My research question is, what is the correlation between racism and the education level of young adults between the ages of 15 and 19. Does racism discourage Hispanic young adults from getting a higher education? Racism, according to (Schmid, 2008) is defined as the lack of equality based on a person’s race only. According to (Fry, 2002) only about 10% of Hispanic high school graduates enroll in a four-year college immediately after high school. Out of these students surveyed 349 reported being bullied sometime throughout their high school career. The following paper will explore the social problem of racism and how it can be explained by a biological perspective. Then I will discuss the relationship between racism and education conditions using a sociological perspective. Additionally, I will give my personal opinions after both the nature and nurture sections and go into further details on my thoughts regarding racism.
Research has been done to argue that racism is biological issue within a person. In The Journal of Social Theory (Rygren, 2003) found that most people who are considered to be racists have xenophobia. Xenophobia is the fear of living or coexisting with people of different countries or cultures. People with this fear believe it is natural to act in a hostile way towards others of different cultures. Another biological explanation as to why people have racist tendencies are that their cognitive and memory processes are different from those of a healthy person (Swim 1995). Their selective encoding process functions in a way that these thoughts come naturally, and it is not seem as a negative.
I personally believe that a fear is something that is not easily overcame nor is it a choice to have. However, I feel by blaming racism on xenophobia the issue is disregarded and not addressed in the severity that it should be. In addition, most if not all fears even though it may not be easy, can be overcome. In doing research I found when tested people who are considered racists have major mental differences. It was interesting to see how differently their brain functions as opposed to someone who does not hold the same view points.
In reading on research (Rygren, 2003) there has been an increase in racism with people who have been exposed to both biased political views and influenced by people in their surroundings. Racism is an idea that is not born into an individual’s mind; rather it is taught through observance of other people. In other cases (Miles, 2003) describe racism as an ideology that is the result of constant interactions. In this case people who are exposed to this behavior the concept of racism is seen as a normal occurrence, therefore, one person’s views are spread to other people through association. Said individual’s’ social status also plays a pivotal role in their beliefs on race. In studies conducted by colleges in southern in the United States, 51% of surveyed are unsure and 36% of students are against reserved openings for students of color (Silva, 2000). These percentages are dramatically decreased when reviewing a survey conducted in a northern state college. This means in an area that has had racist views for decades, students are more inclined to have the same opinions.
I strongly believe that no one is born with a negative mind. A person’s views are developed through social interactions. That being said, the environment in which a person surrounds themselves with is a plausible clause for as to why they have racist beliefs. If a child is raised in a household and community that has prejudice, they will grow up to have the same racist views as their parents. These values that are carried for life can contribute to how that person carries themselves. By having people with this mindset interacting with people that are of the race they are racist against, the person suffering from these actions will naturally feel less inclined to be around that energy. Thus it will ultimately lead to a decline in the impulse to receive a higher education after completing high school.
Writing is not a strong suit of mine, so when given the opportunity to write about whatever I please, I tend to choose topics that I can closely relate with. I am a first generation college student, and growing up I saw most of my family opt out of receiving a higher education simply because of racism they would face. It is very heartbreaking to see someone you care for feel so powerless against other people. I always knew Hispanic teens had a lower college attendance rate, but it was only until I did intense research for this paper did I really see how large of a percentage opt not to go because of racism. When looking into colleges, a person should look into potential majors, tuition, size not whether or not they’ll end their education due to intolerable racism. Growing up in the south Bronx made me have thick skin, so there are very few things that can make me genuinely upset or uncomfortable. Being from the city I have been exposed to all types of people. In elementary school the majority if not all of my classmates were of Hispanic descent. High school allowed me to meet people of different cultures because I chose to travel to Manhattan’s upper east side. Although I was around a different group of people, I never faced any form of racism from my classmates that would discourage me from pursuing a college education. College, however, was a culture shock. I found myself very uncomfortable in my skin. Before the end of my first semester, I had straightened my hair almost every day to hide my thick curls and had made a list of colleges to transfer to. I later realized I was not the only minority that felt like a small powerless fish in Adelphi’s huge ocean. I am not the only Hispanic that has felt this way, and unfortunately I will not be the last. Racism is still a widespread issue that thousands of people face on a daily basis, however it is should not be powerful enough to hinder someone from starting and finishing a college education.