Covert and Overt Racism


Students Name

Institution of Affiliation


Covert and Overt Racism

Covert racism is a form of racial discrimination to which is subtle and disguised rather than obvious and public. Covert racism is concealed in the fabric of society and tends to discriminate against the individuals through often evasive or the use of methods that are seemingly passive. In this type of racism, the decisions that are racially biased often tend to be hidden or even rationalized with an explanation that the society is more willing to admit. And these racial biases cause multiple problems that work to the empowerment of the suppressors while at the same time diminishing the rights as well as the powers of the oppressed. In covert racism, racialism is propagated subliminally, and most often much of the segregation and discrimination is perpetrated subconsciously.

On the other hand, overt racism refers to the intentional or the apparent harmful attitudes and behaviors that are directed towards the other groups to which are considered as minors based on their skin color. Overt racism is therefore direct unlike the covert racism and points directly to a particular group of individuals based on a specific characteristic such as skin color. Unlike the covert racism to which is ambiguous as the actions of racism are indirect, overt racism is direct, and there are no cases of ambiguity. Overt racism can be clearly identified as the actions of a person, or those of the superior race are vivid, and therefore one doesn’t have to take much time to discern the racist behavior.

Jeff Chang in his book ‘We Gon’ Be Alright,’ he uses both covert and overt racism to develop an image on the nature of racism in the United States. Covert racism has been used in various instances throughout the book. Chang states that “Institutional neglect of racism and injustice in the exercise of power, the kind of power that refuses to notice and refuses to speak.” The statement above has reference to covert racism as the society perpetuates the biasness on racism through the institutions. According to his statement, he argues that the institutions are mandated with the powers to discern and neglect racism and injustice through exercising the powers provided, but in contrast, the institutions refuse to use the powers granted to them to bring to light the issues of segregation and discrimination and at the same time refuses to speak about racism. Through this, we get to know that the institutions propagate racism as they don’t take the front line if fighting against it.

In another instance, Chang state, “People of color are allowed, even required to perform, and, especially these days on issues of race, to edify as well. ‘Here you are, now entertain us.’ But are we allowed to lead?”. From his statement, we unquestionably become aware that the people of color are provided with the privilege to entertain at every platform, but at the same time, Chang questions why the people of color are not allowed to lead, but they are given permission to entertain. The statement provided by Chang at this instance means that the society in the United States promotes racism in the much-hidden manner that is not recognizable. Blacks are allowed to provide entertainment to the other races but the same society restricts the people of color to take leadership positions, and therefore they are subjects to propagate covert racism.

Apart from covert racism, Chang as well uses the aspects of overt racism in his book. Donald Trump, the US president, is a racist who according to history has been involved in various allegations of racism since the time he was a businessman. It is possible to conclude that all through his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump used racial comments and to which gained him more support from the whites. Trump is a white supremacist in that he makes direct attacks to the people of color making negative comments about them. When he was a businessman, Trump said that he would not prefer having a black secretary in his office because the blacks are known to be lazy. Through this statement, overt racism is propagated, and according to him, the whites are hardworking and therefore demeaned the black people denying them a chance to prove themselves.

In another occasion of overt racism, Chang states “For Trump diehards in a time of danger and disjunction, the media’s job was not to challenge but to affirm. So when demonstrators poured not the streets to protest police killings of Blacks, the media was supposed to confirm for them that those chaos makers were supporting the killing of cops, that somehow the Movement for Black Lives was a Black version of the Ku Klux Klan.” The issue of protesting against the killings of black people by the American police was met with the unexpected reaction by the diehards of Donald Trump claiming that the protesters were indeed in support of the police killing. Something that was not in the agenda of the people of color as they had demonstrated to air their grievances and to urge the government to protect their lives by stopping brutal shootings of the black people. Most of the Trump supporters are whites, and therefore they continue to oppress the black people in the sense that their president attacks them considering their race as a minor while they are superior. According to them, the lives of the black people don’t matter and therefore eliminating them does not attract the call for justice.

Between the two types of racism, covert and overt racism, overt racism is worse in various ways. For one, the individuals or the societies that propagate overt racism accelerates hatred among the races, and it may lead to war. Again, one of the race, and to this case, the white race tend to assume the role of being superior and that only their interests need to be catered for while the rest of the races are neglected being termed as useless. Covert racism is not worse as most of the people oppressed doesn’t recognize the presence of racism, for example, being allowed to entertain but denied the chance to lead might trigger less questioning of oppression.

Work Cited

Chang, Jeff. We gon’be alright: Notes on race and resegregation. Macmillan, 2016.