Sociology

Subtle and Hidden Racism Confronting a Covert Enemy



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Covert racism exists everywhere in the United States and in other parts of the world, but is often denied by the people experiencing it and the people responsible for it. Why do racists hide behind insidious words and actions and why don't the victims of subtle and hidden racism step forward with accusations and confrontations?

Racism that is covert or subtle and hidden is hard to detect but is capable of wounding the people it is perpetuated against. How does one detect subtle and hidden racism? Most victims of this type of racism can tell you about how it feels but may be powerless to find a way to stop racists from doing their mean and hateful thing, and thus are wounded with remembering the words that hurt them or the actions that hurt them but do not know who to tell or where to go to find solace.

Therefore confronting this covert enemy may never happen. The whole mindset of a people, a community, or a racist group would have to be changed in order to see this happen.

It is no longer politically correct to indulge in overt racism, so therefore racism has become very covert, although covert racism has been around a long time.

There are two ways to look at covert racism. Covert racism can be highly organized within a legitimate organization or an organization that appears legitimate. Or covert racism can be loosely instigated within neighborhoods and communities. Churches and religious organizations may be loosely tied to covert racism and even closely associated with highly organized racist organizations.

The legitimate organization:

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission is a good example of an organization that was set up within the governmental structure of the state of Mississippi. Set up as a legitimate organization its outward goal was to "protect the sovereignty of the state of Mississippi." But its actions were insidious and covert. People suspected of supporting the Equal Rights Amendment of 1964, The Voting Rights Act, and desegregation were harassed, tormented, and stalked. Whites who were sympathetic to the cause, couples who were of different cultures such as a white woman married or going with an African American male, and African Americans were the victims of this type of racism. The operation included spies who could be African Americans spying on other African Americans and white Americans spying on white Americans.

Closely aligned to this group was the White Citizen's Council which operated in not only Mississippi but in many other states. They operated much like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) but were however covert and sometimes had members who were also Klan members. Rather than the outward and overt tactics used by the KKK, the White Citizen's Council used economic means to covertly discriminate against their victims. If one found themselves never being able to find a job, this was the work of the White Citizen's Council.

Does this remind you of anything in today's American world? An African American gets elected president and suddenly the entire American country is in an economic downturn starting shortly before he was elected when it looked like he was going to win. Is there an insidious covert racist group responsible for this turn of events just as Barack Obama was about to be elected as president of the United States?

How loosely constructed racist groups operate

Within communities and neighborhoods, if there are racists, they may do many of the same things that organized groups such as the White Citizen's Council and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission did. There may be an infiltrator from an organized group such as the KKK or other organized groups that the everyday citizen is not aware of.

Covert racists pretend that they are nice people who don't discriminate. They may be overly nice to people of other races and at the same time gossip and send out bad information about people they consider to be racially inferior to themselves. They may say such things as "my dog hates black people," to the white woman who has a black husband and at the same time offer dog treats to a black person walking their dog.

Racists can stir  up neighborhoods by discriminating against a person for the kind of music they are playing by calling the police and complaining of loud music if the music is Hip Hop, Rap, Latin, or Reggae and not Country Western or strictly what white people listen to.

Covert racists play mind games with those they consider inferior to themselves racially. Covert racists especially find it easy to pick on white women married to men of other cultures or races especially if the woman is now single and raising her children alone. The more powerless they see the person who has violated the racial divide, the more that person will be covertly discriminated against by maybe not finding a job; being discriminated against by the school system; subjected to complaint calls to police departments, children and youth services, and other governmental agencies.

Often in order to live with covert racism both blacks and whites will alter their beliefs and actions to survive. For example, there are two people talking. One is a white woman with a black husband or an absentee black husband and the other person is her neighbor who is a covert racist. Then another black woman in the neighborhood comes along and gets into the conversation. Almost instantly, the white woman with the absentee black husband is totally ignored while being right there and the racist white woman is talking to the black woman like she is her best friend.

This is an attempt by the covert racist to let the black person know that this white woman is not a person any normal everyday white person would talk to in order to let the black person know they should not talk to this person either. Therefore the white woman with the absentee black husband has noone she can call a friend and has to survive in her neighborhood. She may try moving to another neighborhood but as long as the stigma exists she will continue to be discriminated against in this manner.

Covert racism gives the same effect that the bully does, only it is more covert. Victims of covert racism are bullied to no end covertly and are powerless to stop the racism. Since the victim may not know who the racists are and who the people are that are not racists. The people who are not racists may be as powerless as the victim without an organization committed to non-racism. Therefore, victims of covert racism should as far as possible unite with other victims, in order to confront the sometimes dangerous results of covert racism. One can not say for sure but the Tea Party we are experiencing today could be framed in covert racism, so if you are in any way experiencing any type of racism whether it is covert or overt stay away from groups such as the Tea Party who seem to be acting in a subversive manner against the existing administration of the government of the United States.

Victims of covert racism cannot confront this subtle and hidden enemy by themselves without serious repercussions. Confrontation could be dangerous and even deadly. Victims continually walk their tightrope...a balancing act to survive in a world where there are racist bullies, racist agitators, and mentally or emotionally disturbed people with low self-esteem whose only way to feel good about themselves is to put down people of the supposedly inferior race or culture.

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More about this author: Colette Georgii

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://mdah.state.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcam/scagencycasehistory.php
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/Civil_rights
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/42/1971.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://orig.jacksonsun.com/civilrights/sec2_citizencouncil.shtml