The Issue of Race and Ethnic Groups

Subject: History
Pages: 5
Words: 1308
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College

The issue of race and ethnic groups has been ongoing for many years, decades, even centuries now. It is an inseparable part of American history and should never be ignored or forgotten by the society we live in. Sadly, the race question has been exploited by ideology so often that even nowadays it is not always considered a social construct. The idea of race has helped to create laws that seem severe and unfair now, but there was a time when these laws were part of the Constitution, neither questioned nor doubted. Slavery, racial segregation, racism, and discrimination were supported by law for some period of time: one can recall ‘black codes’ of the years 1865 and 1866, or the Indian Nonintercourse Act, miscegenation laws, Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and many others. It may seem that these times belong to the past and have no connections to our present and future; as a matter of fact, the United States has only begun its path to the future without discrimination and racism.

If racism and discrimination were once supported by law, it is not easy to abandon these concepts and construct a new society that would be completely free of prejudices. But if the law has had such an impact on the citizens of the US, it could also play its role in demolishing the remaining discrimination. In the past years, several laws (e.g. New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act or the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002) directly addressed the issue of racial discrimination and aimed to protect citizens from possible violations of their rights. What other laws or policies could help the Constitution establish real equality between the citizens? So far, a society without any racial discrimination seems to be utopian; however, the law can encourage institutions or organizations to prevent any discrimination during the working process and award certain penalties to those who violate the rules. Affirmative action, although seen as a controversial tool or reverse racism by some, is also a good legal encouragement to form diverse groups and help minorities overcome possible career barriers. Historic inequality, although often forgotten, is addressed directly by such policies; they remind us that progress still needs to be made.

The American nation becoming apartheid seems only possible if history repeats itself and apartheid based on white supremacy emerges once again. Although there are speculations about the possible apartheid of black and brown communities in the future, I do not find it possible since these groups are still oppressed, both by the law and institutions or some citizens. The recent events in Ferguson, the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, and others indicate that the elimination of racism against blacks and browns is far from over, so no apartheid is possible. As to political alliances, it seems more probable that the blacks and browns will unite in one alliance to pursue their similar goals rather than compete with each other. A good example is the movement BLM (Black Lives Matter) that united international communities and groups of blacks and browns (and others) to fight against systematic racism.

The segregation of white Americans is possible but not on a large scale because some parts of the white population in America are contributing to the BLM and other movements that address the issue of racism. Nevertheless, the opponents of such movements and affirmative action may create a community that will criticize and argue against the ideas supported by the BLM and others; this might lead to serious tensions in society, clashes even. The paradox of such a situation (everyone deserves to express an opinion, but the line between an opinion and discrimination is not always evident) could be solved by the Constitutional Law that clearly grants equal protection for everyone. Recent history shows that the law is regularly violated, even in the XXI century, so new policies that could protect citizens need to be examined. Gun laws in the United States are discussed and criticized in light of recent events; it seems that more severe restriction is required to avoid tragic deaths and hate crimes. It is true that the restriction will impact the self-defense of citizens, but, as other nations have proven, it is possible to maintain safety even when owning a gun is severely restricted by the law.

Class warfare is a complicated matter that involves ethnic groups, the economic system, the form of government, human rights violations, and other issues. The class warfare, although usually based on racism (among others), can be at least partially prevented by the laws that will protect vulnerable populations, increase the minimum wage, and, possibly, bring back the luxury tax with certain revisions as its variations were proven effective in France, the United Kingdom, and China.

The future of any country is determined by its citizens, sometimes the younger ones. The education system needs a serious transformation to bring new leaders to society. The high-performance standards need to be reviewed; the high grades do not need to have the top priority in the eyes of students; the individuality and creativity, support of trustworthy and understanding teachers who strive to raise a person and not a studious novitiate should be the targets of the new education system. Technology’s impact on modern children cannot be ignored: they may have become more distracted, but they also learn much more quickly than previous generations. The technology will evolve, but if it is not exploited by humans against humans, it will never become humanity’s master.

As the movements for the rights of black and brown people have already shown, their societies are ready to take responsibility for political actions and suggestions. There are thousands of talented lawyers, politicians, teachers, economists, and other professionals from diverse ethnic groups who could address the problems the white Americans overlooked; moreover, it could also crush the judgments of opponents by showing them what changes a diverse group of politicians and policymakers may bring.

Although the Fortune 500 (the CEOs of the 500 biggest corporations) mostly consist of white leaders, five of them are black, e.g. Ursula Burns (Xerox) or Merck Kenneth (Frazier). Overall, the black and brown citizens obtain high positions every year, and, although their number is still relatively small compared to white citizens, they obtain such elite positions as vice president of The Harley-Davidson Foundation (Tonight M. Calaway), senior vice president of Abercrombie & Fitch (Todd Corley), senior vice president of the Commercial Group Moody’s (Arlene Isaacs-Lowe), etc. So the question is not if they will be part of the corporate leadership (they already are) but if there will be more of them in the future. Of course, corporate America is still predominantly white but with the Browning of America, it will certainly change, especially if the quota for diverse groups will also be applicable for corporate leadership.

The world of business and international affairs is still open to the future racial majority; sadly, due to racial bias, some customers are not inclined to trust a business person only because of their skin color. The problem of black and brown people’s presence in business and foreign affairs is bound to racism and discrimination that was the base of American law for too long. Nevertheless, the great example of the progress in these fields is you, Mister President, and other people of color who represent the United States in various government institutions and businesses. In order to offer a strong place for the black and brown majorities, the world of business needs to eliminate the prejudices and bigotry of the people who rule it, possibly with the help of severe law penalties for discrimination among the elite. Only then the world of business will present equal opportunities for everyone, and the question of race and skin color will be forgotten.