One of the most frequently mentioned topics in today’s American culture is racism. For most of us, not a day goes by without hearing of someone being called out as racist. In addition, some claim that America is a country where racism is systemic and institutionalized. Why is it that almost 50 years after the Civil Rights gains of the 1960s, America is still grappling with the idea of racism? And in addition, why is the racist tag applied so frequently?
Obviously…the term racism can mean different things to different people. In line with this, the use of the term can mean different things in different eras of history. For instance, the use of the racist term meant something different in the era before the Civil Rights gains of the 1960s. When one looks back at the Jim Crow practices common before the 1960s, one can definitely see that many of the legal protections that African-Americans have now, didn’t exist. And yes, from a legal standpoint, some can say that life for blacks during the post Civil Rights era is easier. However, if things have improved for blacks on a legal level, then what accounts for the fact that claims of racism are so high in today’s world?
There are many reasons why claims of racism still exist. To some, these claims exist because there’s a justifiable perception that people of color still do not receive the respect they deserve. To these people there’s still much work to be done to address systemic racism in all of its forms ranging from subtle to the more obvious. In addition and from another angle, some claim the racist tag is applied loosely nowadays as a political tool to create division and call out white people. These people claim that some issues now being called racist fall more in line with preferences. They claim politicians and activists are creating racial hypersensitivity to exploit fear.
For many of us, the concept of social progress is real and tangible. In line with this, many of us hope to envision a future where racism of any kind, whether it’s aimed at blacks, other minorities, and even whites, is seen as a concept of a bygone era. To further the cause of social progress it’s important to help America live up to its pledge to create a society where equal opportunity for all races is respected. In addition, it’d also behoove us to be careful of applying the racist tag to both situations and individuals too freely. After all, the negative effects of racism are shown not only with actual racist practices, it’s also shown by unjustly accusing people of racism when that may not be their intent.