Racism: Impact on Minorities in American Society Opinion Essay
The election of President Barrack Obama was an indication that the US had finally come of age in as far as eradication of racism is concerned. However, critics argue that Americans were simply against the bullying of Iraq in a war that the previous president, George Bush, alleged was necessary to facilitate the destruction of nuclear weapons in Iraq.
Unfortunately, the American military found no such weapons, which raised questions on the motives of the government in attacking Iran. According to critics, such loss of confidence in the administration and the thirst for change led to the election of Barrack Obama but did his election contribute to a decline in racism.
Although it is evident that the US is making milestones in the reduction of racism, this vice is a mindset dependent on individual choice and thus the election of a ‘black’ or ‘white’ president has nothing to do with people’s view on racism. The concept’s primary basis is personal experiences as well as stereotypes that various individuals grow into.
For instance, African Americans mainly came into the country because of colonization and slavery. Although the government later legally abolished slavery, Americans of European descent still treated former slaves and their children as inferior, which is a stereotype that exists to date.
The implication of the stereotype, at the time, was that African American could not access education, proper health, and other government social amenities but a lot has changed and such individuals get access to most of the facilities that Americans of European descent get.
The motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ as embellished on America’s Great Seal, which translates into ‘Out of many, one’, signifies the country’s desire to create unity from the many races that inhabit the territory. However, as long as racism is still prevalent, the US cannot claim to live in the spirit of the creed. It is difficult to change the mindset of all individuals regarding their view of different races, but the government has to try to put more effort into it instead of letting time ‘heal all wounds’.
Ronald Takaki, an author, activist, and one of the pioneers of ethnic studies suggests that the education system has a significant role to play in changing the perceptions of Americans towards individuals of different races in their midst. He adds that educators bear the task of enabling individuals from different races embrace each other’s diversity and derive strength in multiculturalism.
Judging by the rise of interracial marriages in the US today, it would be appropriate to deem his assessment as accurate. Takaki suggests that reminding people of their diversity and enabling them to understand the positive side of different cultures is the way forward in the journey to eradicate racism in the US.
Although the US has made considerably great strides towards a racial-free society, with the help from globalization, it still has a long way to go and it would be premature to refer to the current era as the ‘post-racial’ America. The society should address such issues as how to eliminate stereotypes, which pass from one generation to another.
The society should be more prudent in highlighting similarities among the different races instead of focusing on the differences and reasons why one race is more superior to the other. History is essential as it enables society to strategize for the future, but it should not be allowed to cripple progress or cause stagnation, especially on matters that do not contribute to the welfare of the people living in it.
Studies suggest that in the year 2054, the population of white people in the US will be minimal enough to gain regard as part of the minority. This prediction has raised questions as to whether the issue of racism will thus be extinct. The forecast has also caused concern on whether other items will take prominence in exchange for racism and what such questions would consist.
In answering the question of whether the prediction suggests elimination of the vice that is racism, as being a mindset, it is difficult to eliminate the matter. It is possible that the issue would diminish in importance; however, that would not mean that the US becomes ‘truly multiracial’. The issue of racism would not completely disappear, but rather just diminish in importance.
Some of the likely candidates that would replace racism in urgency include social stratification, gender inequality, and the provision of quality health services. Social stratification describes the categorization of people into “classes” according to their financial capabilities. This phenomenon has already taken root in most societies, even in developing countries.
The gap between the rich and the poor in the US is ever-widening, with most people striving for more material and financial wealth in a country where the population increases gradually every year while resources remain relatively the same. As a result, globalization has been occurring at lightning speed and people opt to explore regions outside their territories for specific financial gain.
In essence, this concept has given birth to multinational companies and organizations. Ironically, in the US, most minority groups seem to be at a disadvantage when it comes to the acquisition of wealth. This fact implies that the likelihood that the same minority groups that have suffered racial discrimination for centuries stand the highest chances of being at the bottom of the ladder in social class is high.
Many reasons underscore this analysis, but the most significant would be the quality of education that people in the minority groups get in comparison to white Americans. Throughout history, blacks and Hispanics have had access to low-quality education, partly because of their historical background and stereotypes and because they believe and play into the inferiority stereotype.
Another contributory factor to this issue is the prevalence of racial segregation in the country. In most states, neighborhoods are divided according to race and class, with most people living in the high-end or suburban communities being white. Hispanic and black minorities predominantly occupy states such as Houston and California and only a small percentage of the entire ‘white’ population choose to live in such neighborhoods.
Due to the low quality of public amenities and high unemployment rates, crime in these areas is higher in comparison to suburban neighborhoods in cities such as Los Angeles. For instance, studies show that although the number of successful African American individuals rises every year, the number is still low when compared to the number of white Americans that share the same accomplishments.
The same case applies to the Hispanics. The ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ classifications play a large part in contributing to the outcome of the predicted status. The whites have already had a head start; thus, other races lagging would have to work extra hard to compete on the same level. Therefore, the best approach is to be optimistic yet realistic. Expecting too much is likely to lead to disillusionment.
Even though the American society is not yet at a level where it would be safe to consider racism a minor issue, it is possible for people from different racial backgrounds to get along. It is time that the American society focused on more critical matters in a bid to improve the lives of its citizens. For instance, currently, numerous experts on racial topics provide statistics on how high or low the level of racism is.
However, if these people would put the same energy into other salient matters such as the sustainability of power and the provision of essential services for everyone, the society would be better off and would be more likely to focus on those matters instead of the racism issue. It is usually easier to unite people who face a common problem or work towards common goals and therefore, it is possible to join Asians, Hispanics, African Americans, Arabs, and whites.
A good example is the reaction that the country gave after the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11. The people reacted as one country, united by a shared tragedy and the races where people belong to did not seem to matter at that moment. The state-supported the war on terrorism as a single unit, in defense from other attacks.
This case is just one of the instances that prove that redirecting the energy spent on analysis of trends on racism into more salient issues is bound to bring the American people together in disregard of the vice. Another indication of progress towards the right direction is the rise of interracial marriages and relationships, resulting in the creation of a generation that is unified by the unity of the parents.
The integration of races in this manner makes it difficult for future generations to have racial hatred for one another, thus making it easier to rule out racism as a significant deterrent to the society’s development. Due to the fact that Americans have had years of practice at ‘calibanization’, it is essential to note that changing the situation would take time and people should not be overly optimistic to the point where they get disillusioned.
One of the possible solutions is the creation of a level playing field in education through the provision of scholarships to students from minority groups who show great potential. This scenario cuts across the board as creation of more facilities for the sole purpose of accommodating the minority groups would not accomplish integration, but rather create seclusion.
The idea of creating more schools with curriculums that favor black, Hispanic, or Asian people provides an avenue for the education of more significant numbers of individuals from these groups, but integration requires that the races get access to the same institutions regardless of race and compete for the attainment of excellence for a better job market and labor force.
Another possible solution is embracing the different talents that each race possesses in the creation of diverse opportunities for the overall benefit of the nation. For instance, black people possess ability in the entertainment industry, especially in pop culture.
Harnessing and promoting this talent for the benefit of everyone would diminish the urge to pull people from other races down. Asians, on the other hand, are talented in matters relating to technology and business while Hispanics have a rich dance culture.
Most people wonder how Asians living in the US are gradually turning the tables around on the stereotype of being an inferior race and establishing their superiority through the display of skills in business and science. The best answer would be a change in their mindset about the country.
Asians have reconciled with the fact that they may not be superior, but the US is now their home and it is their duty to develop their lives as they grow ‘their’ country’s economy. Reconciling with the past means that they have not forgotten about it, but they admit that they can do nothing about history. Therefore, they choose to focus on a way forward with the vision of a racism-free environment.
Asians have established booming businesses and thrive in technology-related issues. An excellent example of Asians who have turned their fortunes around is the duo that created YouTube and later sold it to Google, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. Most Internet users utilize the program indiscriminately, not only in the US but also all over the world.
Vera Wang is another example of an American of Asian descent that has turned her fortune around by choosing to focus on self-improvement rather than racial prejudices and crippling stereotypes. There is a high possibility that if the rest of the minority groups adopted the same mindset, racism would lose its current relevance and make way for essential issues that take focus on self-improvement and self-reliance.
The current pessimism by other minority groups regarding their achievement of ‘the American dream’ makes it harder for optimistic individuals with a vision for the country to change the view of the majority towards a discrimination-free society. The current generation is greatly disillusioned regarding the speed at which racial integration should occur, thus resulting in the perception of social injustices based on factors that date back in the past.
Although it may be more than likely that the first few administrations set the pace for racism and delayed the development of minority groups, focusing on the problem rather than possible solutions does not offer any remedies. The Asian community understands that aspect and opts to put its industrious nature into good use to create a livelihood and a legacy for its future generations.
The Asian community portrays that the American dream is not hereditary, but rather a progression of hard work, tolerance for differences amongst different races, and appreciation of diversity in different cultures. The Hispanic population bears excellent potential for the attainment of similar success, mainly because most immigrants get visas to work in the country.
The American government has over the years, capitalized on the need for immigrants to earn a livelihood by allowing them to stay on work visas. This aspect provides a steady labor force for the country. The Hispanic community can use these opportunities to run legitimate businesses that benefit the entire population and create enough income for the development of social amenities in areas where they live.
Asians have a reputation of owning most of the dry cleaning businesses in the country. Although this element may not seem like a prestigious opportunity for most of them, they have focused on the profitability of the company and built business empires through investment of the income that such businesses generate. Therefore, the community not only qualifies as a ‘model minority’ community but also as a model community for the entire country in the achievement of its goals.
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