Reflecting on Race in America

by Ben Maksym on February 4, 2016 - 9:50am

I feel that issues of Race in America continue to be relevant, even since the civil-rights movement. They may have vanished from the public eye after legislation was passed to help people of color and to reduce their daily struggles, but they are certainly still relevant today, as has been shown on many occasions. For instance, the shootings in Ferguson and New York bear a striking resemblance to shootings carried out in the pre-civil-rights era south, where blacks were often threatened and killed with few to no repercussions against the murderer. Jim-Crow laws were also relevant then, and have been manipulated yet again to make voting for black Americans in some states a much harder ordeal than it otherwise has to be. For instance, laws in North Carolina based around voter-ID’s generally maintain a strong republican voting majority in the state as many of the democrats in the state who would vote are black and do not possess ID’s. This means that, much like in the pre-civil-rights era, majorities are trying to keep certain minorities down.

Additionally, there is also a great deal of anti-black propaganda and media; people of color are often portrayed as poor, stupid, thieving, and/or violent, which has led to increased rates of people being frisked in cities such as New York. It has also led to increased rates of police-based violence against the black communities in large cities, as well as an increased incarceration rate for blacks; 1 in 3 black men will be imprisoned in this country, while just 1 in 17 white men will be. Many of these stereotypes and the justifications for them lie in the war on drugs that has been waged by our government for over a decade, though it also displays an underlying racial bias and racist tendencies in our judicial systems and way of life.

However, I believe that there is also still hope. Movements such as Black Lives Matter are working to make differences today, just as the NAACP worked to improve the lives of black citizens today. With police-shootings around the country, media attention has begun focusing on the struggle of African Americans as well as people of color around the globe. While we are not a post-racist society as some said directly after the 2008 election of President Obama, we are certainly still working valiantly to correct racism and issues of race in our country.

Comments

The title of your article is very captivating since this issue is huge in all countries and creates social and moral problems in all communities. I strongly agree with you in the sense that race is surrounded by many stereotypes and is a very biased subject to talk about openly without having any repercussions on your social image or identity. People quickly judge you if you mention something about a certain race or simply if you are a part of a classified minority race. Personally, growing up in a community with a lot of different races, language barriers and also different religious affiliations, I clearly understand the issue with race that you describe in your article. A lot of people I know or close friends of mine are subject to certain racial profiling cases or they are simply targeted or watched wherever they go. Being a Caucasian individual, I cannot really position myself to see how the others are feeling about this but something i can say is that even if i have never experienced it myself, I see it everywhere around wherever i go. I agree with you that it is getting better with more organizations in place to help these "groups" of people which in the end are exactly the same individuals as us. A specific case that I could relate to is when me and some friends were stopped by policeman in a park at night, we were 3 white males and 1 black male and as soon as they ran at us screaming police! The only man to be taken down and searched was our black friend, the rest of us were simply asked questions without any attitude or force. This is one of many examples we can use to support the summary above, thus proving that race in America and in the rest of the world is an issue and will never cease to be, the only thing we can do is decrease the times these cases happen and become a better unified community.

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