Decades of Racism; the mother of America’s Racial Divide
by camelia.bouthillier on October 19, 2015 - 12:32pm
In the article “5 Facts Explaining America’s Enduring Racial Divide” by Ian Bremmer published June 29th 2015 in Time Inc., it is understood that for my people of color, America is divided in two; a racial divide that has been going on for centuries. According to the comparison of various statistics around the world, black America struggles to meet the goal of equality. Bremmer blames 5 different factors for such a divide; education, wealth, health, incarceration and violence. Although education is supposed to be the fairest establishment that promotes freedom and equality, Black students are 3 times more likely to be suspended and expelled compared to Whites students and that such is probably the cause of the extremely high drop-out rates amongst African Americans. Bremmer also states that even amongst the rare people of color who do graduates and get a degree, “if black America really were its own country, it would be ranked 44th globally on that figure – between crisis-hit Portugal and post-Communist Lithuania” (Bremmer, 2015). Within the health category, the first signs of racial divide would be that infant mortality rate for Black America is at 11.5 per 1,000 births contrarily to the 5.2 for White America. For incarceration rates, if black America were its own country, it would be ranked 3rd on the world list of absolute prison. With Ferguson and Baltimore, it is no secret that violence amongst the Black community is staggering. By comparing the US the rest of the world, with its 19.4 deaths per 100,000 people, black America would be placed just below Nigeria for its rate of deaths. Not to mention the excessive police brutality towards the black community. All in all, Bremmer states that the racial divide within the US is not only prominently visible by comparing the statistics of the Black America with the White America, but also by emphasizing the difference the two Americas rank around the world.
I strongly agree with the idea that the United States seems to have two very different worlds dominantly characterized by racial discrimination; Black America and White America. I also agree with the effectiveness of comparing Black America to the rest of the world by listing it as its fictive own country through the 5 factors of education, wealth, health, incarceration and violence. However, as mentioned in Smedley’s article ’Race’ and the Construction of Human Identity, “we humans are not new to the challenge of trying to get along with ‘alien’ others” (Smedley, 1999, p.690). Thus, the fact that this articles portrays this racial divide as something fairly new to humanity, underestimates the true reality of racism around the world. Smedley also states that “[today’s] media portrays a popular conception of these phenomena as if they were something new in the human experience” (Smedley, 1999, p.691). Thus, although I agree with the idea of comparing America to the rest of the world, this article undermines the racial history across the different countries. In other words, I believe that the article fails to take into account the differences within past social issues of race. Hence, we cannot compare the current issue within the United States to other countries such as Switzerland where different mentalities and histories of race and equality reign. Nonetheless, the concept of racism defined, in class, as a system in which different groups of people use specific traits such as skin to qualify certain authoritative power over another is without a question an issue within American society, as explained within the text. In this sense, I agree the concept of racial divide and racism are dominant concepts in the US given the staggering statistics presented throughout the entire article. Whether it be Ferguson, Charleston or Baltimore, we must ask ourselves how many more wars must be waged in order for the supposedly “Great America” to realize it cannot maintain its title of Mighty when its country as whole is divided amongst itself and is crumbling with the inconsistencies of its own society?
List of References
Bremmer, I. (2015, June). These 5 Facts Explain America’s Enduring Racial Divide. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3931216/these-5-facts-explain-americas-enduring-racial-divide/.
Smedley, A. (1999, November). ‘Race’ and the Construction of Human Identity. American Anthropologist, 3(100), 690-702. Retrieved October 17, 2015.