The Race Problem . . . and Social Inequality In America

The Race Problem . . . and Social Inequality In America

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Everything—all social behaviors—wear a human face (good or bad). And right now in America we’re seeing the ugly face of racism, whether it’s in the racial slurs of a fraternity chant or the brutal incidents between the police and African-American men— in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson and New York where a black man was choked to death on the street, the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida—all show that there is still, fifty years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a deep racial divide in the country.

Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Some Rights Reserved
Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Some Rights Reserved

The Equal Opportunity legislation and laws against discrimination in hiring and in the workplace have helped to raise the economic and political station of many African-Americans, and that’s progress that we all should applaud. Young people today are certainly less biased and socially more accepting of racial differences, and that’s really the promise for the future. Challenges still remain though.

The problem—as I see it, to be real frank—is mostly with bigoted old (and young) white men. It would be nice if there was a simple injection these guys could take, but unfortunately you can’t vaccinate against racism—or stupidity. Maybe there should be a test they could take—like a driver’s license exam— to show that they’re able to function like normal social beings, operate themselves outside the home without endangering the broader society. That might be an aid in the hiring of policemen. Real change is not going to come about though until we as a society (collectively, that means all of us together) make bigotry and racist behavior totally outside the bounds, unacceptable—no matter the setting or circumstances (workplace or social), private or public.

Don’t disrespect Obama and the office he holds because he’s a black man.

Over the last six or so years of the Obama administration, I can think of nothing more disheartening or more embarrassing (for me personally as an American) than the animus and racial hatred directed at this president. You can disagree with his policies—I often do. But if you call yourself a real American (and a lot of these real skin-headed, hardened bigots do) then grow up, take your head out of your ass, and don’t disrespect him and the office he holds because he’s a black man.

As far as the law enforcement aspect, a young black man shouldn’t have to fear for his life when he gets pulled over for gliding through a stop sign or a tail-light malfunction. And this obviously is not a problem peculiar to just Baltimore, Ferguson, New York and Florida. This is all over the country. Sure police work is a tough and dangerous job. But they know that when they take the oath to “protect and serve”. And let’s be fair there are a lot of good, decent cops—we should hope a majority—so let’s not paint them all with the same bad brush.

But the minority of bad cops—the really bad actors on police forces across the country—should not be given license to see the police force as just a playground for cops to work out their social angst and personal frustrations. However, in order to stop these bad behaviors, before we’ll see any real change take place, the offenders have to be punished. Communities will have to see that their police chiefs and city mayors are held accountable—that means the DOJ will probably have to be involved. And there are going to have to be some harsh new penalties and serious prosecutions (prison time) for cops who step over the line (violate their sworn oath to “protect and serve” the community where they work and live). A light disciplinary slap on the wrist and a probationary “in-side” the department reassignment (at no loss of pay) are not going to be sufficient to change the culture of police brutality that we now see occurring in some new city on an almost weekly basis.

The riots are a sign of deeper social problems—discriminatory laws and an unfair justice system.

People watch T.V. and ask what about the riots? The riots are an expression of the hopelessness and desperation that young blacks feel when they learn early to fear the police, the hopelessness and desperation that comes from knowing there is no justice for them in the law and that youth unemployment among blacks is over 25%. The riots are a sign of deeper social problems—discriminatory laws and an unfair justice system.

Erin Burnett—the ditzy CNN anchor, in her commentary—characterized the rioters as “Thugs”. Carl Stokes in a petulant reply said: “Well, just call them “Niggers”.” Well, they’re neither. They are just young people who, when they look at the social structure, see a deck that from top to bottom is stacked against them, an economy that can’t (in the richest country on earth) provide them with a meaningful job to keep them off the streets. The “Thugs” cause fear in the rich burgermeisters who watch CNN and CNBC when they see their sense of entitlement being challenged, their property threatened. They have a right to be fearful. This, after all, is how revolutions are born. One day, if things don’t change, every major American city will be on fire.

So like the movie marquee advertises—“Coming Soon To Your City.” Pop the popcorn!

 

The Money Trader

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