“To engage in a serious discussion of race in America, we must begin not with the problems of black people but with the flaws of American society—flaws rooted in historical inequalities and longstanding cultural stereotypes.” (West, p. 6) In the America many people pretend that race does not matter, that racism is a thing of the past. However, racism is not an anachronism, it is a very real part of our everyday lives; and the façade that race is no longer important is a lie we tell ourselves. While some people concede that race does not biologically exist, our society suffers from apathy toward racism: people do not talk about race or racism, and yet our society is incredibly influenced by race. We have programs like affirmative action that acknowledge just how important race and racial inequality are in our society. Thus, through our readings and lectures this semester, we have focused on the fact that racism is a social reality for Americans, and that racism must be studied because it is important to recognize racism as a problem in its own right. Furthermore, we have attempted to understand why race relations in America developed in such a negative manner, and subsequently why racial inequality continues today.
[...] While he is talking about Algeria before independence from France in this quotation, his description of the inequality between the settlers and the natives bears a striking resemblance to the inequality between blacks and white in America. Thus because African-Americans have limited access to good schools, they have limited access to well-paying jobs, and as a result, they are forced to live in ghettos, isolated and hidden from view. Society creates this cycle because American society, in general, refuses to take responsibility for the plight of its poor and underprivileged. [...]
[...] Board of Education ruling, many schools and facilities for blacks are still very much separate from and unequal to those of whites. For example, in 1980 blacks were hypersegregated in sixteen cities, and third of all African-Americans in the United States live under conditions of intense racial segregation”. (The Persistence of the Ghetto, Nancy Denton, and Douglas Massey) Thus a sizeable minority of blacks live in what is commonly referred to as the ghetto, and they are unlikely to have any interaction with whites. [...]
[...] Therefore, racial inequality today is a product of our society's unwillingness to confront a social injustice because that injustice benefits the privileged. While racism still exists, and its presence helps maintain the status quo, it is dangerous to all people, not just to minorities. Because there is no unifying force in the United States, and so many dividing forces, such as race, class, and religion, we as a people do not work together. As seen in the movie different minority groups are distrustful of each other, whites are not held accountable for their actions toward minorities, and as a result of these issues, social unrest erupts. [...]
[...] The “group position” hypothesis states that groups compete for social resources, status, and privilege; therefore, racial group interests are at play in American society. Thus, “in-groups” or whites have an interest in maintaining their privilege over “out-groups” or minorities. Therefore, racial inequality is not an accident in American society; it is a problem that people choose not to solve. (Theories of Intergroup Beliefs and Attitudes, 10/06/05) As the structural view of social inequality states inequality is the product of deliberate actions of people. [...]
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