Racial progress is an important subject in the United States because it helps the nation find out how far they are from realizing the goal of equality among the races. This realization further helps in mobilizing support for policies that aim at supporting equality of races. Through the subject, researchers are able to raise important questions which help the government to implement key public policies seeking to address the overall issue of race inequality in the United States of America. Race equality further aims at enhancing peaceful coexistence between races through equality in treatment by rule of law, state agencies, and among individuals. In the United States, the subject of in equality among the races eludes bitter feelings especially from the race that has suffered a lot of historical injustices socially, politically as well as economically. However, racial progress is a wider subject and it covers other aspects of discrimination even among the majority. For example in salsa dances, white Americans are more likely to be discriminated against Cubans on the basis of a stereotype that Salsa dance has its origin in Cuba and hence Cubans are better dancers of salsa than white Americans (Feagin, 2006).
In addition, it could be very pessimistic to interpret poll results which give totally different results about racial progress in America to mean that there is no possibility of reconciliation between the main races that have experienced historical hostilities i.e. the blacks and whites in America. Research has shown that it is possible to reconcile the two races. The two opposite perspectives between the blacks and whites in America could originate from the fact that the two races have two different points of reference while assessing the progress of races in America. Whites tend to adopt a historical perspective, they look at how things used to be in the past and compare to the current situation.
Black Americans on the other hand look at how things should be in an ideal world. What this simply means is that whites look at how far the races have come in reconciling while blacks look at how far they are from attaining the main goal of totally bridging the racial gap. Another explanation in the different opinion could be in the fact that blacks would wish that the process of racial progress moves a little bit faster. As much as both perspectives are right they influence the results carried out by researchers (Diamond, 1999).
Dalton’s book therefore is well timed and intended because it calls for policy creators and implementers to boldly accept the reality on the ground, put the fact on the table courageously, appreciate the risk while at the same time face the tensions but smoothly addressing the issues of inequality between the races. He says that black people need to appreciate the vibrancy of their culture with confidence.
Once they do this they can take on dominance culture without the risk of being assimilated or swallowed up. He agrees that it is possible to eliminate the ugly race chasm on the face of America. He calls Americans to rise up to the occasion and address issues head on even if this can lead to temporary divisions. According to him the races in America are evasive to of the fact that there is disparity between the races economically and socially. Americans hide behind the thinking that racism should not be talked about in a society that considers itself enlightened.
He faults whites for ignoring racism because it is not salient in their lives. Such an attitude renders political attempts to bridge the racial gap like affirmative action ineffective. He wonders why white Americans do not agree that they belong to a race. He points out that the most dangerous outcome of racism is when it naturally gives privileges to a skin color because it has features that the society highly values. He is against escapism in the American society where white and black races fear to face up to themselves and each other with dignity and esteem. He puts extra emphasize on frankness to reality. He observes that majority of the whit people having benefited from the racial pecking order want it preserved and a few among them openly utter or act venomously.
In the book, Dalton seems to disagree with the allegation that race inequality has been bridged or is close to being bridged. He is of the opinion that those who subscribe to such school of thought are cowards who are unable to own up to reality as well as seek to address real situation of inequality on the ground among the races. He agrees such people are propagators of status quo. They want things to remain the way they are (Carson, 1995).
The issue of race is a very sensitive one in the United States of America. Many people have been brought up in places where the color of the skin made others decide on how they were going to handle you. Right away from childhood parents forbid their children from making friendship with children from a different race. The reason for such an action might be genuine and well intended to protect the children from unfair treatment or utterances from unfriendly race. This follows up with the children in all the years of education before University when parents have total control over their children’s life outside the home. They select schools for their children who have most of their teachers and other students from their race. In most of the lives of Americans, they are instilled with beliefs that certain races are unfriendly and therefore when one is interacting with them, they ought to be very careful. Children from their early childhood are taught not to trust people from races that are not their own. This is further emphasized by negative stereotypes which worsens the situation. Be it in public offices, banks or even hotels; people always have a tilted attitude towards people who are not of their race. For example, whites are taught that blacks are not to be trusted because they can not only cause harm to you but to your property as well. They are told that al blacks are potential criminals and should be handled as such unless proved otherwise. Blacks on the other hand are told that their economic situation is as a result of unbalanced access to opportunities of empowerment because the systems favor the whites. They are told that their poor economic situation is propagated by exploitative nature of whites. This raises suspicion and tension between black and white Americans. Tertiary learning institutions however do a lot in opening up our minds. In the University for example, students get to interact with others of different race in class, sports and so on. Through such interactions they confirm or reject some of the stereotypes they learned in their childhood. But more important, they get to learn that the color of the skin is not an accurate parameter of judging individuals. They learn that everybody as a person has their strengths and weaknesses which cannot be determined by race in any way. White students meet bright black students and black students meet poor white students, and the reverse also happens. Their get their lessons from lecturers of all races. In fact, most of the time in their parents ignorance, they date their colleagues of a different race while in the University. This explains why most polls reveal that many young people have no problem with their friends or themselves dating others of a different race.
Past cases of racial discrimination are more severe and frequent than present cases. Both blacks and whites in America agree to the fact that more has been accomplished in attempts to bridge the gap between blacks and whites in America. Whites are more optimistic and report more positive growth than blacks who report a lower percentage. The reason for this is merely in the different perspectives the two races adopt while approaching the subject.
Conditions evaluated by those who carried out the polls include treatment from the police, living standards, marriage across the races, problems within families across the races, ability of each race to get a decent paying job, prevalence alcoholism and drugs across the races, levels of security in the neighborhoods, successful people within the races to look up to and so on. These issues are comprehensive and all rounded. However, researchers should also seek to answer the question of how each race would be comfortable working with a person of different race in their office, would they be close to them to a level of sharing their personal information or would they keep their distance? Information found after the question is answered could help determine the level of trust between the races. It would also help in determining how much national policies are doing in bridging the gap between the races. Overall, it is a fact that hostilities between the races has always decreased as the years passed. Many polls carried out around the period when Obama worn the Democratic Party nominations and later the presidential elections both races reported that there has been real positive growth towards attaining the dream of an America without discrimination (Allen, 1994).
The analysis as stated earlier, aims at finding out how much government policy is doing to elimianate inters racial hostilities in the American society. It is very important to continue identifying issues of contention from each race and address them courageously. It is naïve and cowardly to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that racism has been completely been wiped out. Research can only report the reality of the matter on the ground. Just as the president of the United States wrote in his book “Audacity of Hope” that as much as the American society has not achieved the ideal balance between the races, it is important to appreciate achievements made by the American society towards this goal. A contemporary version of Dalton’s part three and four therefore would seek to identify the main an ideal society without racial prejudice. The version would acknowledge also the milestone crossed by the American society and recommend ways of totally eradicating racial prejudice.
Allen, T. (1994), the Invention of the White Race. New York: UK, Verso.
Diamond, J. (1999), Guns, Germs & Steel. New York: Doubleday.
Feagin, J. (2006), Systematic Racism: A Theory of Oppression. New York, Rutledge: Rutledge Press.
Carson, D. (1995), Racial Healing. New York: Doubleday.