Essay Writing Help on The Discrimination of Race in the USA

The Discrimination of Race in the USA

Introduction

            Racial discrimination and racial biases as well as the subsequent fight against racism is not a new thing in United States. Perhaps, one could argue that the fight may have gotten more challenging in the twenty-first century. The reality on the ground is that although de jure kind of discriminations are lesser in the modern society than they were several years back, de facto kind of racial disparities are still so real and have continued to plague the country, thus curtailing several million Americans from enjoying diverse fundamental human rights. It would be expected that many years after the enactment of the Civil Rights Acts (1866), racial discriminations would only feature in the books of American dark history. However, the reality on the ground shows otherwise; the minorities in America are still suffering in the hands of racists who continue to perceive themselves as superior to the minority ethnic groups.

            As one UN expert would point out during his official visit to United States in 2009, “Racism and racial discrimination have profoundly and lastingly marked and structured American society. The United States has made decisive progress …however; the historical, cultural and human depth of racism still permeates all dimensions of life of American society” (“American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)” 9). ACLU observed that policies that seem race-neutral but at the same time are disproportionately are restrictive to various human freedoms and rights against certain ethnic groups are somewhat difficult to challenge. Moreover, establishing the discriminatory nature of such policies especially among the members of the public and the policymakers has proven to be an uphill battle to those who dare to make such attempts (9). One such example is the racial discrimination by law enforcement agents and the correlation of crime to people of certain racial orientation. Despite the overwhelming evidence of existence of such discriminations, which often has the support of authorized data, racial profiling has continued to be prevalent across the American society (ACLU 9). The acknowledgement by both Republican and Democrat administrations that racial discriminations are illegal, counterproductive, corrupting and unconstitutional have not hindered such unjustified practices from continuing to be witnesses among the Americans.

Racial equality only continues to be a dream in the hearts of many Americans and a content of American constitution but not a reality across the American society. Actually, new form of racial profiling surfaced after the September 11 attack of the U.S. The main victims of this form of discrimination are South Asian communities, Arabs, and Muslims living or visiting United States. The current administration has inherited the shameful racial discrimination legacy codified within FBI’s official guidelines and infamous legislations that tend to suspect all Muslims and Arabs as members of various terrorist organization. The federal government has continued to participate in racial profiling through the unprecedented raids of the workplaces and homes of immigrants, especially the Latinos in the name of following on crime leads (ACLU 10). Such actions have resulted to fear and tension among the victims, making them feel vulnerable and segregated from the rest of American society. Senator Robert Menendez has observed that legitimate desire for the law enforcement agencies to control America’s borders has been turned to witch-hunting against American Hispanics together with other people of color (Press Release, 2008). Such has had devastating effects on the victims such as increase of hate crimes against the Latinos.

Racial Discriminations History

            The Congress in 1798 passed the Alien and Sedition Acts which were meant to protect America from the French immigrants residing in the country. It was deemed that these French would poison the minds of Americans weakening the government. President Thomas Jefferson by 1802 led the country in repealing most of these acts as they were causing unjust restrictions. In 1845, the U.S’s Know Nothing movement led to formation of political party (Native American Party) in line with the sentiments of the natives. The party exerted fears on Irish immigrants who were streaming to U.S. The natives perceived these immigrants as unwelcome labor competitors and perceiving the values which they brought into the country a threat to the country, especially those related to Catholicism (Melissa par. 1-3). However, the party was extinguished in 1860.

            Two decades later, President Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act and it became a law in the country. Chinese immigrants were providing significant labor in California Gold Rush during the 19th Century but with the economic failure in the 1880s, this turned into animosity. The natives pushed for anti-immigration agenda which culminated with the 1882 Act excluding Chinese workers from coming into the U.S. This act was to be repealed in 1943. After the 1880s Reconstruction, Confederacy’s former states began to make legislations stripping the blacks of their rights to vote, ejecting the office holders from their positions and segregating the public transportation and accommodation. The architects of these exclusion laws sought to protect the Southerners from pollution of their values and culture by the black Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to later end the Segregation Act (Melissa par. 4-6).

            The state of Wisconsin passed the Bennett Law in 1890 as Illinois passed Edwards law, both of which restricted the use of German language in classrooms as instructional language. The antagonistic legislatives sought to cripple German parochial school system that was becoming quite extensive. Germans were perceived as a threat to American political interest as well as values. In 1942, U.S began forcibly imprisoning Japanese nationals, majority of who were Americans. Three years later, the camps where Japanese had been enclosed were closed and several years later, reparations were made to the survivors. United States elected a black American president in 2008 in a country that has people from numerous races, including Japanese, Asians, African Americans, Arabs, and Europeans. Obama had a Catholic as his running mate and in the election he won Virginian which had been Confederacy capital (Mellissa par. 7-8). As a President, Obama has suffered in the hands of racists, sometimes insulted as being a Nazi, a murderer and a socialist for his affordable health insurance coverage extended to the minority poor people in the country.

U.S. Structural Racism

            1963 remains a very important year in the history of America in relation to racism. In April, one of the most renowned icons in the battle against racism, Martin Luther King Jr. together with many other civil right campaigners initiated a non-violent protest campaign across Birmingham city. The city law enforcement agents opened fire hoses and released police dogs on the crowd of demonstrators—majority of whom were young people and children. Several hundreds of the protesters suffered from these racially-propagated actions by the police as many were arrested and dogs hurt many others. Media across the globe broadcasted the violent commotion allowing the whole world to witness the shocking American racism brutality. Some few days later, the President of United States, J.F. Kennedy claimed his support for the legislation forbidding racial discrimination within the employment sector, in public accommodations and in housing. In their efforts to champion for the legislation, various civil rights advocate organized gigantic peaceful demonstrations across all the main cities in the country, this culminated in the August 1963 protest across Washington D.C. The 250,000 protesters then marched to Lincoln Memorial for a civil rights rally, where a number of leaders made resounding speeches (Williams 12). The highlight of the event was Martin Luther’s speech dabbed “I have a dream.” The dream was that one day racism in United States would come to an end and both the people of color and the White Americans would live in brotherhood without discrimination on racial lines. He had hoped that his children would live in a society where they will not be judged by their skin color but by the content of their character.

More than six decades later, the words of King have remained an emblem to the people who aspire to create a discrimination-free society in America. However, although the country has taken major strides in its effort to fight racism, various sectors are still bleeding from the pains of racism. It is still true and evident in different sectors, including in workplaces. Structural racism continues to affect the lives of the minority ethnic groups in the country (Williams 12). Actually, structural racism still exists in America and has caused immense damage on the lives of the local minority groups as well as on the immigrants.

Structural racism, in relation to United States can be defined as legitimization and normalization of “an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color” (Lawrence & Keleher 1). This is a system of inequality which is characterized by the supremacy of the whites characterized by preferential treatment, power and privileges upon the whites at the expense of people of color such as Asians, Blacks, Native Americans, Pacific Islander and Arabs together with the other racially oppressed persons.

            Some of the key indicators of structural racism in United States are inequalities in treatment, policies’ impact, access to resources, opportunities, and power disparities, whether intentional or not. Sometimes, it proves quite difficult to prove the prevalence of structural racism, though this does not imply that it does not exist. This is because this kind of racism involves the reinforcing effects of diverse cultural norms, present and past, reproducing and continually producing old practices of racism (Lawrence & Keleher 3). The figures below are a clear indication of structural racism affecting the U.S. but perceived as normal and other reasons given as justifications for income and home ownership disparities.

Mortgages and Racism

Racism is evident even in loan application process. The probability of a Black person in United States been denied a home ownership loan application is by far much higher than that of a White American or Hispanic American. According to the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council data on home mortgages, mortgage approval in the country is an issue beyond a person’s ability to pay or wealth accumulation. Financial institutions that issue such mortgages also look at other factors such as children education and socioeconomic statuses. This is because parents with educated children could pass over the mortgage repayment to their children later on. The chances of Whites’ children being arrested are lower than that of Hispanics or African Americans or the chance of the White dropping out of school for different reasons such as financial challenges and early parenting are lower than that of Hispanics and Black Americans (Aspen Institute 16).

If financial institutions look at these factors, which they innocently do, they are likely to be more hesitant in issuing a mortgage to African Americans than Hispanics and Whites. Such is inconsiderate of the fact that other factors such as denial of job opportunities affect the people of color ability to educate their children, which means the probability of a black child dropping from school is higher than that of a White American with a higher probability of securing a well-paying job. This way, factors favoring racism are more solidified, allowing it to continue in such sectors as issuance of mortgages (Aspen Institute 16-17). The figure shows such disparities in mortgage issuance as a result of institutionalized racism in United States.

Racism in Criminal Justice System

            According to the 2005 Factsheet on defending justice, many people may feel that America has overcome the problem of racism, especially if they compare the present status with the history of racism in the country, though this is not necessarily true. Such people would be correct to indicate that racism is not as prevalent as in the past but they would be wrong to posit that the country has overcome the social vice. This can be affirmed by the fact that of the 2.1 million prisoners by 2005, about 70 percent were people of color. The rate of imprisoning people of color in United States is disproportionate to that of the Whites. Such minority groups are denied rehabilitative options readily available for the White Americans. U.S law enforcement agencies have also been widely accused of maltreating the people of color, especially if they are caught or suspected to be on the wrong (“Defending Justice Factsheet” 1).

            Although the African Americans’ population in United States is barely 13 percent of the total population, they make up more than 48 percent of prisoners in local and federal prisons and other incarceration facilities. This raises an eyebrow considering the NHSDA report in 1998 that showed that about 72 percent of substance users were White and only 15 percent were African Americans. Despite this, more Blacks were arrested and prosecuted for drugs-related crimes than Whites (Human Rights Watch, n.p). Although the Latinos represent only 11 percent of American population and only 10 percent of substance abusers, more than 18 percent of U.S. incarceration facilities are Latinos, with 22.5 percent convicted on drug counts. On average, 4 percent of American Indians are under justice system’s jurisdiction, which is more than twice the White adults’ percentage.  

            The article on defending justice observed that about 42 percent death row prisoners are Blacks, which is about three times the percentage of the Blacks population in the country. In 2003, the rate of imprisoning the Whites in America was 376 for every 100,000 White population compared with 709 Indians for every 100,000 Indian population, 997 Latinos for every 100,000 Latino population, and more than 2500 Blacks for every 100,000 Blacks population (“Defending Justice Factsheet”, 1). Chances of serving life sentences were also determined to show biasness in the justice system where 32 percent of Black males had a chance of serving such a sentence in their lives; White males only 16 percent chance and Hispanic males 17 percent chance. If the current incarceration rates in the country were to continue, about one in every three Black male, one in every six Hispanic males, and one in every seventeen White males would be expected to be imprisoned at a certain point in their lives. The rate of imprisonment of women of color continues to be alarming across United States. Racism factor is confirmed by different data, all of which show a disparity between the crime rates among the different ethnic groups and the arrest rates between the Whites and people of color (“Defending Justice Factsheet” 1-2).

            Among Americans aged above 24 years, the Blacks were 11.2 percent more likely to be asked by law enforcement agents to pull over than the Whites (8.9 percent). Among the drivers required to pull over for speeding, Hispanics (79.4 percent) and Blacks (75.7 percent) were more likely than White Americans (66.6 percent to be ticked). Law enforcers were more likely to conduct driver/car search on Blacks when stopped 15.9 percent, or upon Hispanics 14.2 percent, compared with only 7.9 percent on White drivers (“Defending Justice Factsheet” 2).

Racism Dilemma

            Although legal protection for the minority groups in United States have claimed to employ immense efforts in minimizing the rates of racism in the country, it is still evident that racism has continued to pose undeniably serious dilemma to American society. Double standards are employed when dealing with issues of Whites compared with those of the people of color in almost all sectors. For example, the media response to the plight of African Americans victims of crime compared to treatment of White victims shows lots of discrimination or favoritism. Although 81,000 Blacks were victims of different kinds of crimes perpetrated by Whites in 1986, the presidential campaigns on media had greater focus on crime among the Blacks, ignoring their plight and seeing them more as perpetrators (Molnar 72). With structures that continue to work in favor of racism, American minorities will continue to suffer in the hand of their fellow Americans just because they are not White. Judgment by the skin color as opposed to content of character, as Martin Luther King would put it, is not an issue of the past, but very present in United States. 

Conclusion  

            Racism is not a thing of the past only in United States but has continued to haunt many people of color across the country. Racial sentiments are common to come by in United States. After the election of President Obama into office, one author went into a club in her neighborhood in Florida and heard a person comment, “Well if a nigger can be president, then I can have another drink” (Arnade par. 1). If one would be bold enough to call his president a nigger in a public place, it shows the level of intensity of racial mind among the Americans. Arnade had grown in the country characterized by racism, and had suffered many times because of her skin color. During childhood, their car was shot at and severally some Whites threatened to burn their house because of the father’s involvement in civil rights’ war. Many years later, blacks continue to suffer as a result of the many years of intensified racism. People of color were denied opportunities then, which led to many being unable to educate their children, thus cycles of poverty have continued for many decades. Biased arrests and imprisonments by justice systems, denial of opportunities, biased view of people of color, racial sentiments, and unequal treatment of minority groups are just but a few racial profiling aspects evident in modern United States.

Work cited

American Civil Liberties Union & the Rights Working Group. “The Persistence of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States.” A Follow-Up Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 2009. PDF file.

Arnade, Chris. America is still a deeply racist country. The Guardian. January 12, 2014. Web. 26 Jan. 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/12/america-racism-subtle-dangerous-new-york>

Aspen Institute. “Structural racism and community building.” The Aspen Institute roundtable on community change, June 2004. 1-49. PDF file.

Defending Justice Factsheet. How is the criminal justice system racist? Political Research Associates, 2005. PDF file.

Human Rights Watch. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. May 2000. “Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs: Section VII, Racially Disproportionate Drug Arrests.” 16 June 2004. Web. May 26, 2015. <http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/usa/>  

Lawrence, Keith, & Keleher Terry. “Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities. Poverty Outcomes Structural Racism.” Applied Research Center at UC Berkeley For the Race and Public Policy Conference, 2004. PDF file.

Mellissa, Harris. Can we? A brief history of American racism. September 16, 2009. Web.  25 Feb. 2015. <http://www.thenation.com/blog/can-we-brief-history-american-racism#>

Molnar, Alex. Racism in America: A continuing dilemma, 1989. PDF file.

Press Release. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). “Immigration Raids and Detentions: Sen. Menendez Makes Major Speech on Senate Floor.” June 11, 2008. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. <http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=299036>

Williams, Mary. Racism. New York, NY: Greenhaven Press, 2005.