Racism in the Twenty-First Century
1. Throughout the history of the United States, whites dominated society by making laws that limited the power of minorities such as Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans. For hundreds of years, whites controlled minorities using laws and mind games to make sure these minorities never rose to threaten their control. In the 1950s and 60s, Congress passed laws to protect the civil rights of minorities such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination based on “race, color, or religion” in the work force. Even though many people would say that racism ended decades ago, in “Piercing the Brilliant Veil: Two Stories of American Racism” from the Indiana Law Journal, Deborah Jones Merritt argues that two stories of racism exist in our society.
2. Deborah Jones Merritt believes that two stories of racism exist in society. One is where racism has been eradicated and minorities hold high positions. In the other, minorities live under poverty, have higher rates of going to prison, and lower chances of getting a job than their white counterparts with identical qualifications. The previous story shows the disadvantages minorities face both in schools and in society, where whites are more likely to receive aid financially and academically. The author believes that both stories are true: the first demonstrates America’s dedication to social reform while the second shows the existence of racial discrimination, which minority children grow up in. These stories are significant because the existence of affirmative action where there is no racism hurts both whites and minorities but on the other hand, affirmative action recognizes the fact that whites receive better treatment and compensates for many disadvantages minorities face. According to Professor Deidre M Bowen’s research, which Merritt cited, minorities attending colleges in a state where affirmative action is banned felt more insecure and felt more opposition from others. Bowen focuses on minority students’ feelings of “social isolation” although she cannot completely explain why they feel isolated. Analyzing Bowen’s findings, Merritt argues that in a society without racism, affirmative action upsets minorities and leads to opposition from whites who would have to give up their position to less qualified students who experienced no discrimination. As a result, Merritt asks why students who attend colleges where affirmative action is banned feel insecure if racism doesn’t exist in society, as stated in the first story. Growing up in a discriminatory environment, students attending colleges that prohibit affirmative action are unsure of themselves because they feel that their school ignores their experiences. Ending affirmative action programs leads white students to believe that racism has ended and begin to choose white collegues over blacks because of their qualifications. Contrarily, students who attend colleges that...