PDA

View Full Version : Is racism learned?


Alice
June 30th, 2011, 12:00 AM
So, there's this big argument going on, on another forum that I frequent, about whether or not racism is something that we're born with(Simply because humans tend to not like change, or things different from what they're used to.), or learned as we grow up.

Personally, I do remember the first time I noticed the difference between the different races, which was the result of my school spending several weeks trying to teach us not to be racist. So, they in fact, did the exact opposite of what they were trying to, because the thought had never even crossed my mind before that.

Based on that, I'd say that it's learned, but I'm curious, as to what you guys think.

JimJams
June 30th, 2011, 12:07 AM
It could be learned, it could be natural, I don't know.
As tribal animals it seems natural that we would feel at least a little bit of apprehension toward a person that doesn't look like anyone we've seen before. At the same time, there is racism all around us from the time we're born, so it could easily be learned.

Sorry for the vagueness...:v

Alinthea
June 30th, 2011, 12:08 AM
Errr, it is learnt in life, like pretty much everything else.

JimJams
June 30th, 2011, 12:22 AM
Not everything is learned. We are animals, we have instinctual behaviors.

Eliminator Jr.
June 30th, 2011, 12:31 AM
Racism is learned, but so is non-racism. It's whatever you're brought up to believe.

countryemo
June 30th, 2011, 01:20 AM
Well racism is natural. We are naturally unsure and have a dislike to people who are different. But Racism can be learned along with non-racism.
So yeah like @Eliminator Jr. Said. It's whatever you were brought up with.
Though if lets say you were raised with racism, you can become non racist.

~*!*~Tatsujin Gosuto~*!*~
June 30th, 2011, 05:22 AM
as we are taught reading, writing, math and Science, racist and non-racism is learned but it's up to the person that its being taught to if they want to be a racist towards a certain race or not.


:t354:TG

Sodom
June 30th, 2011, 06:09 AM
I believe everything is a learned behaviour. It's not just racism, it's all prejudices. I don't think prejudice is part of the human condition naturally, it's trickled down between generations. All prejudices have to come from somewhere, and it makes sense that they come from the people around you who had them first.

Alternative
June 30th, 2011, 07:25 AM
I actually heard a saying once which I think would fit well to the topic at hand.

"A newborn child is always born with no sins."

What it generally means is that everyone is born with no knowledge of the earth and everything around us, and that simply everything it learnt from people who teach us such behaviours. Racism, along with non-racism is learnt through what peers and just general life has brought to said person. If they grew up with people who hated on people of another race or skin colour, that person is obviously going to think that it's normal to be racist, whereas if someone is born into a multicultural heritage, like say a foster home with many different races living there, then they would think it's normal, which it is.

As the saying still says, no one ever inherits any weird types of behaviour from their biological parents, unless it's through genetics, such as disabilities. Behavioural problems such as racism are always learnt through the people and area they are surrounded by when they are young and don't know much better.

Esper
June 30th, 2011, 09:49 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but racism is a perception, isn't it? It might be 'refined' with 'knowledge' ("that race is dumb because they can't do ____") but at it's core it's the idea that someone who is different is less than you are. I kind of think it's something that someone comes up with as an excuse for their behavior rather than something they already have ingrained in them (at least at first). Like, you get a kid taking a toy from another kid. The other kid starts to cry and the toy-taking kid has a conflict since the kid wants the toy, but doesn't want to feel bad about taking it. Bingo. The other kid is different so it's okay. Problem solved.

I'm not sure where that leads me to believe on whether racism is learned or not, but that's kind of how I think it develops.

Bluerang1
June 30th, 2011, 01:59 PM
Lol. You learn to be slightly intolerable of certain races unfortunately. When you're born, you don't know of races so yeah, learned.

Freedom Fighter N
June 30th, 2011, 02:15 PM
It's not learned. Where the hell do you learn racism anyway?

It's how you were educated about accepting the different.


But honestly racism lost its meaning, every idiot today says racism. People can't tell the difference between a stereotype/generalization and racism.

shenanigans
June 30th, 2011, 02:29 PM
Instinct is breathing, eating, caring, etc. Not discriminating. Racism is a result of teaching (or in some cases the lack of) and the community around us. So I believe it is 'learned', so to speak.

Patchisou Yutohru
June 30th, 2011, 02:35 PM
Instinct is breathing, eating, caring, etc. Not discriminating. Racism is a result of teaching (or in some cases the lack of) and the community around us. So I believe it is 'learned', so to speak.
I share the same belief as above.

.Fenris
June 30th, 2011, 02:58 PM
The fact we acknowledge race to begin with shows that some of it is natural.

Alli
June 30th, 2011, 03:11 PM
Instinct is breathing, eating, caring, etc. Not discriminating. Racism is a result of teaching (or in some cases the lack of) and the community around us. So I believe it is 'learned', so to speak.

I agree with Giga Drain Razor Leaf. I don't think you can pop out of your momma hating other races. Just doesn't seem right to me. I do think though, as you get older and you notice the stereotypes and after you've heard the names and know what racism actually is, it might naturally stem from that. You know. Just from gathered knowledge. Cause as a kid, you don't know all these stereotypes of different races. You just know they're skin is a different color. I don't think I'm making any sense anymore. :[

Alice
June 30th, 2011, 05:15 PM
It's not learned. Where the hell do you learn racism anyway?

It's how you were educated about accepting the different.


But honestly racism lost its meaning, every idiot today says racism. People can't tell the difference between a stereotype/generalization and racism.
By being around racist people/hearing people talk about racism.

Careful With That Axe, Pichu!
June 30th, 2011, 05:31 PM
(Simply because humans tend to not like change, or things different from what they're used to.)Based on your own definition, racism is learned. No one can be used to anything at birth.

Livewire
June 30th, 2011, 06:14 PM
You aren't born a racist. Being raised in an environment that condones and actively propagates racism, will however, make one a racist.

DoctorSlavic
June 30th, 2011, 07:03 PM
I do not believe that racism is natural, because everything a person thinks about in life is taught to them; racism shouldn't be any different. However, racism developed from natural differences as well as life experiences, so I believe that it can be argued either way. Although I prefer to think of it as a choice, because there are plenty of people who become racist later in life after a traumatic accident or malign incident, or even just an impression. Also, I want to point out that racism isn't necessarily bad.

Alley Cat
July 2nd, 2011, 02:01 PM
Racism is learned, definitely. You aren't born hating. You aren't born loving either. Racism is learned, and so is non-racism, so to speak.

It's a simple idea really: You keep hearing bad, negative things about a race, you begin to not like it. You learn about all the horrible things that the race has done, you begin to hate them for that. You hear about everything that the race has done to yours, and you straight loathe it. What right does that race have to be doing that to your race? But, what you don't hear, is how harshly that YOUR race treated them, or all the contributions that the certain race has made to our modern society. It is kind like patriotism, the belief that your country is better because you were born it. Well it's the same with your race. It's you, of course your better. But a lot of racists/sexist/blahblah people, don't actually know many(if not any) people that they claim to hate, and their hate comes from a fear of the unknown. Because, if it's different, it could be better. If it's better, it could take your spot in evolution. Anger/Hate is stemmed from fear, so if you are angry or hating, that is because you are afraid of the differences.

Xyrin
July 2nd, 2011, 03:04 PM
Learned. You don't just notice a kid at school when you're in Kindergarten and say something like "That kid's stupid" just because he's different without even knowing him. You learn it by hearing it from somebody else and think "They're different. That must mean he's stupid"

Myles
July 2nd, 2011, 10:30 PM
I believe it's mainly if not entirely learned.

Instinct is breathing, eating, caring, etc. Not discriminating. Racism is a result of teaching (or in some cases the lack of) and the community around us. So I believe it is 'learned', so to speak.

This is slightly contradictory. If a lack of teaching causes racism then racism would be instinct. :P Keep in mind that people learn a lot not just from schools but from their environment. e.g. their parents. And not all learning is good learning, especially if what you happen to be learning is prejudice.

Livewire
July 5th, 2011, 08:42 PM
If a lack of teaching causes racism then racism would be instinct.

But then they wouldn't know any better, becuase they'd have been indoctrinated into their racist beliefs, meaning it was a learned behavior.

Myles
July 5th, 2011, 10:39 PM
But then they wouldn't know any better, becuase they'd have been indoctrinated into their racist beliefs, meaning it was a learned behavior.

teach = indoctrinate = learn

What do you mean..?

Ninja Caterpie
July 5th, 2011, 11:00 PM
I think caring about race in general is a learned thing, whether it be racism or a lack thereof. Take really little kids, for example - they don't care who they play with, their age, gender, race, whatever. They just want to have fun. They're not going to play with the kid the same race as them just because of that factor, nor are they going to play with someone of a different race just to not look racist.

Things like that are really all learned. We learn to care about them, I would say. Positively or negatively, that depends on the environment, but giving two hoots is a learned thing.

The Nightmare
July 10th, 2011, 08:00 PM
you don't always learn racisim like I don't act racist at all but mostly people learn it from there parents or it's just natural but mostly it's sounds 70% that it's learned from parents.
But racisim is very bad that you can't stop it and you shouldn't act racist is well it could lead to trouble later on.

Oryx
July 10th, 2011, 08:12 PM
I think a lot of people in this thread are misunderstanding what it means to say it's natural. It's not "you come out of your mother's womb hating other races", that's not what it means. It means, if you were raised without any outside influences (good luck on that one), would you naturally become a racist? Most people here seem to have a very optimistic view of people's natural instincts.

I would have to disagree. In the same way that I believe people would do a lot of horrible things if there weren't laws keeping us in place (for example, rape), I believe that it's natural to have negative emotions about someone different. It's instinct, because when you get down to our animal sides, our only goal is to procreate and not die. Part of not dying is not trusting anything that might kill you, and the default is to not trust, so anything different isn't something you would trust. In time, the person will realize that the other people aren't a threat, but that makes a lack of racism a learned behavior, not racism. Note that I'm not saying it's right to be a racist (just like it's not right to rape per the above example), but that it would be a natural thing if we didn't live by human rules.

Of course, the racism in our own world is all learned, because there's no such thing as a person all alone raising themselves and living by only their natural instincts. We're slammed with influences so much that it's rare to have anyone following something natural and unlearned.

Esper
July 11th, 2011, 09:05 AM
I think a lot of people in this thread are misunderstanding what it means to say it's natural. It's not "you come out of your mother's womb hating other races", that's not what it means. It means, if you were raised without any outside influences (good luck on that one), would you naturally become a racist? Most people here seem to have a very optimistic view of people's natural instincts.

I would have to disagree. In the same way that I believe people would do a lot of horrible things if there weren't laws keeping us in place (for example, rape), I believe that it's natural to have negative emotions about someone different. It's instinct, because when you get down to our animal sides, our only goal is to procreate and not die. Part of not dying is not trusting anything that might kill you, and the default is to not trust, so anything different isn't something you would trust. In time, the person will realize that the other people aren't a threat, but that makes a lack of racism a learned behavior, not racism. Note that I'm not saying it's right to be a racist (just like it's not right to rape per the above example), but that it would be a natural thing if we didn't live by human rules.

Of course, the racism in our own world is all learned, because there's no such thing as a person all alone raising themselves and living by only their natural instincts. We're slammed with influences so much that it's rare to have anyone following something natural and unlearned.
I would agree with this except I don't think it's natural (and of course not really possible) to grow up without influences, specifically being around other people, because humans are social creatures and that's as much a part of our instincts as fight or flight or anything else. When you grow up with other people you (usually) learn some empathy and sympathy, or maybe that's just part of our nature. Someone who is raised without other people is, well, a little unnatural and at the very least you can say that growing up in isolation would be at least as influencing as having 'outside' influences.

Oryx
July 11th, 2011, 01:35 PM
I would agree with this except I don't think it's natural (and of course not really possible) to grow up without influences, specifically being around other people, because humans are social creatures and that's as much a part of our instincts as fight or flight or anything else. When you grow up with other people you (usually) learn some empathy and sympathy, or maybe that's just part of our nature. Someone who is raised without other people is, well, a little unnatural and at the very least you can say that growing up in isolation would be at least as influencing as having 'outside' influences.

That's an interesting viewpoint, isolation being an influence in itself, I've never thought of it that way tbh.

That's what makes it so hard to figure out what's nature and what's nurture; there's really no way to tell if being alone influences us to be harsher on people, or if being with people influences us to be a certain way, or if we would have done that anyway. Not like we can drop ourselves into a sensory deprivation chamber and see what happens, or even get proof that that's the best way to remove influences.

Maybe it's just in our nature to be influenced, so everything is natural ;)

Esper
July 12th, 2011, 09:08 AM
Maybe it's just in our nature to be influenced, so everything is natural ;)
I'd be willing to believe this. Maybe it's part of what saved us from the evolutionary chopping block.

There have been some cases with people being raised without human influences. I'm remembering seeing something I saw on TV about feral children who are basically raised without any kind of human interaction. I can't remember much beyond it being really awful (since they were kept isolated in cages), but they basically had no language skills and were very animal-like overall. I know it's only somewhat related to the original topic, but I don't think they showed any signs of racism, though I don't know how you could even tell. I guess I'm just echoing what you said about it being hard to isolate what's 'natural.'