Racism and Anti-Semitism
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Since pre-Independence time the United States of America has had challenges of racism and anti-Semitism affecting its people. American people have tried to mitigate the problem, but with limited impact due to peoples` attitude, culture, among other social economic issues. In operationalization of the terms, Dictionart.com (2005) defines racism as a doctrine or belief that intrinsically differentiates traits, behaviors, and lifestyles according to the human races. In modern times, racism signifies discrimination based on human race. Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, simply means discrimination or hatred towards Jews (ADL, 2001). It can also imply hatred to any group attributed to Jews or Jewish ethnicity and religion. Anti-Semitism started during Adolf Hitler regime in 1930s, where he spearheaded a campaign against Jews. It reached its Climax during the Second World War where Hitler killed six million Jews in Europe. Anti-Semitism since then has spread all over the world, including America. On the other hand, racism became a big issue during the slave trade, where Arabs traded Africans as goods to the whites, hence African slave trade, was rampant in America (Herf, 2007). Racism and anti-Semitism are crimes against humanity, because they involve torture, discrimination and suffering of human beings (Herf, 2007). America is one of the countries, which face a big problem of presence racism among its races and anti-Semitism that results to a lot of suffering and injustice of the victims.
Since colonial era, racism has been a major issue in the United States, as earlier stated. It has caused a heavy burden and suffering to the African American, Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans and all migrants from other countries. The Anglo Americans, commonly known as the European Americans, have more privileges and enjoy more rights than the other Americans. These privileges are seen in the following areas; literacy, education, employment, health care, and justice among other social economic benefits.
Access to education undergoes racial influences since the minorities (African American, Native Americans, Latin Americans, and Asian Americans) in the US who have lack of presence in American Universities. In 2003, the then president of the United States of America made an affirmation that racism is present in America (Taylor, 2003). In his speech, he said that racial prejudice was present in the American Colleges and Campuses. Here the president made the case of affirmation that there was poor presentation of some races in access of education. Racism in learning institutions is also present in the policies, rules, regulations and student enrollment. Currently, Bob Jones University an evangelical based university in Greenville, South Carolina, has an interracial dating policy that prohibits students from different races dating (The Associated Press, 2008). This policy mainly affects the minority in the university since they cannot interact freely with the others in fear of not to be accused of interracial relationship. This discriminative policy violates civil rights of people in having relationships. Such policies in learning institutions advocate for racism and as a result, other racial discriminations arise in these institutions. For instance, the authorities have accused the same university in 2008 of being “racially hurtful”, because it was enrolling few minority races’ students in the US (The Associated Press, 2008). Due to the school’s racial policy, other racial issues emerge like the issue of enrolling students in Bob Jones University. This university is just one example of many leaning institution in the US, which have racism.
They blame the employment sector that discriminates Black Americans. Analysts take employment racism to be the major contribution factor to rapid increasing poverty levels among the African Americans as compared to whites. Taylor (2003) asserted that the Blacks have low chances of being employed, when the economy is flourishing, consequently having high chances of losing their jobs, when the economy is going down. Taylor (2003) also says that during economic recession, job loses affect mostly the construction and the manufacturing industry, which employ mostly the Blacks. In 2001 during the economic recessing, unemployment among the blacks rose from 10% to 11%, while there was a negligible change in job loss and unemployment among the White Americans (Taylor, 2003). For instance, at Coca-Cola company in the US (with only 18% Black employees), during the economic recession of 1990, had 42% of the black employees lose their jobs. Also in Sears, which had 15.9% Black employees, more than 54% who lost their jobs were the Blacks (Taylor, 2003). This is a clear inappropriate distribution of employment opportunities in American companies based on race. Still on the same issue of racism in employment, there shocking finding by University of Chicago showing that job applicants with the names, which sound black are twice not likely to be shortlisted and be called for an interview. The same study also showed that the Whites with criminal records got more interview calls, than those who are black without criminal records (Tyehimba, 2003). It is evident that there are racial policies among American companies, which remain hidden at the individual institutional level with the Blacks being discriminated in the employment sector.
The racism pandemic is present in the very basic right of access to health care. African Americans experience more problems in accessing health facilities and care than white Americans. From a report by ASPE (2011), it shows that 20% of African Americans in the US do not have health coverage. As a result the Blacks in US die six years younger than the other Americans and birth mortality rates among the Blacks are twice as those of Whites. This implies that the health care system of the US has a weakness, which allows unequal access to health care. Health care is a fundamental human right that supposed to be equal to all the U.S. citizens.
The justice system in the US is another sector highly affected by racism. Currently the Blacks make up 13% of the total population in America and shockingly 50% of the nation’s prison population is comprised of blacks (Unlocking America, 2007). The first question one would ask is, do not the Whites in America commit crime like other Whites in white dominated countries? The answer to this question lies to only one thing, racism. In Maryland, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, more than 50% of African Americans males are under jurisdiction of criminal justice (Unlocking America, 2007). Forty percent of people sentenced to death are black, while the total proportion of the Blacks in the US is only 6% (Unlocking America, 2007). In addition, “Unlocking America” (2007) shows that the Latinos and Blacks are much more cruelly treated than white in the juvenile justice system. All the above statistical facts show the extent of racism in the justice system in America since Blacks are out rightly discriminated.
Anti-Semitism in America
Despite the US setting up many systems to control anti-Semitism, there are current instances of anti-Semitism seen. Dinnerstein (2004) claimed anti-Semitism was increasing as from a research done in 2004. Dinnerstein’s predictions are true as confirmed by Benari (2011) that 15% of Americans are anti-Semitic.
It was on March 3, 2003, when James P. Moran (a then Democratic Congress man from Virginia) blamed the Jews for the war in Iraq (Dinnerstein, 2004). Many people in the U.S.A. considered this as an anti-Semitic statement. It was an anti-Semitic statement, because Moran accused the Jews for problems in Iraq, which is not true, because Jews played a minor role in the war in Iraq, in fact, the US was the major influence for that war but not the Jews. This was a direct false accusation to the Jews community hence the statement qualifying to be an act of anti-Semitism.
In 2002, the anti-Defamation League (ADL) found out that most George Washington University faculty members were against the Israel treatment to Palestine (Dinnerstein, 2004). Later in the same year, the president of the university made a calling to the American firms to withdraw their investments in Israel. By the end of the year, other universities made a similar call including MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin. The call of the major American universities for American investors to withdraw their investments in Israel was anti-Semitism, because any attack to the Israel government is an attack to the Jews. The universities were anti-Semitic by attributing the problems faced in Palestine, while not looking at other factors, which resulted to the problems in Palestine like corruption, dictatorial leadership, fanaticism and terrorism. Therefore, the skewed accusation to the Jews by the American Universities was an act of anti-Semitism.
The other aspect that affects the Jews in the US is the hype with the media. Televisions, magazines, and newspapers help making anti-Semitic news by changing the true general picture of events to Jewish specified issue. In 2003 the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations has noted that there were a lot of misinformation on the Jews by the media (Dinnerstein, 2004). This kind of media hype may have a large effect since most of the citizens in America trust the media; therefore, if it gives inappropriate information on any issues, the citizens are likely to take it as true. Anti-Semitic statements made by the media can have a devastating effect to the nation since many will believe in the news. They spend their efforts and time to overcome anti-Semitism in the US, but there are still cases of the dreadful and it is rapidly spreading.
Counter arguments on racism in America
An article posted in the internet by Uroskie (2008), affirmed that there is no racism in America. In the article, the writer said that the word racist was misused and there were no racists in the US. In his argument, Uroskie (2008) said that, when someone claimed that “a particular candidate is running for president, because is black”, he was not a racist. He went ahead and said that people who made statements like; “he is a nigger” and calling a black woman, “the cleaning lady” were not racist. In his argument, he said that this people were racists only after making a mere statement without an actual racial did.
Of course, critics like Uroskie will claim racism is not present in education, employment, health sector, and in the judiciary. In the education sector, the argue is continuing as for the Blacks who might be lazy and do not put efforts in studies like the Whites, as to qualify to the universities. Some critics like the scientist who claim Blacks are less intelligent than Whites would use that in defense on presence of racism in America.
Critics would argue the same arguments of laziness and less intelligence among the Blacks on the issue of racism in employment, because the Whites are the majority that is why they have many jobs in the US.
Others would say the access to health is not a racial issue since everyone is obliged to pay for health coverage and if one cannot afford health coverage, it is not a racial issue but an issue of poverty. This is to imply that access to health should to be not only a racial issue, but an economic issue as well.
In the judiciary department, critics would say crime is a personal responsibility and not to be taken as a racial issue. They would say if a person commits a crime regardless of the race, should be prosecuted and the Blacks in jail are there, because they committed crime, but not because they are Black. This implies that the 50% Black population in prisons are criminals who deserve to be in jail.
Counter arguments on anti-Semitism in America
Some people believe that the new anti-Semitism overseen in the media is untrue. In their arguments, these critics claim anti-Semitism ended time ago in America, but other people want the world to believe anti-Semitism is still present in the US. One such critic is the founder (Michael Lerner) of ‘Tikkun magazine’, a magazine referred by many to as “self-hating Jews magazine”, who asserts that there is no anti-Semitism in America. Lerner (2007), claims that the new anti-Semitism is a propaganda created by the Jews to cover up Israel’s crimes against humanity to the Palestinians. He points out that the Israelites use this strategy to silence those who criticize their crimes. Learner (2007) believes that Israel policies are similar to apartheid systems. This implies that anti-Semitism accusations are untrue and are from Jews to cover up their crimes. In his article, Lerner (2007) protects the media, especially his magazine by saying that the media gives the information as it gets it and it does not make up stories on anti-Semitism. This is to imply that the media should be responsible for the anti-Semitism accusations in America.
Response to racism in America counter-arguments
Uroskie makes the most absurd argument on racism since his statements sent a racism picture. If such statements exist, they will lead to the whole society using them and claiming they are not racist. Just consider the effect such statements will have on our children. What kind of adults will they become with such philosophies like: the black woman is the cleaner? The future is wanting, if then such statements are not racial statements.
The arguments made that the Blacks are lazy and less intelligent than the White is untrue. This is so, because there have been very intelligent Blacks, who have made greater contribution in science, politics, economy, sociology among the other fields. In addition, the current American President is Black and he is intelligent enough to lead such a super power country. Otherwise, it has not true scientifically that the Blacks are less intelligent than the Whites are.
On the issue of health, critics are wrong in blaming poverty and poor economic status in inability of the Blacks to access health care. This is because the increasing poverty among the Blacks is a contribution of racism in America. Nonetheless, there was a proposal for universal health policy in the US, which was under criticism. This shows that their some Americans who do not want the poor to get sufficient health care.
Yes, it is true that crime is a personal responsibility but not a racial issue. Do not the Whites in US commit crime like other whites in white dominated countries? Then what about the unfair treatment in the juvenile prisons of Black prisoners, is that also their responsibility? This questions drive to presence of racism in American judiciary system.
Michael Lerner and other critics who think anti-Semitism is not present in America are very wrong. What Lerner is doing is defending his anti-Semitic statements and actions since the war of Palestine and Israel is an issue of land, but not race. Israel has a right to defend its land as well as any other country. Therefore, it does no wrong in doing so. Implicating that Israel has apartheid system of governance is an anti-Semitism statement since Israelites are Jews. In addition, Lerner uses his magazines to spread anti-Semitic messages, and if it is not true then why does his magazine refer to as “self hating Jews magazine”? Media like Lerner’s magazine is truly spreading anti-Semitism to Americans.
From the arguments raised above, it is lucid that racism and anti-Semitism are present in America and it is time for the Americans to face the bull on its horns and deals with the racism and anti-Semitism before they affect the entire country.
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