A Great Divide: Racism In America

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A Great Divide: Racism in America To divide means, “to separate into opposing sides or parties” (Merriam-Webster). Throughout history, people were divided into groups, whether by class, power or wealth. In Ancient Rome, people were divided into social classes that reflected their wealth and power within the hierarchical system. Ancient Greece also utilized a similar system for their citizens (McKay 9). In modern times, people began to be divided into factions by their gender, sexual preference, and race, among others. With these divisions, there was an surge of discrimination in the forms of sexism, homophobia, and racism. Although all three forms of discrimination is a part of the negative underbelly of the modern world, racism has a long history in America. Racism is defined as, “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” (Racism). Three hundred ninety-seven years ago, the first African slaves were brought to America and centuries later, racism continues to be a system that allows for the “…debasing, degrading, and doing violence to people on the basis of color” (Wallis). Racism emerges in the late sixteenth to the seventeenth century through slavery, the earliest form of colonialism. Slaves, viewed as items for trade, were…show more content…
If racists viewed people of color as the “Other” as Levinas did, perhaps they would have viewed people of color as greater than them. The theory of “Other” is a “philosophical concept meaning either something that is completely different from yourself and all your experiences or someone who is different from you and hard to understand” (Rosenstand G5). The theory of “other” is not saying that one person is better than or equal to another. The theory acknowledges the need to view another person as living and has the need to be recognized as

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