Speaking about new in the definition of “new racism” in the `The Past is ever present,` Chapter 2 in Black Sexual Politics by Patricia Hill Collins, we must mention that it’s not the new aspects of racism we are going to talk about. There is nothing significantly new about treatment and development of racism that we find in this book or in real life in general. What we see here is the same 3 main elements of racism and racial segregation that were used for centuries.
And we mean under it the following, economical factor of influence, personal attitude (with or without political support) and of course public opinion and the last one male/female segregation. .All these four elements of racism are essential for its existence.
So we consider that there is nothing new the author suggests about the essence and origin of racism. The thing the writer did is even more important then this – she gave a concrete definition of modern form and demonstration of racism, the way it is conducted nowadays, with the exact means of its conduction. And now we are going to talk them over in details.
Firstly, today racism may be reconsidered in new pattern of global organizations. Under this we mean the unfair division of the capital on the racial basis. Again there is nothing extraordinary about the very fact – those who owned the capital for ages won’t share it with the others, especially those who are more useful for them as a low paid labor force. Tracking back the historical back ground we may see that chattel slavery established the attitude to the black slaves until 1865.
And first of all it was economic slavery. Then the reconstruction 1865-1877 and migration to the North all was aimed for the increase of capital of the white people and not letting Afro-Americans to get at least a part of the valuables they deserved and earned.
That’s why racial segregation exploited Afro-Americans by keeping them at the worst job places, locked up in the poorest neighborhoods. Since black families were limited in options in the means of racially segregated housing, landowners raised rents and put families to overcrowded unhealthy living conditions.
And as a result we have seen the new phenomenon mentioned by the author closing door of opportunities for the youth and adults equally. And again the financial factor is essential. By keeping the prominent black children in ghetto racist-capitalists secure themselves from the future strong opposition and revival in the division of capital and resources available.
Secondly, new racism is transnational. Local and regional bodies no longer correspond to the modern trends in racial policy of the masses. And it is really so. Nowadays, children are no longer raised in the family, but more on the streets.
And what they see there is not understanding but hate and segregation of ANOTHER kind – despise to the white. The difference between the past is that then the racism had some attitude in some national origin and skin color and from one point of view it could have been controlled by authorities, or manipulated. But now it’s more of chaos – war of all against all.
For instance, as it was in the past when African men where denied the “40 acres and a mule” that would enable them to support their families. It was state authorization.
And the gangster wars we face on the street is completely uncontrolled and devastating, and they have more personal attitude then racial segregation itself.
Thirdly, new racism is mainly based on the manipulations conducted with the means of mass media. The use of new techniques shows the hegemonic ideologies that consider racism to be over. But the main function of them is to shadow the existence of racism in every sphere of human life.
For instance, the development of mass media enabled idea about Black sexuality to spread faster beyond the reading public. As a result social practices such as lynching and institutionalized offence such as rape became ordinary phenomenon in fabrics of American society that had strong ideological justification for such actions.
The most prominent example is the movie of 1915 The Birth of the Nation, which tells the story of Ku Klux Klan formation aiming to protect white women from lusting Afro-American males.
Again in this context we are speaking about the manipulation of mass consciousness – and the media proved itself it’s the best way to influence public opinion. Years before there were rumors for changing human attitude or perception of the event and now we have yellow pages and talk shows and different news papers which hunt fro profit. And there is less and less truth and understanding of the reality of the phenomena itself.
Speaking of my personal considerations on the topic of new definition of racism, I totally agree with it. The thing is that in a new world, with new technologies the previous years phenomenon can’t stay the same. As the matter of fact they have only two options to follow- the first – to disappear since they have no response in the new life, or second chance – to change into another form, though staying the same phenomenon.
Though I’m an optimist, but it would’ve been to easy for racism and segregation to disappear in one moment of time. So it has new look. And I think Patricia Hill Collins described it the way it really exists nowadays. And the most important she showed that it really exists, that it’s not a myth of a kind. And since we know the problem exists that’s a good start for solving it.
And finally, since we agree with this definition, we’d like to mention that the authors contributed greatly in the understanding of the role of mass media in USA in 2008. We may see it in the process of election interpretation of 2008, in which the questions of racism and segregation became essential since one of the candidates is Afro-American. And that’s when we may see that racism really exists.