For several years, the world has been facing a serious problem called Racism even after the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Which stated, “all persons held as slaves within a state or a designated part of a state, the people of which shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforth, and forever free” (Lincoln, 1863). Usually, racism is defined as discrimination among people belonging to different ethnic backgrounds or races.
Throughout history, people have suffered from racism and inequality by their culture, region, or color. Also, some people formed strategies, laws, and proclamations regarding the said matter such as Martin Luther King Jr. who died while struggling for equality of the people because of the belief of certain individuals who took racism as a justified act (Jackson, 2013). As of today, “although the United States has prohibited slavery, racism does exist there as a serious issue for the modern world.”
The behavior people show during the interaction as a result of the contact with people belonging to different cultural and physical characteristics refers to the term “race relations.” In any community, the relative status and the relationships that may produce race consciousness and race conflicts are among the concept of race relations (Rex et al., 1986).
To conceal the relationships among certain organized groups after World War II in the United States including group adjustments, conflicts, and tensions, the idea of intergroup relations was widely employed. The interaction of organizations having distinct economic strata and certain religious groups were included in that design along with the relationships between black people and whites (Doane, 1997). Its impact on community change and group relations, leadership strategies and roles, power relations, discrimination, and prejudice are among the social-psychological features being the primary focus of this area of study.
The developments in the line of race relations had contemporary interest after the events of the United States and Africa and specifically after the World War. But today, race relations mainly revolve around the particularization of the individuals, transcends, and universalistic in local areas. A well-known organization, The United Nations, working on the principle of self-determination and equal rights of the people was funded in 1946 for mutual peace and international cooperation in the world. The principles United Nations is based upon, are the foundation of nurturing the rise of nationalism and anti-colonialism, resulting from the formation of several new nations in the New East and Africa; 32 countries emerged in Africa (Edwards, n.d.). According to a recent poll, pollsters have figured out that the citizens of the United States are concerned about race relations. The interpretation may not be valid, but the surveys in this regard show profound racial discrimination among the people (Bacon, 2016).
Increases in violence involving African-American individuals and allegations of police brutality have developed over the last few years. It has firmly brought the issue of race and race relations into the spotlight. In the category of most racists, the southern states have a string showing; however, this pattern has dissimilar in the category of least tolerant. For example, California is ranked number one in both strictest gun laws and lowest rate of gun-related deaths. The tendencies for racism are found in certain patriot groups of individuals (Brunson, 2007).
America has attempted to solve the problem of slavery and racism through Reconstruction, which gave Blacks a window of freedom for a concise time, but in the earlier part of the 19th century, President Wilson, Taft, or Roosevelt did not provide any help to the Blacks. Consequently, Americans attempted to solve the racism; racial discrimination was to have separation which was not an attempt at solving the problem but a way of either ignoring the problem, separating the problem, or try to eradicate the Black community (Richardson, 2007). The way Blacks be handled was very ineffective in the negative sense as then, and today, we distrust and hatred from Blacks to those in authority and distrust and hatred of those in authority towards Blacks. Thus there is a need for a better job of changing educating, informing, and working together.
The issue of racism could not find an appropriate solution in the United States. The minority communities in the United States even tried to form separate nations within the state including Muslims and Christians, black and white, and many other tribes. Steady progress is observed in this matter, an increase in the people within the limits of the states, and evolving their nationalism are the outcomes so far (Blauner, 1989).
When there were millions of job opportunities in the Northern regions, the underclass people including blacks and whites applied there. The blacks then tend to face artificial urban ghettos as they found themselves to be getting housing policies by the government and indignities spate. The Northern community resembling the whites in color showed disrespect to the whites as they lacked the sensibilities of the northern, so the administration initiated the confrontment against the whites (Silliman, 2005).
Under such pressures, the two communities had different political approaches. The underclass whites focused on the classes politically after getting unfettered by legal discrimination. Including Truman and Jackson, who hated the ones looking down at them, by teaching their children not to behave well with the ones richer than them, and voted for their pocketbook (Silliman, 2005). The caste system of the south was soon psychologically promoted as observed by Martin Luther King Jr. before he died. During the political elections, the black voted for the people of their racial community, having their color, as long as the candidate assured them of tearing apart the legal obstructions. Such interests resulted from supermajorities in the process sometimes (Silliman, 2005).
In the 1960s, the success of civil rights was thought to change the scenario. According to William Julius Wilson, who was an eminent sociologist in 1978, confidently argued that race will soon be replaced by class as it is the top social variable in the United States. The convergence of the fates of people belonging to distinct classes was expected to change according to the advancements supposed in preceding the legal barriers for the minorities. The thesis by Wilson made sense after the mid-2000s: as the average wealth of the Black community increased two folds between 1995 and 2005, the middle-class community of blacks seemed growing and vibrant (Anderson, 2003).
As a political predictor, the race emerged as losing its salience: the decade-long trend of voting for the non-Republicans changed as most of the blacks voted for the Republicans. George W. Bush scored the highest ever vote count of 44% in 2004, even greater than the Asian vote count share of 43% in 2000. Reduction in racism and increase in the ideological features in the politics was then observed: Republicans were most supported by the more prosperous voters; the Democratic Party soon took the generous support of the social-welfare state including their beneficiaries and the progressives (Boller, 2004).
The circumstances of race relations were satisfactory for the solid majority even not being post-racial politics. But things changed during the financial crisis of 2007. The politics dramatically changed and the unfortunate happened to mightily struggle for their living or other reasons, including both the blacks and the whites (Boller, 2004).
As a matter of fact, black Americans may not be having extraordinary privileges. But the evidence of surveys expresses in favor of the contrary scenario. For instance, an exhaustive study published by Roland Fryer, a brilliant Harvard economist, on the force used by police consists of the speculation, that when it comes to using force by the police, it is most likely that the police abuse, throw, and harasses the black youngsters more in comparison to the whites, even in the presence of police force in any neighborhood or crime rates control.
Conspicuously, the use of lethal force did not have any racial disparity. The conclusion of the said study is comprehensible as there is no parallel study published until now. The underlined study concludes that the black youngster fears the police as per their experiences so far. The injuries to the black community cannot be ignored, and it has important. As an example, a law student was harassed by police only for being black; regardless of the school, he was attending (Fryer, 2016).
The statistical facts to observe racism and racial discrimination in the United States (“US race relations,” 2015) are described below:
- On June 17th, nine people were killed by a white gunman in a church of Charleston city, as a consequence of killing an innocent black in North Charleston by a white law enforcement officer, two months before the incident.
- In comparison to 500 billionaires in the United States, the black community has only two billionaires named Michael Jordan, a basketball star, and Oprah Winfrey, a chat show host.
- The number of diploma holders above the age of 25 is 27% whites and 30% blacks, showing that blacks tend to perform better in high school. Contrary to the bachelor’s degree holders which are 14.4% whites and only 10% blacks.
- In 2013, the Public Religion Research Institute shared the facts of a survey that 75% of white Americans only had white friends and 65% of black Americans only had black friends; showing the diversity in friendship groups of the people.
- In comparison to whites, blacks were facing more unemployment. Among the overall 5.8% unemployed individuals, 4.8% are blacks.
The realism of the issue
The Souls of Black Folk by DuBois impressively discuss racism. “How does it feel like to be a problem?” (Du Bois, 2008). This question specifically reflects the societal attitude towards black people. The book encompasses the fact that black people have always been facing racial discrimination. The White community is observed to be mistreating the blacks since ever. Whites consider the blacks to be responsible for the social issues even in this modern era. While blaming the blacks, the whites though are curious to know the feelings about black being a problem in society (Du Bois, 2008).
The book also reflects the author’s encounters. “In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting cards—ten cents a package—and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance” (DuBois, 2008). This incident reflects the prevalent racism in every nook and corner of American society even polluting the innocent minds of young children. Due to the problems he faced, DuBois keeps asking himself why God chose to make him a problem.
DuBois considered being born as an American black person an ultimate problem, and he characterized his life as a symbol of struggle. According to him, blacks were meant to struggle and made consistent endeavors for reaching self-conscious manhood after a long period of captivity. They also utilized their energies for trying to merge the two conflicting identities to be like the one which is much better off. Also, the whites in the United States were apprehended by the fact that the newly freed blacks will go on to Africanize the Americans. The bitter truth is that most of the white-skinned people did not want to see Black Americans as a flourishing and thriving part of society.
Similarly, Rodriguez also demonstrates how the narrator in his book suffered consistent racism and differentiation and hoped the American land had been taken over by bigotry and prejudice (Rodriguez, n.d.). The narrator could not find a single place where his ethnicity and race were not questioned reflecting the dirty minds overshadowed by racist thoughts. No matter whether he was in a classroom or in workplace, he was considered a minority which made him lack confidence and self-esteem. As mentioned, he was Chinese, but the nun wanted him to use English appropriately as he had a different pronunciation as compared to other people. To cut a long story short, both the books reveal the inopportune fact that American society is being swallowed up by racism. Although a lot of people oppose racism in every aspect of life, a major portion of the American population still employs racist behaviors although blacks’ contributions to American society are priceless.
The independents and Republicans being a part of the committees concerning race and racial relations in the United States include the ones who acknowledge racial discrimination and disharmony as a problem on the national level. Though the United States is struggling to overcome the discourteous discrimination by color or cultures of individuals, the concepts need to be taught at the grass root level to children and especially the youth. The role of institutes and parents cannot be looked over. Education, media, and home-based learning can help people develop positive attitudes towards people belonging to different cultures, regions, or religions.
“US race relations.” Retrieved July 23, 2017, from bbc.com: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30214825
Anderson, Carol Elaine. Eyes off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American struggle for human rights, 1944-1955. Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Bacon, Perry Jr. “How Americans See Race and Racial Relations is Shifting Dramatically.” 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2017, from nbcnews.com: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/how-americans-see-race-racial-relations-shifting-dramatically-n658101
Blauner, Bob. Black lives, white lives: Three decades of race relations in America. Univ of California Press, 1989.
Boller, Paul F. Presidential Campaigns: From George Washington to George W. Bush. Oxford University Press, 2004.
Brunson, Rod K. “Police don’t like black people”: African‐American young men’s accumulated police experiences.” Criminology & Public Policy 6.1 (2007): 71-101.
Doane, Ashley W. “Dominant group ethnic identity in the United States: The role of “hidden” ethnicity in intergroup relations.” The Sociological Quarterly38.3 (1997): 375-397.
Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. The souls of black folk. Oxford University Press, 2008.
Edwards, G. Franklin. “Race Relations.” Dictionary of American History. Retrieved July 23, 2017, from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/race-relations
Fryer Jr, Roland G. An empirical analysis of racial differences in police use of force. No. w22399. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016.
Jackson, Thomas F. From civil rights to human rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the struggle for economic justice. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
Lincoln, Abraham, and Washington Gentlemen. “Letter to Erastus Corning and others.” June 12 (1863): 1863.
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Richardson, Heather Cox. West from Appomattox: the reconstruction of America after the Civil War. Yale University Press, 2007.
Rodriguez, Richard. The Chinese in all of us, A Mexican American explores multiculturalism. 1-6. Print.
Silliman, Stephen W. “Culture contact or colonialism? Challenges in the archaeology of Native North America.” American Antiquity 70.1 (2005): 55-74.