How Far has US Dealt with Racism
More than five decades since Martin Luther’s founding promise of all human beings being equal, there is nothing much that has reformed on the remarks and comments of the black image. Luther King is among the most revered American activists who tirelessly fought for social justice. However, his honor lies unfulfilled although children are taught to revere him even at a young age. King had a dream that his children would live in just societies free from racial discrimination (The Economist). Thomas Jefferson, Luther’s forerunner in the universal speech of the Declaration of independence had equally condemned racial injustices more than two hundred years ago. After all the struggles by the founding fathers, America is still racially stratified up to date. The Blacks are still objects of exploitation in the white societies. Racial crimes against the blacks either go unpunished or under-punished. The injustices leveled against the blacks explain the existence of movements such as Black Lives Matter even in the modern era. Some critics, however, argue that America has changed beyond recognition within the past five decades. The main goal of this paper is to determine the extent to which America has attained her objectives in dealing with racial injustices.
As much as scholars tend to criticize the whites for perpetrating racial discrimination, they should appreciate the progress that has been made in the past few years. In the 2008 presidential poll, Barack Obama, an African-American, won against his white opponent. A research done on the polls indicated that Obama won more white votes as compared to John Kerry in 2004 (Feagin 208). This implies that the whites have really transformed, as they can trust an African-American with the country’s topmost seat. During Luther-King’s days, segregation was a norm in the North and a law in the south and interracial relationships were condemned (The Economist). Currently, the blacks can hold top governmental offices just like their white counterparts.
Unlike in the past where black Americans would only qualify for domestic tasks, today a notable percentage occupy white-collar jobs (Cornell and Hartmann 218). Many white Americans in the past confessed that they would shift if a black family moved in as their next-door neighbor, something which is unheard of today. In the modern societies, the whites freely interact with the blacks and live in similar estates. The two races make great friends and even intermarry and raise their children together without any external criticism. The friendship that has sprouted between the two races implies that the whites no longer view the blacks as inferiors.
The black Americans too have a right to own property in a land where they were once enslaved (Murji and Solomos 18). Today, no one finds it odd seeing a black running a large business in big American cities. There are many blacks who live in America either working or studying. Most of them end up establishing their permanent residents in the nation. The African Americans can attend similar learning institutions with the whites without necessarily being discriminated. The old myth that the Blacks have a lower intelligence quotient than the whites has gradually faded away. The United States has taken significant steps towards the ending racism. However, there is still much more that ought to be done in order to create the ideal society.
Racism is not a new injustice in America. Its effects have been felt even by the native whites. For instance, Timothy Tyson wrote a book exploring an incident of the murder of a black. Henry Marrow was killed simply because of uttering provocative words to a white woman. The murderers of the innocent black were acquitted in a court of law. The modern America is nothing different from the traditional uncivilized nation. Black souls are still murdered like in the earlier days when “The color line in Oxford was as bright as blood” (Tyson 14), and “the law meant little” (Tyson 18). The author recounts an incident when they were to drink fountain and some whites refused to drink simply because there were two black boys before them. Despite the fact that Tyson drunk the fountain, he “somehow managed to learn that black was filthy, black was bad” (Tyson 41). All these and other incidents are an implication enough that racism has a long history.
In a poll carried out in 2016, 88 percent and 53 percent of the black and white respondents respectively said that more changes should be incorporated for the blacks to share equal rights with the blacks. Only 8 percent of the whites cited that the country has made the necessary changes (Pew Research Center).The progress of the country in the abolishment of racism and social injustices was interrupted in past few years. In the past two decades, racial equality has dramatically fallen and the blacks may end up facing even worse injustices than those witnessed in history (Wimmer 78). Despite the fact that the economy of the country has stabilized in the past few years, the economic progress of the blacks has deteriorated. The black average household income fell from 64 percent to 58 percent in a span of 10 years from 2000 to 2011 of the white figure (Wimmer 108). It is now seven years since the research was carried out and according to the current turn out of events, the income might have fallen even at a higher rate. The economic gap created by the interruption is extremely alarming threatening the life of the blacks in the world’s superpower.
The election of Barack Obama as the country’s first black president engendered optimism among many black Americans (Pew Research Center). The fate of the race relations according to them would be a fortune. However, a series of flash points led to deeper racial divisions, which reignited the national debate over race relations. The conversations about discrimination are more prevalent among the blacks. They feel that they are mistreated across all the realms of life, from seeking for justice to applying for a mortgage or a loan (Wimmer 220). Majority of the black population feel that more changes ought to be implemented for them to share in similar rights with the whites. Although some blacks have remained hopeful that the government will make the necessary legislations to better their lives, most of them have grown skeptical of whether any changes will ever occur.
The blacks are even set to experience more injustices under Trump’s leadership. Within the period that Trump has been in power, the Americans feel that he has already hurt the racial relations and promises to hurt them even more (Katz). His leadership will perhaps see America fall to the worst racial relations. Trump on several occasions accused of exploiting or fueling the existing racial tensions to stabilize and sustain his white base. His attitude against the immigrants is the most unjustifiable opinion. Even the whites themselves feel that the president is being too unfair to their black counterparts. Under his leadership, it is more likely that the two races will fall back to the poorest relations ever witnessed in history. Trump’s approach to handling racial relations is unpleasant and ought to be changed before the nation witnesses the worst racial crisis.
The latest development of racism in the social scene was the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement protests (Holpuch and Owen). The BLM is a movement formed by a group of young black American activists to fight against racial injustices. The move by the young African Americans received much approval, especially from the popular activists. A media mogul, Oprah Winfrey paid some funds to facilitate the ‘March for Our Lives rally’ which took place on the 24th of March 2018 in Washington DC. Winfrey joined by other numerous public figures commended the young warriors for their courage and bravery against the American racial tragedy. Barack Obama took it on Twitter to express his approval citing that the young activists were leading the country forward (Holpuch and Owen).The young activists of the BLM are hurt and have every right to protest. When the police treat any of them unfairly, the rest are under the threat of a similar treatment since they present similar interests. The reckless killing of young unarmed African Americans by the police should be put to an end with an immediate effect. The existence of the BLM and other similar activists’ movements is an evidence enough to state that America is growing more unequal day by day. The failure of the country to respond to the allegations made against the police implies that the black lives do not matter. The best description that could be given to America at the moment would be ‘America the Unequal.’ There is still a lot more that ought to be done to better the racial relations in the world superpower.
There is no single institution or individual who can be blamed for the heightening rates of racism and racial inequalities in America. As much as the legal institutions act unfairly to the blacks, the general public also has a share in the crisis. Racism is a social phenomenon to which every individual; both the perpetrators and victims contributes either directly or indirectly. The government interventions that contribute to racial inequalities ought to be minimized. The blame game between the liberalism and the conservatives should be stopped. The common citizens have a greater role in ending the racial crisis compared to the governmental institutions. There is a lot that transpires when the white parents hint to their children that the blacks are their enemies and they should thus not make friends with them. Racism can only be put to an end if everyone is ready to embrace change.