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While the idea of a post-racial society is resplendent, the harsh reality is that the state of this country is nothing but. We are living in a time where racially motivated acts are disguised in laws and practices that many are not aware of. These actions are not obvious in their intentions, making it hard to acknowledge them as oppressive acts. Unless a person looks deep into the hidden meanings and effects of these racially biased practices, they will not be aware that we are not living in a post-racial era.
A quote I’ve heard a number of times is that there are more black males in prison than in college. I wondered if it may be true, and found alarming information. “There are more African American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined” (Moore). This practice of mass incarceration was so drastic that I had to ask me if it may be race motivated.
“African American males are more likely to be incarcerated, receive longer sentences, and are less likely to receive a no-prison option when it is available, than similar whites” (Johnson). This has resulted in black offenders serving more time for the same crimes than white people. While crack and cocaine are nearly identical, people who are arrested for crack offenses, serve longer terms. Even though the nations coke problem is larger than its crack problem. “12 percent of U.S. adults reported cocaine use and 4 percent reported crack use” (Johnson).
The only difference in these drugs is the cost and who can afford them. African Americans tend to use crack, while whites use the more expensive drug, coke.
Another aspect that keeps the United States from achieving a post-racial state is education, While most people believe that most schools are desegregated by now, many schools are actually more segregated now than before. “At the peak of integration, 44 percent of black Southern students attended majority white schools. Today, only 23 percent do” (McElwee). This has a significant effect on black students due to the way they perform when attending well-funded, majority-white schools; versus when they attend majority-black schools with little funding. Elwes states that when a black student attends a “white” college, they “significantly increased both educational and occupational attainments, college quality and adult earnings, reduced the probability of incarceration, and improved adult health status.” Not only are schools becoming more segregated, but their are also unfair practices prohibiting black students from attending these well-established schools. “Non-white students are less likely to end up in the most selective schools than white students with the same qualifications” (McElwee). Students of color, despite their performance, are still less likely to get into certain colleges on the basis of race alone.
Furthermore, it is harder for people of color to attain wealth and upward mobility in the United states compared to whites. The recession affected the entire country, but nonwhites especially. People were unable to pay their mortgages, and many lost their homes due to this and the lack of loans available to them. “Non whites were more likely to receive subprime loans even when compared to whites with similar credit scores” (McElwee). This means that there was greater risk in the loans that non whites took out, compared to whites. This ultimately caused them to lose their homes, which resulted in a decrease of overall wealth. While upward mobility is a typical American dream, people of color also have a harder time doing so than whites. Income inequality and segregation play a large role in the lack of upward mobility of people of color. “Marianne Bertrand finds that applicants with white-sounding names are 50 percent more likely to receive a call-back than applicants with black-sounding names with the same credentials” (Moore). This leaves a majority of African Americans working lower end jobs due to the fact that employers are more likely to hire a white person. It results in less income for people of color.
Nevertheless, the idea of a post-racial country is false. There are many practices and racial disparities that still exist today, and have a prominent effect on the lives of nonwhites. They do not receive the same opportunities to learn at a more advanced pace and are less likely to receive a call back from a job, or entrance into a college, based solely on their race compared to whites. We must acknowledge that these practices exist and are problematic in order to correct them. A gargantuan amount of work must be done in order to establish equality and live in a post-racial society.
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