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How is racism influenced by the nurture or nature theory?
Racism is one of the most serious issues of our age. According to Wikipedia, racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. Looking at this problem through the nature versus nurture theory view, it appears that the external world with enormous effects on our lives would cause more disparities in life outcomes of people of color. However, in my opinion, racial discrimination can be influenced by both sources of effects significantly because of three big reasons: Biological researches on genetics could revive the old idea of differences between groups, the environment people live in with racial prejudices would lead to poorer outcomes across the life course; however, family as the fundamental foundation can prepare for their children by building self-esteem that can help them stand firm and confident to face with any storms named racism.
Firstly, studies had conducted on the human genome have brought a great impact on our lives. Researchers got a chance of understanding about one of the most complex mechanisms in the universe. It is hard work and needs the great effort of many scholars and organizations. The remarkable project that may go down to history and transform our understanding about the blueprint of building a person - DNA - is Human Genome Project (HGP). Starting with the ambitious main goal to provide a complete and accurate sequence of the 3 billion DNA base pairs that make up the human genome and to find all of the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 human genes, HGP has allowed researchers to learn more about the functions of genes and proteins, this knowledge will have a major impact not only in the fields of biology but also in the fields of medicine and life sciences. However, besides the huge contribution, it also creates an endless and intense debate on its consequences related to the ethnic, legal, and social implications. The research itself aimed to open a new door to approach the mysterious knowledge about the genome and to lead people to a new standard of living with better medical treatments. What is mentioning is the way some people look at the results. This is somewhat is called the left side of the research, when a major part of our society makes the most of that understanding to their racial discrimination purpose that could be given in the term "genetic discrimination". The specific concerns might be included discrimination, stigmatization, denial or increased costs of health and life insurance, and loss of jobs. The nature of a person now considered a tool for social stratification, leading to significant mistreatment which could affect during the life course.
Secondly, previous reviews have been conducted to find relations between racial/ethnic discrimination and life course outcomes. According to the meta-analytic study published in 2019 (Racial/ethnic discrimination and well-being during adolescence: A meta-analytic review), greater perceptions of racial/ethnic discrimination were linked to more depressive and internalizing symptoms, greater psychological distress, poorer self-esteem, lower academic achievement and engagement, less academic motivation, greater engagement in externalizing behaviors, risky sexual behaviors, and more associations with deviant peers. What has affected a part of people of minority groups and lead them to bad life outcomes? In my perspective, the environment people live in with racial prejudices is the main factor. In middle childhood, children can recognize the differences in the cultural stereotypes tied to skin color, and early adolescence, they can understand more deeply about racial discrimination as well as how others view their racial/ethnic group (Quitana &McKnow, 2008; Umana-Taylor, 2016). As we may know, adolescence is the significant developmental stage of a person, during which their patterns of thinking could form their own view of the world and about themselves. As a nurture theory's follower, I strongly believe that each of us was born with a heart like a blank page, beside the biological features that cannot change, the environment we live in plays a crucial role to shape our perception. An insensible saying, a rude joke or gesture, intentionally mistreatment among other examples could hurt children's souls since the first time they make their way in the world. Whether accidentally or design, any harmful effects in this period of life could stuck in children's memory for ages, making them lose confidence in the ability and setting a path that is not right for themselves. There is a fact we cannot ignore, the disparities in health and education have been mentioned in previous findings that might affect not only the people in present but also generations, a vicious circle.
Thirdly, there are many aspects downplay the roles of minority groups just because of their color, ethnicity. Suffering that discrimination is not easy for people at any age, so the difficult question for all of us is what can we do to get that suffering out of vulnerable hearts? Now it comes back to the fundamental of society: family. Is not family the child's primary social group? Thus, there is nothing better than building self-esteem for each person right in the family. When we know we are original and special no matter our color skin, we understand that mistreatment cannot keep us living the life they deserve to live. Moreover, a family full of love, caring, and understanding is the best place in the world can prepare people from childhood power to overcome challenges related to racial/ethnic discrimination. There have been great anti-racism campaigns recently which played an important role in increasing social awareness about the big problem of racism and celebrating our diversity of human beings. It can contribute to building strong self-esteem for children. With high self-esteem, children can have more confidence to live to the fullest, can stay tuned to their inner, unique selves, and can set a path that is right for themselves. Parents can get attention to five concepts in nurturing very young children, infancy through preschool to build self-esteem:
· A safe environment, physically and psychologically.
· Identity, knowing "Who I am".
· Belonging, knowing "Where I am a part of".
· Competence, gaining skill in tasks.
· Purpose, having goals for using skills that contribute to individuals and group needs.
Even with adoptees in transracial adoptive families, Gavin's (2003, 2006a) discourse-dependency suggests discussions about race and ethnicity strengthen the family's racial and ethnic identity.
In conclusion, although the biological features, being there from birth and harder to change, and the external world can make developmental stages more challenging for victims of racial/ethnic discrimination, we as parents and society always have ways to nurture self-esteem for children and create warmth, maternal engagements to build strong family identity. Moreover, then, there is one thing we should all remember that we have a thing in common: we are human beings, do not fight against people.
J. Epstein, Charles. "Some Ethical Implications of The Human Genome Project ." Nature, 2020
Anderson, Kayla N, et al. "Discussions about Racial and Ethnic Differences in Internationally Adoptive Families: Links with Family Engagement, Warmth, & Control." Journal of Family Communication, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015
Benner, Aprile D, et al. "Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Well-Being during Adolescence: A Meta-Analytic Review." The American Psychologist, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2018
Levitt, Mairi. "Perceptions of Nature, Nurture and Behaviour." Life Sciences, Society and Policy, Springer-Verlag, 12 Dec. 2013
McFarlane, Jan. "Self Esteem in Children of Color." Adoptive Families Association of BC, 5 Oct. 2015
"What Was the Human Genome Project and Why Has It Been Important? - Genetics Home Reference - NIH." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 26 May 2020
"What Were Some of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Addressed by the Human Genome Project? - Genetics Home Reference - NIH." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 26 May 2020
"What Were the Goals of the Human Genome Project? - Genetics Home Reference - NIH." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 26 May 2020