Reading Response on Racism issues


ReadingResponse on Racism issues

ReadingResponse on Racism Issues

DefiningRacism: Can we talk”is an article by Beverly Tatum, whose main idea is based on racismand prejudice. Throughout the article, the author makes vast attemptin demonstrate the real meaning of racism and prejudice, by analyzingsome of the common societal conceived notions. She begins byhighlighting how the impacts of racism begins early, as a results oflimited interactions and misinformation about other people of adifferent religious, ethnic, racial and socio-economic background.Tatum holds that continued exposure to misinformation or second-handinformation from a young age, which is often full of distortions andomissions results to pre-conceived notions about the people of color.The author proceeds on distinguishing racism from prejudice, andexplains how prejudice contributes to racism. Tatum concludes bydiscussing what she terms as active versus passive racism. Shebelieves that in order to move from an active to passive form ofracism, the whites should play a major role in bring racism to anend.

Tatummajor point of view is on how prejudice continues to impact racismthrough distortion, omissions, and stereotype. In fact, she definesprejudice as the preconceived opinion or judgment, which is usuallybased on limited information (Tatum, 2007). The exposure ofmisinformation about other people, especially people of color, hasled to the development of negative and hateful images, internalizedoppression and stereotypical categories. More so, prejudice has ledto the assumption that some cultural images have embraced that notionof the white people superiority and black people inferiority. Infact, Tatum uses the term “smog in the air” to attribute thevisibility is racism, because the environment we live in iscontinually bombarded with stereotypical images in the media.According to Adams (2000) the media rarely shows the accomplishmentof oppressed group of people, leading to negative categorization ofthis group. Thus, the article emphasis that this pollution can beovercome by reinforcing positive images of marginalized groups, aswell as, through personal examining of our own level of prejudice andtaking responsibility. This will ensure that the process of passingmisinformation and preconceived opinion is not repeated to the futuregeneration.

Thearticle has broadened my knowledge on how the experiences of racismcome at a cost. Because of racism, the people of color suffer frominternalized oppression, as they tend to believe they are inferior asa consequence of distorted messages. Rothenberg (2013) argues thattrivial things such as advertisements and movies add to the emotionaland physical pain inflicted on people of color resulting todiscrimination. Through this, I have gained an understanding of rolethe media play in contributing to racism and prejudice. Furthermore,I understand why most white continue to live in fear of the blackpeople even in shopping malls, since the media portrays them asdangerous, as well as, associates them with robbery, anger andfights.

Thearticle is enlightening and challenges the reader to overcomingracial stereotypes, which are much embedded in the society. I tend toagree with the author’s argument on society stereotypes towardspeople of color, as well as, her argument that racism is alsoexperienced by other white people. She supports this view by statingthe that not all whites benefit equally, because other factorsincluding sexual orientation, age, gender and mental and physicalability play a major role (Tatum, 2007). Her argument that backpeople can be racist also holds ground because they it is likely thatthey may also develop hateful attitude towards the white people. Iwould gladly recommend the article to readers as it emphasizes on theneed for accurate information, and provides solutions to thispersistent societal problem.


Adams,M. (2000). Readingsfor Diversity and Social Justice. Philadelphia:Psychology Press

Rothenberg,P.S. (2013). Race,Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study. NY:Worth Publishers

Tatum,B.D. (2007). CanWe Talk about Race? And other Conversations in a Era of SchoolRe-segregation.New York: Basic Books