Excerpt from the book, A New Perspective on Race-related Problems in Corporate American Companies, (Chapter 2) by Jermel W. Shim
The psyche of whites and blacks in America has been conditioned from their experiences to react to issues in an almost predictable manner. The psyche, however, is not a simple thing to understand, as there are a number of factors that can shape or condition it. These factors include differences that are cultural, racial, or social. They help to establish the cumulative experiences that condition the psyche, such that the behavior of a group of people is consistently the same. If we look at multiracial societies like in the U.S., we can easily observe the consistent behavior in racial groups. For example, blacks think and react differently than whites to issues even though they share some common cultural experiences. Other nonwhite groups behave or react differently to social issues based on their cultural experiences.
The collective consciousness, or psyche, of racial groups is transmitted from generation to generation and maintains its cohesiveness through what we call culture. As a result, people of the same race or culture behave in a similar manner and think alike. This is demonstrated when there is a racial issue or controversy. African Americans take one position, and whites take the opposite position. In the O. J. Simpson case, the majority of whites judged him guilty before the case was tried, and even after he was found not guilty, an overwhelming majority of whites still maintained that he was guilty. On the other hand, the majority of blacks thought he was innocent or was sympathetic to him from the beginning.
The O. J. Simpson case showed that whites and blacks have different perspective on issues that involve black and white persons. The different perspective is, without doubt, based on the history of racial conflict and racism that has shaped these different perspectives. This history is responsible for whites having a strong negative emotional feeling against black persons who commit a crime against a white person. In the old days, lynching was a method of punishment that whites resorted to for black people who committed a crime or a perceived offense against a white person. Such positions are due to the environmental influences that shaped the psyche of both groups. In the case of blacks, their perceptions and negative experiences with law enforcement, the justice system, and with racism, in general, have made it easy for them to show empathy for a member of their own race who runs afoul with the law.
Once you realize that all behaviors are shaped by the psyche and that the psyche of different racial groups does not vibrate at the same harmonic frequency, we begin to understand why there is conflict between the races. The negative experiences of slavery and Jim Crow racism created a discordant energy between blacks and whites—a discordant energy that manifest itself as racism and racial discrimination. This is so because prior to slavery, there was very little contact with whites and blacks—certainly not in the U.S., and little, if any, with white Europeans and Africans.
With the understanding that the relationship between blacks and whites is not harmonious because of the legacy of slavery and racism, it should not be a surprise that racial consciousness is an obsession in the U.S. This obsession with race is reflected in race-related problems that occur in corporate America. The white supervisor who discriminates against the nonwhite employee is the product of an environment that has conditioned his or her mind into the ideology of racism. To determine why a child is unruly, you only need to look at the parents. The child is a by-product of the parents, and the child’s behavior is molded by the parents’ values and attitudes. If you have a multiracial society that has a tendency for racism, then that society is going to have race-related problems of racial job discrimination in the workplace.
The racism that evolved from Germany’s Nazism, South Africa’s apartheid, and the United States Jim Crow laws clearly demonstrates that racism, regardless of where in the world it occurs, has the same basic characteristics. These characteristics include a power structure that controls all functions of the society. This power structure will abuse the human and civil rights of people who are of a different race. To do this, they use the ideology of racism as a tool to justify their abuse and to deny any opportunities that would enable the group to avoid their control and domination.
The problem of racism and race-related problems involve profound psychological issues. As such, they are not easy to understand because they are not as black and white—no pun intended—as they may appear to be. What can be said with sincerity about race-related problems is that they exist in an environment where there is racism or the dominant group has a psyche that has been influenced by negative racial consciousness. If racism did not exist, there would be no racial job discrimination, no racial stereotypes, no racial prejudice, and no racial bias. Racism, then, is definitely the harbinger to race-related problems.
From the Jim Crow-Apartheid model, the conclusion is that racism evolves out of a relationship where the vulnerable group was dehumanized or denied basic human rights. Racism that originates from this destructive relationship manifests itself in all kinds of negative social behaviors or attitudes that are defined as hatred and the race-related problems that affect people in society and the corporate workplace. Racism is also responsible for negative social behaviors, such as violence, harassment, and intimidation. These were the methods that were systematically used to keep blacks in their place during the Jim Crow era.
Unfortunately, the residue of racism from the Jim Crow era still exists in the minds of white American society. White American society, of course, controls the social, economic, and political power structure. The white power structure still sees blacks and other nonwhites as the underclass or second-class citizens. As alluded to previously, it is virtually impossible for whites to see blacks as equals when the residue of racism still lingers in their minds. Whether they are aware or not, white people in position of authority deny blacks the opportunities to grow in corporate America and elsewhere in the society. This denial of opportunity manifests itself as racial job discrimination.
Other book by Jermel W. Shim, Whom God Has Blessed, Let No Man Curse (Infinity Publishing).