Jun 17 Are We a Racist Country?
This question probably seems like it came out of nowhere. But today, moments ago, I was watching CNN and there was an interview and a Democratic representative from Georgia was asked “are we a racist country?”. A Republican senator (Tim Scott, South Carolina), the only Black Republican senator to have spoken on this, says that we are not a racist country. They got me to thinking, are we a racist country? Here are my thoughts:
Constitutionally, as it stands today, we would appear to not be a racist country. Women and minorities have equal rights. Legislation has been passed at the federal level in support of the rights of those who are not White so that they are equal with those who are. However, from its inception and through all the ratifications of the US Constitution, there are clear signs that we were a racist country. Based on our laws, our rules and each generation’s reality, we have clearly been a racist country. We’ve been racist to our own citizens, including and especially to our Black Americans. We’ve been racist to those who are not a part of this country but who live here, including and especially to Latin Americans. During World War II, we were racist against Asians, especially the Japanese who were US citizens. All of our ratifications from giving Black Americans representation as a full individual instead of 3/5 shows that we were in fact a racist country. (Keep scrolling for more…)
But if we look at our country in 2020 and the movement in support of Black lives, Latin Americans, migrants, immigrants and our involvement around the world, we have matured into a country that is trying to leave behind its racist past. It’s really difficult to say whether or not we are a racist country but it is clear that racism still exists from the highest levels of government to the lowest of citizens in communities. Racism is a real part of 2020 everyday living. Until we deal with racism and admit that it exists and has always existed even in the most subtle of places, we will be a racist country.
We are working toward great progress in racial equality from companies like Apple putting out clear statements in support of Black lives mattering to Quaker Oats discontinuing the Aunt Jemima brand which existed as a result of racial stereotypes of slaves and Black Americans back in the day. Our progress also includes the efforts of everyday Americans who don’t look like Black Americans standing up and saying that Black lives matter too and being willing to stand between them and police officers at protests. The changes are coming, as slow as they may be. But we are not at a place yet to say that our country isn’t racist because racism is happening to Black Americans, to Muslims, to Africans, to South Americans, Central Americans, to Asians. Until White Americans who believe that they are superior learn to accept that we are all equal and treat everybody fairly (especially those in positions of government and power), this will be a racist country.