The Roots of Racism

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Ryan Roberts U.S. Latino/a Literature Dr. Marci Carrasquillo 3/13/2013 The Roots of Racism Education through upbringing is the largest contributing factor for a person’s racist views and prejudice ideas. While the developments of these racist views are obvious, Junot Diaz’s “How to Date a Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, or Halfie)” suggests that individuals are educated in racism because of the pressure to fulfill the social norm rather than an actual racist mindset or family approval. It is believed by many that racism is a mindset that people naturally have. The real question is how does that even make sense? Believing that a belief just coincides with you is a ludicrous notion. Racism is not a genetic trait. It is a learned trait. We all strive to approve to the values our families pass down to us. These passing qualities may very well lie within racist ideas. While this notion could very well be true, it seems to be viewed from a very close minded perspective. Of course our families’ opinions affect us largely. Of course we all strive to find approval from our families through acceptance of ideas and notions passed down from one generation to the next. However, it is a little farfetched to conclude that this is the only possible explanation for our behavior. What must be examined is the need to achieve the social norm in this society. Junot Diaz is attempting to paint the picture that these racist views that are cemented in our heads is to develop a correlation between them and achieving the appearance of social norm and masculinity. Masculinity is centralized with what is considered normal due to the fact that people fear what is different. Being a young man in a tough neighborhood lends to appearing as manly as possible. If even the slightest lapse of masculinity is present, one would be viewed as weak and inferior in a

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