12 Power Ingredients that cause Racism to continue to Exist in America

By Keith L. Anderson, Ph.D.


Dr. Keith Anderson, Boise State University

This is a needed repeat.

This piece will read like a recipe. I hope it causes people to think about what’s cooked up when all the ingredients are mixed together. I define racism as racial prejudice + power. This means racism is perpetrated against people of a certain race, by people with power. Without power, racism cannot be successful. Along with power, there are ingredients added to the mix to sustain racism. Again these ingredients can only be put in the mix by those with the power to add them, mix them, and put them in oven to watch it cook. These are ingredients I’ve taught in seminars and college courses over the years. These aren’t the only power ingredients, but they are the ingredients I see on a regular bases.

Power Ingredients:

1. The power to control wealth. This ingredient makes sure that only certain people control this country’s wealth. If there is no financial power base, people will stay powerless, poor and controllable.
2. The power to define who a race of people is and who they aren’t. This ingredient has to do with one race of people having the power to create thoughts, ideas and behaviors about other races of people, via stereotyping.
3. The power to control the media, newspaper, television, books, etc. This ingredient understands that most people would rather be told what to believe and think about other races of people, than to get to know other races of people through meaningful communication. Because of this, this ingredient knows that just printing or showing the masses stuff, makes them believers in whatever they are shown.
4. The power to not have to learn about, or care about the true history or fate of another race of people. This ingredient has to do with not having to care about how others races of people view society. I always ask people in my seminars, how often do people from other races eat at your dinner table? Then I ask them what message does that send to our children?
5. The power to instill fear into one’s own race and other races of people. This ingredient is used to keep everyone in their place. Police and governmental violence against certain groups of people is not an accident.
6. The power to decide which race of people gets a quality education. This ingredient utilizes the fact that best way to keep people poor and subservient, is to make sure they don’t receive a quality education. This ensures that the wheel of generational poverty continues to turn.
7. The power to initiate internalized superiority. This ingredient allows a particular race of people from one generation to make sure their next generation feels mentally superior.
8. The power to cause internalized inferiority. This ingredient is induced generation after generation into a particular race of people, by the dominate race of people, to maintain a feeling of inferior, within a particular race of people.
9. The power to re-write history. This ingredient is used to highlight the contribution of one race but ignore the contributions of other races. Therefore, allowing them to lay claim to building this country by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
10. The power to convince people that racism doesn’t exist. This ingredient is dangerous. It allows everyday people to justify not doing anything to rid society of racism. It starts with, “well that same thing happens to me to. I think you’re being too sensitive.”
11. The power to turn a race of people against each other. This ingredient works by giving a few meaningless individuals within the race being dominated, wealth; knowing they won’t do anything substantial with their wealth. They won’t use their wealth to fix problems (education and nutrition) within their own race of people.
12. The power to punish people when they go from non-racist to anti-racist. This ingredient keeps people from acting on their beliefs that racism is a bad institution. It’s the main ingredient is involuntarily sustaining racism, by well meaning people. They just don’t employ any positive action to their thoughts non-racist opinions. This allows the covert and overt actions of racism to continue.
Like I’ve mentioned before, racism was started on purpose, therefore it must be un-done on purpose. Sitting around not talking about racism, not getting our minds passed the guilt of racism and pretending that racism doesn’t really exist, only fuels the continuation of racism. It is really sad that with all the technical and medical advances our society has made, we can’t seem to get over the “people” aspect of society.

Dr. Keith Anderson currently works for Boise State University with low income, first generation students as an Educational Specialist with the Federal Program Educational Talent Search. He has been with the program for over 16 years. He has served middle and high school student from Wilder High, Parma High, and Horseshoe Bend High and Canyon Springs High schools.  In the past he taught speech communication, for the Communication Department at Boise State University, for 18 years.

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