Race Relations in the US: The Divided States Of America

2014-12-07 18:08

It would be an understatement to say the last two years have heralded new and disturbing perceptions of race relations in the United States of America. Policing in the country has singled out black men as targets to be neutralized regardless of the costs, at the expense of human decency and solidarity. Unfortunately for Barack Obama, the structural inequity of Black in comparison to white Americans will leave an indelible mark on his legacy and reflect on his capacity as a leader. The heightened reactions of law enforcement against black american men stem from a more militarized and security conscious nation, still in the throes of rebuilding itself in the post 9/11 epoch.

Laws like the patriot act have empowered intelligence agencies to pervade the privacy of the liberalized individual, leaving many embittered and resentful of the state. other acts like the National Defence Administration Act (NDAA [Section 1021]) also empower law enforcement agencies and individuals to detain persons suspected of terrorist related activities or association indefinitely. In congruence with the contortion of laws depriving basic human rights and decency, racial/cultural/religious groups have been specifically targeted both at home and abroad in the quest to attain 'national security'. Beyond the shores of America the world of Islam has been consistently trifled and interfered with, while at home, the marginalized and aggressive culture of Black America has been identified as a destabilizing influence to the perceived normalcy of the American state. whether the voices of the commercialized music sector will lend their considerable influence the situation remains to be seen.

The association of criminality with African American communities is not out of context when one considers the prevalence of gangs and gang culture in cities across the country. Rather than invest in combating this scourge, gangsterism and violence have become popularized in commercial music. This has occurred under the banner of corporate takeovers of black culture. Wall Street has effectively tamed the rebellious air of Hip-Hop, supplanting it with imagery of conspicuous consumption and flashy living, endorsed by 'chosen mascots' . The music of the Lil Waynes, Jay-Z's and Flavour Flav's of America could well do with a re-invigoration of purpose and content in their material. Watching the annual installment of the Soul train awards however, leaves little room for hope though. Even the US Army weighed in on the sponsorship roster of this years Soultrain awards, effectively utilizing African American celebrities as conscription officials as they saluted the contributions of forces abroad, ensuring optimal conscription rates in ghettos and slums of young black men. The hold of corporate sway and sponsorship could well dictate the extent to which popular music and film celebrities voice dissent and and tell stories more bespoke with intelligence and reflective of the current situation. If anything, the contributions of celebrities should extend beyond twitter hashtags and Facebook statuses. that said, the power of these mediums to get everyday people talking should not be discounted, as the #crimingwhilewhite hashtag has recently demonstrated.

Conclusively, the social ills which have become more visible in the American state are also congruent with a nation which seems to be in decline. The war on terror has largely become another Vietnam, endless in its objectives and involvement in the perceived threat from the world of Islam. A faltering economy, cracking under the policies of credit issuance and raised debt ceilings has created even greater voids between the wealthy and poor. This has given increased visibility to observers the world over, of an American Dream in crisis, one beset by grave challenges and structural inequity within its borders. My only hope is that the people of influence and capacity, both within the black and larger communities of the US can band together and address the larger issue of Black disenfranchisement and work to achieve a common, collective prosperity.

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2010-11-21 18:15

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