The race issue is, and has always been, a volatile topic for all US citizens. How have struggles of black people for freedom changed in the social attitude towards them, especially those fights of 1950s and 1960s? Scanning news we can still see such incidents as an arrest of rioters protesting against police who have killed an unarmed black man, a report of the Centers for Disease Control that the highest teenage pregnancy percentage is chiefly among black and Hispanic youth, a report of the Journal of Science, which states that a majority of people hold racist stereotypes.
It looks as if we are still not done with the race conflict. Even the election of a half-black president has not significantly altered the current situation. It seems to have moved the race debate onto the new level, but the smell of racism is still in the air. Affirmative actions, which were to come to life in order to achieve non-discrimination, have brought about the opposite effect – they only acknowledge the existence of such a difference as between blacks and whites (Rattansi, 2007).
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Tim Wise, the author of the article, in his book discovers Barack Obama’s significance in fighting the race issue. According to Wise, many whites consider his emergence in terms of political force as the end to racism and the establishment of the ideology which promotes equality between people despite their race and color. Obama’s example demonstrates how people of any race can gain success if they work hard. It might seem that all social barriers have vanished and the pure world without any hint on the racism has been proclaimed (Wise, 2012).
But is it really so? Does a strengthened white assurance in nonracist meritocracy virtually make it harder to message the current institutional racism? Moreover, the evidence is indicated in all spheres of life, such as education, career, employment, housing, justice system: white superiority and their privilege, discrimination against people of color are still on go and actively frustrating all the opportunities and tries to change the situation, in spite of such individuals as Barack Obama (Wise, 2011).
What is going on in the modern world?
It seems that the success of black people either prevents whites from noticing racism around and thus only drawing with force race relations, or it might break stereotypes against blacks to that border that racism will fade away and relationship among races will improve. What are we to do in order not to let the success of Obama be seen in whites’ “eyes” as one of the exceptions and fortunes. Should the USA president be considered “acceptable” only because he is different from the majority of blacks, or actually any of human being has a power to make a difference in this “humanistic” world (Rattansi, 2007)?
We claim ourselves culturally normal and tolerant. Nevertheless, this assumed notion has been constantly challenged, while white people compete to be a part of fast-growing and multi-cultural nation. But whites are becoming concerned when facing the chronic economical insecure situation, a popular culture that is a reflection of a national diversity, a future, in which they will no longer be able to keep a major part of population, and moreover, a black president in the White House (Wise, 2012).
It provoked such an event in history called the Tea Party movement, which was for “taking our country back”. It gathered white people who were ready for reactionary actions towards social and economic policies (Wise, 2012).
There are two main obstacles which block us from creating an equal and just society – white denial and complacency. Otherwise we will pay the cost of the inequality, by the welfare of our future generations.
In his turn, Tim Wise examines what it is to be white in the society privilege created for whites, and what it feels like to be born black and have the access denied to any opportunities offered to white people. The reason of stereotypes being still alive in our souls, as well as our minds is that we inherit the feeling of superiority and being privileged from previous generations, and they endure to be conferred today in various social spheres as mentioned above (Wise, 2011).
There are ways for white people to face the challenge and change the unjust conditions of black people in the society. And there are reasons for whites to do so for benefiting from it first.
Tim Wise provides a clear defense of affirmative action programs which are vitally needed for reducing and complete destruction of institutional racism and white excellence. Wise debates about the reason of the affirmative action being continued and argues that it is the same as it was in the past – a deprivation to compensate institutionalized racial preference for white people. He calls it “white affirmative action” (Wise, 2011).
This whites’ race-based self-delusion will only hurt the nation, and most of victims will be whites. The hope that American democracy will survive is in the means of multicultural case of past, present, and future.
We should think of ways to break racism and not let it break our nation apart. Maybe we all should just forget our likes and dislikes instead of being occupied by outrage and hate. We should move for our best. We must bear in mind that even though black people cannot be racists but they all can anger and prejudice against whites as well. What is it going to lead our world to? Only we are to answer this question and influence the future in a better way.