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Emily Goff

UWRT 1104

Professor Campbell

24 November 2018

Racism: Still alive and well?

Racism is not blatant; in fact, it goes on much deeper than the eye can see (Carter &

Murphy). Before now, it was socially acceptable to express racism. People suffered little to

no repercussions for their obscenities. I did some research of my own into what racism was like.

I found myself watching a documentary about racism and how racism wasn’t just focused on

black people it was focused on white supremacist looking down on everyone who wasn’t white

and in power. We now live in the age of social media, whether you like it or not there is no

running and certainly no hiding from vial remarks. As an older generation fades, gives rise to the

new generation with ideologies of legitimate freedom for all, but is everyone exactly free and

equal? I believe that we must first take a look at where it all began in order to have true equality.

Jim Crow laws started around 1877 and these horrendous laws lasted until the 1950’s.

Yes, the constitution that governs the United States deemed a large majority of our population

less than a human. Long before Jim Crow laws were swept by the nation which was adapted by

state after state. Long before Jim Crow, the constitution held it suitable to consider an African

American three-fifths of a person in the eyes of the house seats and population margins. This is

to be considered blatant racism, openly expressed in official documents such as,

the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in efforts to revise the Articles of Confederation


( Now, how could we possibly be living in a fair and equal society for all

today when we still live and breathe by a document that once considered a black man or woman

a partial person?

A movement arouse in the 1950’s for Civil Rights. Around this time is when Jim Crow

laws were officially overturned. This movement was long overdue and inspired by the following

events. In the most historical Supreme Court ruling, Brown vs The Board of Education

overturned Plessy v Ferguson ruling in 1868. This overturned deemed that ‘separate but equal’

was all but true ( The integration process of young African American students into

public schooling was not smooth sailing. About a year later a fourteen-year-old black boy,

Emmett Till, was murdered for ‘cat calling’ a white woman because of a dare. The two men

were acquitted of all charges which caused community outrage. Just a year ago, the woman

admitted to fabricating the harassment claims.

The entire face of the movement, Martin Luther King Jr was a well-educated pastor and

very liked amongst his congregation. Dr. King grew up seeing injustice across the nation.

At twenty-six years old, and in the early stages of this movement Rosa Parks refused to give up

her seat to a white man on public transportation. She was arrested, and the movement called for a

strike against public transportation. Another famous figure head for this movement was,

Malcolm X who met Dr. King. Unlike Dr. King, Malcolm X was not always peaceful. There was

wide spread protest, mostly peaceful lead by Dr. King, sit-ins, and freedom rides were popular.

He also led several successful marches. Dr. King was arrested numerous times for protests

despite them being peaceful, they just did not want him to be heard.

Birmingham, Alabama was known for being abundant in racism, and a home for the

KKK. Dr. King believed this was the starting root of the problem. A peaceful march led to many

African-Americans being hosed, dogs let out on them and police brutality was wide spread. This

led to Dr. Kings March on Washington. This march is where he delivered his well-known ‘I

Have a Dream’ speech, discussing the United States in his eyes, and what it could be. At this

time, the United States adapted federal protections of black voters, and the 1964 Civil

Rights Act. In spite of his peaceful demeanor, and his constant stand for love and community, a

racist hateful man assassinated Martin Luther King Jr, well before the fight for civil rights was


The men in the police force at the time of the 1963 Birmingham Alabama incident could

have just retired within the last ten years. These men trained the men and women in charge of

protecting the citizens of the United States today, passing along their ideologies. Our government

is far from the necessary reforms to make our nation equal for all. Supreme court justices' rule

for a lifetime. It was less than a lifetime ago when they finally ruled separate but equal was unfit.

The United States is a divided nation with people in high places who do not view African

Americans as equal.

The dying generation of Americans who believe in white supremacy and believe

American should be restored back to what is was in the 1900’s is losing its voice. The back bone

of America is losing its leg to stand on, as the younger generations give way for their new

government. In the midst of the civil rights reform there was no real change, no legal action done

to remove racist and white supremacist from power. The government only wished to appease

the protesters but offered no real solution. Black men and women are still brutalized at the hands

of police officers, and said officers walk free for their crimes.

The glass ceiling is a metaphor in our society to describe what hinders women from

achieving equality to men. As of 2017, the wage gap based on gender was at about twenty

percent ( The wage gap for women of color is unsettling. Predictions show that by

2059, a white woman’s pay will likely be equal to seventy-five men. The study also concludes

that it could take until 2124 before black women reach the glass ceiling.

White privilege is overlooked and often goes without discussion but can easily be seen in

media portrays of black and white men. A white man murdered his two daughters, and pregnant

wife. The media posted nice family photos of them all ( Trayvon Martin was a

seventeen-year-old African American boy, he was shot and killed for ‘looking suspicious.’ The

media sought out pictures of him to portray him as a juvenile, going back as far as pictures of

him at eleven-years-old. There is clearly a racial divide in the media as to the way they portray

white criminals, and black victims.

Currently, news articles come out quite often of men falsely convicted of crimes. Just this

year, a man named David Robinson was released from prison, serving nearly eighteen years of a

life sentence. Unreliable evidence is what overturned his conviction, with ignored and repressed

facts for the evidence that proved him innocent ( Robinson is just one instance of

a trend we are beginning to see as a society. This same trend is uncanny to the murder and

injustice Emmett Till suffered decades ago. Emmett Louis Till was a young African-American

who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14, after being accused of offending a

white woman in her family's grocery store. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his

killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African

Americans in the United States. A few days after the body was found the white lady came

forward and said that she fabricated the incident and that it was a lie. A few years ago, I actually

had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. and see the National African American History

Museum. In the museum there was a little tribute to Emmett Till and there was also a video that

described the situation and the pictures were so graphic of his face that many people were in

complete disarray and their eyes were completely opened up to the way he was treated.

The judicial system is not a foundation to see black men in particular succeed. In society,

they are viewed as violent, and this impacts their capabilities of a fair trial. Once a jury is

presented to you, with their mind made up on character based on race there is no changing it.

Diversity is necessary in our legal system but often does not encourage. Within the black

community being a police officer is considered taboo. The painful history between law

enforcement and people of color hinder their efforts to join law enforcement. In the article:

‘Group-Based Differences in Perceptions of Racism: What Counts, to Whom, and Why?’ they

define and explain the misunderstanding between races and the line that crosses over to racism.

Despite many economic difficulties caused by oppression, African Americans have

improved their housing, social economic status, and job status (Thernstorm). This proves despite

setbacks, and an all but helpful government, the black community has raised above expectations

whether or not that’s what Fox News is willing to admit. The progress made with no help or

support from the government is unbelievable but imagine where we would be if as a society we

acknowledged and made efforts to stop the oppression of millions of American citizens. Not

many are willing to accept the fact that a document written by white slave owners may not be

truly equal for all, and far from perfect. Until society accepts its faults in the oppression of black

men and women, there will be racism and inequality. It may not always be seen or heard, but it

will always hinder us as a nation from true greatness. Racism does not allow for a collective

contribution of its citizens, which is a critical component of a country’s development and

success. If a class of people are not allowed to be educated, they cannot make important

contributions to society in technological, economical, and medical arenas. The denial of quality

education to certain groups of people only serves to obstruct the economic progress of a nation. If

a class of people is not allowed to participate culturally, we fail to understand and appreciate our

differences and similarities. We become increasingly ethnocentric. We fail to develop socially,

unable to get along with our fellow man. No matter how hard a society might try to separate

classes or races, the bottom line is that, eventually, we will, at least on some occasions, share the

same space. Therefore, it is imperative that we are accepting, not merely tolerant, of others. The

connotation for tolerance is that one must acknowledge the other, whereas acceptance

encourages complete participation and fellowship (Soapboxie). Its little things like this that make

people not want to be apart of America. For example, the whole border issue with Trump and the

Mexicans. I understand it’s not exactly a popular idea to let them in due to the fact that they may

take away jobs and may take away valuable resources that are being diminished by the second

but does this rally justify us wasting money building a wall just to keep them out. I mean who

knows maybe they’ll have something valuable to offer our country, but we will never know

because our country isn’t open to change and is still close minded, maybe not as much as we

were 100 years ago but there’s still a long way for us to go.

Too many people in today’s society believe we have become ‘too sensitive’. This is all

but true when the reality of the matters is, people are just now being made to see the impact of

their words and actions. These actions divide our society and in efforts to unify the country we

are bringing light to the insensitivities we once allowed. While I was writing this, I reflected on

my visit to Washington D.C. and how badly we as a country mistreated people and how we

justified it by saying that they were black. If we are being honest this country wouldn’t have

survived as long as it has if it wasn’t for black people. We all encourage everyone including

myself to not be so close-minded and look at people for who they are. A wise man once said you

block your blessings when you’re too busy hating others.


Works Cited
● Carter, Evelyn R., and Mary C. Murphy. “Group-Based Differences in Perceptions of

Racism: What Counts, to Whom, and Why?” Social & Personality Psychology Compass,

vol. 9, no. 6, June 2015, pp. 269–280. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/spc3.12181. Accessed

22 Oct 2018

● Thernstrom, Abigail, and Stephan Thernstrom. “Black Progress: How Far We've Come,

and How Far We Have to Go.” The Brookings Review, vol. 16, no. 2, 1 Mar. 1998, p.

12., doi:10.2307/20080776. Accessed 20 Oct 2018

● CBS News. “Missouri Man David Robinson Free after Years in Prison for Murder He

Didn't Commit.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 15 May 2018,

box-murder-sikeston/. Accessed 4 November 2018

● “Documents Related to Brown v. Board of Education.” National Archives and Records

Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, 2010, Accessed 4 November 2018

● “Constitution of the United States (1787).” Our Documents - Interstate Commerce Act

(1887), 1787, Accessed 3

November 2018

● “Racism and Its Effect on Society.” Soapboxie, Soapboxie,