Subtle Racism
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What is Subtle Racism?

Since 1970, researchers have studied several forms of subtle racism to further analyze this ambiguous phrase. Subtle racism is not as blatant as old fashion racism but it is expressed in many indirect ways.

Subtle racism, also known as, covert racism is described as a person who has implicit racial or other negative attitudes towards another group. Subtle racism is an ambiguous form of racial discrimination. It is defined as ambiguous because the perpetrator's actions are very indirect and are often expressed through innuendo's. While subtle racism can be attributed to many factors other than racist beliefs, racism is the underlying subconscious influence on the perpetrator's behavior.

Subtle racists have one goal and that goal is to cause harm to the person of a different ethnic background. Research shows that while many White people proclaim to have egalitarian values, their cognitions and behavior are influenced by subconscious prejudices. These prejudices are buried deep within their psyche. Denial of their prejudices and racism leads to cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes that simultaneously co-exist.

According to Feagin & Sikes 1994, most White Americans share a common and historical background of racism and prejudice against Black people. This historical prejudice is so deeply embedded in their psyche that it develops as a half conscious or unconscious state of mind.
Many White people pretend to be liberals who believe in equal rights for all mankind, although, their actions suggest otherwise. On KPFK 90.7FM radio, it was stated after the November 2016 election that the same Americans who wanted to prove just how racist they weren't by voting for Obama in the 2008 presidential election are mostly the Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. The program suggested that this was due to Donald Trump's campaign eliciting subtle racism from many Americans.
Many social scientists have explained that although White people display egalitarian consciousness, it is undermined by a racist outlook which is used to process their social environment.

Many Whites have learned to verbalize the need for equality or deny the presence of racism. It is also common that the same people maintain negative perceptions of Black people. Prejudice towards Blacks is expressed covertly through indirect methods and passed off as something else. In other words, a White coworker or White Supervisor may nitpick, complain, and or give a Black employee a hard time for everything he or she does. This behavior is intended to cover up the real reasons for their mistreatment in the first place. A Black employee may be ostracized and or disliked by staff members at work for no particular reason.

Many African Americans report being mistreated and or feeling discriminated against on a job where they are a minority and the majority ethnicity is White. Black people also report feeling discriminated against in other places, such as in restaurants or stores or while they are out traveling. Understanding how people perceive racism is important to understand why and how racism plays out. Prior to Barrack Obama's 44th presidential inauguration, 26% of White Americans believed racism was a problem, whereas, 39% believed that strong racial conflicts still existed. Additionally, 77% of Americans reported that race issues in their community was not a problem. Moreover, 60% of surveyed individuals believed that the quality of life for Black people has improved over the last decade.
During the time of the survey, there was a perception that race issues were no longer a problem in America. On the other hand, African Americans who experience racism on a daily basis reported otherwise. A whole 74% of Blacks surveyed in 2009 reported experiencing personal discrimination due to race. Also, 60% reported feeling unwelcome in stores because of their race. It was also reported that, 40% of individuals interviewed report being racially profiled and stopped by police due to their race. Over 67% of Americans surveyed in a poll reported feeling that Black people are responsible for all of the negative outcomes they experience. The last conclusion is a great example of how subtle racists draw conclusions about other ethnic groups.
Covert, as well as, overt racism is a very serious matter in America. Many people suffer from covert racism every day, both on the job and in their day to day activities.

So what can we do about racism in our country? I personally do not feel that in the 21st century, marching, begging, arguing or debating with others will fix the minds of those who are misinformed and are suffering from hatred. Our oppressors, along with racists and hateful people must be educated. We must educate our fellow Americans about the evolution of humanity. It is important that we show the lineage of all human beings as being tied to the mother of civilization. The first and oldest artifacts to ever to be discovered are those which were found in East Africa, which makes the first human being an African woman, whom they named, "Lucy". We must reiterate our connection to the aboriginal race, which is the African race.

All humans have African DNA, therefore, we are all connected in some way or another. If those similarities, along with genealogical evidence, are brought to the attention of our misinformed brothers and sisters, their racist and hateful ways will be returned to them twofold. We must learn to confront subtle racism with facts to dismantle the root causes of its false beginnings once and for all.

The facts listed in this article are not to bring claims of absolutes against one particular race. Therefore, if you do not feel these facts apply to you, disregard them. However, if for one second you find yourself offended or taken aback, then please reflect on your cognitions. You may find that you also suffer from cognitive dissonance.

If you would like to connect or work together on issues pertaining to this topic, please feel free to email me personally at

Chiaku Hanson

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