onsdag 11 september 2013

Racial Issues in America

Recently it was the 50th anniversairy for Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. The speech is truly moving and a sign that things were not okay in America. Equal rights were not for all. And so the oppressed and discriminated African Americans at that time marched for civil rights, freedom etc. One can obvious see that times have changed but I'm not so sure if the struggle is over YET... You know, you look at America today and might think "hmm it's allright" " it's not like before"..or hey! Their president is even African American, that's a huge change, isn't it? I mean a black person that is head of state, that is serious.. yet I'm still not very sure about the struggle being over.. Many things have changed but some parts are still a dream. I'm not going to go through the whole "I Have A Dream" speech even if I'd like to, however I'll just copy excerts from it.

"But 100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land."

Okay, call me cynical but I don't believe it is totally changed. Fine, segregation laws don't exist but people today are still living the aftermath of those laws and those living conditions. I recentöy saw a documentary "Crips and Bloods Made in America", which is a great and interesting documentary. Seeing this, it all becomes pretty clear how and why things are the way they are today. It is all an aftermath of the horrible inhumane treatment that African Americans endured during that time. People today are still isolated in their neighbourhoods, these are the places that their mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers were placed and so they are also there today. I don't think it is rational for people to say, "oh, but you can get out, those laws do not exist". Those types of statements are 
truly irritating and show a lack of intelligence. 

How are you supposed to get out and make it if you don't have an education, money or some kind of talent. I mean people think about it. And cutbacks are made in schools which means that the quaöity of education might differ depending on where in America you live. The NEA states that education issues must be aggressively addressed. They said that 72 % of Blacks aged 25 and older w registred to have a high-school diploma in the 2000 census compared to 85% of Whites. And 14% of Blacks with Bachelor's degrees compared to Whites 27%. One can discuss and wonder about these numbers. Why is it that one is lower while the other isn't. There are many answers to this but I believe that the social and economic factors play a role in this issue. It actually is highly depending on what circumstances each person has. Furthermore the NEA says, and I quote:

The performance of Blacks is systematically different from that of other racial and ethnic groups. Decreasing gaps in student achievement means that we must increase the learning gains of Blacks. This will require the creation of public policies and legislation that support public schools committed to identifying and setting high, worthwhile, and attainable goals for students and ensuring that teachers and students are supported in these efforts." 

What does this mean? Basically they are saying that the situation is not good. Circumstances for Blacks are still not okay. You see, "we must increase the learning gains of Blacks" meaning that the learning gains of Blacks aren't that favourable. And the citation also states that there is a need to create public policies and legislation that support public schools which are committed to identifying and setting high worthwhile and attainable goals. And also support for teachers and students. This must mean that students and teachers are not fully supported in their work. Now, the quality of education could be increased on all levels everywhere in America, but it is a serious issue when people are not provided with the same opportunities. Then it is not so surprising that there is a vast difference in percentages when it comes to the educational level. The people are not even provided with the same tools to educate and get educated!
I mean seriously people who say get up and do this please try to see the facts and circumstances before you utter something about other peoples situations. Ok, as I said before things are not EXACTLY like things were before. Signs (white's only) have been put down, interracial marriages are legal, schools are integrated, black president etc etc.. and the list is long.. I read a passage from Huey P. Newton's book "Revolutionary suicide". Call him a communist whatever you want but he is one of the smartest leaders to ever have lived. In a passage he described the living conditions when growing up. And something struck my mind. If this is how Blacks were living at that time what was the hope for the future? IF you take away a law it does not mean that there is REAL change. For example, the grandchildren and great grandchildren of people around him at that time, would grow up in these neighborhoods and areas. That means that the children of the future (people of my generation and my parents generation) would carry the legacy of all the injustices their parents and grandparents have suffered through growing up in still segregated areas. Meaning that it does not matter if you abolish a segregation law or allow you to sit at the same restaurant as someone else because even if the laws does not exist, the racist mindsets of people would live on for generations, hindering development of the community. Right? This is evident in the documentary "Made in America bloods and crips". I highly recommend this documentary as it brings up problems of the Black community and problems that arises when the mindsets of the society are not changed. When I talk about the society I'm referring to everything that it constitutes such as police forces, lawyers, judges, social services, employers, the sales lady in the store, the school system..citizens of society.. yes everything in society that is needed in order for it to function democratically. The documentary really explains why Black are being treated as they are and have been. And you get to the understanding that the historical legacy is a huge part of the explaining and a portion of psychology to understand why and how people act when they are forced to certain living standards. 
Dr. King's dream was that we would live in a color free world  but that is still not the case today. Afrophobia is still very present today. I mean look at what happened to Trayvon Martins (God bless his soul) and worse look at the verdict the murderer Zimmerman is free. 
This documentary goes all the way into the 90's! That's recent. So what I want to say is that people who are obliviously using stupid arguments to blame Black for their living conditions or lifestyle need to take a time trip back to really understand. If you ask me parts of the dream is still a dream. it's still a dream that is waiting to come true...