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African American Issues
One would think that in this day and age that there wouldn’t be as many issues facing minorities as there are. African Americans in the United States have come far but many people in the African American community feel that they haven’t come far enough. Sure the United States now has an African American president, although many people still believe him to be a Muslim. (One important issue) African Americans may have endured many hardships from slavery to the civil rights movement, but now, they have modern issues.
Safety and lack of opportunity has been a major source of conflict. African Americans have experienced the failure of industrial jobs and law enforcements failure to control crime throughout the country. This coincides with the breakdown of the family itself. (McGrath 2002) In recent years, welfare was a right and it made government dependency much more reliable than fathers and husbands. Illegitimacy has increased from a mere twenty three percent in the early nineteen sixties to almost seventy percent in African American families today.
One important issue facing African Americans is the lack of education especially those in urban areas. The education system in America is lacking greatly. Too many children are being left behind, many are dropping out. The number of children still living at home with their parents is at record levels. Furthermore, schools are closing down left right especially those in urban cities. This results in the overcrowding of schools. Poverty is another issue facing African Americans.
Crime is a major issue facing African Americans. High levels of crime exists in poverty stricken urban inner city areas. Children are often growing up on the streets and use crime as their only means to survive from drug dealing to prostitution among other things. They have no guidance and no one to help shape them.
Have African Americans assimilated within society? Some people say yes and they are referring to members of the African American community that they believe to be “acting white”. Acting white is often referred to as someone who dresses like white people are perceived to dress such as the preppie look with the sweater around the neck, or using certain speaking terms or speaking and enunciating and not using slang terms often used in many African American communities. Looking at demographics of certain areas in the United States as well as individual background plays a role in determining whether or not a particular group has assimilated. (Morin 2005)
Pluralism is very well evident as the African American community continually involves itself in many aspects of every minority as well as the dominant group in the United States. African Americans are eating at Hispanic restaurants as well as Asian, Mediterranean, and other ethnic restaurants. They work with people in all areas, sometimes; they will even find themselves the only minority in some of there classes in school, or on their shifts at work. Interacting with the majority is becoming more and more common, and what’s interesting is the fact that majority doesn’t fall into the group of dominant majority, many times, one person within one minority will find themselves the minority among other minorities such as Hispanics or Asians or Indians.
Prejudice and discrimination continues to run rampant in this country. Many minorities often find themselves on the end of hate. One would think that in this day and age, even with the succession of an African American president that hate would be obsolete. To no avail, it is not. During the presidential campaigns you could still hear people calling in on the radio stations stating that a black president would be awful and that color meant everything. It’s sad world that we continue to live in and one that won’t be changing anytime soon. You have hate speech running amok, political parties taking sides to their own advantages, and often, to societies disadvantage. It is stereotyping that ultimately leads to bigotry, hate, and racism. Society often thinks that education can help end it but ultimately, to end hate, it needs to start at home. Schools are trying to teach our youth to practice tolerance, but who wants to be tolerated. Some people who feel they are just being tolerated may take offense to that as well. (Morgan)
While politics within the African American community are not as vastly different from other minority groups; there are some key differences such as slavery and the civil rights movement in the sixties. These particular differences have significantly shaped and changed the political dynamic in the present and formed the basis of public policy related to civil rights and affirmative action alike. Currently, the African American community is in a unique position because of the number of battles; socially, economically, and physically that they have endured over the last one hundred years. Because of this they have systematically created a set of leaders from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to our very own current president, Barack Obama. Though public policy has helped shape the economic realities, it is still quite clear that the African American community still struggles with unemployment, education, wage inequality just to name a few, albeit not in all areas of the country. It’s clear that though African Americans have come far, there is much work that is still needed to be done.
Lee McGrath (2002) The Ten Biggest Problems Facing African Americans Today Retrieved 12/ 10/ 2010 from http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=22993
Marger, Martin N. (2009). Race and Ethnic Relations (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning
Morgan, Renee. The History of African American Stereotypes Retrieved 12/11/2010 from http://www.helium.com/items/1189133-na
Morin, Richard (2005) The Price of Acting White. Retrieved December 11, 2010 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/04/AR2005060400126.html.