Contrary to some belief, America is not a post racial society. Racism is still present and very much alive. Even though we have made great progress by giving African Americans their freedom and giving them rights, the racism has not died down. Even segregation ended and there were no longer colored only facilities but the racial tension still continues. I think that it will take a very long time before America can truly be a post racial society.
The New Racism is what Bonilla-Silva calls the type of racism that arises after . Race is still very important today. A vast amount of scholars believe in racism-as-prejudice (Bonilla-Silva, 2015). These scholars side with the idea that old-fashioned prejudices from whites declined. If there is in fact a reduction of prejudice how can they explain such a large inequality gap between blacks and whites in issues where race is involved? African Americans are not the only ones affected by racism and prejudice. This includes all people of color. This new racism began because of multiple factors. The first one which was mainly directed towards blacks was that of control. Since blacks moved out of the South in the 1960s there was no longer a way of controlling them like they did during slavery. Second, there was a high demand and social protest for change from different ethnic groups which included: blacks, Chicanos, American Indians, and other minority groups (Bonilla-Silva, 2015). Third, capitalists were scared of all the civil rights movements going on and the race riots so they quickly agreed to change the manner in which racial business was handled.
Lets begin with inequality in housing. According to Bonilla-Silva, residential segregation today is just as prominent as it was in the past. African Americans and Latinos are discriminated against when they are given wrong information. For example, receiving a loan for a house lower than what they deserve based on their credits. These types of discrimination are not easy to detect, this is in part because most people never find out about the actual numbers. The truth comes out when there are audit studies but not because someone complained of inequality. Since this obscured type of new discrimination is not easy to detect it cannot be identified as racial discrimination. Another example with housing and discrimination is being told different information on housing availability.
The job market is no exception to racial discrimination either. Even though the African American middle class has grown, and this is sometimes used as an example of post-racialism; there is still discrimination in their day to day lives. There has not been much advancement for the majority of blacks. They still encounter barriers while going into the labor market. For starters, African Americans make less money than their white counterparts at any comparable level of education. There are still a vast majority of blacks in the unskilled workers category and only a few in managerial positions. The reason for this has to do with employers. They discriminate subliminally without much attention on them. Also African Americans are not prepared for the work force, they get deprived from adequate educations that will give those opportunities for higher paying jobs. There is also discrimination in the screening process which leaves many of them out as possible candidates.
There are monetary differences as well among races. Since the last financial crisis the U.S. experienced, African Americans and Latinos were the most affected. Blacks went from being in the 1/10thpercentile of Caucasian net worth to 1/20thafter the financial crisis (Bonilla-Silva, 2015, as cited in Oliver& Shapiro, 2006). In a 2010 current population report it was found that only 13% of whites were poor, compared to their colored counterparts. There were 27.4% of blacks and 26.5% of Latinos in poverty (Bonilla-Silva, 2015). These statistics are shocking since supposedly America was moving towards a post racial society. This goes to show that there is still a large discrepancy among races. Even though the average wage of African Americans income had decreased during the crisis it did not compare to that of whites. In 2011, Black average income reduced down to 32,229. For whites their income did reduce as well but they were still making 20,000 more than blacks (Bonilla-Silva, 2015).
With the election of the first Black president in 2008, many people thought this was a new lead towards a post-racial era. We can see however from the evidence presented earlier that this is not the case. This racial discrimination affects every one of color not just adults, but the youth as well. According Adriana J. Umana-Taylor ( as cited in Dulin-Keita, Hannon, Fernandez, and Cockerman, 2011) there was an 11.5%-44.2% of Latino children who had witnessed firsthand racial discrimination based on their ethnic background, compared to 94% of Latino adolescents (Adriana J. Umana-Taylor, 2016, as cited in Flores, Tschann, Dimas, Pasch, & de Groat, 2010). Similar numbers were found with black children and middle to late black teens in which numbers were lower in children but relatively high in teens. There was also discrimination found for Asian American and Native American teens, however, there was no data found for children being discriminated in these ethnic groups. It was found that Asians are more likely to report encounters of discrimination than where their African American and Latino counterparts.
Until about age 10, children are not fully capable of understanding that there is a racial difference based on their ethnicity. Children younger than 10 can tell the obvious differences in races like skin color, hair color, etc. It is not until age 10 though, that they can connect these differences with disadvantages in society, such as: social class, and prejudiced views and opinions which are based specifically on ethnic-group membership (Adriana J. Umana-Taylor, 2016, as cited in Quintana, 1998).
This discrimination can have dire effects on the youth that are involved. Some of the consequences of discrimination towards youth can lead to mental health issues especially with high rates of discrimination among teens. Some of the mental problems that can arise are along with depressive attitudes. Discrimination can also lead to problems in academics, such as: lower grades, and less sense of belonging while attending school (Adriana J. Umana-Taylor, 2016). Teens being discriminated are also at higher risks for substance use and abuse and also be more physically aggressive.
Lets talk about racial resentment and whites Racial policy attitudes (Tuch, Hughes, 2011). There were tests done to see what whites thought about blacks. Researchers would request only white participants to see their responses on these questions. Some of these questions included:
Some people think that African Americans have been discriminated against for so long that the government has a special obligation to help improve the living standards. Others believe that the government should not be giving special treatment to African Americans. Where would you place yourself on this scale or havent you made up your mind on this?(Tuch, Hughes, 2011).
There were other questions that asked similar examples in these tests. Participants where then asked to rate on a scale of 1-5 on whether they completely agreed, somewhat agreed, neutral, somewhat disagreed, and strongly disagreed. This test was done two times since one of them was already outdated. The first one was done in 1986, and the second test was done 2008. There were many questions which had high percentages of participants strongly disagreeing with helping African Americans; small percentages were found on people agreeing with what the questionnaires proposed. The results from these questionnaires showed that there had been zero reduction in racial resentment among whites over a 20 year time frame, from 1986-2008 (Tuch, Hughes, 2011). This is yet another example of how racial discrimination is not gone from this country. There is still a strong attitude to not help blacks.
Lets now take it to issues that have been happening more and more frequently; Racial profiling. Although it has been happening more recently, this is not a new issue in America. This has been going on for many years now. Statistics where collected in three countries: Britain, Canada, and the U.S. In the U.S. it showed that blacks and Latinos were nine times more likely to be stopped and frisked by police (Hayle, Wortley, and Tanner, 2016, as cited in Bowling, 2007). Compared to other ethnic groups in New York City. There was also evidence found that African American teens were more likely to be stopped and searched than Caucasian teens where. These stats however, can be misleading because they cant fully show whether minorities where being detained more often because of behaviors they presented or simply because cops were being biased. In order to fix this. Researchers in Toronto Canada gave self-reporting surveys to black youth participants. The survey results showed that even though factors like social class, gender, educational level, and neighborhood were controlled (Hayle, Wortley, and Tanner, 2016); African teens continued to be stopped and frisked by cops compared to their white teen counterparts.
All is not lost, even though it seems like America will not change its ways there are some researchers that say otherwise. The contact hypothesis proposed by Gordon Allport (1954) states that people can learn to be less discriminative if they are exposed to other races. In South African there was a study done to test this hypothesis in which South Africans were asked in their daily lives how much contact they had with whites by using a number scale. One meant no contact at all while a five meant frequent contact (Dixon, Durrheim, Tredoux, Tropp, Clack, Eaton, 2010). The other parts of the questionnaire where how they felts towards whites, how much the members of their race where discriminated against, and also deprivation. Each question had a number scale assigned to it. Their data showed that the quality of interracial contact is very important. If Blacks had more positive contact with whites, then their perceptions of discrimination as a groups were lower, same was found for deprivation. The data also shows that there is no direct relationship between discrimination felt as a group and contact. Instead, this is due to racial attitudes and also the discrimination that each individual felt. This study helped to support and prove the hypothesis of contact. If Blacks had more qualitative interracial contact with whites, then they would feel less discriminated against. Also they would feel that they were not living in a place which was run by racial discrimination and socioeconomic injustice (Dixon, Durrheim, Tredoux, Tropp, Clack, Eaton, 2010).
America is still not post-racial, even with the election of a Black president. There is still much inequality for racial minorities. Some of these inequalities can be seen in wages, jobs, housing and educational access. Children are not safe from discrimination either. Minority youth groups such as: Latinos, Native Americans, Blacks, and Asians have also been discriminated against. Discrimination affects everyone but especially the youth. This is in part because they are still growing and developing. By being discriminated they dont feel like they belong and they are more prone to become depressed and have self-esteem problems. It also shows that Whites attitudes have not changed. They still feel as if the Blacks should not get any type of assistance even though they have been discriminated against for many years. This also proves that whites still hold the same ideology and resentment after blacks were freed. Police are now racially profiling youth. Studies have shown that minorities are more likely to be detained and searched. The evidence does show that it might take America a long time to get past their racial ways, however, there is hope. The contact hypothesis which states that a person can get over their prejudice and discrimination if they have contact with other races. A study done showed exactly this that blacks felt less discriminated against when they had positive contacts with more whites. It might take a long time but it is something that needs to be accomplished so America can finally be a post-racial society.
- Bonilla-Silva, E. (2015). The Structure of Racism in Color-Blind, Post Racial America.American Behavior Scientist,59(11), 1358-1376.
- Bowling, B. (2007). Fair and effective police methods: Towards good enough policing. Scandanavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, Vol. 8 (supl): 17-32..
- Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., Tredoux, C., Tropp, L., Clack, B., Eaton, L. (2010). A Paradox on Integration? Interracial Contact, Prejudice Reduction, and Perceptions of Racial Discrimination.Journal of Social Issues: A Journal of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Vol. 66(2), 401-416.
- Dulin-Keita, A., Hannon, L., Fernandez, J.R., Cockerham, W.C. (2011). The defining moment: Childrens conceptualization of race and experiences with racial discrimination.Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34, 662-682. doi:1080/01419870.2011.535906
- Flores, E., Tschann, J. M., Dimas, J. M., Pasch, L. A., de Groat, C.L. (2010). Perceived racial/ethnic discrimination, , and health risk behaviors among Mexican American adolescents.Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57, 264-273. doi: 10.1037/a0020026
- Hayle, S. & Wortley, S. & Tanner, J. (2016) Race, Street, and Policing: Implications for Racial Profiling.Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, vol. 58(3), 2016, 322-353. University of Toronto Press. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from
- Oliver, M. L., Shapiro, T.M. (2006). Black wealth/White wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality (2ndEd.). New York, NY: Routledge.
- Quintana, S.M. (1998). Childrens developmental understanding of ethnicity and race. Applied & preventative Psychology: Current Scientific Perspectives, Vol. 7, 27-45. doi: 10.1016/S0962-1849(98)80020-6
- Tuch, S. A, & Hughes, M. (2011). Whites Racial Policy Attitudes in the Twenty-First Century. The Continuing Significance of Racial Resentment. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 634(1), 134-152.
- Umana-Taylor, A. J. (2016). A Post-Racial Society in Which Ethnic-Racial Discrimination Still Exists and Has Significant Consequences for Youths Adjustment.Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(2), 111-118.
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