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Prejudice And Discrimination In America Today

2240 words - 9 pages

Across the nation, millions of Americans of all races turn on the television or open a newspaper and are bombarded with images of well dressed, articulate, attractive black people advertising different products and representing respected companies. The population of black professionals in all arenas of work has risen to the point where seeing a black physician, attorney, or a college professor are becoming more a common sight. More and more black people are holding positions of respect and authority throughout America today, such as Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Condelezza Rice and many other prominent black executives. As a result of their apparent success, these black people are seen as role models for many Americans, despite their race. However, these groups of black people are exceptions to the rule and consist of only a tiny fraction of all black Americans. These black people in turn actually help to reinforce the inequality of black Americans by allowing Americans of other races to focus on their success. A common thought is, "They made it, why can't you do the same?" The direct and truthful answer to that question is Racism.

Despite all these accepted images of successful black people "selling" the idea that the color of a person's skin is irrelevant, racism still exists and will forever exist in America. It is a never-ending phenomenon that is ingrained in American life. Racism is America, just as America is built around the idea of racism. As the civil rights activist and scholar Derrick Bell would say, "Racism is an integral, permanent, and indestructible component of this society." He proclaims that no matter what blacks do to better their status, they are doomed to fail as long as the majority of whites do not see their own well being threatened by the status quo. Racism plays a large role in limiting opportunities and negatively affecting the lives of the majority of black folks in America. In Derrick Bell's Faces at the Bottom of the Well, this idea was well played out. The dialogue was between a "moving on up" black person trying to explain to a regular working class black person that he and all other working class brothers are in the same boat. However, the less successful working class brother proclaimed, " Not really, brother...the fact is you "moving on up" black folks hurt us everyday blacks simply by being successful. The white folks see you doing your thing, making money and they conclude right off that discrimination/ racism is over and that if the rest of us got up off our dead asses, dropped the welfare tit, stopped having illegitimate babies, and found jobs, we would all be just like you." Unfortunately, the problem of racism in America lies so much deeper than that. Black people everyday encounter different types of racism, be it they can't get the good jobs, can't afford the best education, and overall cannot partake in the "better life" that is such the emphasis of the American Dream.

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