Symbolic Racism - History

History

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many people in America found old-fashioned (or “Jim Crow”) racism dissolving along with segregation. Symbolic racism is a term that was coined by David Sears & John McConahay (1973) to explain why most White Americans supported principles of equality for Black Americans but less than half were willing to support programs designed to implement these principles. While equal rights are fought for vehemently, symbolic racism is still prominent today in the United States and possibly acts as a mask for old-fashioned racism sentiments.

Symbolic Racism was the first described form of modern racism, which has now come to include aversive racism and racism stemming from ambivalent prejudice. The original theory behind the concept of symbolic racism emerged in 1971 and described three definitive aspects of this form of racism:

1. A new form of racism had replaced old-fashioned Jim Crow racism, as it was no longer popular and could no longer be influential in politics as only a small minority still accepted it.

2. Opposition to Black politicians and racially-targeted policies is more influenced by symbolic racism than by any perceived or true threat to Whites' own personal lives.

3. The origins of this form of racism lay in early-socialized negative feelings about Blacks associated with traditional conservative values.

Read more about this topic:  Symbolic Racism

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