Racial Equality In The Usa Remains A Distant Dream – Discuss

1488 words - 6 pages

Racial equality in the USA remains a distant dream – discuss

The dream of racial equality has taken great steps towards becoming a reality in the past 50 years. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the election of the first black President are counteracted by events such as the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the fact only nine African-American senators have ever been elected to the Senate. In this way although on the surface racial equality appears to be achieved, the reality is that with economic discrimination increasing during the recession, and instances of white flight increasing, racial equality has not yet fully been achieved in the USA.

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Although the election of the first black President of the USA in 2008 can be seen as a triumph for racial equality, it cannot be seen as the turning point of the racial equality dream becoming a reality. It is noteworthy that Obama chose not to run as a ‘black candidate’, nor did he particularly champion Civil Rights in his campaign. This, as well as his distancing from Rev Jeremiah Wright after 2008, shows how the election of black president cannot be seen as the end of racial inequality when that President was not elected on ‘racial’ issues. His election can however be seen as a success of the Civil Rights movement and affirmative action policies of the 60s 70s and 80s, as if it were not for these Obama would not have been presented even with the opportunity to run for President. In this way, although on the surface the election the first black president can be seen as turning the racial equality dream into reality, the real reality is that the majority of the African-American population are still a disadvantaged group. This becomes apparent when studying the economic disparities between blacks and whites in many cities in the USA. The increase in ‘white fight’ in recent years, with whites leaving multicultural economically disadvantaged areas for more prosperous white towns, has led to an increase in the gap between the two races in terms of income. So, Obama’s election and re-election has meant little change for the African-American population as many are still at an economic disadvantage to whites. However, it is questionable whether many truly thought it would as his election campaign never focused on the disadvantage of being part of this 17% population.

African-Americans are now more highly represented in American political bodies than they ever have been before. The number of African-American congressman has doubled between 1984 (Jesse Jackson's rainbow coalition campaign) and 2008 (when Obama run for presidency) from 21 to 42. This can be seen as a result of majority /minority voting districts being created in recent years as before this blacks were manipulated into becoming a minority in their own voting districts. Although this seems like a significant step forward in making racial equality a reality in America in practice up in places where the black population is high all of their local legislatures still do not represent them on an equal basis with whites. It is also a notable point that there had been no black leadership roles within American political bodies until after Obama’s election. However, his incoming Cabinet in January 2009 was the most racially diverse of any administration with the heads of seven of 15 executive departments being from racial minorities. Before Obama, Lyndon B Johnson can be seen as a champion of minority groups within the executive; with the appointment of the first African-American to Cabinet in 1966 and the first African-American to the Supreme Court (Thurgood Marshall) in 1967. This show is...

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