Since the colonial and slave era, Racism and ethnic discrimination affects the way of life in the United States. The White Americans subjected legally certified racism towards the Native Americans, Asia Americans, African Americans, and Latin Americans. These groups were discriminated against and denied privileges and rights compared to the Whites. The law denied them access to education, land acquisition, immigration, and citizenship until the 1960s. Also, the American society looked down upon the Jews, Poles, Italians and Irish people who emigrated from Europe. The groups experienced xenophobic exclusion while in the United States. The U.S Human Rights Network argued, “Discrimination permeates all aspects of life in the United States and extends to all communities of color” (Biron, 2014). Since time immemorial, the U.S government and Human rights organizations had put into place efforts and structures to eliminate racial prejudice, and the impacts indicate favorable results. Evidently, enough has not been done to eliminate the incidences of racial discrimination despite the efforts of the government and human rights organizations. Although various measures are employed to diminish racism, the United States has not moved beyond the racial divisions into a post-racial era, but it did get better. The 2008 presidential election, the reminder of the racial prejudice, and the divided Congress challenges the effort to diminish the racism in United States.
The 2008 presidential election indicated the steps made towards reducing racial segregation though positive results were minimal. It provided a platform to clear negative perceptions regarding racial prejudice. The election of Barack Obama was instrumental, and it proved the blacks were not undermined. In surprise, President Obama was elected by more whites (43%) compared to his competitor, John Kerry (41%). This indicates that the whites judge Obama on his ability to push the American dream into reality and not on race relations. It was unbelievable for whites to vote for a president with an African origin as this was unimaginable .The results indicated that racism was on the end because the whites had agreed to support someone who was not of their origin. The voting patterns of the blacks and the African Americans indicated that they were tired of the discrimination that they had gone through for a long period, and that is why majority of the population sided with Obama. The events during the presidential campaigns illustrated the improvements achieved throughout history as the two candidates equally enjoyed equal media coverage. Media presented campaigns in a fair and transparent manner and the candidates received equal chances to convince their supporters to vote for them. It is also important to note that the blacks were not ready to support a white candidate and took this chance to elect Obama. Majority of the whites took side not by the color of the candidate but by the ability that they held. In the past, it was impossible to think that whites could vote for a black president. Their willingness to vote for a black president is enough to demonstrate an improvement in racial divisions.
Although different organizations have emerged to compensate and improve the lives of survivor have failed and consequently reminds the survivors of the racial prejudice. The establishment of the Greenwood Cultural Center was a sign of confronting the past racism activities that led to Tulsa riot. The center was founded as a result of the efforts of the civic leaders; both black and white. Consequently, this was a symbol that different race can work collaboratively to attain a mutual goal. The center has moved forward to condemn the act of racism and promotes the cultural heritage of the African American community. The Greenwood cultural Center aim was to enhance cultural interaction between the communities living in the state of Oklahoma and county of Tulsa. The aim of Greenwood Cultural Center was to promote the cultural events and education for not only American African but also the disadvantaged children from all walks of life. As a result, the center aimed to enhance interaction of people from different background and hence helping to diminish and avoid the racial prejudices in and around the county of Tulsa. The effort does not only provide fair compensation for the victims of the Tulsa riot, but also as a campaign against the racism in the country and the entire United States. However, in the modern United State, the Greenwood center is unable to cater for the activities that intended to help diminish racism. The center has lost its financing stake from the financier and hence making it difficult for it to operate. What remains in the center are the photos of the survivors and the occurrence of the race riot, which reminds the survivors of the racial prejudice. According to New York Times, the town is still divided by the same railroad tracks implying that the efforts of achieving brotherhood are still premature. Therefore, although the center had initially helped to improve the lives of the survivors, more efforts are needed to enhance the brotherhood in the town.
In additional, different non-government organizations have emerged to compensate the life of Tulsa riot victims, through education scholarships, but this is facing challenges in modern U.S. According to the OSRHE (2003), the Oklahoma Legislature established scholarship programs in the year 2003-2004 for the student in the Tulsa region. As part of the Reconciliation Education and Scholarship program two students for every public high school in Tulsa received $1,000 as one-time scholarship. That move was anticipated to facilitate reconciliation efforts for the people who suffered in a race riot nine decades ago. However, the country has not effectively engaged to heal the wounds that were left behind by the pain and racial division after the race riot. For instance, the effort by the Congress to remove the statute of limitation that allows the survivors to file a lawsuit for compensation is challenged by the today’s divided Congress.
The Tulsa race riot can be seen as the genesis of the fight against racism in the United States. It can be argued that it is upon this race riot that the ugly face of racism was uncovered and which is not easy to mitigate in today’s United States. A small incident of racism exploded to a massive destruction to provide a sigh of how racism seems to be small, but have a multitude impact. According to Mullins (2014), the racial incident started as a result of allegedly young black man who attempted to assault a white girl in a public elevator. Consequently, impact extended to an attack by American men that resulted to an estimated death toll of around 300 lives as well as destruction of property worth $1,500,000. The impact of the riot has gathered national wide attention and awareness to inform the people about the effects of racism. According to the New York Times (2011), “three-quarters of Tulsa residents in a recent survey described themselves as very or somewhat knowledgeable about the riot.” The result of this has attracted activists such as Mr. Pegues who has taken the race riot as a high road to make the city favorable for both black and whites (The New York Times, 2011). This illustrates that the racial wounds are still prevailing in the modern Tulsa.
Although there is a substantial evidence that more has to be done to diminish racism, it is evident that various efforts have contributed to a reduction of racism in America. Such efforts include scholarship programs for the people affected by racism and cultural interaction enhance by centers such as Greenwood Cultural Center. Significantly, 2008 presidential election in the United States provided a platform to clear negative perceptions regarding racial prejudice lot of things changed, and the situation continued to get better. The elucidation above indicates the achieved improvements but requires more efforts to be put into practice. In the United States convention, the United States was criticized since it had not done enough to curb racial prejudice. However, despite the improvements, the paper concludes that the United States has not moved beyond the racial divisions into a post-racial era. The government must improve its efforts to eliminate the racial divisions and make the nation a better place for all citizens. Individual efforts are also necessary to create a peaceful and stable state, free from any form of discrimination. In the end, the country will move beyond the racial divisions and accommodate the existence of all citizens. No citizen will be judged by the content of their race or color, and all will be equally treated. The government still can fight all aspects of racial divisions by implementing the constitution.
Biron, C. L. (2014, August 25). US Has “Much Left To Do” On Racism: Segregation Worse Now Than In 70s. Retrieved from http://www.mintpressnews.com/us-much-left-racism-segregation-worse-now-70s/195751/
Greenwood Cultural Center. (n.d.). Greenwood Cultural Center. Retrieved from http://www.greenwoodculturalcenter.com/
Messer, C. (2008). THE TULSA RACE RIOT OF 1921: DETERMINING ITS CAUSES AND FRAMING (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma.
Mullins, D. (2014, July 19). Survivors of infamous 1921 Tulsa race riot still hope for justice | Al Jazeera America. Retrieved from http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/19/survivors-of-infamous1921tulsaraceriotstillhopeforjustice.html
OSRHE. (2003). Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education | Welcome. Retrieved from http://www.okhighered.org/news-center/tulsa-recon-scholars.shtml
SULZBERGER, G. (2011, June 19). 90 Years After a Bloody Race Riot, Tulsa Confronts Its Past - NYTimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/us/20tulsa.html?pagewanted=2&_r=3