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Racism in the United States of America


Racism is one of the most controversial issues in the United States. For many decades, the matter has been hotly debated in various fields to find a lasting solution. The stories of Emmett Till and Christian Cooper are both cases of racism that manifested in different ways. Till was murdered for flirting with a white woman in 1955 while a white woman called the police on Cooper for bird watching in the park. The incidents happened more than 50 years apart, and they are proof that racism is a serious issue in American society that needs to be addressed comprehensively.

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Comparison of Incidents

Both incidents have several similarities and differences. The similarities include false accusations, discrimination based on skin color, and injustice perpetrated by the justice system. In both cases, the victims were falsely accused; Till was accused of touching, threatening, and harassing Carolyn Bryant while Cooper was accused of threatening Amy Cooper who had let her dog off the leash. Till was brutally murdered because he was an African American man living in the south at a time when racial segregation was at its worst (Emmett Till is murdered, 2020). On the other hand, the woman called the police because Cooper was African American (Griffith, 2018). His skin color was the main motivation behind the 911 call and the false accusations. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system failed to serve justice. Till’s murderers were declared innocent while in Cooper’s case, the police declined to press charges based on the argument that the case was petty and the district attorney would not prosecute it. They argued that they had “bigger fish to fry.”

The cases had a major difference as one involved physical violence and the other did not. Till was beaten, tortured, and shot in the head by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam (Emmett Till is murdered, 2020). On the Contrary, Cooper was not physically abused by the accuser but was threatened with a police call (Griffith, 2018). The woman used intimidation to scare away Cooper.

White Privilege

White privilege is evident in both incidents from the way the justice system handled the case. Bryant and Milam were acquitted by a jury that declared them innocent as the city had failed to identify the body (Emmett Till is murdered, 2020). Police officers were hesitant to pursue Cooper’s case because to them, it was a petty matter that the district attorney would decline to prosecute (Griffith, 2018). The only action taken was by the woman’s employer who fired her for the unethical actions. The perpetrators were protected from persecution for being white.

Overt and Covert Racism

Overt racism is a type of racial discrimination that is observable, unapologetic, and conducted directly through the use of negative attitudes, language, and actions. In contrast, covert racism is subtle and disguised through passive techniques. This form of discrimination is usually rationalized as it involves hidden decisions and actions that are conducted subliminally (Foster, 2017). Till’s murder was a form of overt racism because the perpetrators did not conceal their actions and they were unapologetic (Emmett Till is murdered, 2020). Cooper’s case involved covert racism because his accuser used subtle means (intimidation) disguised as fear for her life. She used threats of calling the police on Cooper and accused him of intimidating her (Griffith, 2018). I have never been the victim of or perpetuated any of these forms of racism. I believe in human equality as provided in the Constitution of the United States of America. Skin color or place of origin is not a sufficient reason to discriminate against anyone.

Solutions to Racism’s Negative Impact in America

Three solutions to mitigate the negative effect of racism in the US include improved awareness regarding personal prejudices, involvement in advocacy initiatives, and the enactment of anti-racial legislation and policies. Every person needs to examine their biases toward other races that might have originated from the media, the environment in which they grew in, or peers (Foster, 2017). Examining the messages that were received during childhood and their relationship with racial stereotypes and prejudice could help to ensure equality for all (Foster, 2017). People need to participate in programs and initiatives that promote racial equality at the state and national levels. According to Foster (2017), engaging other people in discussions about racism and injustice can be effective in addressing the matter. Individual states should enact laws that impose hefty fines and penalties for individuals who are found guilty (Griffith, 2018). The annihilation of white privilege and the embracement of racial equality are key aspects that should be considered in the drafting of mitigation laws.


Racism is a serious problem that has affected American society for many centuries. It can be perpetrated in an overt (direct) or covert (indirect) manner. The foregoing discussion explores both forms and how white privilege denied victims justice. The use of false accusations and threats are common ways used to perpetuate racism. Till and Cooper were discriminated against because of the color of their skin and the racial prejudices that their accusers held. America must increase advocacy for equality and enact more stringent laws to mitigate the negative effects of racism in the country.

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Emmett Till is murdered. (2020). Web.

Foster, G. (2017). Silent terrorism: A look at American racism and hypocrisy. Page Publishing Inc.

Griffith, J. (2018). NYC officials call for police probe of white woman’s 911 call on black man in Central Park. NBC News. Web.

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