Many residents, in Omaha and elsewhere, point to Barack Obama and reiterate their belief that racism in the U.S. is dead. However, as you may have heard, a dangerous bomb was left in a backpack along the route of the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington earlier this week.
The radio-controlled device was said to be potentially lethal, capable of producing multiple casualties, according to a report from ABC News. Fortunately, the bomb was discovered approximately half an hour before the parade was to begin.
It creates a disturbing picture as one sees video footage of very young children marching in the re-routed parade. The incident remains under FBI investigation as a case of what they call domestic terrorism, offering a $20,000 reward for information.
Such situations make it quite clear that racism indeed is anything but dead. This leaves one to wonder who would do such a thing, and why. One issue is perhaps the misconceptions concerning the true underlying issue.
Many in the scholarly community would have us believe that the residual racism occurring in the U.S. in institutional racism. Yet, clearly, no institution put that bomb in that backpack. An individual did that. If we do not give consequences to racist people, discrimination will not stop.
Omahans have perhaps heard of the numerous attempts at reform, which have failed to diminish racism and chauvinism. This is likely because such reform targets something that does not exist. The myth of institutional racism allows individual racists free reign to victimize and oppress the same minority groups they have always oppressed. And to put bombs on parade routes.
Inequality continues to exist in education and employment, among other things, where race, ethnicity, and gender are concerned.
Minority workers often face problems finding decent employment. In 2003, nearly 36 million citizens lived in poverty, with African Americans three timesmore likely than whites to be poor. While 8.2% of the white population is poor, 24.4% of African Americans and 25.3% of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives live in poverty. Official statistics show that nearly 8.4 million persons are unemployed in the United States.
A mere 36% of Native American males in poor communities have full-time, steady employment. In Montana, residents of the Blackfoot Reservation have an annual unemployment rate of 69%. To put this in perspective, the national unemployment rate at the height of the Great Depression was around 25%.For the most part, these rates have been steady since the 1970s. Minority individuals continue to be concentrated into low-wage jobs.
One reason for this is differences in education. For children, schools are often highly segregated. Students receive separate and different educations. In lower-income schools, orderliness is the lesson instead of an aid to learning. Something as basic as encouraging creativity makes a big difference in learning. However, in some schools, the focus is on orderliness, quietness, and following directions.
Equal opportunity leads to human growth, and perhaps the reverse is true, as well. Perhaps if we can find a way to grow, we will strongly desire equal opportunity.For, until we have balanced schools, we will not have a balanced government. And until we have a balanced government, we will never live in a balanced world.
The urban school: A factory for failure; a study of education in American society (Rist, 1973).
The struggle for equality; School integration controversy in New York City (Swanson, 1966).
Sandbox society: Early education in black and white America (Lubeck, 1985).
Black students and school failure: Policies, practices, and prescriptions (Irvine, 1990).
Structured inequality in the United States: Critical discussions on the continuing significance of race, ethnicity, and gender (Aguirre, Baker, & Bonacich, 2008).