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July 28, 2014

Homework Help: English1A - Critical Thinking and Writing

Posted by Kuromi on Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 8:49pm.

Hi Miss Sue or anyone else. Can you please proofread my essay on Race and Culture?

Race and Culture

Society plays a big role on race and culture. Whether a person is black or white, Asian or Hispanic, there will always be that someone who attempts to identify and stereotype others based on their appearance such as the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, or how they act. In the very beginning, people would travel from all over the world and immigrate to the United States for freedom and opportunities; a chance to start a whole new life for them and their loved ones. Becoming an American was a gift that foreigners wanted, but came with a price when people of different races and cultures came together as one, and found that some could not mix well with those who seemed different. It also became a problem for those with foreign parents who had to learn to fit in to American culture outside the home as well as their own culture inside the home. As America continues to fill itself with many different faces and colors, some people remain traditional to their own ethnic background. However, not everyone chooses to act or behave traditionally which surprises those who expect others to behave according to their traditional cultural role. While America continues to evolve becoming the "melting pot" of the world, people from different cultures tend to judge and stereotype others, and do not realize that all people are humans like everyone else with unique personalities, regardless of race or ethnic background.

Race and ethnicity are two terms people get confused about. People tend to mix up the two, assuming that they both mean the same things. While race may refer to a specific species or breed, ethnicity can mean a common background or traditional cultural beliefs. Two people of different races may have the same cultural background, but not vice versa. Even though someone might appear to be Asian, it does not mean that all Asians are of the same race. They could be Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Cambodian. In Sherman Alexie’s “Assimilation” Jeremiah states, “Don’t you hate it, when they have Chinese waiters in sushi joints or Korean dishwashers in a Thai noodle house? No think about it, these restaurants, these Asian restaurants, they hire Asians discriminately because they think white people won’t be able to tell the difference. I can” (590). Or if they appear to be black, it does not mean that person is from Africa or that they are African-American. They too could be from Vietnam, Canada, or even London. If people learn to distinguish between race and ethnicity, they will be more aware of the people around them and understand and respect each other as an individual.

America has been known as the melting pot for a while now. But despite the many years of foreigners and immigrants traveling and living in the U.S., America is still separated in many ways due to racism and prejudices. What is the difference between someone being racist and another who is prejudice? Being racist means disliking someone solely because of their race. Prejudice is someone who dislikes someone or a group of people for who they are or what they do, before being aware of all the facts about them. For example, if someone is a Christian, most times they will be prejudice against other religious organizations without even knowing any information about them. However, some people express racism throughout their daily lives without even knowing it. Even people who are prejudice are born with the preconceived notion that they feel negatively about a specific type of group of people, but not necessarily knowing why. In Vincent N. Parrillo “Causes of Prejudice” he states, “…individuals acquire the values, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of their culture or subculture, including religion, nationality, and social class. Generally, the child conforms to the parents’ expectations in acquiring an understanding of the world and its people” (514). Children grow up not knowing any alternative conceptions of the world, and usually accept these concepts with no questions. Even when certain values or beliefs are based upon false stereotypes, prejudices shape the way some people perceive others and influence their attitudes and actions toward particular groups.

Stereotyping is another big issue in America. To stereotype someone means to identify and categorize someone based on their appearance. Stereotyping can lead to racism and prejudice and can cause people to assume certain situations, which sometimes can be a good thing, but other times, bad. In Studs Terkel’s “C.P. Ellis” C.P. states “I saw two young black people. I had the .32 revolver with me. I said: Nigger, you seen a little young white boy up here? I just got a call from him and was told that some niggers robbed him of fifteen cents. I pulled my pistol out and put it right at his head” (522). Just because someone is of a certain color or fits the profile of someone that one might dislike, it does not make that person bad in anyway. It just means that some people share common characteristics such as race, skin color, behavior, or attitudes. If people are willing to open their eyes and give people half the chance that they deserve, they will realize that people are human just like themselves and should not judge others based on what they see on the outside rather than looking in.

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