'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.' - Martin Luther King
America is known to many as 'the land of opportunity' where everyone is created equal and equipped with equal opportunities to work their way up in society. However, recent studies have shown that this idea is misplaced and that the U.S. has an unusually low level of mobility. Despite the fact that America is often portrayed as a huge 'melting pot' with room for all cultures, races and ethnicities, it seems that racism and ethnic discrimination have always been and will continue to be major issues in the U.S.
Racism Against Minorities
Before the 1960s' civil rights movement, racism was not only tolerated but institutionalised by law. Although racism is prohibited by law in the United States today, it is still widespread. Minorities such as Afro-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and people of Middle Eastern origin face racism such as violence, harassment and discrimination. The difference is that it is not as out in the open as before and, therefore, much harder to pinpoint and prove.
The 9/11 Attacks
On the 11th of September, 2001, 19 Muslim terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed two of them into the Twin Towers in New York, killing around 3,000 people. After the attacks, hate crimes against Muslims increased all over the U.S. Today, all over America, Muslims and people mistaken for Muslims are still exposed to attacks and harassment based on their looks and faith.
Did you know
Hispanics and Latinos are the second most discriminated ethnic group in the U.S. next to African Americans?
Another targeted group are the Hispanics. They are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. According to recent numbers, by 2050, the number of Hispanics will have more than doubled, from 55 million today to 112 million, and account for almost 30 per cent of all Americans. Still, Hispanics face significant discrimination in America. In a study conducted by Rutgers University, 22 per cent of Hispanic/Latino workers reported experiencing workplace discrimination, compared to only 6 per cent of whites.
The U.S. has a long history of law enforcement officers using excessive and unjustified violence against blacks and other minorities, often with fatal outcomes. In 2020, two instances of police brutality received extensive media attention. The first is the shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead in her apartment by three plainclothes officers performing a 'no-knock' warrant search in the middle of the night in search of two other people. The second is the killing of George Floyd, who was slowly suffocated for eight minutes during an arrest. Floyd was killed even though he was not resisting arrest and was crying for help while several people filmed the incident.
The police killings have sparked massive protests against institutional racism in the U.S. and around the world, which in some cases have led to riots and the tearing down of statues deemed to be symbols of institutional racism.