White-American Race Relations

From a White-perspective, race has always been an issue that affects “the other” – Blacks, Asians, and other “minority” racial groups. It was assumed (and largely still is) that whites dominated other races both qualitatively and quantitatively. For this reason, the societal status of these marginalized races have always been determined by whites. Historical evidence in the form of slavery, public segregation, forced migration and other racially-based abuses of minority races demonstrate this privilege naturally afforded to whites as a means of maintaining their superiority. Even through the present day this White privilege is evident. While minority races must work to counter prevailing racism in the United States, White Americans must consciously …show more content…
In a Gallup poll, participants were asked the following: “Would you say relations between – whites and black – are very good, somewhat good, somewhat bad, or very bad?” (“Race” 1). In 2015, the results showed that 17 percent of participants view these relations as “very bad,” higher than any other year since 2001 (1). Interestingly, race relations between whites and blacks are perceived as worse than relations between whites and other minority groups, according to the same Gallup poll. This demonstrates the long-term legacy of slavery and racial segregation and its implications for race relations in the United States. Some analysis of this deterioration in perceived race relations, however, points to a positive future. In this sense, it seems that whites have become more aware of the prevailing racial tensions. David Graham, a staff writer at The Atlantic, advances that idea that the driver of “these bleak impressions about race relations is whites awakening to realities that were always extant but had been invisible to them” (Graham). Whites have become much more aware of the situation surrounding race in the United States – particularly in the past year, as racial tension has repeatedly erupted into violent conflict gaining national media attention. Although the raw data suggests a deterioration of race relations in the United States, an analysis of this data leads to a degree of optimism …show more content…
Though truly a multifaceted term, Francis E. Kendall, a specialist in issues of diversity and white privilege, identifies it as “the ability to make decisions that affect everyone without taking others into account. This occurs at every level, from intellectual to individual” (Kendall 5). With this definition, the abstraction of white privilege can be applied to societal phenomenon. Take the debate over the “n-word” as an example. White people often express disdain when they hear black people call each other such derogatory terms. And one might claim with validity that the use of such terms are counterproductive in the advancement of a race-inclusive society. That is not the problem. Rather, it is who is making such claims that is the problem. When a white person makes such a normative statement about how society ought to be, he is exerting his white privilege, his ability to make a blanket assertion affecting a group of people without that group’s input. It is this sort of perceived power that is at the root of racial tensions in the United States; until this privilege is recognized among the privileged, minority races impacted by this influence will continue to be

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