Mary NguyenStudent ID: 1641926Short-response #1: Option BWork presented toMaureen Robin JonesWorld Views of Heroes and Heroines345-102-MQ Section 00009Vanier CollegeMonday March 26th, 2018In our racism talk, race is broken down to three components that can be metaphorically compared to elements of a tree. These three components are called structural, institutional and individual racism. They, together, form the whole of the notion of race.
Firstly, structural racism is the roots of the idea of race, where it all started and what has been fueling the idea of racism through all this time. It alludes to the fact that the inequalities of society work in a way to justify the categorization of racial groups and social classes. It introduces the impressions of inferiority and superiority, which are based on physical attributes and that are reflected in society’s standards and values. Racism all started with colonial encounters where the concept of racial hierarchy was created to justify unequal power dynamics in order to enable a strong economic development based on oppression. Today, we still reap our values and norms from the race notion. We still reach for the idea of eurocentrism; a society centered on white culture. The second part is institutional racism which represent the trunk and branches of the tree. This section is the body of racism and has the function of nurturing the idea of race, to keep it implanted in our societies, to keep the concept of racism present in our societies.
It represents our environment including all of our institutions which are part of the entire system our society is built around. One of the examples would be the magazine cover, where we can observe Michael B. Jordan with a white model. However, the position they are in on the picture refers to an old picture of propaganda of black people as savage apes. Everything around us promotes discrimination and oppression; this is what keeps racism alive, we keep feeding it. Finally, there is individual racism which is any individual act an individual would do based on racial privilege. Therefore, this magazine cover hints to the oppression of the black community as it compares a powerful public figure such as Michael B Jordan as a “savage”.
These individual actions are basically the leaves of the tree that are caught up in the racist dynamics. Their behavior was originally shaped by structural and institutional racism; in other words, they were shaped by race culture. It is not necessarily the individual’s fault because society and history shaped them this way, the roots and influence of race are so deeply crutched to our society’s structure that no individual can truly escape it. The concept of race was firstly invented for the purpose of economic profit, however even today, it is still used for power fights and oppression.