Something I found to be particularly interesting in Gloria Yamato’s 2004 work is her delineation between the forms of racism she has observed. They are as follows: 1) aware, blatant racism, 2) aware, covert racism, 3) unaware, unintentional racism, and 4) unaware, self-righteous racism. I believe she does a good job at revealing the different faces that racism can show, and through that, also solidifies her position that racism is completely pervasive in our society. While aware, blatant racism is the most visible and vicious, I believe that the other 3 sorts can be equally, if not more, harmful than the first.
While aware, blatant racism is certainly awful, the use of it can be pretty strongly associated with radicals and therefore easily be written off as the rantings of a person with antiquated and backwards morals, but the other three cannot be. Aware, covert racism can make a person’s life simply more difficult to live, and it is also harmful to a person’s self identity, causing questions to arise within a person as to why this person may have lost their job, have to pay exorbitant rent, or for some reason not be able to find vacancies in hotels. With persistence, this can cause the internalization of racism, and severely diminish a person’s self image even more. Unaware, unintentional racism can be equally as deleterious to self image and just as able to internalize the racism a person is experiencing. Unaware, self-righteous racism seems a bit silly to me. What right does any person outside a culture have to tell a person within that culture to be more active in that culture? None.
I will leave you with a question: Which form of racism would you consider most harmful, and why?