The Invisible Mask of Institutional Racism

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The Invisible Mask of Institutional Racism Everything you encounter in life makes you who you are. Your parents, school, friends, and the T.V. you watch, they all mold and shape you. They can determine what you talk like, dress like, and your morals. It can also dictate what you believe. Institutional racism involves stereotypes, prejudices, and certain expectations for specific races. We’ve all heard them, and at some point we’ve all fallen victim to them. We all wear “a mask, and [our] face grows to fit it” (Orwell). This “mask” comes in many forms. Societal pressures are a common form of institutional racism. Some people accept their mask and follow the rules and standards that it represents. In the essay Shooting An Elephant by George Orwell the main character is a white Englishman who is stationed in India. He pities the natives and doesn’t agree with their harsh treatment. When he is put in a situation where he is pressured to do something he doesn’t want to he realizes that he is “only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys” (Orwell). Even though the man is not the minority he still has the pressures of the stereotypes of his people pushing down on him. To the “yellow faces” he is the type of man to kill an elephant, even though it goes against his wishes. He feels the full weight of their prejudice and expectations on his shoulders, forcing him to do what he doesn’t want to. Lara 2 It is not only the oppressed that are affected by institutional racism, but also the oppressors. Hallie’s inherited views in the play Master Harold and The Boys by Athol Fugard cause him to destroy his friendship with his mother’s employee, Sam. Prior to their fight Hallie and Sam remember a day where Sam made Hallie a kite.

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