Feagin defines racism as a consistent problem that has lingered in American society since the founding of the country. There are many things that can be held accountable for this issue. Feagin’s min idea is that there is a different state of mind between the races, especially in the United States. History has proven to repeat itself as far as racism goes. There have been many changes that have pushed this country in the right direction as far as abolishing racism, but many problems are still very much alive.
We have made significant changes, such as abolishing slavery, getting rid of racism in numerous aspects of legality, and outlawing public displays of racism to level the equality in everyday life.
According to Feagin, this issue is called the white racial frame. By this, he means that the white population in America still has very racist ideals, but has managed to believe differently. Since the percentage of people who are in control of the money and power in this country still remains mostly white, many things that still go on are in favor of the white population.
Feagin believes that since the white population has talked themselves in to believing that racism has been defeated, it is nearly impossible to progress to achieve full equality in this country.
The white racial frame puts into perspective how every non-white individual in America feels. Frustration, at least, must be a common feeling between all off these people. The worry here is that racism and oppression is so deeply rooted in American history that making it disappear once and for all is well beyond problematic. If the white population continues to believe that this problem has been solved, they are not working as hard to fix it. Why would they? When the issue is broken down, it is easy to understand that they are surely not going to work toward fixing something they see as not being broken. I must agree with Feagin when he says that the evidence of white denial and ignorance of the reality of U.S. racism is substantial (pg. 2).
In thinking of this piece on the white racial frame, I couldn’t help but to connect it to W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of double consciousness. If you take away the fact that Du Bois was speaking solely to the colored population, it is exactly what needs to happen in the white population as well. The problem here is that white people in America have never had to face oppression.
They have always been in power, and they have always been “higher” than any other population. It has always seemed normal to them, without considering that if they are on top, it is not possible for everyone else to be. What needs to happen is a double consciousness for white, as well as everyone else. By white people acknowledging that there is a problem that is continuing day in and day out as far as racism is concerned, that there will be more focus on trying to fix it. Without being aware, there is no way to fix the issue.
The other thing that came to my mind is the ideas of Janet Chafetz. Clearly her work was not based on the issue of racism, but it was concentrated on a different form of oppression, sexism. Chafetz also discusses the idea of being aware. By women being unaware of the sexism they are facing in many aspects of their lives, they continue to let it happen.
The same goes for the white population. It seems that it is easier for oppressors and victims alike to pretend that there is not an issue. A common theme here is the lack of knowledge. I must also admit that I too am guilty of an unaware racist ideal. It easy to believe that since racism is technically against the law, therefore it can’t exist. I would also be wrong if I did not also admit that there has been much improvement in this country concerning racism. However, the problem is far from being fixed.
Being a sociology major, as well as having an extreme interest and background in criminology, it would be impossible for me to say that this is not an ongoing issue. In my first college writing and research class at Carlow, I focused my term research paper on racial profiling by the police. When beginning my research, I thought for sure that I would prevail in believing that it cannot happen much more to other races as it does to whites. Unfortunately I was very wrong, and in doing my research I proved that there is a serious racial profiling problem in the criminal justice system.
I will admit that I find it to be heartbreaking and ridiculously disastrous. It is hard for me to rationalize what exactly is the basis of the racism still alive today. These people are no longer slaves. The law prevents harassment due to race. The law also prevents racial bias in the work place. It is an unfortunate situation. Fixing it will not be easy, but I do believe that it needs done. I hope that eventually we will come to an understanding as a country that a problem is still at our feet. Until then, there needs to be some serious focus on awakening the justice within each and every one of us.