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The Problem of Colorism in Modern Society

The existence of society is impossible without the presence of various social problems. The significance of the sociological approach is that it allows one to analyze the functioning of society and detect the presence of a social problem in it (Crone, 2011). The use of statistical data and the results of researches conducted on the basis of social theories (in particular, conflict theory) gives one the opportunity to see the seriousness of the various social problems. The main factor in favor of a particular severity of some social issues over others is a violation of a balance in society, since serious social problems destabilize the harmonious balance of forces and resources in society and lead to social conflicts able to grow into armed conflicts.

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In this essay, I will demonstrate that colorism is a serious social problem and that an increased emphasis on this problem can help solve it. Colorism originates from racism. Racism was officially banned many decades ago as a campaign of hatred and violence against members of the non-white race caused as a result of racial discrimination. Racism is the belief that there are groups of people with special (usually physical) characteristics, which place them at a higher or lower position in relation to others. Racism can be not only open, when racism is openly shown towards people based on their race or color, but also hidden, when the society in relation to any of its groups is systematically guided by any discriminatory opinion (Benoist, n.d). Despite the fact that racism has ceased to exist as a justifiable social phenomenon, some of its manifestations remain present in the modern world. In particular, colorism can be regarded as the legacy of racial politics. In fact, colorism is the discrimination based on skin color, which can manifest itself in various spheres of human life, creative, professional, and even everyday.

Modern American society is not free from colorism, which is present in different forms. In particular, as noted by Hochschild & Weaver (2007), “with some exceptions, most Americans prefer lighter to darker skin aesthetically, normatively, and culturally.” Colorism might have extremely negative connotations regarding issues of race, nationality and ethnicity. First, it demonstrates the humiliating attitude towards people who do not have white skin. Second, it limits the opportunities for non-white people in their creative and professional spheres of life. As a result, colorism contributes to social unrest, which can lead to various conflicts, misunderstanding, and even hatred. Colorism has a negative impact on quality of life of not only non-white people, but also white people, because all these individuals live in a single social space and all kinds of discrimination may have an overall negative role. Therefore, colorism is a serious social problem directly related to the concepts of race, nationality, and ethnicity. Colorism can also be observed in the legal field, where one can often see an increase in the number of convictions and arrests of African Americans, which is much higher comparing to whites.

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In particular, “the Blumstein study concluded that 80 % of the racial disparity in incarceration statistics was attributable to disparate racial arrest patterns, meaning that the great bulk of the disparity was not the result of post-arrest discrimination” (Pizzi, Blair & Judd, 2005). Thus, racial discrimination as the predominance of one race over another and racial prejudice as negative views about non-white people continue to have a negative impact on society in the form of colorism. In general, the problem is also related to the concepts of function and dysfunction in the social world. Discrimination against non-white people serves as a dysfunction, reducing their chances of survival and access to various resources. In turn, colorism is able to play the role of the function in relation to white people since it increases their chances of survival and access to various resources.

Given the extremely negative consequences that colorism may have for modern society, it is necessary to provide certain policies that can resolve the problem. Unfortunately, currently, it is impossible to observe policies aimed at addressing the problem. Nothing is done to relieve social tension in society. Primarily, the task of the whole society is to realize that skin color has nothing to do with the mental and creative abilities of people. Regardless of whether the person is black or white, he/she has the right to racial, national, cultural as well as creative and professional self-determination. Not only society but first the state should do everything possible to resolve the issue. The mission of the state is to promote tolerance and respect for all members of society regardless of what skin color they have. In addition, the state should control the availability of access for non-white people to professional, creative and other resources and opportunities. Given the variety of manifestations of colorism, states are required to invent and introduce new possible solutions. Finally, the government should punish those who violate the social equilibrium and demonstrate color discrimination against non-white people. Therefore, doing these things can help address the social problem.

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To sum up, in contemporary American society the phenomenon of colorism is quite a serious social problem. Colorism justifies the unjust distribution of various resources and restricts access to creative and professional opportunities. It is necessary to perform a broad social policy, which will involve both the government and society. The main emphasis should be placed on control and prevention of the phenomenon of colorism. Only such a policy in its various forms is able to solve the problem of colorism.

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