Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jon Schlavin's Group

The problem that Paul Wachtel addresses in his essay “Talking About Racism” is the causes of racial inequality in America. He states that the word “racism” no longer is clearly defined or has the same negative connotations that it used to possess. He continues to say that this has caused a general indifference among Americans. To deal with this problem, Wachtel proposes that we, as Americans, need to “retire the rhetoric of racism” and whites need to acknowledge and take responsibility for their indifference (554). Wachtel, however, fails to provide any tangible means of implementing this solution in the real world. He probably intended this essay to be read by the general American public, particularly those who might suffer from indifference. Wachtel's proposal, while it would help with the problem, fails to offer any workable solution. A more feasible solution would be to stop bringing up racism and educate people on how to judge people fairly based on their own character and not on their race, culture, or ethnic background.

“In the socialization process, individuals acquire the values, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of their culture or subculture” states Vincent Parillo in his essay “Causes of Prejudice” (514). This shows that the socialization process has a big influence on an individual's attitude towards different races. It is important that we realize this powerful tool that we have as a culture and use it to shape the next generation in a positive manner. Parillo continues and says that “prejudice, like cultural values, is taught and learned through the socialization process” showing that as a culture we could do away with racism if we were willing to shape the next generation to be tolerant of all races (514). If we teach the next generation to be more tolerant of other races then they will imbibe this ideal and progress towards actual harmony and mutual respect with all races. As Parillo says, “the child usually accepts these concepts without questioning. We thus learn the prejudices of our parents and others, which then become part of our values and beliefs” (514). This is a more specific aspect of Wachtel's vague solution to the problem with racism, educate the next generation and wait for time to heal the wounds that racism have caused.

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