Is Racism And Anti-Semitism Still A Problem In The United States?
Over the years, racism and anti-Semitism has been a significant negative society issue that is aimed to attack a particular race of tribe in regards to their cultural affiliations. Prior to the First World War, the issue of racism was still a sensitive issue as slavery depicted the cruelest act of racism. In an argument by Eliav, Miriam & Ziegler(2009) racism and anti-Semitism has been in existence since the first steps of humanity as the minority groups were discriminated against. The same sentiments on the practice have been carried forward to the modern century as many people still hold discriminative motives against minority groups and particular races.
Eliav, Miriam & Ziegler (2009) define racism as an act by which a person, an organization or an institution discriminates another person or a particular race of people. The authors’ further point out that racism refers to an act by which a certain group of people are denied basic rights and freedom depending on their race or cultural affiliation (Eliav, Miriam & Ziegler, 2009). In most cases, racism is directed to minority of guests groups. In the United States, racism still remains a sensitive issue as the nation is home to many minority groups and immigrants. The white population in the nation is regarded as the most racist group. The African Americans in the United States have been the most discriminated group in the United States since the American civil war and the era of slavery.
On the other hand, anti-Semitism is referred to the negative perception of the Jews and the Jewish culture. The practice is widespread across the globe as many nations are home to groups holding negative perceptions on the Jews. In an argument by Schweitzer & Perry (2002) the worst anti-Semitism act was in Germany during the reign of Hitler as Jews were massacred. This was the greatest act that launched a worldwide spread on the hatred on the Jewish culture. In the United States the situation is the same as many Jews are discriminated to an extent of physical injuries. The practice is most rampant in colleges and institutions as Jews are denied most rights and freedom due to the cultural and racial affiliations.
The issue of racism and anti-Semitism is significant in the United States as many organization and NGOs have put in place mechanisms that are aimed to stop the acts. However, it requires a change of perception of individuals to the change the negative perception held against certain groups. This has however, not happened as racism has remained an issue even in most public organizations and institutions. This paper will review the depth at which racism and anti-Semitism has affected the United States providing supporting arguments on the same. Additionally, the paper will provide a counter argument on the arguments and provide a response to the counter arguments. The review will include a data that would show the numbers relating to racism and anti-Semitism cases in the United States.
The problem of racism is still a major problem in the United States as many minority groups are on most occasions discriminated in all centers of the society. In an argument by Schweitzer & Perry (2002) the problem of racism in the United States as cultural, economic and social and cultural discrimination are still sensitive issues in the nations. In terms of cultural discrimination, immigrants and minority groups in the United States have been discriminated upon for many years. Feagin (2009) points out that the white population in the United States have no accepted the fact that they would be sharing resources with guests. The author supports is argument by highlighting an interview by a white as they cited immigrants and visitors as the cause of the rising rates of unemployment in the United States. From this interview, the author points out that the person would justify their racist act by this claim. This one out of many justification attempts by locals to be racists. Additionally, the involvement of institutions to racism has made the problem even deeper. For instance, it is an obvious scenario to find less or no particular race in an organization’s management team. The Hispanics for instance are regarded as a minority group and they are offered menial working position in organization just because of their cultural affiliation. The black population in the United States also has been on the receiving end of racism in the United States. In the modern century, many people still perceive the African Americans intruders or slaves as their view them as the smaller population in the United States. In an argument by Feagin (2009) the relationship between the African Americans and Whites in the modern United States society is based on the negative perception that the African ancestors were held by. However, the problem has reduced in sensitivity as people have become ore sensitive and civilized in accepting the interaction of different races.
Anti-Semitism on the other hand has been a major problem in the United States. The problem is rampant in the United States institutions with serious cases of violence being reported. The situation has been made critical by the fact that the Jewish population has grown in quantity in the United States. The great magnitude has caused the rate at which anti-Semitics have been offended by the Jewish culture. Additionally, the negative perception of the Jewish culture is held by almost all races present races in the United States. Schweitzer & Perry (2002) argue that 29% of foreign born Hispanics and 32% of African Americans have strong anti-Semitic perception. The author further points out that this is 10% more than the white population living in the United States (Schweitzer & Perry, 2002). The anti-Semitic beliefs are connected to religious conflicts between Christians as many Christians hold the perception that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
In analyzing the modern negative perception of the Jews, Laqueur (2006) highlights a survey published in the Boston Review in 2009 in which almost 25% of non Jewish Americans blamed the Jews for the financial crisis in 2008-2009. In campuses across the United States, physical intimidation and violence, property damage and threatening on Jews has been rampant. Addressing the issue has however, been significant as campuses have put in place mechanisms that would minimize the anti-Semitic attacks in the institutions. This has led to reduction of such cases. However, the issue remains a major problem in the United States as the anti-Semitic views and perception are passed on from generation to generation bearing significance. In this particular situation, change on anti-Semitic views will be successful if the perception of the anti-Jews population is changed in regards to the race (Schweitzer & Perry, 2002).
Counter-thesis and counter-argument
With many researches showing the significance of racism and anti-Semitism as a problem in the United States, other researches have shown how less of a problem the two practices are. In terms of racism, Laqueur (2006) points out that one cannot compare the level of racism in the modern century and past civilizations. The society has matured enough to accept everyone in social circles regardless of the racial or cultural affiliation. Laqueur (2006) argues that reviewing social circles in the United States one can easily notice that the blend of different races is friendly and healthy. The same sentiments are shared by Schweitzer & Perry (2002) who point out that the maturity of the modern society does not provide room for racism. For instance, the perception of the African American population in the United States has greatly improved as the race has found its rightful place in the community. The same can be said in many institutions in the United States as many African Americans hold significant positions in organizations and institutions. The same has been replicated in the political scene as the most significant position in the United States, the president, has been occupied by an African American an occurrence never imagined in the history of the United States ( Feagin, 2009). From this review, one can easily point out that people have accepted the inclusions of many races in the society and racism is a diminishing act. Additionally, social interactions have ruled out the possibility of racism being a significant in the United States. There has been marriage between blacks and whites, Hispanics and whites and Hispanics and blacks. These forms of interaction have made racism an insignificant practice in the United States as the society has embraced the inclusion of other races in the society.
In regards to anti-Semitism, the practice has reduced in significance as people have embraced the Jewish culture in both the society and institutions. Feagin (2009) cites this change of perception to the healthy relationship the United States with Israel. The diplomatic relationship has made the American population accept the inclusion of the Jewish culture in the society. Jews have also been responsible for major positive changes in the American economy as they hold significant positions in major institutions. In an argument by Schweitzer & Perry (2002) the acceptance of the Jews has taken major steps to the current status in which they are part and parcel of the American society.
In reference to the state of campuses in the United States, many campuses have put in place measures, rules and regulations that are aimed at minimizing direct attacks on Jews. Laqueur (2006) analyses the measures put in place by Yale University. Over the years the institution has experienced numerous cases of anti-Semitism. However, reviewing the current state of the institution, the university founded the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA). The study was aimed at coming up with initiatives aimed at understanding measures that could be taken to minimize cases of anti-Semitism at the University.
Response to counter-thesis
The counter argument provided has only addressed areas on positive changes on racism anti-Semitism. In reference to the argument, one can easily point out that only few areas and factors have experience positive change in terms of racism and anti-Semitism.
In regards to racism, the counter argument only point out the positive change of the American society. However, this is not the case in main areas as the modern American society still holds negative perception on minority groups. For instance, the plight of the Hispanics as highlighted in the argument is proof the less regard the community is held by in the United States. Additionally, the acceptance of African American leaders can be attributed to the fact that the population as empowered its dwellers and united to form one African American movement that would effect change and fight for their rights. The acceptance of minority communities is not voluntary as government bodies and NGOs have generated measures that would force the society to accept the changes in terms of accepting other cultures and races. In an argument by Laqueur (2006) if the society is not governed by the law to accept other races, the situation would have been the same centuries back. Additionally, the claim that the society has matured cannot be supported by physical and personal proof. Feagin (2009) argues that is the society is mature enough to shun the practices, and then it would be unnecessary to create laws and publications governing the behavior of the society towards other civilizations. Additionally, non racial social interactions such as marriages as minute examples of positive change compared to the significant racism and anti-Semitism problem.
Eliav, F., Miriam, I., & Ziegler, J. (2009).The Origins of Racism in the West, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Feagin, R. (2009). Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations, 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge.
Laqueur, W. (2006).The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times To The Present Day. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schweitzer, F. & Perry, M. (2002).Anti-Semitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present. London: Palgrave Macmillan.