Obama N. Racism
Obama and Racism
Throughout history, several factors have always helped decide who was entitled to even run for the esteemed office of the President of the United States of America. Military service, a prominent Governorship, family connections, the number of slaves owned and of course having a boat load of money clearly helped. Of course, this list offered no guarantees of making the short list. The nations' power brokers made sure that this post only became available to an elite club. That club had very strict entry criteria and one thing was certain, having a skin color other than white was more than likely not going to ever look good on one's resume. Secret rules of potential presidential club membership were in place for over two hundred years and the majority of the world considered that race was one particular requirement that was never going to be negotiable.
But even Rome had some black emperors that the history books still fail to mention when discussing the great Roman Empire and the likes of Nero and Caesar. Even a psychopath like Caligula continues to get some name recognition. The emperors of our modern day society were white and it certainly looked like it was going to stay that way. But something happened. At some point in the day-to-day king making process, something actually did change. Consider the idea that some new power brokers emerged: Michael Jackson, Michael Jordon, Oprah, Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Chris Rock and surprisingly, OJ, Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre. These minorities in their own way reduced the level of racism in America. They made it okay to be what it was not okay to be before they came to power. They did what others could not do: they somehow made it okay to be black in America.
Obama and Racism
This research paper aims to analyze the effects of an awe inspiring change. Barak Obama's presidential election was an event that not only altered the path of our nation; it changed how the world looked upon the United States as a whole. The world saw us again like they did after D-Day. Before the election, the world saw us by our historical past, a past full of money, hatred and racism. The world was probably not wrong; within our borders racism and separatism, hatred and fear are as strong today as they were before racial reform. Can we answer if this election has changed anything in regard to racism today? We can make this even more interesting by asking deeper questions such as, how would the views of the classical sociological theorist Karl Marx or the views by sociologist Nancy Fraser alter our observations? Both of these individuals wrote extensively on the social effects of race, class and status in regard to race. Considering the views of Karl Marx and Nancy Fraser will provide broader views on the topic and will help to create scenarios for comparing and contrasting ideologies.
Racism in America
One day, some guys that no one really cared about had an idea. They decided that they wanted to kill themselves and as many Americans as they could. They decided that it would be best to hijack some planes and then fly those planes, fully fueled jetliners, into the World Trade Center complex and some other strategic locations within the borders of the United States. They chose September 11, 2001, to carry out their plans. After they carried out their horrible mission, those now deceased individuals and their cohorts were immediately identified and labeled.
The culprits were dedicated Muslims, most from some Middle Eastern nation, which particular nation seemed irrelevant. There were many Americans who believed that any Muslims must have been guilty by association. Hatred, new negative attitudes and stereotypes towards the people from the Middle East formed overnight throughout the nation. Anyone who fit the mold, that is, everyone of Middle Eastern decent, whether they were Muslim or not, were from that point forward on the hated list. To say the least, it was not wise to be a Middle Eastern Muslim living in America and praying before a flight could be a hazardous venture into the abyss.
History repeats itself often. How many Americans know what really happened to American citizens of Japanese, German or Italian heritage immediately following the early stages of WWII? Right after 911, Arab and Muslim individuals suffered an almost exact fate. New laws, no restrictions, forced interviews, beatings and many...
"The Patriot Act, recent round-up and detention of over 1,000 and list of interrogation targets of 5,000 individuals, and the Presidential Order to establish quasi-military 'tribunals' exacerbate the selective targeting of Arab and Muslim non-citizens in a climate of fear that completely sanctions blatant racial profiling." (Akram, 2002).
Profiling is wrong. But it may be wrong to say this aloud -- it may be out of order. There was one group in America who may have been glad that those pilots that commandeered those planes were of Middle Eastern decent. Not because this group has ill will or that they wish harm on other American people. They want nothing of the sort. But without blowing up any buildings or starting any wars, two kids were driving down a New Jersey freeway but like the group who stole planes they never got to their destination. They were shot and killed by state police officers. Their crime, to reference Chris Rock, was that they were driving while black in America. "Racism directed against African-Americans and other people of color has been a central and continuing feature of U.S. society." (Bohmer)
The patriot act and all of the events surrounding the horror felt by the nation as the Towers collapsed, these events did one thing. They took a little pressure of the usual targets of the hatred, fear and stereotyping. They gave the black population of the United States a temporary reprieve.
Election campaign and Social Change
Black America used that reprieve to the fullest extent possible. Rap music blaring out of the cars of white teens in the suburbs made many former gang bangers into millionaires. Oprah was considered as a presidential hopeful after she built a school for poor African children abroad while Denzel and Halle each won an Oscar. Tiger Woods just recently became the first billionaire athlete. The black community used the reprieve for a few blacks to become rich. Most still are rich and few go to their old neighborhood to give back. Sure, some do, but most don't.
Very little wealth trickles into New Orleans to help the poor and homeless from Katrina. The poor continue to get poorer. No one was sure if George W. Bush actually beat Al Gore, but once in office he made blunder after blunder and he eventually lost the sympathy for 911 occurring on his watch. The war in Iraq, missing weapons of mass destruction and an economy beginning to sag all made Barak Obama's job to get elected a little easier. Yes we made huge strides in the overall racial battle. But who really wins in the end?
Suddenly there was a well spoken man of mixed decent with a real shot at winning the Democratic nomination. Hilary Clinton was a privileged Ivy Leaguer just like Obama. Could either of them understand the common man? Most thought at this point that he could never become President, but the black culture thought, beggars can't be choosy. Social and cultural change was his underlying message as his campaign began to pick up steam. His campaign promised to address the many social injustices and inequalities from the previous administrations' system. Then he introduced the true American to the rest of us. This guy was supposed to be just like us. Who can forget Joe the Plumber -- because he made under $250,000 annually, his taxes would not be affected. Good Morning America and every talk show wanted a piece of the true Mr. America.
Would maintaining a tax base change his social status? "Much of the social analysis that focuses on the injustices and inequalities in U.S. society has been influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx and the Marxist tradition. Central to Marxism is the understanding that capitalism is an economic system with two major classes. The capitalist class owns and controls the means of production, capital, and continually tries to increase its profits. The working class, which is the large majority of the population, sell their labor power, their capacity to work, in return for a wage. Profits come largely from paying employees less than the value they add to production. Marx called this exploitation." (Bohmer)
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