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Monday, December 19, 2011

Racism in the world

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Racism is a long, drawn out problem in the world. Every person living on this Earth deserves basic respect, no matter gender, race or religion. People of color suffer because of racism. They live with daily effects of institutional racism and individual racism. Affirmative action is a policy or program aimed at countering discrimination against minorities and women, especially in employment and education.


Racism must stop and affirmative action is a good system that will help.


Granted, “two wrongs dont make a right; if it was wrong to treat African Americans unfairly, it is wrong to give African Americans preference and thereby treat whites unfairly. However, this objection to affirmative action is just a version of forgetting and rewriting history. The adverb unfairly suggests two more or less equal parties, one of whom has been unjustly penalized by an incompetent umpire. Racists discriminate against African Americans and treat unfairly. The African American society lived through slavery, and then decades of second-class citizenship, widespread legalized discrimination, economic persecution, educational deprivation, and cultural stigmatization. The “white” American society bought, sold, killed, beat, raped, excluded, exploited, shamed, and scorned African Americans for a very long time. The word unfair is hardly an adequate description of African Americans’ experience, and the belated “gift of fairness, in the form of a resolution no longer to discriminate against them legally is hardly an adequate remedy for the deep disadvantages that the prior discrimination produced. When society stacks the deck against one person, let alone one group of people in more ways than anyone can even count, it is small consolation to hear that the victimized citizens are now free to enter the game and take their chances.


Although, the truly democratic way is to have a level playing field to which everyone has access and where everyone has a fair and equal chance to succeed on the basis of his or her merit. On the other hand, these words conceal the facts of the situation as it has been given to us by history. The playing field tilts in favor of those by whom and for whom it was constructed in the first place. If mastery of the requirements for entry depends upon experiences in the mainstream majority, if the skills that make for success are nurtured by institutions and cultural practices from which the disadvantaged minority has been systematically excluded, if the language and ways of comporting oneself that identify a player as one of us are alien to minorities lives, then words like fair and equal are cruel jokes. The playing field already tilts, and resistance to altering it by the mechanisms of affirmative action is in fact a determination to make sure that the present imbalances persist as long as possible.





Moreover, in a 11 broadcast of the ABC program PrimeTime Live, a stunning fifteen-minute segment reporters and a camera crew followed two young men of equal education, cultural sophistication, level of apparent wealth, and so forth around St. Louis, a city where no one knew either man. The two differed in only a single respect one was white, the other African American. But that small difference turned out to mean everything. In a series of encounters with shoe salesmen, record-store employees, rental agents, landlords, employment agencies, taxicab drivers, and ordinary citizens, the African American member of the pair, people either ignored or gave a special or suspicious attention to him. People asked the African American to pay more for the same goods or come up with a larger down payment for the same car, turned him away as a prospective tenant, rejected him as a prospective taxicab fare, treated him with contempt and irritation, and in every way possible made him feel inferior and unwanted. The inescapable conclusion is that alike though they are in almost all respects, one of these young men, because he is African American, potentially leads a significantly lesser life than his white counterpart. The treatment the African American received from minute to minute chips away at his self-esteem and self-confidence with consequences that most people could not even imagine. As the young man in question said at the conclusion of the broadcast, You walk down the street with a suit and tie and it doesnt matter. Someone will make determinations about you, determinations that affect the quality of your life.


Most importantly, recent attacks on African American people have a ferocity, which appeals police and community organizers alike. On 4 March a 1-year-old Sudanese student, unconcernedly chatting to his white mate on a bus travelling through Wandsworth in south London, was suddenly stabbed in the stomach three times by a white youth brandishing a knife. On 1 March Sunil Mood, a -year-old Asian scriptwriter from London, driving with his fianc�e from Liverpool town center to his sister’s house in Aigburth, was forced off the road and then ambushed by four white people. Sunil was dragged from the car, his face smashed with a beer can as he was pulled towards a metal fence with his attackers shouting ‘spike him, put the Paki’s head on a spike’. The attack left him with cuts under each eye, damage to the back of one eye, bruises and swelling to the head, multiple fractures to his nose, a broken cheek bone, bite marks to his hand and bruises to the upper arms. The attack on 1 March on Chris Cotter, boyfriend of African American triple-jumper. Ashia Hansen, made the headlines because both are well-known. But the frenzied stabbing of Cotter underlines a deep race hatred. Not only was Cotter told during the attack that he should have heeded warnings ‘not to mix with niggers’, but the attackers even sent a letter after the attack threatening to make sure he was killed the next time.


Racism is a horrible tragedy befallen onto the world. It is our job as citizens to insure safe productive lives for others as well as for future generations. People of color live hard lives. They feel inferior to the majority of society. Affirmative action can help make the world equal.


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