The world’s biggest democracy USA, as it calls itself, has revealed that what kind of stains it has on itself. After all what represents the country is its people. From the narrow context to the broader one, history has witnessed the supremacy of whites to the democracy led by whites. The famous definition of democracy given by Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S president as “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”, has its own deep and wider meaning. It signifies the equal rights, justice, right to vote, citizenship, right to access the public services of the country etc. But how much this definition is applied in reality, teaches us the lessons of the failure of the founding fathers of Democracy.
Racism in the United States comprises negative thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and views on some specific race, ethnicity and religion, which are held by various people and groups in the US and have been reflected in discriminatory laws, practices and actions at the various times in the history of US against the racial or ethnic groups. European Americans, particularly affluent white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, have enjoyed advantages in the matters of education, immigration, voting rights, citizenship, land acquisition and criminal procedure.
During the 2015-2016 school year, black students represented only 15% of total US student enrollment, but they made up 35% of students suspended at once, 44% of students suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled. The US Department of Education concluded that this disparity is “not explained by more frequent or more serious misbehavior by the students of color”. In New York city, 88% of police stops in 2018 involved black and Latin people, while 10% involved white people. Out of those stops, 70% were completely innocent. From 2013-2017, white patients in the US received better quality healthcare than about 34% of Hispanic patients, 40% of Black patients and 40% of Native American patients. Black woman are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience pregnancy- related deaths than white woman, even at similar levels of income and education. In the US, Black individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed than white individuals. Once employed, black individuals earn nearly 25% less than their white counterpart. One US study found that job resumes with traditionally white-sounding names received 50% more callbacks than those with traditionally Black names.
In the conditions like pandemic (Covid-19), Black Americans have faced more dire circumstances. The high lay-off in Black people bent their backs, almost break them. Due to such worse economic conditions they were unable to even buy the PPE kits. They did not have the proper accesses to health facilities. This led to the surge in the deaths among the black people across the USA. Studies have found that Black Americans had 3.5 times more deaths from Covid-19 than that of White Americans. The health insurance on the other hand represents the worst conditions, as the high cost of coverage has kept the number of insured and underinsured unacceptability high as of 27.5 million people that still lack health insurance coverage. Furthermore the Common Wealth Fund estimates that additional 87 million people (adults aged 19- 64) are under insured, their plan leads to unusually high costs relative to their income constraints.
Besides the inadequate accesses to health facilities, they have been facing police brutality every day in every sphere. Whether they are men or woman, every morning when leave their homes for work they don’t know whether they will come back or not. Studies have shown close to 41.5 per million African Americans were killed in police shootings between 2013 and 2019, the highest of all races. In significant number of cases in the police shoot out, victims do not possesses the weapons, in fact reports are unclear about the possession of weapons by victims. Taking the example of the murder case of George Floyd, which was murdered by the Derek Chauvin police officer in Minneapolis police department, on the suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill, the history is full of the instance of like that.
However , the whole scenario is dependent upon the people of United States. What kind of land they want to pass on to their generations yet to come. Do they want to find themselves to be in the quagmire of racism or inside the blanket of peace with the corners kept tight?
The author is pursuing the master’s degree from Kashmir University.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.