For a country made up almost completely of people without ancestors native to the land, there is a surprising amount of racism that has been rampant ever since colonists began settling in the late 1400s. America is a melting pot but unfortunately and wrongly, some of the ingredients do not agree with other ingredients. Much of today’s racism comes from the lasting effects of slavery or from reactions to terrorism. In those cases, the people being attacked are black, Muslim, or even anyone with Middle Eastern heritage. Three big examples of racism throughout the south and west are the conflict over the continued use of the Confederate flag, the famous cases of mistreatment of black people by the LAPD, and the xenophobia being largely fueled by presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The Confederate flag was adopted by the southern states after succeeding from the Union, and as such, it is associated with oppression and slavery. It has been a topic of great controversy for a while but people have recently become more vocal about it. The flag is still flown in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, which are of course all southern states. Some argue that it is a lasting symbol of “southern pride” and that the decision to keep it is an issue of state rights, which is partially what the civil war. However, as the Confederacy was fighting very much for slavery, their symbol is a lasting memory of the horrors of the time and a reminder to the southern black community of what their ancestors were put through by the very people who created that flag.
Whether or not it is valid, the LAPD has a reputation of systematic racism, a good example of which is the trial of OJ Simpson. Simpson was accused of brutally murdering his ex wife and her boyfriend, but whether or not he did it became less important in the trial when it was revealed that the police officer who found all the evidence, Mark Fuhrman was a vocal racist and had even been recorded bragging about falsifying police reports to get black people put in jail. The fact that such a man had been not only allowed onto the force but allowed to get away with so much illegal, racist behavior was and still is a sign of how racism is systematically accepted in America. The LAPD was previously the subject of scandal after the beating of Rodney King, and continues to run into controversy over the beatings of black men.
Donald Trump has said and promoted many racist ideals, and unfortunately, people agree with him. When he initially announced his running for president, he devoted a whole part of his speech essentially to about how the majority of Mexicans coming to the US are drug dealers, murderers, and rapists and that they are being sent by the government. He has essentially demonized the entire country and its people. He also vowed that on day one of his presidency, he will ban Muslims from entering the country, fueling the idea that all Muslims are terrorists, when in fact, there are very few terrorist attacks by Muslims in the US and it is more common for white men to target, terrorize, and attack other racial groups.
The flying of the Confederate flag is an issue in the south and the scandals with the LAPD have of course taken place in California, showing that concentrated racism is a lasting problem in both the south and west. The number of people who support Trump and other people promoting xenophobia shows that racism is everywhere, but that it is not as rampant in certain parts of the country. It is generally thought that the south is full of racism, but it is important to remember that in this country, racism has never not been a problem. However, there are certain places that breed racism because of the historical attitudes of those regions.
- Pearl, Mike. “Does the LAPD Deserve Its Reputation for Racism and Brutality?” Vice.com. Vice, 7 Mar. 2015. Web.