Historically, the problem of racism persisted in the US. In fact, racism in the United States has existed since the founding of the state. Society, founded by white men, differing in their national and religious grounds, was very different with their attitude towards other groups. Victims of racism were non-white indigenous population – Indians – and black slaves.
Significant progress in overcoming racism in the U.S. has been in the 1960’s, when the success of the movement of the struggle for civil rights there were taken considerable political and socio-economic measures to ensure equality and overcoming age-old gulf that separates African American, Native American and other minority groups from mainstream of American life. However, racism still remains one of the hottest topics in American public life.
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Although the race problems take significant place in the life of the people in the United States, there are examples of the improvement of the situation. Imagined differences are built into the main quality and turn into a hostile psychological attitudes towards some ethnic group, the unit that separates people psychologically, and then theoretically justifies a policy of discrimination. Race is a major issue in the United States today but it is important to place emphasis on the fact that, today, race issues tend to change although the problem of racism has not been eliminated yet.
Definition of racism
In order to understand the current situation in the US concerning race issues, it is necessary to dwell upon the definition of the concept of racism. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the concept of racism is closely intertwined with the concept of discrimination because racism implies the discrimination on the ground of race of an individual. At the same time, the concept of racism can be defined as the violation of basic rights and liberties of individuals because of their race. In this regard, racism can have different manifestations, including the oppression of racial minorities and their discrimination. In the past, cases of racism occurred frequently and racial minorities suffered from the severe oppression from the part of the dominant white majority. As the matter of fact, racism can exist in any multiracial societies. Therefore, the emergence of racism in the US can be viewed as a natural effect of the domination of racial group over others.
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning the fact that the concept of racism changed and evolved in the course of time. In the past, racism was taken for granted and the violation of rights of non-white Americans was a norm. For instance, it is possible to refer to numerous cases of lynching of African Americans in the beginning of the 20th century. By the mid-20th century, the attitude of Americans has changed under the impact of the growing Civil Rights movement and effective work of civil rights activists. The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s – 1960s contributed to the consistent change in racial relations in the US but the Civil Rights movement still failed to solve the problem of racism in the US. In spite of consistent legislative and social changes, race issues and the problem of racism persisted in the US in the second half and late 20th century. Race issues still involved the problem of discrimination and unequal opportunities for white and non-white Americans. The problem persisted and, today, this problem needs the effective solution.
Modern perception of racism
In actuality, the modern perception of racism has changed consistently compared to the past. At this point, it is necessary to dwell upon the changes that have occurred in the society to understand the essence of the change of the perception of racism in the modern society. First of all, it has been already mentioned above that, in the past, racism was taken for granted, it was a sort of norm. Cases of violence and murders of representatives of minorities were frequent. Steadily, the attitude to racism changed. Today, the problem of racism is viewed from a bit different angle. To put it more precisely, today, racism refers to the field of the under-representation of certain racial groups in the political life of the US. In addition, many representatives of racial minorities suffer from discrimination in the workplace, when they fail to obtain equal job opportunities.
At the same time, today, socioeconomic position of people and their job opportunities as well as their participation in the political life of the country depend on their educational background. At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the access to education and opportunities to receive higher education are crucial in the modern society. As a result, education, being unavailable to certain racial groups, to minorities, becomes one of the most important issues provoking tension between representatives of different racial groups in the US.
The role of education in the life of the modern society can hardly be underestimated because the modern technology keeps progressing and people should come prepared to use new technology to succeed in their professional life and to play an active part in the social, political and economic life of the country. For instance, the emergence of mass media and new telecommunication technologies contribute to the consistent growth of the speed of spreading information. In this regard, many specialists indicate to the fast spread of information “The Boyfriend’s Death” (Brunvand, 78) story by J.H. Brunvand. The information is spread nationwide fast that naturally affects consistently race issues. To put it more precisely, the fast spread of information can affect consistently the public opinion, including cases when information refers to race issues. In this respect, it is possible to refer to some cases of violence from the part of white police officers in regard to African Americans and other minorities. The information being spread fast nationwide evoke strong opposition within the society to cases of racial discrimination.
In actuality, the problem of racial discrimination persists and the President of the US, Barak Obama does recognize this problem. At the same time, he attempts to unite the nation and eliminate racial differences: “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” (Obama, 304).
In actuality, race issues have changed consistently but the problem of racism persists in the American society:
And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk – to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time. (Obama, 305).
In fact, the US society still suffers from wide gaps between the dominant racial group, i.e. white Americans, and minorities, i.e. non-white Americans. In such a situation, the development of new, effective solutions to the problem of racism, racial inequality, racial discrimination and other race issues is essential. At this point, it is very important that the US policy makers, namely the US President, are conscious of the importance of solution of the problem of race issues:
unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren. (Obama, 306).
Hence, the union of the nation is the ultimate goal of current policies of the US government but it is still important to find effective tools, which can help to solve the problem of racism and other racial issues.
Current issues and limitations
In actuality, it is possible to single out new, emerging racial issues, which aggravate the problem of racism and make relations between different racial groups extremely complicated. At this point, it is possible to refer to the speech delivered by Barak Obama, who stated:
At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well. (Obama, 307).
At this point, it is possible to raise the problem of the the growing racial diversity and emergence of new racial tensions, including tension between minorities. What is meant here is the fact that today racial issues refer not only to relations between the white majority and non-white minorities but also to relations between non-white minorities.
In fact, the aforementioned problem can lead to the radicalization of the US society:
expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam. (Obama, 308).
The radicalization of the society will lead to the consistent deterioration of the socioeconomic and political situation in the US and it may undermine the existing social order. Hence, the solution of the problem of race issues is essential for the stability of the existing social order in the US.
In such a context, the US authorities should define clearly the major priorities and strategies that can help the US to solve the problem of racism and race issues. In this regard, Barak Obama argues that:
by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. (Obama, 310).
In fact, Obama indicates to one of the possible ways to improve the current situation in the US society and to solve, at least partially, the problem of the tension between different racial groups. The President suggests the complex solution, which focuses on key areas, where race issues arise, including, education, justice system, civil rights protection, and others.
In such a situation, Obama gives insight toward the ultimate goal of the suggested changes may be defined as follows:
a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old – is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know – what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow. (Obama, 309).
Obviously, this is an optimistic forecast for the future elimination of existing problems related to race issues. Nevertheless, the strategy is defined clearly but still the US lacks effective tools with the help of which the problem of racism and race issues can be eliminated.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problem of racism and race-related issues persists. Although officially a race cannot be identified as a major issue problem in the United States, there are still many issues and details considering the race issue. All in all, the race still remains one of the major problems in the United States, which is still not solved. In fact, this means that the US still suffers from the discrimination and oppression of minorities. In this respect, the US authorities are conscious of the fact that race issues may pose a number of serious problems and, what is more, they may lead to the radicalization of the US society. Therefore, the solution of this problem becomes strategically important for the US authorities.
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In actuality, the US authorities, namely the President of the US, defined the major priorities in the development of their policies to tackle the problem of racial discrimination and other race issues. Obviously, the unity of the entire country is of the utmost importance and the unity of all Americans, regardless of their race, can unite the nation. However, it is still unclear how the President of the US is going to unite the nation and to eliminate wide gaps that persist between different racial groups. As long as these gaps exist, the US will deal with race issues.
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