It has been said that America is the land of opportunity, where any individual with talent and hard work can achieve upward mobility. This may be true if those words were spoken for every individual, but since those words mean the golden rule, (I have the gold so I make the rule) they do not mean any individual regardless of talent have the same opportunity. The constitution of the United States guarantees that every individual does not have the same opportunities. The signers of the constitution made it clear that black people were to be treated as property, not men. Not saying that those signers did not know that this issue would have to be revisited some day, but not in their life time. That cherished document would keep an entire race of people stratified to this very day.
America is a nation built on racist principles where there are white people and everyone else. When Pat Buchanan said “America was built by white men” it brought to light how disconnected some white people really are about how America really came to be such a great nation. “ Black labor was used unjustly for building up the wealth of this white- dominated nation from the 1600s to at least the 1960s—the slavery and legal segregation periods….”(Joe R. Feagin 70). But many white people in Buchanan’s generation tend to not hold back what they think, unlike this newer generation who would rather forget it ever took place.
Color blind racism makes it impossible for this nation to move forward, because even if we forget about what happened in the past or push it to the periphery black people would still have to start at a 400 year deficit. How can that be fair? The short answer is it is not. But racism is built into this system, so can people who do not understand what race is be held accountable? Well since it is often said that blacks or Mexicans are lazy, or do not care about education, or it is their own fault, every other race pulled themselves up by their bootstraps so why can blacks not do it too. Yes they can be held accountable for their ignorance if for no other reason than they supposedly are educated.
Education does not mean that people understand how the world turns, because education comes from more than books. In fact American text books only reinforce the ideas of racist America, if we leave it up to the writers of text books civil rights ended with the death of Martin Luther King, now racism does not exist. The truth is that racism is now covert, which could make it worse because now it cannot be seen, racism becomes institutional. At this point affirmative action cannot be enforced, because racism can no longer be seen with the naked eye.
From the judicial system to employment, to higher education there are subtle signs of racism that people not only have to open their eyes, but also their minds to see. Change can be very strange for members of a group that has been dominate for so long, so strange that most members of that group becomes afraid of what an equal nation would look like. Okay, Barack Obama is president, but does that equal the playing field? No because he is just one person, and systemic is bigger than any one person.
Obama being elected president was a huge stride for blacks in America, but it must be remembered that him being elected does not make blacks any more dominate than they were before his election. It takes an entire nation to change the system, but like stated above hands off racism will only exacerbate the problem, because Laissez-faire racism is just as bad as institutional racism, or any other form racism.
Racism is embedded into American society and it has been for every black person who was landed or born here. For generations black Americans have been discriminated against, not only by the people, but also by the government itself. Maybe if Sherman’s 40 acre and a mule concept had lasted, blacks could have progressed from generation to generation. However, slaves were released with nothing, no land or possessions, it was like blacks had to start from scratch with a 200 year handicap. That very handicap has persisted to this day, and it will continue if Americans continue with this ostrich approach. The time has passed for people who would rather hide their head in the sand instead of bringing the truth to the table.