“Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason…” (Heschel). Formidable words said by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel during a speech in 1963 in the midst of a monumental time in history, the Civil Rights movement. A movement which called for freedom and justice in America, for all men alike, and made great strides in its purpose.
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Yet still over half a century later America is still plagued with the prejudices of its ancestors causing conflict and resentment among Americans for simple reasons such as the color of one’s skin. For this reason, the social development of America has suffered and to some extent the economy has indirectly affected. The racism that still exists in America needs to end because it creates hate and divide, encourages intolerable behavior, and it is detrimental to society’s advancement. Racism can be defined as the discrimination of, or prejudice towards, a person based on their superficial genetic characteristics.
The concept of racism emerged as early as 1902 as a policy imposed on Native Americans (Bowser 527). In the 1930s when Jews were tyrannized by Hitler and again in the 1960s when Martin Luther King Jr encouraged the fight against the persecution of African Americans, the perception of racism transformed and amplified. Over the years, though the blatant display of racism is perceived to be on a decline, it seems “… that racial inequality is still produced in a systematic way …” (Bonilla-Silva 1363). Bonilla-Silva asserted that racism has formed a social hierarchy that creates an advantage for one group over another due to “… relations at a social, political, economic and ideological levels” (1360). This formed a network that is demonstrated by studies which show that African Americans are “12 times more likely to be wrongly convicted of drug-related crimes than [white Americans]” (Mercado).
As racism has created a systematic divide among Americans, it has fostered an environment of inexcusable and intolerable behavior. In the past year, there have been multiple occasions where the beast of racism has reared its ugly head. Instances where African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities are subject to racial biases nationwide. As a result, conducts such as racial profiling, which is “the use of race or ethnicity by law enforcement officials [and at times civilians] as a basis for judgment of criminal suspicion” (Hackney and Glaser 348), has become widespread. A conduct which Hackney and Glaser demonstrated was counterproductive and may actually cause further crime; in a controlled experiment of 229 students “… r?esearch participants given a task involving extremely difficult anagrams were given the opportunity to cheat. White participants randomly assigned to a condition in which two Black confederates were obtrusively singled out for scrutiny by the study administrator cheated more than Whites in a White-profiling condition and a no-profiling control condition, and more than Black participants in all three conditions.”
One could argue that acts like racial profiling helps prevent criminal activity (Hackney and Glaser 348) or that there are laws like Equal Employment Opportunity that are designed to give minorities an unbiased chance. Yet still minorities are still subject to unfair treatment. There should be no need to justify as to why racial profiling and racism as a whole, should end. “Racial profiling [and racism is unlawful] because it violates the civil liberties of minorities and leads to their overrepresentation in the U.S criminal justice system” (Hackney and Glaser 348). Mercado states “58% of prisoners are Black or Hispanic, despite making up 1?4 of the U.S population, Asian American homebuyers are shown 20% fewer homes than White homebuyers and in 2013, the unemployment rate for Black college [graduates] was almost twice as high as the rate for [graduates] overall.” This also goes to show that racism is prevalent and detrimental to society’s advancement. This poses a threat to the future of all Americans.
The concept of race is the reason for the issue of racism (Bonilla-Silva, 1359) and because of this structural or systemic partiality exists. The racism that still exists in America needs to end because it creates hate and divide, encourages intolerable behavior, and it is detrimental to society’s advancement. The ultimate decline and extinction of racism in America is essential for its social, political and economic advancement.
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