Systemic Racism: a Theory of Oppression
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The question about racism is very sharp nowadays, especially in the United States of America: black Americans, as well as the representatives of other minorities, think that they are oppressed without any reason and that they are treated like their ancestors were treated several centuries ago. On the other hand, white Americans deny such treatment and state that sometimes they are treated even worse than black Americans. It is very difficult to understand who is right and who is wrong, but the book by Joe Feagin “Systemic Racism: a Theory of Oppression” deals with this issue, and the theory developed in this book helps its readers to understand better who is oppressed in modern United States of America and who is not.
The book “Systemic Racism: a Theory of Oppression” was written by Joe Feagin, an American sociologist and social theorist who has studied such issues as racism, gender policy and urbanization not only all over the world, but particularly in the United States of America. Joe Feagin is the author of more than one hundred ninety research articles and fifty books where he highlights these problems and makes theories. The book “Systemic Racism: a Theory of Oppression” is about relations between white and black Americans all along the four hundred years history and the author states that modern society is as racism as it was several centuries ago. The book contains commentaries of both black and white Americans in three historical periods: the period of slavery, the period of legal segregation and the era of “those white Americans”. Feagin states that all social institutions were saturated with racism ideas, stereotypes, images, emotions and practices. He concludes that such racist behavior was not an accident, everything was planned and thought over; the author suggests that such racism was a campaign against black Americans created by white Americans. The author theorizes in the book that modern United States of America live according the hierarchy and racism system of the seventeenth century, although it has been developed and changed. The author of the book tries to explain why white Americans are supreme in the United States of America from the structural, ideological and cognitive point of view. These three points are called “systemic racism account” and Joe eagin tries to make a theory of systematic racism based on these very issues. As it was mentioned above, he explains the development of systemic racism in three epochs: slavery, legal segregation and modern racism; thus in the theory the author tries to find something common for those three periods of developing. The author gives a historical overview of the systemic racism in the United States of America and proves his theory with interviews of black and white Americans, with newspaper and magazine articles that deal with this issue. The main topic of the book is to explain its readers that racism exists in modern society and it cannot be destroyed quickly, mostly because people are used to live in oppression.
Though the book “Systemic Racism: a Theory of Oppression” may become very important and useful for those who fight for equal rights, it is not perfect. In his book the author explains the origins and ideology of systematic racism, however, his explanations are not convincing. The book by Feagin resembles the book by George Lipsitz “How Racism Takes Place”; on the other hand, the book by Lipsitz contains not such weak arguments. Besides, it was supposed that every Feagin’s argument would have been corroborated with an example; however, the book contains such points of view of white and black Americans that have nothing to do with structural and ideological arguments. Those points of view are personal life stories with no reference to what is in the book. The main purpose of this book was to show how black Americans were oppressed in the United States of America when their ancestors were slaves and how they are oppressed now; however, the point of view of Joe Feagin may be also called to much racist: he states that all white Americans are used to feel how powerful they are with respect to black Americans, and white Americans even like to feel superior. However, the author of the book does not take into account that all white Americans are not the same and there are racists as well as those who protect the rights of black Americans; the same is with black Americans.
The strong point of this book is that Joe Feagin has developed a new theory, although it is not as perfect as it seems to be. He has conducted several sociological researches to prove his point of view; these researches may be used in further studies of the “white racial frame” concept, because they were conducted throughout last decade, and deal with such issues as social oppression, racism, exploitation and inequality between black and white Americans. Joe Feagin does not blame Americans in such behavior toward black Americans; the researcher suggests that such treatment is automatic and white Americans do not realize what may be wrong. The main advantage of this book is the Feagin shows the reality as it is, not hiding it or changing.
Although this book has any weak points, it may be useful for studying the course of Race and Poverty in Americas, because ot deals not only with problems that moderns American society faces, but it also contains historical overview on the issues explained in the book and its influence on modern country and its citizens. In my opinion, the author of the book did not want to show how bad white Americans are regarding black Americans; Feagin’s intend was to show that such treatment is the result of four centuries history of oppression. Perhaps, there are still those who do not treat black Americans as they should be treated, it is not their fault. Some researches state that this book is not useful and it contains only personal life stories of both black and white Americans; but the point is that Feagin’s theory may be implemented in life. On the other hand, every racist may find an excuse for his or her racism behavior explaining that it is an automatic conduct. In my opinion, such problem is not the only one: all minorities that live in the United States of America face the problem of oppression and racism but the problem of black Americans is one of the most important, because the minority of black Americans is one of the biggest in the United States of America. In my opinion, such problem of oppression should be solved, because black Americans have equal rights with white Americans. The book “Systemic Racism: a Theory of Oppression” was aimed to show that black Americans are the part of modern United States of America society and they are treated unequally because of the historical background and not because of what they have done; besides, in my opinion, white Americans should respect all national minorities because those people and their ancestors helped to make the United States of America what it is now – one of the most influential countries in the world.
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