The Land of liberty, the United States of America, is undoubtedly one of the most aspired nations for its advancements in economics, science and technology, military power, health care etc. It is the only remaining global superpower with unquestionable international influence and support, however, the U.S. is and has always been in crisis when it comes to racial disparity and racism.
Ever since 1619 when the first boat of African captives was brought to the colonial British settlement, race and skin colour has played a major role in the governance of The New World. Initially, people were divided by religion, education and finances but as time went by and the Europeans saw the benefits in enslaving the darker-skinned labourer’s, skin colour began to be the sole deciding factor. The blacks, Negros, were property and as such one was legally allowed to do as they will with their belonging. The master and slave division not only separated the European indigenes from Africans but later on also separated Africans, Bi-racial Africans and native-Americans based on skin colour, and thus began the discrimination between whites and blacks as well as the establishment of colourism in the United States of America.
In 1865, when The Union won the American Civil War, the victory promised a future of racial equality and prosperity for all ethnicities. One of such highs is the election of the country’s first black president, Barack Obama, in 2008. Unfortunately, the traditions that had begun in the 1600s was not easily abolished by the victory of the Union -over 200 years later- and therefore racism continues to prevail. Today, race relations is one of the most social and politically challenging issues faced by the United States government. Almost two-thirds of the American population say racial tension have increased over the last 10 years which is evident in the data relating to police brutality and crimes against minorities, especially within predominately black communities. American racial bias exists past interpersonal relationships between the majorities and minorities as it is also found within the criminal justice system- with an overwhelming 60% of prisoners behind bars being coloured. With a decreasing population of white students in an educational setting tilted in favour of white students, over both Hispanic and black students, America is nearing an education system which will fail the future majority. Workplace hiring in the US is also gravely affected by race as the unemployment rate of black college graduates was nearly twice that of whites in 2013. A recent study showed that employers are even more likely to assume black applicants consume illegal drugs more frequently than white applicants. In the cases where diversification of workplace is mandated, lighter skinned blacks are given more preference than traditionally African looking blacks- which worsens colourism in the country.
With the impending presidential elections coming up in November as well as an increasing race related issues, America is at a tipping point. Many thought Obama being in the white house for 2 terms would be a sign of racial integration, unfortunately, the statistics show otherwise. Despite good intentions, it is argued that Obama’s real achievement is being the coolest president and “home-boy” for black celebrities. Unlike preceding elections in which race was about which candidate stood for the minorities best, today’s leading candidates make a mockery of that forcing the American citizen to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Racism and racial discrimination have become an unfortunate integral pillar of the American society, which has left American citizens unhinged. The controversial republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is supported by white nationalists including members of the extremist anti-immigrant organisation- Ku Klux Klan. This leaves minority groups and white liberals fearful about the possibility of worsening white supremacy, underrepresentation of minorities and the faecal minded nature of the candidate. On the other hand, Hilary Clinton is rejected by white nationalist and conservatives because of her liberal approach and policies in support of the overall state of the US. Despite being endorsed by the current President Obama, who many consider being a failure in comforting the American population with minority leadership, Hilary is also having a hard time rallying minority supporters because of her controversial baggage.
It is clear that racial tension is high in the US and both sides are desperate for change, however, a decisive solution in the right direction seems even further away than it was 100 years ago. The November elections present a grave threat to the fabric of the country as well as the future of international relations between the US and the rest of the world. The inability of any of the presidential candidates to unify the American population and transcend past racial issues means that skin-colour and ethnicity will continue to be a major driving force in the United States and its future.