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As we go through time and study history, there are instances where blood has been shed and people suppressed for various motives and reasons but perhaps the root cause for such a degraded attitude towards humanity is racism. Disparity in hereditary origin and skin colour has conflagrated rage amongst millions around the world, ensuing in subjugation and discrimination of the weak by the dominant. The Oxford online dictionary defines racism as "a belief that every member of each race possesses certain features, capabilities, or qualities particular to that race especially so as to differentiate it as inferior or superior to another race or races" (Oxford). Such presumptions about racial discrimination have been the foundation of the racism in United States of America where racism is conventionally referred to as the brutality of the majority white Americans over its non-white minority population. Over the course of time, in its efforts to carve out an identity as a beacon of hope and humanitarian excellence and fine ideals, America has propagated a stance of inter-racial equality and non-discrimination.  The presidential elections won by African American Barrack Obama were celebrated throughout the world by the non-white societies because of the idea that it would end or at least change the racial dynamics in America. However, the assertion that the unprecedented entrance of an African American into the white house will end the racial discrimination in America is too oversimplified to accept, ignoring the solid facts that show that racism in America is still an overwhelming reality.  
To identify with the racial relationships in America, one needs to understand the history of racial marginalization that plays a significant role towards comprehending the psyche of a normal American citizen. The evolution of racism started nearly five centuries ago when Columbus first laid his foot on American soil. In the beginning, it took the form of debasing attitude towards Native Americans. Soon, blatant maltreatments which included killing and plundering in order to occupy their lands and properties ensued, together with enslaving the Africans to work for their masters. Despite the abolition of slavery in the course of thirteenth amendment in 1865, racism had penetrated the American culture to its core. Institutionalized and legitimate racism became the course of the day as sequestration law further disenfranchised the black minority. Organized rebellions were carried out by white supremacist groups such as the KKK against the blacks demonstrating the degree of racial odium that had been developed. However, after all those incidents, things did recover from there on. The African American civil rights movement in late 50's and early 60's aimed at outlawing the racial disparity and asked for equal treatment for every person. Surprisingly, it did bear some fruit under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. as it ended in passing of a landmark piece of legislation "The Civil Rights Act" in 1964. Consequently, major racial disparities were outlawed and new avenues became available for the black minorities in America (Dean). Many argue that passing of this act was the point where roots of racial discrimination were slashed off and Barrack Obama's entry to the white house acts as a de facto proof of this claim. While recent elections demonstrate that American society has evolved into a mature civilization since the eras of slavery and segregation, but that certainly did not imply an end to racism in America.

It may seem that race related problems have finally ended in today's America, but statistical evidence regarding racial discrimination is a sharp reminder to the fact that racism in America is far from being eradicated. The economic gap between the white Americans and rest of the population that has risen to a staggering extent must act as a signal to those who believe that racial disparity is dead in America. Economic inequality in this New World order is predicated by race and manifested flagrantly via racism. In a survey performed by the U.S census bureau in 2008, it was found out that only 8.6 percent of the white Americans were below the poverty line while 22.9 percent of Hispanic population and 25.1 percent of African American population was living in stark poverty(Income, Poverty and Health Insurance). Similarly, in a research performed by Thomas Shapiro, a professor of law and sociology at Brandeis University, it was found out that a normal white American family had a net worth of $ 82000 while on the other hand, an average black American family had only $ 8000 in its wealth (Thomas Shapiro). Thus the wealth differential between these two races stands a staggering factor of 10 implying that for every $1 wealth for a white person, a black person will have 10 cents. These economic markers clearly point out to racial prejudice that still persists in the nexus of modern American economy. Hence the American dream is definitely not for all; it is inherently racist.
        Similarly, the healthcare status for minorities sheds further light on the socioeconomic discrimination that still remains persistent in modern day America. For instance, the mortality rate for babies is thrice as high for African American as for whites. Similarly, infant deaths due to premature births are five times greater for blacks than for whites (Understanding Health Disparities). In addition, minorities in America have higher rates of HIV/AIDS, contracting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases than white population. This demonstrates that minorities have been suffering from inadequate health status which is a direct consequence of low access to proper healthcare. The dismal health insurance packages catered to these minorities are the actual reason for their inability to reach out an efficient health care plan. In a survey carried out by US census bureau in 2003, only 11 percent of white population was uninsured while on the other hand, 20.1 percent of blacks and 32.3 percent of Hispanics were living without any insurance (Health Insurance Coverage). In addition, a research performed by ' The Commonwealth Fund' found out that minorities were provided with low standard of health care facilities in inner cities as compared to regions where white population concentration was high (Diverse Communities). The starkest evidence of racial inequality in the US health care organization, however, comes from the results of the 2002 report entitled "
Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health care" which suggests that minorities are intentionally provided with inferior health care facilities by the providers as opposed to their well facilitated provisions to the whites (Unequal treatment). It is heartbreaking to note that in a country like the United States of America which ranks so highly on human development scales, such as the Human Development Index (HDI) basic human rights like essential health care are divided along the lines of race. Therefore, it has become glaringly evident that people are denied the providence of basic healthcare facilities solely on the basis of their color; hence, making it utterly obvious that America still needs to fight the battle against racial inequality.
Moreover, the mounting of hate crimes in America acts as further confirmation to the fact that the archaic beliefs of racial bias are still living in American society. The US continues to exude the picture of microcosmic melting pot of mixed children where racial disparities continue to bubble resulting in killings and murders in the name of racial superiority. According to the FBI’s crime reports in 2008, 3875 crimes were committed purely due to racial prejudice rising from 3612 in 2007 (Incidents, Hate Crime Statistics). It was the African-American population who bore the brunt of those racially prompted assaults as 73.1 percent of those crimes were committed by anti-black community (Criminality, Race and Social factors). In addition, the Southern Poverty Law Centre reported that 931 hate groups across the nation are involved in racial activities (Hate Map). This is also in line with America’s recent preoccupation with Islamophobia despite its claims to be a multicultural and multiracial society which champions the values of tolerance and harmony. This shows that the American society is not as accepting of different races as they purport themselves to be. All of these proofs indicate that despite numerous steps taken by the American society towards eradicating racial disparity, the violence and racial bias that ensues from it is still prevalent and well alive to this present day.

Furthermore, statistical evidence gathered points towards the increasing number of incarcerated non-white citizens in the United States prisons and also presents a frightening picture of the existence of racial discrimination at the very core of this nation's criminal justice system. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2005, the proportion of the jail and prison population that was African American had approached 50 percent, while 34 percent of them were white and 19 percent Hispanic (Bureau of Justice). Presently, prison studies conducted in California indicate that it is on the cutting edge of racial and social tolerance and has a prison population that is 69 percent non-white while only 7 percent of California's population is Black. This large population of Black inmates has helped this "enlightened" state become the sixth state in incarceration rates (Criminality, Race and Social factors). The crimes for which racial minorities and whites are imprisoned also differ. African Americans and Hispanics are much more likely than whites to be imprisoned for drug offenses. Statistical data gathered shows that 27 percent of the Hispanics and 25 percent of the African Americans were imprisoned for drug offenses, compared to only 15 percent of the whites (Bureau of Justice). This irrefutable evidence makes it glaringly apparent that the racial minorities comprise a disproportionate share of the United States prison population.
However, there are people who advocate the notion that racism has been eliminated from the modern day American life and believe that racial issues are no more a relevant factor to ponder upon. A persistent premise in their arguments points out that discrimination between whites and blacks is not a consequence of ideological beliefs which perpetuate doctrinal notions of racial inequality but that these arise due to differences in socioeconomic standing. For instance, they believe that poor healthcare facilities and lack of employment opportunities for the minorities are not calculated attempts to marginalize the blacks; rather, it is their inferior level of socioeconomic status and education that forces them to live a substandard life.  While socioeconomic factors do play an important role toward enhanced standards of living and justify the maltreatment of the minorities to a certain extent, racial disparity continues to exist at equivalent socioeconomic levels too. A research performed in 2001 found out that employment interviews were filled with highly biased attitude where white applicants, even though they had a criminal record, were preferred to their black counterparts who swashed their clean records (Mark Dean). The notion of racial disparity in employment was further brought into spotlight in a report released in 2009 which highlighted that black college graduates working for advertising companies earned $0.80 for every dollar earned by their white counterpart (Research Perspectives). Another research found out that minorities were provided with substandard treatment as compared to white patients even though all environmental factors of age, income, sex, health insurance, social support, education and employment status were taken into account (Gilbert Gee). This makes it quiet apparent that American societal structure is systematically filled with racial disparity and continues to struggle against the maltreatment of minorities which is adversely affecting the whole American nation.
Moreover, United States of America cannot claim to be idealistically superior in its portrayed image of non discrimination as this super power practices the principle of racism and discrimination even in the arena of its foreign relations. Critics such as Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky have suggested that racism has played a significant role in U.S foreign policy in the Middle East and its treatment of the Arabs (Collins). Various critics have suggested that racism along with strategic and financial interests motivated the Bush Administration to attack Iraq even though the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction nor had any ties to Al Qaida (Collins). How can a country which is unable to maintain a policy of non-discrimination at the global arena despite holding perhaps the most crucial position in the flux of international relations, claim to be fair and partial at the national level?
Barrack Obama's appointment as America's president is a historic milestone but this milestone was not only rejoiced by American nation. For billions across every continent, it was a moment of pure joy due to the fact that a black man was the present of United States of America, the most powerful country in the world. For most people, it was a vindication of the struggle against racial disparity. The proponents of this argument also name Tiger Woods and Oprah Winfrey and a few other eminent African American personalities as a substantiation for their claim that racism is nonexistent in present America. However, one should not allow such an idealistic outlook to cloud one's judgment. Taking into account all the empirical data regarding the racial disparity against blacks in the prison, in the health care system, in housing and employment, one needs remember the fact that an elected African-American president does not nullify all empirical evidence that continues to indicate that racial discrimination still runs through veins of modern American society. The entrance of Obama into the topmost office in the white house does not negate the under representation of African Americans in politics. Despite comprising 14 percent of the total population, African Americans only occupy 9.6 percent seats in house of representatives and there is only a single member in the senate (Congress). Similarly, Oprah Winfrey as one of the richest personalities in the world does not mean that racist exploitation against a single African American woman has diminished; they are still considered as outcasts with an inferior socioeconomic status. Hence, it is apparent that these isolated cases are not indicative of the adversity impacting the minorities on a macro level in the states.
  For a country waving a flag of diversity with clamorous swagger, today's America is still in a perplexed state where the problem of racial disparity within its societal and political structure seems everlasting. The plethora of evidence exhibiting racial discrimination unmistakably highlights the fact that racial inequality has not met its ultimate demise. If the problems regarding racism were dead, such discrimination would not subsist. The evolution of racism in the United States has been a gradual process that has given birth to a far more subtle form of racial bigotry and while it is merely a shadow of its former inglorious past, it continues to deeply affect the heart of the American social and political order. Therefore, there is a need to realize that while momentous events such as Obama's election may signal to ever improving state of affairs of minorities, a final victory over prejudice and racial hostility remains elusive and a distant possibility.

Written By: Hamza Orakzai (Bsc Student LUMS)

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