Argumentative Essay On Respectability Politics

853 Words 4 Pages
Minority groups have faced arduous challenges in society; from either slavery, segregation and discrimination. These individuals have been taught from a young age to challenge the negative images of their community and have been taught to adapt to respectability politics. Respectability politics are interpreted as a way of having individuals of a certain group conform to social norms. This method is used to gain “acknowledgment” or “demonstrate” their capabilities to the majority hierarchy. Although respectability politics is used as a way to gain equal opportunities, it is an ineffective solution for challenging racism because many American social structures continue to be biased towards minorities. The Civil Rights Movement’s purpose …show more content…
Zach Stafford further expands to this and discusses why political respectability does not function, in his report Respectability Politics Won 't save the Lives of Black Americans. Stafford recalls the moment he tried to obtain information to report on the funeral of Sandra Bland and how an older deacon told him “Remember...you have a target on your back. Don’t you ever forget that” (Stafford 5). The deacon’s words made Stafford realize that no matter what profession, he had or how proper he dresses, because he is a black male, he still presents a “danger” to society. The explanation for this is because of the high rate of incarceration and unemployment among the black community, and this conflict reflects on his image despite his success and being “polite” or “acting right”. Furthermore, Stafford believes that it has not worked since “it protects the structural racism that no one ever wants to talk about or challenge” (Stafford 12). Instead of accepting the differences among cultures and challenging racism, “acting right” will have no effect, as minority groups will still be perceived as individuals who are a threat to society and dispirit them from expressing themselves without being negatively

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