Social Justice For Black Americans Needs To Start Now


Do African Americans have equality today? According to Oxford English Dictionary equality means The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.” Moreover, inequality is - difference in size, degree, circumstances (Oxford English dictionary). In the 1440’s Africans were shipped around the world to be slaves. The concept of racism was not yet existent till the 18th century. Following the 18th century- the next two hundred years racial discrimination and inequality continued toward African Americans. Black men and women still are not seen as equals today. Some things have gotten better, although it seems society is not there yet. Ida B.Wells was one of the earliest leaders for civil rights, a teacher, sociologist, and an investigative journalist. Well’s once wrote- The white man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder (The red record). Through the course of years white men have been known to often manipulate races against each other, even race against race. Today Black Americans face continue silent discrimination and inequality, online race wars, racial profiling (not just by authorities), institutional discrimination, ethnocentrism, and color-blind racism to name a few. It is still present, many people say that it has gotten better or things are getting better. Centuries of racism and inequality “is getting better, or improving” is not good enough!  Many people do not want to admit or face the fact that inequality is a problem. In the 1960’s they told people to “wait”, over fifty years later the best thing people have come up with is “things are better/getting better” - this is another way of telling African American’s to wait with a caked sentence. “Despite numerous outrageous actions to achieve black civil rights. Black and white citizens are still separate, still unequal” (Shaefer 249, sociology)

Today, many people like to argue that black people are equal. Sometimes to justify this, they use NFL players as an example. Even though black men in the NFL seem to be highly represented- did you know that in this sport there is a huge gap of racial division in what positions they play. For example; black men are less likely to be a quarterback, center or tight end in the NFL, those positions are often dominated by white men. It is not that they are incapable of those positions either, it is the CEOs and presidents of the NFL that make this gap- despite the racial gap amongst players, coaches and NFL staff.  The concept of equality is to give opportunities to every human- despite race, social class, ascribed statuses, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual preference. Social inequality is a huge issue-- social status and social classes affect African Americans just as they did years before. Equality and Inequality is connected to all forms of discrimination, prejudice, color blind racism and ethnocentrism just to name a few. You see if Black Americans were equal today, do you think we would have discrimination, social classes, social stratification and social mobility issues? This world is built on social class and status. We have racial formation -- Michael Omi and Howard Winant (1994) defined racial formation as a sociohistorical process in which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed and destroyed(238).They include that Those who have the power define groups of people according to a racist social structure (238).


The word “wait” seems innocent and futile, it is just part of our vocabulary, but words hold power and control. The meaning of the word wait is to - Stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or event (Oxford English Dictionary). Every day we wait, whether we are waiting for a bus, in a line, a doctor’s office, for a traffic light to change, or a phone call. We all wait. One of the most prolonged waits’ in United States history is the “wait” for equality for African Americans. As mentioned earlier people say “things are not as bad or are getting better”; is an example of being told to wait – it is a sugar-coated way of saying wait. To make sense of this we would need to go look at Dr, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter to Birmingham.” He wrote ‘For years now I have heard the word “wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “wait” has almost always meant “never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists that “justice too long delayed, is justice denied.’ (pg. 561)] This is a current issue in the United States. African Americans are still “waiting.” Yeah, sure things are better, but black people are still waiting. Is this fair? I believe what King says about Justice being delayed is justice being denied is just as accurate today as it was then. Black citizens are still being denied equal rights and opportunities. 

Brent Staples is a journalist with a Ph.d in Psychology who wrote a race relations article titled,  “Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power To alter Public Space” - Staples speaks of racial profiling, including his understanding of altering public spaces as a black man. Staples states in his essay – It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the unwielding inheritance I’d come into – the ability to alter public space in ugly ways.(pg.234) He realizes the stigma attached to him just because of his skin color, and his mere presence of nightly strolls evokes fear to other pedestrians, and even people in cars while crossing a street. This is a form of racial profiling – more like the labeling theory. By sociological definition racial profiling is an arbitrary action initiated by an authority based on race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than on a person’s behavior (246). Labeling theory by sociological definition is an approach to deviance that attempts to explain why certain people are viewed deviants while others engaged in the same behavior are not (169). Staples writes about his experience and the generalized stereotype of a black man being seen as a criminal – especially at night. This was originally published in 1986 and today this is still a constant issue. Whether altering space as a black man or woman, or being profiled by authorities or establishments this is another reason why black people are not seen as equals. For example; in 2014 a Canadian black man named Frantz St. Fleur in Toronto, Canada went to a bank to deposit $9,000 into his account, he was arrested at the bank because the bank believed his check to was fake. Again, “they believed” it was a fraudulent check, they did not verify the check before calling the police they just accused him. He was arrested with the accusation there was no evidence or proof. Later, he was released because the check was verified and was not fraudulent. (Alamenciak,Tim/Torono Star).  More recently last year a seventy-eight year old black woman named Barbara Caroll was accused by Wells Fargo of forging a check. Caroll went to the bank to deposit a check and gave the teller the check and her ID. She was instructed to wait in a chair, after thirty minutes Caroll felt something was wrong. After all a normal bank procedure of depositing a check should not take this long. Caroll went to the teller to ask about what was going on, she had asked for her ID and check back. The teller refused to give the items back and got her manager. The manager told Caroll the same thing then said that the cops were on their way.  This is just a few examples of many, for instance last year two black men were arrested at a Starbucks for sitting down and waiting for their business partner. Ot, how about the recent issue of Starbucks refusing to open bathrooms for people of color. See discrimination and racial profiling go hand in hand, just like inequality. If Frantz St. Fleur or Barbara Caroll happened to be white- what would the odds be of them being arrested or accused of forgery and fraud while depositing a check?


Both of these lives matter, but for years the oppression for a Black American draws them to feel as if they do not matter. This needs to change.

Teachers can be amazing people who help shape us and help prepare us for our futures; it is troubling to imagine a teacher feeding a student’s brain with malice or hate toward another ethnic group. However, this has happened time and time again, recently a teacher cut off a Native American girl’s hair and was said to have made racial remarks calling her a dirty Indian. Bringing up this issue; last year a white middle school teacher David Swinyar told his “If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong that means he’s acting like a n-----” then he stated “You should not be dating African American boys because they are not worth it.” This is pure racism and coming from a teacher in charge of shaping and teaching students, this is wrong on so many levels.  This is clear evidence that Swinyar does not believe that African Americans are his equal, and that his students should see them the same way he does. It was also reported that he made other racist comments the year before (2017). The school responded by putting the teacher on a ten day leave without pay while they investigated the teacher. Later, in another article by Teresa Stepzinski who writes for The Florida Times Union (Jacksonvile.com)  - that an administrative law judge dismissed and cleared all accusations due to insufficient evidence. This is justice not served, think about it. Why would he be cleared, was he innocent? Was this white privilege? Were all the students that reported the teachers inappropriate conduct making this up? What about the school psychologist who reported that a student had disclosed with them information about Swinyar’s racist comments? I would truly love to come to a rational conclusion for all of this, but I just do not feel this can be justified with seventeen pages of detailed incidents about this teacher’s actions, and he gets cleared by the judge. Social justice can be rare, and there did not seem to be any social justice here. There is sadly a history of medical doctors, priests/pastors, and teachers that display inappropriate behavior or are in some way unfit for their profession. Often times these people are still allowed to stay and continue their profession despite their misconduct. Other times when they have become too much of a problem, they go un-reported and bounce from district to district and state to state while still continuing their profession. It is no surprise that people in power can get away with terrible things for a long period of time, or even with zero consequence. This is unfair, unjust, and is systematic inequality. 

Jared Taylor who founded ‘The New Century Foundation’ and “American Renaissance’ is a board member of the Conservative Citizens. He holds a Bachelor Degree from Harvard and a Masters Degree from Paris Institute Of Political Studies.  He published “The Color Of Crime” in 1999 which is a pamphlet that holds what he calls “statistics and research” that is far more accurate than the FBI and national government has. Taylor wrote Of the approximately 1,700,000 interacial crimes of violence involving blacks and whites, 90 percent are committed by blacks against whites. Blacks are therefore up to 250 times more likely to do criminal violence to whites then the reverse. Blacks are much more dangerous than whites as men are more dangerous to women. Taylor believes that white people are superior to blacks and hispanics – he is ethnocentric and does not believe African Americans are equal to the white race. The Color Of Crime was expanded in 2005, and updated in 2016. Taylor also believes that white people hold a higher IQ than black people. He also believes that whether a white person has low or high income that they are still more intelligent than a black person. He believes that intelligence has to do with race. Taylor wrote Something else for which the culture-only theory has no explanation is the fact that children of high income black parents have lower IQ scores than the children of low income whites. Taylor has presented and conducted his own data and research. He fails to provide evidence or proof – which leads to the conclusion that he is talking out of his white nationalist arse. Just because a person has money, degrees, has published multiple books, and has been on C-SPAN and other television programs – does not constitute one is credible or correct. Dismissing national and federal government crime statistics and declaring that your statistics and research is more credible is outrageous and unsound. In an attempt to downplay national statistics and research, or anyone who disagrees with him, he provokes emotions for hate groups. Taylor uses persuasion in everything he writes or speaks about and never provides actual proof or evidence of his claims. Anytime he is given the opportunity to speak in an interview and/or television he deflects, and uses pathos and persuasion to make himself sound credible. He has many followers and supporters, but also has many people in hate groups who dislike and dismiss him due to him not being antisemitic and having a wife that is Jewish. The other hate groups do not like that Taylor has said that Jewish people are white enough, and that he invites Jewish people to join the fight in white nationalism. It is scary to know how many hate groups exist in the United States alone- one of their goals is to make sure that white nationalism is strong and continues to grow so that they themselves do not become minorities. They believe that America should only consist of white people. 

Equality has always been an issue for Black Americans It is time to do something, it is time to scrape away colorism. Think of the word “race” it has been molded into something it is not. For some reason people forget that we are all the human race – we are all the same. Being that we are all the human race, why do we need to keep people lower than us, why can’t we all help each other. Social justice needs a push now, a big one. Waiting is not okay, we need to help end the “wait” for equality for Black Americans and other minorities. Yes, we live in a society built on social classes, but is it okay to single people out because of their skin color? Black Americans work ten times harder to get to where they want to be and still do not get the respect they deserve. Being underpaid because of your skin color would suck, being denied opportunities because the color of your skin is painful. People being scared Black Americans sitting in coffee shops, at bus stops, entering banks, and walking around town is so heartless. Imagine the pain you would feel if you were treated these ways just because of your skin color?  People in the United States really need to take a seat and listen for once, and learn how to respect Black American people. It is time to change, and with great change comes great communication, love and honoring all fellow humans.





Sources

Alamenciak, Tim Toronto Star. “Bank Accused of Racial Profiling after Black Customer  Arrested.” Toronto Star (Canada), 11 Dec. 2014. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=n5h&AN=6FPTS2014121131618248&site=ehost-live.

Intro to Sociology, Chapter 11 Racial and ethnic inequality, page 249, Shaefer 2012

Intro to Sociology, Chapter 8 Deviance, crime and social control, page 169 Schaefer 2012

Logan,Eric B. The washington post, July 27th 2018: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/07/27/a-black-woman-says-wells-fargo-didnt-want-to-cash-her-check-shes-suing-for-discrimination/?utm_term=.185bc1ae9f1b

"A teacher tells his class not to date African-Americans 'because they are not worth it'." CNN Wire, 8 Mar. 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.gwclib.nocccd.edu/apps/doc/A530312271/OVIC?u=hunt25841&sid=OVIC&xid=92264231. Accessed 8 Apr. 2019.

Taylor, Jared The Color Of Racism, https://2kpcwh2r7phz1nq4jj237m22-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/1999-Color-of-Crime-Report.pdf’

Taylor, Jared The Race IQ Non Controversy, https://www.amren.com/news/2017/10/race-iq-evidence-arthur-jensen-philippe-rushton/

The red record- tabulated statistics and alleged causes of lynching in the United states, Auth: Ida B. Wells- Barnett, Publishing- createspace publishing 05/09/2015

King, Martin Luther Jr. “Letter From Birmingham.” Patterns for college writing: A rhetorical reader and guide, 14th Ed.,edited by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell, Bedford/St Martin;s, 2018 p. 561

Staples, Brent “Just walk on by: A black man ponders his power to alter public space ” Patterns for college writing: A rhetorical reader and guide, 14th Ed.,edited by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell, Bedfors/St Martin;s, 2018 p. 561

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