The election of Barack Obama as the 56th president of the United States raised many hopes that the “Black struggles” was finally over. For conservatives, Obama victory reassured their beliefs that there was no longer such thing as racism and that every American had equal rights and opportunity to pursue the American dream. While many people have come to believe that all races have equal rights in America, Tim Wise argues in his documentary “White Like Me” that not only does racism and unconscious racial bias still exist, but that also White Americans are unable to simply relate to the variety of forms racism and inequality Blacks experience. This is mainly because of the privileges they get as the “default.” While Wise explores the variety forms of racism and inequality today such as unconscious racism, Black poverty, unemployment, inadequate education system, and prison system, the articles by the New York Times Editorial Board, the Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Adam Liptak further explore some the disparities in the criminal justice system. Ana Swanson points out in her article, “The Stubborn Persistence of Black-White Inequality, 50 Years after Selma” that while the “U.S. has made big strides towards equal rights,” significant gaps still remains between the two races. With the Supreme Court striking down a “portion of the Voting Rights Act that stopped discriminatory voting laws from going into effect in areas of the country with histories of disenfranchisement,” civil
The article “The Great White Way” by Debra J. Dickerson attempts to show her readers that “Race is an arbitrary system for establishing hierarchy and privilege” (68) in America. In her article, Dickerson questions how “whiteness” leads America in our culture and society and how all the other races are defined in America. She also explains how history has divided whites from non-whites in America. The intended audience that Dickerson’s essay gravitated towards are political or liberal Americans. In her article “The Great White Way”. Debra J. Dickerson powerfully argues that race is an overall way to establish social classes and who and what get special privileges because of their certain race or skin color. Dickerson argues that “Race is
Thurman moves deftly through varying experiences demonstrating the dehumanizing effects of segregation. He reflects upon the structure of a society that was chained and bound like the demoniac of the Gerasenes. The same evil that was necessary to restrict African Americans was the same evil that restricted the oppressors. Thurman recalls looking upon white people as ones without morals. “They were not read out of the human race, they simply did not belong to it in the first place” (Thurman, p. 3). As a boy he recognized that the white boy could express his hostility, but Thurman was not allowed vent his anger. He describes black behavior as being frozen while white behavior remained fluid.
This point was stated because all this has helped this American white man to build up, absolute conviction that he is “superior.” The authors then ask, “in how many, many communities have, thus, white men who didn’t finish high school regarded condescendingly university-educated local Negro “leaders,” principals of schools, teachers, doctors, or other professionals (Haley and Handler, 274).?” The white man’s system has been imposed upon non-white people all over the world and is the reason why wherever people who are anything but white, live in this world today, the white man’s governments are finding themselves in deeper and deeper trouble and PERIL.
Discrimination has afflicted the American society since its inception in 1776. The inferiority of the African American race – a notion embedded within the mindset of the white populace has difficult to eradicate – despite the efforts of civil rights activists and lawmakers alike. Many individuals are of the opinion that discrimination and racism no longer exist and that these issues have long since been resolved during the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. However such is not the case. Discrimination is a complex issue – one that encompasses many aspects of society. The impact of discrimination of the African American race is addressed from two diverse perspectives in the essays: “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King .
W.E.B. Du Bois has contributed greatly to contemporary sociological thinking because he began a conversation of what it means to be “other” in this American Society. In his conversation of what it means to be other he constructed and included three major concepts that continue to resonate till this day. His concepts include “the color-line”, “the veil”, and the “double consciousness” (Appelrouth and Edles, 269). Together, these concepts not only described past experiences of blacks in American society (e.g., slavery) but also continue to remind us that the relation of whites and people of color remains complex. In Du Bois’s own words, “the Nation has not yet found peace from its sins” (273).
The black race has faced many hardships throughout American history. The harsh treatment is apparent through the brutal slavery era, the Civil Rights movement, or even now where sparks of racial separation emerge in urbanized areas of Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit. Black Americans must do something to defend their right as an equal American. “I Am Not Your Negro” argues that the black race will not thrive unless society stands up against the conventional racism that still appears in modern America. “The Other Wes Moore” argues an inspiring message that proves success is a product of one’s choices instead of one’s environment or expectations.
Throughout American history, relationships between racial and ethnic groups have been marked by antagonism, inequality, and violence. In today’s complex and fast-paced society, historians, social theorists and anthropologists have been known to devote significant amounts of time examining and interrogating not only the interior climate of the institutions that shape human behavior and personalities, but also relations between race and culture. It is difficult to tolerate the notion; America has won its victory over racism. Even though many maintain America is a “color blind nation,” racism and racial conflict remain to be prevalent in the social fabric of American institutions. As a result, one may question if issues and challenges
Walter Benn Michaels, a white man, believes that economic inequality is a more “fundamental” problem than the racial divisions that currently exist in society. He is very quick to dismiss the concept of race and counters W.E.B. Dubois’ definition of a black man- “a person who must ride Jim Crow in Georgia”(Michaels 47). Walter Benn Michaels states “the beliefs about race that underlay the Jim Crow laws have turned out to be mistaken; we no longer believe them and we no longer have Jim Crow...if a black man
Race relations have always been a very controversial topic in this country and still are. In the mid-1900s there were many writers who felt very strongly about how African Americans and white people interacted together. In this paper three individual excerpts by three different authors will be discussed. All three of these authors have different viewpoints because of how they see the world based on their individual life experiences.
Today racial inequality is ongoing whether you are aware of it or not. We have come a long way from segregated seats to public transportation. The issue of race and race relations has really scarred the history of this nation and has been a constant reminder of the horrors people endured as a result of race relations in this country. The ideas from both of the readings explain how black Americans faced hatred and violence because they were viewed as less then. The writings also include how each leader is trying to change the world’s view of
Racial oppression in the United States has been present for almost a century now. Although slavery was abolished in the 1860s, people associated in target groups are still being mistreated by racial oppression in different ways. In the article “Being Poor, Black, and American” written by William Julius Wilson, a sociologist and professor at Harvard University, Wilson shows that political, economic, and cultural forces are the primary forces that contains the distinction between target and agent group positions. From the immigration policies, the workplace policies, and stereotypical views portrayed by society, these all have an impact on how an individual can live their life. Altogether, these forces ultimately keep people in check with society’s rules and regulations on what is right and wrong and keep them from stepping out of their place.
Matthew Frye Jacobson’s Whiteness of a Different Color offers innovative insight into the concept of “race” and the evolution of “whiteness” throughout American history. Jacobson focuses his analysis on the instability of racial identification over time and how race has been created and perceived throughout different stages of history. He states in his introduction that “one of the tasks before the historian is to discover which racial categories are useful to whom at a given moment, and why” (p.9) and while he is successful in some respects, his analysis is somewhat incomplete in providing a full scope of the power relations that created, altered and maintained racial identities in the United States. While Jacobson offers a detailed
The life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination… the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land (qtd. in W.T.L. 235).
The rudimentary components of racial isolation are principals that have transcended over time. The guiding principle, mandated through Jim Crow, of “separate but equal” was only personified through the New Deal not abolished. Racial segregation in the U.S. has transcended through the history of a nation that has used race/ color as a means of distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad, holy from evil, and it’s in this association the mammoth race issues we battle today enfolds itself. Most view racial division in the U.S. as a social canon that’s always held a dark presence in U.S. culture from the beginning of American history. Conversely, racial tension in America was introduced then further woven into American fabric through methodical structure as a means of standardization. Racism was institutionalized with systems that were originally perceived as being set in place to leverage African American’s with economic stability, but had an inverse effect that continues to rip through Detroit today.