Racism is a belief system which states that individuals can be superior to others on the basis of race. This theory has led to much violence and genocide in the world, which is why Lopez (2006) and countless other writers around the world have considered this belief system in great depth. It is racism or a sense of racial superiority or inferiority that builds up attitudes such as negative prejudice. Prejudice is defined as “a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue” (“Prejudice,” 2005).
A person may assume, for example, that all individuals suffering from AIDS are filthy and must be ignored; or all Africans are unintelligent. The Nazis had similarly supposed that all Jews are worthless and stupid, and therefore must be killed. As a matter of fact, prejudice could be based on gender, religion, culture, geographical background, as well as race. Social psychologists define it as an attitude that may be positive or negative.
The positive type of prejudice is understood to result in the white privilege, defined as “a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities,” and “a special advantage or benefit of white persons; with reference to divine dispensations, natural advantages, gifts of fortune, genetic endowments, social relations, etc. ” (Clark). On a similar note, negative prejudice may be similarly directed at an individual or an entire society.
Regardless, human attitudes known as prejudices are usually not founded in reason, which is why the United States has had to reconsider the legalization of the white privilege through its history (Lopez). Lopez published his book, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, before President Barack Obama’s term in the White House began. The author describes the legalization of racism in the United States before discussing changes in laws to make the country racially neutral. Despite these changes, the author believes that racism will continue to be enforced through various kinds of policies (Lopez, p. 156).
It is logical to assume, therefore, that the author would deem President Obama’s administration as predominantly white even though the president is African American. After all, the president needs supporters, and the majority of people in the U. S. government are not African Americans. Then again, Lopez believes that racial identity changes over time. Perhaps the Asians, the Latinos, or even the African Americans would be granted the white privilege in future. Do such changes put an end to the injustice of racism? The lawmakers of America have been working around problems related to racism for the sole reason that they are problems.
Racism calls for people to look down upon those who are different from themselves. Lopez refers to “racial perquisite cases” which restricted naturalization in the United States on the basis of race (p. 2-3). A law established by the Congress in the year 1790 had clearly restricted naturalization in the United States to “free white” people (Lopez, p. 31). In the year 1870, the restriction was lifted for “persons of African nativity, or African descent” (Lopez, p. 31). Then again, the Africans continued to suffer from injustice at the hands of masters (of European descent) who bought them as slaves.