit subconsciously, influencing the way we interact, the opportunities made available for different groups and the way we treat people in our society These conditioned responses are noticeable in both the dominant and minority races.

The majority races still hold an intrinsic perception of their perceived superiority and right to superior treatment, while the minority races have a mental conditioning to inferiority. These perceptions are greatly determined by race, as slavery was. As difficult as it is to change peoples’ psychological biases, these responses to slavery have stood the test of time. Children continue to glean them from the society’s subtle expressions of them, and in so doing they are perpetrated to the next generation

Slavery was a systematic and deliberate process of altering the way a person thought about himself and the master, hence making him into a subjective worker who could not question the authority of those above him . Human beings by nature are self-assertive, therefore not easy to enslave. The slave master had to change the perception of the slave about himself, by setting up stereotypes that labelled him as inferior as well as enforcing behavioral standards that demanded obedience and absolute reverence.

These ideas, it seems, have been successfully transferred through generations, and while there are no masters enslaving subjects per se, fragments of the psychological training that characterised slavery still influence our interracial relations. This is most evident in our criminal justice system. Some things are by default associated with certain races. For instance, a criminal offense by a person of a perceived minority race is not is not something that can make the headlines. In extreme cases, a person of minority group is expected to commit a crime, and if he doesn’t, he may be accused of one he has not committed. The racial composition in incarceration facilities is a proof of this.

Relations in the corporate world are also evidence of our conditioned responses to slavery and race. The entitlement of majority races is evident in blatant ways, and workers of minority groups have to work harder to achieve the same things that their colleagues are entitled to. Why should it be strange for a person of a given racial background to achieve a given feat?

In our political circles, it makes headlines when we have a “black” president or a “Hispanic” representative, but not when people of other racial groups are voted in. This confirms our subconscious conditioning to associate certain achievements with race. The racial perceptions have their roots in slavery and we only learn them from society as we pass them onto our children.

Centuries of slavery taught people how to think of themselves, and of other people, depending on which side of the whip they stood. This created psychological conditionings that have been historically passed along through subtle standards in society as well as media influence. It is a fact that in the 21st Century, we still hold conditioned responses to slavery, evident in our perceptions about various racial groups