The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line

by Sammy Eklund, July 2015

600 words

2 pages


The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line

Several decades ago, racism was one of the most controversial topics in American political discourse. After the adoption of Affirmative Action programs by the US government, African Americans were granted equal rights with the rest of the country’s population to education and fair treatment in the labour market. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the constitutional right of any individual to vote cannot be questioned because of their color of skin, illiteracy, or errors in documents requisite to voting (Civil Rights Act, 1964, p. 1). It proves that institutional racism is impossible in today’s America. On the contrary, every institution, public or private, which fails to ensure minorities’ rights, risks being sued and forced to pay enormous fines. Discrimination has become not only politically unacceptable but also economically disadvantageous.

At first sight, it is evident that the color line has ceased to split American society, majority-minority relations having at last normalized. But one should not jump to conclusions. On the one hand, racial discrimination is not a legal problem in the USA anymore. On the other hand, it remains an important social problem, still wating for solution. For example, many African Americans still grow up in ghettos, knowing very little about the outside world. In their childhood, they live in bad conditions and have virtually no access to education and other benefits provided by the state. Therefore, their chances of success in their adult lives are considerably diminished. All these factors raise crime rates in districts inhabited mainly by racial minorities. Of course, granting all citizens equal civil rights was a necessary and timely step, but it did not make interracial relations in the USA as trouble-free and unclouded as some expected. As some politicians suggest, social implications of segregation still make their presence known, although this disgraceful practice was abolished more than 40 years ago. In his book “The Death of the West”, P. Buchanan adduces a series of examples speaking in favor of this point of view. He states that most interracial crimes in the USA are committed by African Americans against Whites, and not vice versa. African Americans, constituting only 12 percent of America’s population, are responsible for approximately 42 percent of grave crimes in the country, thus being a major source of disquiet for members of other ethnic groups (Buchanan, 2002, pp. 101-106). Nobody denies the immense contribution African Americans made to American culture, but one must acknowledge that racial minorities have not as yet been fully integrated into American society.

Answering the initial question of the assignment, one might say that the color line still divides the USA into two parts. During the presidency of L. Johnson discrimination was successfully eliminated from the legal system, nevertheless persisting in the social and cultural sphere. In order to solve this problem, Americans of both European and African descent must give up their old prejudices and make a step towards one another. Whites should not view …

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