"...Everybody jumped on him, beat the hell out of him... Everybody was
hitting him or kicking him. One guy was kicking at his spine. Another guy
hitting on the side of the face... He was unconscious. He was bleeding.
Everybody had blood on their forearms. We ran back up the hill laughing...
He should have died... He lost so much blood he turned white. He got
what he deserved" (Ridgeway 167.)
The skinheads who performed this random act of racial violence in 1990,
had no reason to brutally beat their victim other than the fact that he was
Mexican (Ridgeway 167). Racism is objectively defined as any practice of
ethnic discrimination or segregation. Fortunately, racial violence is
steadily declining as the turn of the century approaches. Now a new form
of racism, covert racism, has recently sprung from the pressures of
political correctness. This new form of racism, although slowly declining,
still shows signs of strong support (Piazza 86). Covert racism assumes a
form of civil disobedience against politically correct thought and speech.
Essentially, covert racism is a "hidden" racism, or a racism not easily
detected (Piazza 78). "Racism is still strongly prevalent in today's
society" (Gudorf 3).
The three different basic forms of racism, open racism, violent racism,
and covert racism all express forms of hatred towards distinct ethnic
groups (Bender 47). These basic forms of racism, although different in
form, all have the same main purpose, to promote racism.
Open racism expresses freedom of racial thought and speech. Open racists
promote their views through strictly persuasionary tactics. This form of
racism is allowed in our society because of the First Amendment. Open
racism is currently almost nonexistent and steadily declining, because it
is considered politically incorrect and socially unacceptable.
Violent racism promotes racism through violence, fear, and persuasionary
tactics (Leone 49) This form of racism is not protected by the First
Amendment because it promotes violence to express its ideas. Unfortunately
many violent racial groups claim they do not promote violence, and
therefore these groups are protected by the First Amendment because not
enough sufficient evidence exists to prove their violent intent (Ridgeway
Covert racism expresses ideas of racism in disguised forms; sometimes the
covert racist is not even aware of the fact that he is racist. "Racism, it
is asserted, is no longer blatant: people nowadays are reluctant to express
openly their dislike of and contempt for minorities, indeed are not
prepared to express publicly a sentiment that could be interpretted as
racist. Racism, it is said, is subtle: it is disguised, kept out of sight"
(Enrlich 73) "The suggestion that there is a new racism--a racism that has
a new strength precisely because it doesn't appear to be racism--deserves
serious consideration" (Piazza 66). Avoiding minorities on the street and
denial of a public benefit to a minority which would be awarded to a white
are examples of covert racism. "Since it is no longer politically correct
to openly express one's racist views, people therefore favor disguised,
indirect ways to express their bigotry" (Piazza 68). Covert racism is the
most abundant form of racism in our society today.
What causes racism? Unfortunately, the answer is much longer and detailed
than the question. The three main causes for racism are: racism has become
part of our heritage, right-wing racial and political groups, and pride in
one's own race.
Practically since the dawn of man's existence man has undoubtedly noticed
differences between races. "Racism's presence throughout the formation of
our culture is quite evident" (Tucker 17). Frequently throughout history
the ethnic group with the most power has assumed that its race and culture
are superior to others. The same incident even occurred in America with
the introduction of slaves. Throughout American history, racism has been
strongly prevalent. "Racism's roots lie deep within the foundation of our
society" (Tucker 19). These roots undoubtedly are the source for a great
many of the racist groups and covert racism ideas found throughout our
Extremist social and political groups, particularly those advocating
right-wing policies of racial inequality, promote racism as well. These
groups serve as the epitome of racial thought and speech (Ridgeway 10).
The following represent various racist groups found throughout the United
States: John Birch Society, Ku Klux Klan, Knights of the KKK, Invisible
Empire, NAAWP, White Aryan Resistance, American Front, Nazi Skinheads,
Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nations, The Order, and National Alliance (Ridgeway
15). All of these groups are given the freedom to express their ideas of
racism because of the First Amendment (CIEQ 16). Although the First
Amendment protects the speech of these groups, many none the less find it
necessary to use violence to promote their cause. Racist groups now make
extensive use of covert racism to extend their message of racism throughout
our society. This form of racism has proven quite effective, in the past
ten years, at persuading others to adopt racist ideas (Piazza 69). These
groups serve as a symbol of racism itself to many in our society (Ridgeway
A large source of the racism present in our society stems from one's pride
in his own race. Many people, especially those associated with racist
groups, find it necessary to put down other ethnic groups in an attempt to
strengthen their own (Bender 113). This mode of thought and reasoning
usually results in extreme hatred of other races and an overall sense of
bigotry. Reasoning in this manner equates to many associated with racist
groups. Pride in one's race may eventually lead to covert racism thought
Covert racism affects our society in a variety of different manners.
"Indeed it should be said that covert racism has permanently scarred our
society, both politically and socially" (Piazza 1).
Racial politics have changed since the era of the civil rights movement,
when the issue of race, at its heart, came down fundamentally to whether
whites were prepared to accept other races as their equals (Bloom 29).
"Now, however, the issue of race has become more complex^×more complex
because there are now multiple agendas including affirmative action,
quotas, and set-asides" (Piazza 34). The main agenda revolves around
affirmative action, steps taken by an employer, school, or other
institution to expand oppurtunities for blacks, hispanic people, women or
other minority groups. "The clear implications of the most recent Supreme
Court decisions on affirmative action programs is that such programs will
be upheld in certain circumstances to remedy past discrimination" (Bloom
48). However, many whites view this special treatment of minorities for
past discrimination as discrimination towards themselves. This "reverse
discrimination" has lead to many debates and controversies concerning race
and racial politics (Piazza 30). Unfortunately this sort of political
environment encourages covert racism in many whites as a counterattack
against affirmative action. Our political system must first become
racially unbiased before our society may become more ethnically diverse.
If all men are created equal, then why should differences in race matter?
Unfortunately our society has not lived up to the standards set by its
forefathers. Racism, especially covert racism, still affects our society
socially. Covert racism is a form of civil disobedience for racists to
spread ideas of racism throughout our society (Piazza 68).