Roots causes of racism and sexism and how we can change the campus climate

The world that we live in today is very complex and has many issues that are coming to the forefront of people’s attention. Some of the largest issues are those regarding racism and sexism. Now these have been issues that have lasted since the times of colonization and the start of agricultural living. These ideologies have been passed down because of generational thinking, which is children start to have the same beliefs as their parents and then pass it on to their children and so on. There are other reasons for the beliefs to continue but I want to talk about how these beliefs are perpetuated in society and how we as people and even students of Allegheny can start to change this. I also want to specifically look at this issue from the perspective of Chinese culture. Dating from the Song dynasty to Contemporary China. 

Everywhere a person goes there is an institution that runs the way people live. This can be in the form of government, police, homeowners society, etc. In America, there has been such unrest towards injustice towards people of color and women in all assets of life. For people of color, it stems from negative connotations that are associated with their skin color. For women, it is how they are treated unequally compared to men. These are not new topics that have affected POC and women in history. This begins when we look back to the start of colonization with Portugal looking for new trade routes. They wanted an easier way to transport goods from one place to another all around the world (Blakemore, 2019). There have been records found of Europeans transcribing what they have found in the areas around west Africa. The records said things such as primitive people and many resources to be used (Jordan, 3-5). This led to a sense of superiority to these native people from west Africa. This superiority feeling then lead to slavery and a dehuminazation of the Native Africans who by the nature of the area they lived, have a darker skin. This was then spread to China during the Silk Road. Europeans have described the chinese culture as the “silk people” and “Different” these are not as derogatory as some of the comments about native africans but it does classify them as not as important as the europeans along with the fact that europeans only wanted the goods from China and not any other dealings. This has continued to today with Asian descendants being called “yellow” or “cross-eyes” which preys on the natural physical traits of Asian descendants. Even with the use of chinese labor for foreign nations’ gain has simply been a reinvention of using the area for their goods. 

Much of sexism can be attributed to growth of agricultural living since this was when men were considered more impactful for the community because of their strength and other physical attributes. China has been a main contributor to sexism is their communities because of the treatment of women throughout their history. Women typically where only meant to be wed and have children for the men to have someone to take their house, position, and farms after they died. In the Song dynasty foot binding began as a way to make the females have higher arches which was considered more attractive. This had a terrible effect on the woman because it made them virtually unable to walk or move. When there are very little rights not being able to move can be detrimental because there is then no way to leave. Throughout history, this began to change with movements in other countries taking place to give women more rights and abilities to make a life for themselves. This is hard because since men ruled for so long in many places the rules and laws make it so that one group can stay on top. 

When we look at the facts it seems terrible and many people can not believe that people would ever believe this or make people subjected to such horrors. However, psychology can help with explaining why people continued to perpetuate these beliefs and pass them on. In a

paper by Professor Martha Augoustinos MAPS, Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide she states that when a parent passes on an authoritative personality to their children the children will then take on these traits and tend to pass them onto their children. This describes the way that racist and sexist beliefs have lasted in history. The children as described in Augoustinos paper are impressionable and will take their parents beliefs as the right beliefs to have. Then as the children grow up there is a tendency for people to look for facts or what seem to be facts that back up their beliefs. This is called confirmation bias. This is something like when you like a cereal the best you look for reasons that it is the best brand to further your belief. This explains why people believe they are right with these ideologies. People will side with the topics that make their beliefs valid so that they feel justified. There are ways to break these ideologies in a person and to stop the perpetuation. 

In another study conducted by Stanford University from researcher Milenko Martinovich there were findings that showed people would change their beliefs and behaviors after seeing changes in the daily normalities of their life. This showed that people wanted to fit into the norm of society and did not want to be an outlier. Wording and marketing had an affect on how people decided to change. Having dynamic words such as “is changing”, “happening now”, and more on made people change their beliefs on a topic. Along with having interactions with the people in which they had negative connotations about helped change the views of that person. I think this is something that we as a student body could do to help create a change within our own community. If there are discussions that students have to go to in order to understand the other side of their beliefs then change can happen even if slowly. There could also be a change in how we talk about diversity on campus where there is dynamic wording used in order for a social normality to occur. This would make everyone feel safer and happier to live in our community. That is what people deserve to have at the least is to feel safe and hap