United States Race Issues

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United States Race Issues The arrest of a Ku Klux Klan member who in 1964 killed two young black men, Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, represents a minor attempt to close the books on a wrongly-dismissed civil rights case. Although this act took place over 40 years ago, the current case shows that race issues are still very much a part of our society. The issues are no longer black and white either. With an increasing number of Hispanics in the United States, the racial quilt has become more complex, which has been of special interest to me in my studies of Spanish language and culture. The Los Angeles Police Department has reported increased violence in recent years, much of it attributed to Hispanic and black gangs fighting each other. We cannot passively watch how these issues play out, but must instead find solutions to live together. In my opinion, the assumption that all races are now on a level playing field and have been since the Civil Rights Act leads many Americans to strongly oppose anything that seems to unfairly, according to them, favor one race over another, such as affirmative action programs. As a Michigan resident, I unfortunately witnessed the passage of Proposal 2, banning affirmative action through what was called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, modeled after the California Civil Rights Initiative, both of which were led by Ward Connerly. Many Americans think voting against “reverse discrimination” sounds good, not taking into account the fact that white Americans have had many more years to accumulate wealth and gain better positions in society, while minorities have only had that opportunity for a couple decades and often times still face discrimination. I learned a lot about affirmative action and other race issues as a student in a class called “Race and Politics,” a class in which Mr. Connerly as well as members of the local chapter of the NAACP came to visit and speak. Discussions of race often reached nervous quietness in my class, something I think is common when members of different races come together to talk about it. We stumble all over trying not to offend each other or say something that might be taken offensively. In her book It’s the Little Things: Everyday Interactions That Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races,” Lena Williams describes how members of all races innocently bother each other without knowing it. One example is how white Americans say they don’t “see color” in order to say race is not an issue to them.

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