Racial discrimination has remained a controversial issue throughout the evolution of America’s history. Inequality, prejudice, and racial disparities have developed across a number of areas such as family formation, employment levels, ethnic violence, housing, health, schooling, judicial rulings, and incarceration rates. The United States is a nation of immigrants. Most individuals who have African roots in America are a product of African slaves. The coexistence of people from different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities has powered the American society to establish on brutal dominancy, oppression, and inequality. As the study shows, racism has profoundly affected the lives of African-Americans and other racially oppressed groups in the United States.
Race Relations: Then and Now
America has come a long way in terms of improvement of race relations. A lot has changed since the 1960s in terms of race relations. The demise of the legalized racial segregation led to the reduction of blatant racism that was based on skin color. Over the last 60 years, surveys to study the perceptions of the whites towards the blacks show a steady trend of positive attitudes towards racial equality and integration (Levin 2). However, human nature remains the same since old vices have only traded in for new ones. Despite the fact that most Americans support the idea of racial equality, not everyone believes that the country has overcome poor racial relations. A survey carried out in a 1995 Washington post opinion poll revealed how 67 percent of the blacks and 38 percent of the whites stated that racism was still a big problem (Williams 14).
As a result, many whites felt that racial discrimination was the drawback behind socioeconomic problems. The survey also revealed that African-Americans strongly believed that discrimination remained the major reason for their unsuccessfulness. According to Williams, voting for the rights of African-American against racial discrimination is still a reality in the United States. It is true that most white Americans regard private acts of racial discrimination as unattractive and outdated. According to them, such acts do not constitute any form of oppression that can require public elimination policies. On the contrary, studies disclose that incompleteness of social transformation of racial inequality, prejudice, and oppression remains a stalemate in the American society in nearly half a century after the abolishment of racial segregation. Nevertheless, significant progress has been done in terms of ending racial injustice despite the evident disparities between Native Americans and African-Americans, which remain substantial.
Extend of Equality between Blacks and Whites
There is still a lot of work left undone regarding equality between the blacks and whites. Nevertheless, it will be wrong to conclude that the situation is just as bad as it was before the civil rights movement. The 2008 election of President Barrack Obama as the first black president is a reflection of how racial alignment has changed over time. However, racial disproportionality was still evident from the reactions of the Republican presidential rallies. Use of phrases such as “Kill Him!” or “Terrorist!” was a sign of the existing political prejudice between the whites and blacks (Levin 6). For many Americans, the United States remains a land of unequal opportunity. Today, many black families still reside in secluded highlands of poverty. Massive numbers of children from the black families attend schools in racially and economically segregated vicinities (Levin 9).
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The civil rights Act of 1964 aimed at ending racial segregation and discrimination in America, thus creating unparalleled political power and economic mobility opportunities for the blacks. In addition, it added a non-tolerant social norm that did not condone bigotry and blatant discrimination (Williams 28). The civil rights Act of 1964 overwhelmed many African-Americans since it enforced their constitutional rights to vote while at the same time providing them with injunctive relief against discrimination in accommodation, education, and health facilities. In addition, the law commissioned a provision for equal employment opportunities for all Americans.
The Act not only enhanced programs such as affirmative action, but also paved way for the voting rights Act of 1965. However, the commissioning of the Act did not mark the end of racial segregation. Whites from the south used both lawful and unlawful means to deny the black southerners their constitutional rights. African-Americans in the north lived in the worst urban vicinities as their children attended the poorest urban schools (Williams 29).
Race Relations Act 2000
Race relations Act 2000 is a recent policy document that was formulated by the United States government. It came into work on 1 October 2010. To strengthen the legal framework that was meant to promote equality and racial integration, the Act consolidated 116 pieces of legislation into a single act. The equality Act protects American citizens against sexual, racial, and religious discrimination. The Act also captures legislation that is concerned with discrimination of disabled or physically handicapped people (Dichter, Hitchins, and Howse 5). The Act allows an employer to demonstrate proportionate measures in the process of hiring employees, irrespective of their racial backgrounds. It also requires employers to ensure that employees meet minimum requirements for particular positions. This law enforcement has so far presented a powerful step towards a foreseeable equality and economic stability for the United States (Dichter, Hitchins and Howse 6).
Contemporary versus Old Civil Right Leaders in the American Society
Civil rights leaders of today compare to those of the past in that both champion for the rights of people, democratic leadership, and racial equality. The evolution of civil rights in the American politics is due to inherent desires of American leaders to fight for democracy. Americans of the white color origin had developed a strong sense of disempowerment, blatant discrimination, and oppression of the black-skin Americans (Jones 2). Discrimination and oppression together with deprivation of power forced African-Americans to seek independence and full participation in the American political arena. During the 1920s and 1930s, American W.E.B. Du Bois, a black prolific scholar and political thinker, and Booker T. Washington who is an educator, reformer, and the most influential black leader of his time became accountable for the civil rights of the black people (Karson 13).
On 28 August 1963, Martin Luther King, an activist and a champion of great principles, summoned all his supporters to the greatest mass-protest demonstration in the history of the United States. He addressed them to think anew about the heritage and the future of the United States. This move resulted in the adoption of a revolutionary stance by the blacks, especially from the North. Presently, African-Americans can freely exercise their rights to vote and present themselves as electoral candidates. Decades after King Luther’s assassination, racial divisions and oppression persist (Jones 3). Successive civil and human rights activist including Philip Randolph who bolstered the economic and political rights continued to fight for the freedom of African-Americans. Philip Randolph used mass action campaigns that helped dominate the civil rights movement. Later, John F. Kennedy used federal legislation to strengthen civil rights as a means to racial equality (Karson 121).
In the present-day America, civilization has changed the face of fighting for racial integration. The blacks belong to the elite society, contrary to the 1960s situation. The fight for freedom is more civilized. Leaders, including the blacks or whites, no longer use flagrant means to align people with race (Karson 21). African-Americans have learned to seek freedom through self-liberation and legal actions, with less stigmatization. The present-day president of the United States still fights for the equality of American citizens. His historic stand for equality is a succession of most of the former leaders of America.
The United States is a nation in which people live with dominant philosophies that embrace dogmas of widespread opportunity, personal accountability, and principles of equity. Although the United Stated is dedicated to writing to demonstrate racial equality and integration, there is a long way towards the implementation of these ideas. Nevertheless, the American civil rights movement left a legacy on the American society since the blatant forms of racial discrimination and oppression ended. Similarly, racial violence and the unsubstantiated denial of rights declined over the years. However, the civil rights movement failed to account on many aspects. Therefore, racial inequality persists. Therefore, America remains in dire need for more research on racial dynamics.
Dichter, Mark, Christopher Hitchins, and Matthew Howse. “The Equality Act 2010: What’s All the Fuss About?” Connecting Knowledge and People 33.1(2010): 5-8. Print.
Jones, Bernie. “Critical Race Theory: New Strategies for Civil Rights in the New Millennium?” Harvard Black Letter Law Journal 18.1(2002): 2-5. Print.
Karson, Jill. Opposing Viewpoints In World’s History: The Civil Rights Movement, 2004. Web.
Levin, Shana. Compelling Interest: Social Psychological Evidence on Race and Racism. 2014. Web.
Williams, Mary. Race Relations: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, California: Relations Front Matter, 2001. Print.