Race Relations in America

Racism is not as prevalent today as it was in the 1960’s, but it is still a problem. There have been many civil rights improvements during the 1960s; like desegregation of the military (Executive Order 9981), making segregation (“separate but equal”) unconstitutional (Brown vs. Board of Education), outlawing racial discrimination in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities (Civil Rights Act of 1964), and nullifying state and local laws that prevented African Americans from voting (Voting Rights Act).

There were also many significant achievements for African American people that helped undermine racial biasm after the 1960s; like:

  • Guion Bluford Jr. becoming the first African-American in space (in 1983).
  • Colin Powell becoming the first African-American U.S. Secretary of State (in 2001).
  • Halle Berry becoming the first black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar (2002).
  • Condoleezza Rice being the first black woman in the U.S. Secretary of State (in 2005).
  • Barack Obama becoming the first African American president of the United States (2008).

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©2008 cfishy [ CC BY 2.0]
Although there have been many improvements, racism is still a problem today. Through the use of social media, people were able to capture violent acts made by the police towards black people. I’m not saying that all police officers are racist and violent, but there is a problem in the legal system that consists of racial discrimination.

For example, an African American man name Eric Garner was put on a choke-hold by a police officer named Daniel Pantaleo in suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes. After he lost consciousness and the ambulance was called on, the EMTs did not perform CPR because ” they believed he was still breathing and that it would be improper to perform CPR on someone who was still breathing.” (barrypopik.com). After the police officer was put to trial for his actions, he was proclaimed “not juilty” and did not go to jail.

garner_and_brown_by_ben_reid
©2014 Ben Reid [ CC BY 2.0]
The public was shocked and a whole slogan of “I can’t breathe” became popular in social media. Those were the last words Eric Garner said before he lost consciousness. If Martin Luther King Jr. were here today, he would have been extremely happy in our improvements, but would have been appalled and disappointed if he saw this horrible incident.

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