The issue of racism has been a subject of heated debate over the decades. This is epitomized by the days when people of colored races were treated like different animals in the 16th century to the time civil rights struggle in the 1960s. Today, there are very few cases of racism in the public domain. It is rare to hear of some public figure being racially segregated in the United States. However, that is not an indication that racism is dead. The fact that there is a black president in USA is proof that racism has drastically reduced and that people are embracing one another as human beings and not on the basis of their racial background. However, it is true that racism is alive in the streets, offices, organizations and communities where we interact. Americans of European background still believe their Asian, Latino, Red Indian and African American counterparts are inferior to them (Michaels-Trouble with Diversity: (2007) reprint,pg 72).
There are many reasons as to why racism still exists in USA. USA is a cosmopolitan nation, whose citizens comprise of all kinds of human races. Historically, all Americans are immigrants because America’s traditional inhabitants were the Red Indians, who are now the minority group. The continued treatment of the colored races in a bad way is proof that racism is a demon that keeps haunting the colored groups in the United States. The injustices that colored people, mostly the African Americans, experience are scary and unfair. The major reason why racism still exists in the States is because of cultural, economic and social reasons (King Jr. 1963 article 9th Paragraph).
The cultural aspect of racism is that people of different races have different cultural backgrounds. People are brought up in different communities, in totally different ways. There are some communities where they have cultural beliefs against other races. This is common in many families of European origin. Some of these people just believe that African Americans are inferior individuals who deserve no respect. That is why they are treated like animals and not like fellow Americans (Bark and Kelman The concept of Race, Voloume 36.6(November-December 2012): p64).
Most probably, racism can be felt in the country’s justice system. People of color are always victims of injustice in our courts and other law enforcement departments. Martin Luther King wrote in his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that African Americans at the time were facing injustice from all angles in their lives. Most pronounced was that America was highly segregated. The blacks were receiving unjust treatment in courts simply because of their skin color. At the time, there were many unsolved killings and bombings of African Americans’ churches and homes. Even though the African elders sought to solve these cases with the authorities, they were ignored. This is simply because the whites had been influenced by their cultural assumptions that Africans do not deserve recognition. In the present day, there are still beliefs that blacks are thugs and criminals. Therefore, blacks are treated with suspicion and despise. A visit to any jail or correctional facility in the United States would prove that there are more colored people than whites. The white inmates are given special treatment by wardens simply because they are white, proof that racism is still alive in the United States (Wright: Nature vs. Nurture? New Research Shows Racism Isn’t Innate, 3rd paragraph).
The extension of the early 20th century cultural beliefs into the present day where whites are believed to be superior to colored races in demoralizing. This has led to people of color missing out on jobs simply because of their color. White collar jobs are dominated by whites while people of color are left with casual and part time jobs. This was a cultural belief that evolved into natural hatred of the people of color. This hatred has stuck in people’s minds making them think that racism is normal. This is the idea that Robert Wright stresses in his article. Robert believes that racism is not natural or inborn as some people claim. It is simply an idea that is instilled into someone. Human beings are groupists and do not have any natural fear towards other races. It is only through cultural beliefs and the people around us that we get the idea that some races are superior to others (King Jr. 1963 Article, 15th Paragraph).
Apart from culture, economic status is also proof that racism still has a place in the American social setting. In the past two to three decades, people of color have improved their economic status mainly because of talent. Today the music and sports industries are dominated by people of color. This can be seen as a success in the fight against racism. However, this does not give the real picture. People of color are treated as second fiddle to whites. They are denied white collar jobs and are segregated in all aspects; limiting their opportunities to earn a living (Bark and Kelman The concept of Race, Voloume 36.6(November-December 2012): p64).
The issue of being Asian, white or black is the most common reason why racism till exists. In any place in the U.S, a person of color is described using their race. This insensitivity promotes racism because they put too much meaning to the racial being of other people. In many multicultural settings such as education and religion, there is clear evidence that racism still exists all over America. There are churches and schools that are for white people while there are those that are for black or Asian. This shows that people are keen to live with only those people whom they consider their own race. It also shows that people of the same race stay in same neighborhoods. This is clear racial segregation that almost goes unnoticed (King Jr. 1963 Article, 12th Paragraph).
However, there are positive signs that prove that racism no longer exists in USA. One is the recent election, and reelection of America’s first black president. This shows that the political scenario of America has drastically changed from the old days when black people could not even be allowed to cast a vote. It is proof that Americans are embracing human diversity and equality as argued by Robert Kelman in his article, the Skeptical Inquirer. There are also changes in the social set up where black people now enjoy same privileges as whites (Wright: Nature vs. Nurture? New Research Shows Racism Isn’t Innate, 2nd Paragraph).
In his attempt to prove that human beings are the same regardless of race, Michael Benn used Fitzgerald’s argument that rich people differ from the poor because of the wealth they possess. The statement simply meant that poor people do not differ from the rich. Americans have embraced diversity and racism is dead. This started in 1978 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bakke in Bakke v. Board of regents. It was a show that people of color have the same ability as whites and should have the same opportunities. Since then, all Americans have equal rights and racism is not felt in education, religion and political circles as it used to in the 1960s and 70s. However, the fact is that racism still exists in America; only that it is not as common as it was back then (Bark and Kelman-The concept of Race, Voloume 36.6(November-December 2012): p64).
Therefore, racism is deep in the American society. It is felt everywhere, the political, education, religion and economic settings. The recent elections’ campaigns are clear evidence. The segregation is not as pronounced as it was during the civil rights struggle, but no one can deny that racism still exists in society. Racism arises from cultural, economic and race sensitivity about being Asian, black or white. Racism is not an inborn habit; it is instilled in us by the people around us. People are born to be social beings, and there is no way one would claim it is natural to be racist. The civil rights campaign spearheaded by Martin Luther contributed to the embracing of racial diversity and equality. The racial tension in America today is epitomized in education, religion and political circles. There are education centers where one race is dominant, churches where only one race attends and cases where people vote for political leaders based on their race. This is proof that racism still exists (Michaels-Trouble with Diversity: (2007) reprint,pg 72).
Bark, Nigel and Robert B Kelman. The Concept of Race. November-December 2012. 64+_ General Reference center Gold.Web. 18 November 2012
King Jr., Martin Luther. Letter From Birmingham Jail. 16 April 1963. 18 November 2012
Michaels, Walter Benn. The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality. reprint. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007.
Wright, Robert. “Nature Vs. Nurture? New reearch Shows Racism Isn’n Inmate”. 18 October 2012. 18 November 2012