Racism




If there is one thing that the OJ Simpson trial will be remembered for, it is the racial polarization felt by all who have an opinion of the trial. Even though the trial itself was a farce, it does say something about where we are today as an American culture. It seems as though the racial divide is growing ever wider in our culture. Terms such as African-American or Irish-American are only helping to expand separation based on ethnic background. Just the fact that people insist on being identified with a country where the last known ancestor left one hundred fifty years ago speaks volumes of America\'s \'melting pot\'. It is only logical that this behavior has manifested itself on todays college campuses. There is little doubt that racial hostilities are increasing for college students (Baraka 28). The underlying question is what can be done to solve racism on campus?
It is first necessary to comprehend the causes and effects of racism on campus, and draw resolutions from that. There are many causes of racism on college campuses. For example, it is common to see white students engaging in conversations about minority groups on campus. It is in these groups, social or academic, that students have the power to express and persuasively communicate and reflect their own opinions and attitudes to other impressionable students. This is a prime example of how prejudice becomes shared and may form the basis of ethnic or racial discrimination during group interaction (Froman 521). In addition, racial conflicts on campus may be caused from a student\'s fear and derive from the defense of one\'s individual security. As a student develops their need for

securing their identity, this need may feed ethnic hostility and prejudice. The search for identity might involve, as a detour, the desire to identify, or to strengthen it through being prejudice (Bettelheim 33). Unconsciously, by expressing a prejudice attitude, a student can protect his own individuality. On almost all campuses, there are special organizations for minorities. Some white students may envy these groups and therefore condemn them in order to feel important about themselves(Feldstein 32).
Students who cannot find their own identity and resort to racism to raise their self-esteem have to be taught differently. Ignorance is the backbone of racism (Van Dijk 41). One approach that many universities are using to combat student racism is pre-requisite course for incoming freshman. The courses are designed to teach students of all colors diversity( Monroe 9). This is a very tempting solution, but a wrong one.
A sociologist by the name of Baxter once conducted an experiment which involved a summer camp for pre-teen boys. He divided the camp up into two separate yet equal parts. He then gave the two camps different names. The two camps were then pitted against one another in a variety of activities. Hatred amongst the two groups quickly erupted. Baxter noted that after some of the activities, it was hard to control their anger toward opposing camps. Reputations were quickly assigned to each camp by their opposition. All of the boys in camp X told Baxter that camp Y cheats whenever they get the chance. All of the boys in camp Y told Baxter that camp X was lazy and never did the camp chores correctly.



After almost losing control of the experiment, Baxter switched directions at the camp. He integrated the two camps into one. The boys were given tasks that unified the entire camp, and involved teamwork amongst every boy. The once bitter enemies now had to work together. Much to Baxter\'s surprise, the experiment worked. In the cafeteria where there was once inter-team fighting on a regular basis, boys from opposing teams began sitting together and becoming friends. As one final experiment, Baxter set up a fake situation where the water pipe that brought drinking water to the camp supposedly broke. The boys were given two options: they could re-form their old groups, or they could find and fix the problem as one team. Given the common objective and the opportunity to get to know one another, the boys chose the integrated team approach. The fake problem was diagnosed and fixed quickly and without incident. Although this experiment was meant for sociological