Is Racism Still a Current Issue in America
Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. It is no secret that America has a racist past, with issues like hate crimes, police brutality, and slavery. However, the concern of racism is still apparent in American society today. Completely eliminating racism will be very hard. However, to start the process of eliminating this issue, we need to start by recognizing our own individual prerogatives and use that to learn about other people and their culture.
There are many people that believe that racism is truly dead. A lot of them believe this because of the now popular mindset of I don’t see color. Although these are statements/thoughts of ignorance, sometimes, they mean well. Now, in some cases the people saying these things are trying to be allies to colored people. However, there are people that are only trying to add to the negative protestations and they don’t really care. They say things like, racism is no longer a thing or existent because there’s only one race”the human race. The unfortunate thing is that there are people that really don’t see the problem with this colorblind philosophy. However, there is definitely an issue with these kinds of assertions. It’s almost like trying to prove you’re not sexist, so you tell a woman that you don’t see gender. Or trying to demonstrate that you’re not homophobic so you say that we all are the same and you don’t notice different sexual orientations. No one benefits from you eliminating certain groups of people for equality. Blinding yourself from someone’s color doesn’t prove any further that you’re an allie, or that you’re not racist, or that you’re woke. It’s just showing that you’re choosing to ignore reality and present prejudices and that you’re washing away the history and culture of that colored person so that everyone is equal. Except, we aren’t all equal. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging and celebrating our various races and our differences as a large society. The problem comes in when people dehumanize others and discriminate against others because of those differences.
64% of Americans believe that racism is still a major problem in our current society, and 30% agree that it still exists however it isn’t a major issue. (nbcnews, 2018) A majority of the people that don’t believe it’s a serious issue are people that have never experienced oppression or any kind of discrimination. According to CNN, 3 out of 4 African Americans currently residing in America believe that they have faced some sort of discrimination and that the country’s criminal justice system favors whites. However, according to NPR, 55% of White Americans feel discriminated against themselves. I conducted a survey and I asked two different groups of 15 people the same question. Is racism still a current issue in America? The first group consisted of only wealthy, Caucasian people. I tried to pick people that haven’t really faced any struggle or discrimination throughout their lives. The second group were only minorities. In the first group, 14 out of the 15 people said yes, racism is still a current issue in America. In the second group 15 out of 15 people said yes. In total, that is 96% of people that still believe that this is an issue, which is still a high amount.
Something else to note is that a lot of people have the mindset that racism only stems from whites being prejudice towards blacks, when that is not the case. There are many other groups of people that are discriminated against such as people that identify as Latinx, Native American, Asian American, and any other people of color. In fact, majorities in many ethnic, and racial groups today in America believe that discrimination exists against their own group, according to a poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In Andrew Hacker’s Two Nations, he talks about the black/white binary paradigm of race. A paradigm is a shared set of understandings or premises”an accepted model or pattern. The issue with this paradigm is that people that are not white OR black’s claims for justice will not be acknowledged. Their claims can be ignored by whites, since they are not black. Their claims can also be ignored by blacks, since they are becoming white. Hacker claims that Blackness serves a crucial function in enabling Whiteness to define themselves as privileged and superior.
Another reason why a lot of people believe that racism is unfortunately still a large issue in this country is because of everything that has happened in these past couple of years, and all of the things we see in the media. The media plays a huge role in racism in our society. THere have been multiple cases of hate crimes such as lynchings, and shootings that aren’t receiving any news coverage. A larger, more talked about issue is police brutality. Police brutality is the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians. (S. Danilina, 2015) Although this controversy isn’t anything new, (cases of police brutality have been dated back to the 1800s) this is still a large issue today. The most recurrent form of police brutality is physical. There have been multiple cases of unarmed black individuals losing their lives to to excessive and/or unnecessary force. With 15 black individuals that lost their lives after confrontations with the police, in only six of those cases the officer was fired, and there were only eight cases where the officer was indicted/charged. (Jasmine C. Lee/Haeyoun Park, 2018) Another issue that stems from this is that when police shootings do occur, both trials and convictions are rare, which goes back to African Americans believing that the justice system favors Whites over any other race. Going back to the those 15 cases, out of 15 deaths, 15 police officers that killed unarmed people, only 3 were convicted.
Another occurrence of racial discrimination is redlining. Redlining refers to a discriminatory pattern of disinvestment and obstructive lending practices that act as an impediment to home ownership among African Americans and other people of color. (University of Washington, Seattle, 2017) Red lining was banned around 50 years ago and it still affects minorities in today’s society. The way that it used to work was government surveyors graded neighborhoods, color-coding them. Green was for best, blue was still desirable, yellow was definitely declining and red was hazardous. The redlined areas were the ones that the local lenders discounted as peril, in large part because of the residents’ racial and ethnic demographics. A study done by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition shows that the bulk of neighborhoods and communities marked hazardous in red ink on maps are currently more likely than other areas to comprise lower-income/minority residents.
In conclusion, racism is still an immense concern. And a lot of society still believes that racism is still a concern. It’s hard to refute the claim of racism when a lot of what we see has to do with racism or discrimination in some way, whether it’s through social media, a real life occurrence, etc. There’s also the fact that the criminal justice system tends to favor whites, there has been an alarming amount of police brutality cases within the last four years, and the fact that redlining still negatively affects many communities of minorities today. Racism will be very hard to completely eliminate. One reason is because some people were born in time periods when it was considered okay to discriminate and be racist towards people that don’t look like them, and a lot of people are stuck in their ways. To start eliminating this, as a country people can start by recognizing their privilege. Racial privilege plays out across multiple environments. Such as social, economic, and cultural. Both checking our privilege and using our privilege to disassemble systemic racism are two ways to begin this convoluted process. People can also do things like call out racist jokes, and try to generate opportunities for people of color that they might not typically have access to. As I previously said, this will be extremely difficult because there’s always going to be people that don’t want to change and accept others. If the majority of society merges together to try to fight this, we will notice a difference in our country.