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Racism Is Still Prevalent Today, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

America celebrates Martin Luther King Day every year as a national holiday because of what King did in order to eliminate racism. Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964, made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race (CNN) but racism still persists in America. Laws can force people to change their behavior but they can’t force people to change their thinking. A poll conducted in 1988 found that 40 percent of the 1,223 respondents said they do not expect racial equality to happen in their lifetime. 55 percent said that American society is racist overall (Jet Magazine). The poll was taken 24 years after the Civil Rights Act yet a significant number of Americans still believed racism persists. This shows that for racism to truly disappear, we do not need laws but change of thinking.

Racism results in biased view of others which is often inaccurate and due to ethnocentric beliefs. Racism is even prevalent in the labor market. A study wanted to determine whether race-based discrimination exists in the labor market or not, thus, fictitious resumes with African American sounding and White American sounding names were sent to employers who advertised in Boston and Chicago newspapers (Bertrand and Mullainathan). White American sounding names received 50 percent more callbacks for interviews and at the same time, higher quality resumes with White American sounding names elicited far more responses than high quality resumes with African American names. The study concluded that African Americans indeed face discrimination in the labor market which is one reason for their slow economic progress.

The election of Barack Obama as the first U.S. African American President was hailed as a historical moment yet it has also resulted in an increase in race-based hatred. Threats against President Obama have increased by 400 percent President Bush left the office, the highest figure on the record. The number of patriot groups who consider the federal government an enemy, increased by 244 percent between 2009 and 2010. President Obama’s election is not the only event that has resulted in an increased level of racially-motivated hatred. Anti-immigration sentiments are also on the rise. Anti-immigration groups increased from 173 in 2008 to 309 in 2009 (Chelala).

Racism creates distance because it results in mistrust. A study found that people with an unconscious bias against black people were less likely to rate them as trustworthy and risked less money with black partners than with white partners. The same behavior was also noticed in those with anti-white sentiments as they were less likely to trust white partners. Even doctors have been found to be affected by their biases when prescribing medications (North).

One way to lower racism may be to take steps to increase interaction among people of different ethnic backgrounds and the solution should start at the school level. Another key is education because education opens up our minds, helps us differentiate between facts and opinions and also helps us get rid of personal biases.

References

Bertrand, Marianne and Sendhil Mullainathan. Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. Working Paper. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003.

Chelala, Cesar. Is Racism Still Alive in America? 2 April 2010. 5 February 2012 <http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/02-7>.

CNN. The Civil Rights Movement. 5 February 2012 <http://www.cnn.com/EVENTS/1997/mlk/links.html>.

Jet Magazine. “Poll: Racism Still Persists in U.S.” 29 August 1988: 64.

North, Anna. Racism Influences How People Deal With Money. 25 April 2011. 5 February 2012 <http://jezebel.com/5795514/racism-influences-how-people-deal-with-money>.

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