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Examining Racism in American 21st Century Society

Racism has plagued American society for more than two centuries. Despite the country’s encouraging racial progress, many people still feel relationhips among the different groups have not improved. Approximately one hundred and fifty years after the passing of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in America, yet most black people believe the legacy of the peculiar institution lives on, leading to further disparities (Reece 304).

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Although racism is no longer outrightly practiced as it used to be two hundred years ago, it has evolved and manifested in different forms. For most minority groups, the vile act is observable in access to health, education, leadership position, and treatment by public institutions. Black people have been on record complaining about racial profiling and police brutalities. Many of them have had nasty experiences with the law enforcement officers, with some losing their lives, such as George Floyd. However, racism cut across different groups, including Hispanics, Asians, and other foreigners. The most effective way of fighting racism is through collective community peace and justice projects, which allow people to share, discuss, and find solutions at the local level and even influence federal policies.

Overview of Collective Community Peace and Justice Project on Racism

Racism in America is deeply rooted in the country’s history. Even during the first settlements in Jamestown and Plymouth, the newcomers experienced antagonism from the native tribes. However, the act became a serious challenge during and after the abolishment.

African Americans are among the most affected minority groups due to institutionalized discrimination (Solomon et al. 6). Federal law officially allowed for segregation in 1896 after the Supreme Court verdict confirmed the legitimacy of “separate but equal” state-sponsored schools. Since then, the division between the whites and blacks turned worse (Reece 309). In the 1960s, the passing of Civil Rights Acts attempted to change the situation, but racism had been deeply inscribed into American society. The Black Lives Matter Movement and Black Panther Movement are two major organizations still championing equality.

Nonetheless, black people are not the only minority group facing discrimination in America. For the longest time, the native tribes have been treated as outcasts by the government. In the 1830s, the Indian Exclusion Act was passed to forcefully remove Indian tribes from their ancestral lands to allow settlers to acquire the fertile territories. The government even forced most of the indigenous people into reservations. Many aboriginals are currently struggling with the legacy of mistreatment to their ancestors almost two centuries ago. Asian immigrants also faced the same challenge after the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.

As much as the law prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers, it also denied citizenship to those born in America. Recently, Asian Americans experienced the worst racism after the reports emerged concerning COVID-19 having started from China (Gao and Liu 262). Islamophobia is equally affecting people of Arab descent, especially after Trump’s executive order on the Muslim ban. Thus, racism is a serious issue entrenched in American society that seems to affect almost everyone. The only way to defeat the vice is through collective efforts at the community level.

Action Plan

The primary idea of the Collective Community Peace and Justice Project on Racism is to create awareness, educate, and sensitize on the importance of tolerance and appreciation of diversity. One of the features that differentiate America from other nations is cultural diversity, whose significance is often overlooked. Dissimilarity among people can trigger innovation and creativity. That shows the potential American society has but cannot be tapped due to deep-seated racism (Salter, Adams and Perez 153).

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Teaching people within the community levels about the significance of appreciating the difference among the population is one way to unlock the numerous possibilities. The awareness starts with dispelling and debunking the myths and stereotypes about a specific group of people. Instead, the project would teach the community to treat people as individuals and not generalize based on their color or nationalities. What needs to be understood is that a person acts on their behalf, not for others. Therefore, if someone is a thief, bugler, or criminal, they are so due to their behaviors and not as a member of a particular category of people.

While the project can be done at any other time, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic makes the initiative more necessary. The global crisis is hitting hard on different levels, but people can survive it through community developments. It is during this time of universal turmoil that stereotypes and discrimination have heightened. The loss of income due to the scarcity of jobs that are still operational in the middle of pandemic triggers hate amongst people (Gao and Liu 262).

As discussed in class, peace is vital not only for community and nation-building but also for personal growth. When instabilities, chaos, and conflicts relating to racism are experienced, people, businesses, startups, and sources of livelihoods are disrupted. Hence, it is upon individuals to strengthen both themselves and the community by developing ways to enhance harmony. Practical models such as partner organizations and group or individual initiatives during times of crisis are vital strategies. Furthermore, promoting peace and justice in a community by educating people about racism is a leadership inspiration (Brown 156). Having the ability to impact people’s lives is a sign of stewardship, which is vital in community development.

Due to the guidelines given by the Department of Health, organizing rallies, seminars, and conferences, or any form of meeting where people can congregate is not possible. The only solution left is to interact online through the various platforms. In this project, zoom meetings where individuals would be invited to discuss racism is the most preferred method. Since not everybody can have the chance to join a discussion even when it is open for everyone, the main targets are community leaders and influential people. Artists, musicians, sportspersons, activists, and local politicians make the best panel members due to their statuses and positions.

As it is a project that involves many people, challenges are bound to occur. With most panelists having demanding careers and responsibilities, getting time for zoom discussion can be problematic. Another issue is convincing people about the significance of the initiative. Typically, attracting attention as a student volunteering for community development is not easy. Most people despise youths due to their lack of experience. Hence, the project is promising, but some setbacks can undermine the achievement of the primary objectives.

Reflection

Throughout the semester, my attitudes and perceptions about history have changed over time. Before, I held the view that history does not have any correlation with the present or future. As a result, I perceived the study of history as just a form of learning the past and not a way of seeking solutions to the current problems. Now I am aware that people’s history is intertwined with the future. One can only be comfortable with the present if that individual knows the past in its entirety. Working on racism as the community peace and justice project introduced me to the details of how history influences people’s perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes.

The current challenge of discrimination in American society can be traced back to more than two centuries ago. What began as an attempt to exclude specific individuals from the community has escalated to a persistent problem. The minority groups that experienced racism in the past as still feeling left out. With the current knowledge, there is hope that community initiatives aimed at enhancing peace and justice can lead to equality and consequent end to racism.

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Overall, the community dynamics that contribute to racism include stereotypes. For instance, the common belief among the whites that African American people were not their equals led to the enactment of laws that oppressed and suppressed black people to assume the inferior race unwillingly. Such beliefs are triggered and continue to cause confrontation whenever little provocation is experienced.

The oppressed individuals in the society, not necessarily African Americans, continue to fight against the misguided perceptions, but the success seems elusive. American culture is not ready for equality since people at the community levels are not well-educated about racism. Another community element contributing to discrimination is diversity. Numerous different groups exist in the U.S., with each trying to outdo the other as the dominant one. The resistance from the rest promotes racism. Therefore, the next step is to seek support from state and federal leaders to support more community peace and justice projects.

Works Cited

Brown, K. Steven, et al. “Confronting structural racism in research and policy analysis.” Urban Institute, Washington DC, 2019. Web.

Gao, Qin, and Xiaofang Liu. “Stand against anti-Asian Racial Discrimination During COVID-19: A call for Action.” International Social Work, vol. 64, no.2, 2021, pp. 261-264. Web.

Reece, Robert L. “Whitewashing Slavery: Legacy of Slavery and White Social Outcomes.” Social Problems, vol. 67, no. 2, 2020, pp. 304-323. Web.

Salter, Phia S., Glenn Adams, and Michael J. Perez. “Racism in the structure of everyday worlds: A cultural-psychological perspective.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 27, no. 3, 2018, pp.150-155. Web.

Solomon, Danyelle, Connor Maxwell, and Abril Castro. “Systemic inequality: displacement, exclusion, and segregation.” Center for American Progress, vol. 7, 2019. Web.

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