Racism/ Race term paper 13107

Racism term papers
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The commonality in all the readings was the idea that despite the changes since the Civil Rights Movement, racism continues to surface. The only thing that has changed is that America has become more violent when it comes to racist acts, especially the police. Although it is believed that whites are more aware and sensitive of the unjust treatment that minorities endure not all whites are. According to the readings many whites feel that blacks are treated much better and are making a great deal of accomplishments and therefore racism is declining. Yet when Patricia Williams, an educated, middle class African American, tried to purchase a home in the white neighborhood she was discriminated against. Instead of the bank saying it was her race that was the problem they claimed it was a risk. So what this tells me is that despite what some might believe, discrimination continues to exist and those that are non-whites are not treated equal or fairly.

Taking into consideration all of the accomplishments made by African Americans in American society, I ask why are their lives continuing to be devalued and dehumanized on a daily basis. The United States often comes to the aid of other more primitive countries in an effort to aid those individuals who are being persecuted because of racial or religious differences yet does not practice this at home. The legal system is supposed to protect the civil rights granted to every American ensuring that we all have the right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So why with our troubling race relations in the United States are we not outraged by the lives being claimed daily? Is it because the deaths are African American men?

The first publicized case of police brutality was released on Wednesday, March 26, 1991 about a man named Rodney King. King was exposed to a 50,000 volt taser electric dart gun. He also suffered numerous injuries including being hit 53 to 56 times by officers batons. The bones holding his eye in its right socket were broken and he suffered 11 broken bones at the base of his skull. The incident sparked immense outrage in the African American community calling for immediate justice on behalf of Rodney King. The case caused the first modern day riot that the cities have seen since the Watts riot in the 1960s(Jones,245). This case was one of the more publicized cases but who can forget Tyisha Miller, a 19 year old black woman who was riddled with bullets by four white police officers as she sat in her aunt s car at a gas station on a well traveled intersection.

This is just one of many isolated incidents of police brutality against African Americans being committed all over the United States. Have we evolved much as a society or are we allowing similar practices of the old south? What about the hitchhiker by the name of James Byrd, age 49, an African American man who suffered horribly and vainly after trying to save himself, as he was dragged behind a pick up truck while his head, shoulder and right arm was dismembered from his body. Is this an incident that only happens in a small town like Jasper, Texas? No. Recently there has been a rash of police brutality on African American males. After all police brutality has long been a problem for African Americans. Marvin Jones discussed in his article the way that the police and others see African Americans. African Americans are seen as dirty criminals, savages, predators, and because their black they are proper targets for shooting(Jones, 249). So I ask what has really changed since the Civil Rights Movement? This sounds to me like the same mind set that existed in the 1960 s.

There is so much tension and racial weariness between blacks and whites in the city (and elsewhere) that continues to exist. Just as African Americans bear the burden of presumed criminality in the eyes of police (and news media), whites have their own positive stereotypes. They are everything African Americans are presumed not to be; hard-working, respectful, law-abiding. So when a white person gets in trouble with the law they are less likely to have a violent encounter with the police. When I look at the statistical data collected by John Lamberth that confirms that prejudice still rules the road I can not believe this unfairness continues to take place in 2001. The offense that they committed has been referred to as DWB -driving while black. Blacks were said to be 4.85 times more likely to be stopped as were others(Lamberth,241). My question is how can the police justify these actions, how can they not see this as primitive racial segregation? How can the court see this as a violation of blacks Constitutional Rights, yet take no action against the police for doing it.

Historically, racial minorities, especially blacks have been victim of police brutality. Since the middle of the 19th century a dominant white society maintained race discrimination through a police force ready and willing to use violence against those in minority. So, taking into consideration all of the gross injustices that have been committed, how do we begin to heal and move on with the process of trying to change race relations? The police are treated like elitist members of society, being granted the right to kill and harass based on race, not on justifiable circumstances. The media creates a mockery of violent crimes committed against minority males, especially African Americans. My feelings are that the only recourse is to establish institutional accountability for the police brutality which is happening in our communities. By not holding anyone accountable, Americans condone the senseless killings of young men, just because they re black. These racist acts will continue to promote the actions that I thought were gone years ago.


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