The terrible toll of racism in the U.S.

By Sharon Smith | March 19, 2004 | Page 7

HALF OF all Black men in New York City can’t find a job, while Black teenage

unemployment stands at 37 percent nationwide. These statistics show a crisis among Black Americans that should be setting off alarm bells in election year 2004.

Yet even John Kerry, the candidate whose party’s voting base includes the vast majority of Blacks, has issued barely a sound bite. This should come as no surprise, since Black lives, Black votes and Black rights have been devalued since the Founding Fathers. The original U.S. Constitution permitted slavery and counted Black slaves as three-fifths of white persons in determining both Congressional representation and taxation,

embedding racism in the very foundation of U.S. society. The institution of slavery was abolished only through Civil War, a bloody second American Revolution that cost at least 600,000 lives.

But racism outlived slavery and flourished for the next 100 years in the form of Jim Crow segregation, in which the majority of states, from North Dakota to Texas to California, made it a crime for Blacks to intermingle with whites in all walks of life--from hospitals to cemeteries, lunch counters to phone booths, military service to marriage.

Jim Crow segregation laws were challenged and finally struck down only because of a massive civil rights struggle stretching over more than two decades, from the 1955

Montgomery bus boycott to the fight to enforce court-ordered school desegregation in the 1970s. But de facto segregation continued, North and South, while accusations of "reverse racism" and Black "welfare dependency" emanated from the political

establishment, injecting racism with new life in the post-civil rights era.

Politicians from both the Democratic and Republican Parties scrambled to appear "tough on crime," embracing the so-called war on drugs, which tripled the prison population between 1980 and 1995. Two-thirds of those who entered the prison system during that period were Black, Latino or poor, and the vast majority of them were nonviolent drug offenders.

Today, with the prison population swollen to more than 2 million, African Americans make up just 12 percent of the U.S. population and only 13 percent of drug users, yet account for 35 percent of drug arrests and 53 percent of drug convictions. Blacks are also 43 percent of those on death row.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that 30 percent of 12 year-old Black boys will spend time in jail in their lifetimes--far more than will attend college. And because many states have laws denying present and former inmates the right to vote, an estimated 13 percent of all Black men--including one in every three in Alabama and Florida--have been disenfranchised.

Racism, not criminal records, explains the high unemployment rate for Black men today. A recent Wall Street Journal report showed that in the city of Milwaukee, a white job

applicant with a criminal record has a better chance of being called for an interview than a Black man with no criminal record.

"The disadvantage carried by a young Black man applying for a job as a dishwasher or a driver is equivalent to forcing a white man to carry an 18-month prison record on his back," concluded reporter David Wessel. And only racism can explain these statistics:

-- Segregation in public schools, which decreased continuously from the 1950s to the late 1980s, has now returned to levels not seen in three decades.

-- Black infants are almost two-and-a-half times more likely than white infants to die before the age of one, a wider gap than in 1970.

-- In 2002, 79 percent of Blacks aged 25 and older were high school graduates, compared with 30 percent in 1968. Yet the typical Black household had a net worth of just $19,000, compared with $121,000 for whites.

More than 200 years since slavery was written into the U.S. constitution, its racist legacy remains--and the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass remain true: "Without struggle, there can be no progress." Only a struggle that shakes the foundation of U.S. society can end racism

Racial discrimination, or, the color problem, refers mainly to Negroes in the United States, as they constitute one tenth of the total population. The term "Negro" is applied to people descended or partly descended from slaves transported from Africa long ago. It is now avoided by many white Americans for fear of offending their "non-white" brothers. The old term "nigger" is now considered to be insulting, and is altogether avoided in decent usage. In official statistics the term "non-white" is used, and in ordinary situations it is acceptable to call non-white people "black", although this term was once also somewhat insulting.


Without some reference to historical back- ground, the Negro position today couldn't be understood. The black population is about 20 million. Their ancestors were brought to America as slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Nearly all their

descendants were kept in legal slavery in the South until 1865. The southern states were defeated in the Civil War and were forced to abolish slavery and set the slaves free. But the southerners were determined to keep the Negroes from becoming equal in anything but constitutional law.


The Federal Government has, gradually compelled the white majority in the South to allow Negroes to enjoy civic rights. But legal protection has been slow to develop and has not yet solved the social problem of inequality in voting, education, employment and housing.


The masses of the unemployed black and the mounting wrath against social injustice constitute an active volcano in society and are attracting more and more serious public concern. Those who worry about the future of the country have been seeking a way to the solution of the problem. So in 1954 , the Supreme Court decided that the whole system of separate education in the South was denying the constitutional right of equal treatment to the Negroes. It ordered that the southern educational authorities should integrate their schools for the white with the schools for the black. In 1964 President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Acts, banning discrimination in public place based upon race or color. But if the Federal Government has been making some effort for a program of providing equal education opportunity to all minority people, the progress has been slow and difficult. 黑人失业群众以及社会不公平引起的日益增长的愤慨,构成了隐藏在社会里的一个活火山,愈来愈引起公众密切的关注。担心国家前途的人士一直在寻求解决问题的途径。于是在一九五四年,美国最高法院裁定,南方的整个隔离教育制度违反了宪法规定的黑人享受平等待遇的权利。最高法院命令南方教育当局将黑人儿童学校与白人儿童学校合并。一九六四年,约翰逊总统签署了民权法案,禁止在公共场所实行种族或肤色上的歧视。但是即便联邦政府曾进行过一定的努力,来实现向所有少数民族提供教育机会均等的计划,其进展也是缓慢而艰难的。









纪录说,美国大学校园种族主义抬头。在加州大学伯克利分校、加州迪亚波罗河谷社区学院接连发现法西斯标语口号及白人至上主义标语口号,还包括使用武器和语言进行威胁。在加州小圣罗斯学院,校报刊载专栏文章攻击犹太人,引发抗议风潮;网站聊天室被白人至上主义分子占领。在达特茅斯学院,白人女生在筹款活动中拍卖“黑奴”。在南密西西比大学,一批白人在美式足球比赛结束后高喊种族主义口号,攻击4名黑人学生。在只有55名黑人学生的密歇根州奥利维特大学,有51名黑人学生在发生种族暴力事件及骚扰事件后退学。 纪录显示,美国种族偏见和偏执造成社会矛盾激化,仇恨犯罪增加。据美国联邦调查局2004年11月22日公布的对16%的执法单位有关报告的统计,2003年美国发生的总共7489件仇恨犯罪案中,有3844宗与族裔仇恨有关。其中,针对黑人的族裔仇恨犯罪案达2548宗,占51.4%,是针对其他所有种族的此类犯罪总数的两倍多,有3150名黑人成为受害者。而犯罪人当中62.3%是白人。

《洛杉矶时报》2004年5月3日报道,受“9·11”事件及伊拉克战争影响,2003年,全美共发生针对穆斯林的仇恨事件1019起,同比增长69%。加州针对穆斯林的仇恨事件共221起,同比增长近3倍。 纪录指出,美国司法领域种族歧视司空见惯。有色人种被判刑和在监狱中被关押的比例明显高于白人。根据美国司法部2004年11月公布的报告,有色人种占美国在押囚犯人数的70%以上。





美国种族歧视问题现状 种族主义的隐居

国际先驱导报波士顿特约记者杨一帆报道 全球种族主义仍未消亡,即使在最发达的国家——美国。



今天的美国,在种族歧视方面可以说是新旧并存。一方面,旧有的种族主义势力仍然存在,他们尽管人数不多,但是在美国社会中总是可以掀起大浪。波士顿大学的一位黑人研究生约翰·史利文森对记者说,即使在他就读的中学、大学里,都有许多种族歧视的影子存在。 他回忆说,2年前,一次自己和同伴到大学的一个俱乐部里玩,刚进门,就感觉到许多白人投来鄙视的目光。俱乐部的服务生上来很不客气的说,“这里是私人场所,请你们这些黑鬼离开”。同伴告诉他,这里是一个只允许白人进入的俱乐部,老板有很强的3K党背景。















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