Modern Day Racism Essay


Modern Day Racism Essay

What started out as a Saturday date night for a Caucasian couple named Hugh Christopher Newsom, 23, and Channon Gail Christian, 21, turned into a tragic hate crime on January 6, 2007. Just when people thought that racism is less severe and noticeable in the modern day society, events like this struck and recaptured people's awareness of racism once again. The night was wonderful and romantic until five African-American men stopped their car. They were carjacked and captivated in a house. Later her boyfriend Christopher was forced to engage in obscene sexual acts with the male kidnappers. Channon was also sexually abused by members of the group. After the permanent humiliation has been done on both victims, the victims were brutally murdered. Criminals used brutal tactics to conceal the dead bodies. Christopher was burned and Channon's body was cut into pieces, her body literally turned into a human body puzzle. The suspects were later tracked down and arrested. These criminals are ruthless and had no regrets for the hateful crime that they have committed. An shocking and tragic event like this serves as a reminder of the consequences of ignorant hate and that such ignorant hate is still prevalent.  It wakes people up to the fact that racism is not just part of history; it is still very much part of present day society. (“An Act of Domestic Terrorism in Tennessee”)

Racism has been a controversial topic for centuries. It existed in the past and it still exists.  From early day laws like Jim Crow laws to the more subtle modern day versions of racism. There are three main types of racism: institutional racism, individual racism, and spatial racism because people can relate more to these types of racism.  People experience these kinds of racism on a daily basis.

Individual racism occurs when people grow up with a sense of white racial superiority (Francis Cardinal George). Racists who committed racial hatred related crimes tend to make it undetectable by the public in most cases, but some tend to make it obvious to give people a sense that racism is reviving. Homicide of Deandre Netter, 17, a Temple City High School student, made the headline of Temple City newspaper. On the night of July 25, 2007, Deandre Eugene Netter, a Temple City High School student, ate at Carl's Junior on Las Tunas Drive with his twin brother and one friend. They left Carl's junior around 11pm. As they walked south on Golden West Avenue, a car carrying five Temple City students pulled up next to them. Six shots were fired directly at Deandre, his brother, and his friend. Deandre was hit in the chest as he tried to run away. He was shot dead on the scene. Later suspects were identified and arrested. (John De Gennaro)  “The prosecutor in this case believes evidence will show that this group had a bias towards African-Americans,” said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District attorney's Office. “They targeted African-Americans for their attacks.” (John De Gennaro) This case of race- motivated hate crime further shows that racism hasn't become extinct in modern society.

Jim Crow laws put a barrier between the whites and blacks in the past. Jim Crow was a system of segregation and discrimination that barred black Americans from a status equal to that of white Americans. Jim Crow Law describes African-Americans were inferior human beings and second-class citizens. According to Jim Crow laws, even simple actions such as shaking a white man's hand and joking with a white man were prohibited (David Pilgrim).  Jim Crow laws involved in every aspect of everyday life. The Jim Crow laws were associated with violence.  Blacks who tried to violate the law risked their homes, their jobs, even their lives. After a handful of famous victories in court, the Brown v. Board of Education case finally put an end to Jim Crow laws. “Equal but separate” is nonexistent in the modern society but racism activities still exist in the modern world and still affect peoples' perspectives towards people of different races. No more riding in the back of the bus, drinking from separate water fountains, and attending segregated schools. Now racism has changed from obvious and widely practiced to discrete and widely criticized but it's still being practiced subtly in most cases.

Spatial racism refers to patterns of metropolitan development in which some affluent whites create racially and economically segregated suburbs, leaving the poor, mainly minority groups isolated in deteriorating areas of the cities and older suburbs (Francis Cardinal George). In the court case, Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), Supreme Court ruled that a state court could not constitutionally restrict an American from occupying a property on the basis of race and put an end to segregated housing (Francis Cardinal George). What a wonderful ending! Black people, Asian people, and Hispanic people are finally moving into white neighborhoods and getting along very well with their white neighbors. This scenario rarely happens. The chances are people of the same race will most likely to be forced to live together in one area due to either financial or racial status. Spatial racism creates a visible chasm between the rich and the poor, the white people and people of color. People are isolated geographically according to race and status. Many poor African-Americans and Hispanics are forced to live in poor neighborhoods where job opportunity is scarce. The majority of white people are able to afford to live in decent suburban neighborhoods where the crime rate significantly lower and job opportunity is tremendously higher. The Los Angeles area is a great example of spatial racism. Cities are occupied according to race. Asians mainly live in San Gabriel valley, African-Americans live in South Los Angeles, and Hispanics live in San Bernardino County. According to the crime statistics provided by the government agency, there are 39 murder cases in Compton, CA in 2006 compare to 0 in Beverly Hills, CA.  Only 7 rape cases took place in Beverly Hills compare to 50 in Compton (“2006CrimeComparison”). Compton's robbery rate is 7 times as high as robbery rate in Beverly Hills. Statistics show a huge disparity between the living environment and conditions of white and black people in Los Angeles counties.

Institutional racism is a form of racism that is structured into political and social institutions. It occurs when institutions, including corporations, governments and universities, discriminate either deliberately or indirectly, against certain groups of people to limit their rights (“What is Institutional Racism”). Institutional racism includes discrimination in housing, education, employment and health. Institutional racism is usually subtle, less visible, and less identifiable than individual acts of racism, but it is just as destructive to human life and human dignity. Here is an example of early day racism in health stated in the Jim Crow laws. “No person or corporation shall require any White female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed” (David Pilgrim) Even long after the termination of Jim Crow laws, people are still practicing the modern day version of Jim Crow laws in a more subtle way. Discrimination in health care against minority groups is nationwide. Minority groups are more likely to experience discrimination in health care than white residents. King County, Washington for example, has a population of about one in six African Americans (16%) and almost one in 10 people of color overall (9%) reported experiencing discrimination in health care settings in the past year, compared to one in 20 (5%) of all King County residents (“Public Health issues report on racial and ethnic discrimination in health care.”). Survey showed that many African-American King County residents have experienced discrimination ranging from different treatment to rude behavior and racial remarks (“Public Health issues report on racial and ethnic discrimination in health care.”) Many people who have experienced similar situation claimed that incident has affected their mental state and left them feeling helpless. Discrimination related incidents are widely practiced. Similar incidents occurred in 30 facilities, both public and private, across King County (“Public Health issues report on racial and ethnic discrimination in health care.”).

Racism deprived people of their rights. Institutional racism prevents people from getting what they deserve. People who experiences individual racism will be scared mentally and sometimes physically. Spatial racism deteriorates the safety of society because by putting a bunch of criminals all in one area will only trigger more violence. Although laws that advocate racism are permanently abandoned several decades ago, some individuals choose to think and behave the same way that older generation did in the past.