The election of President Barack Obama reflects a seminal transformation within the American psyche. Overcoming the limitations of our history fraught with the wrenching divisions of race, a majority of voters embraced our country’s promise crossing
The election of President Barack Obama reflects a seminal transformation within the American psyche. Overcoming the limitations of our history fraught with the wrenching divisions of race, a majority of voters embraced our country’s promise crossing racial, cultural and generational boundaries to set a remarkable example for the world.
The inauguration today is the culmination of a long march for justice. One hundred years ago in 1909, the NAACP was born, launching a three-decade long struggle to finally end the lynch mobs that killed thousands of African-Americans. In 1932, the organization took up the mantle to reverse Jim Crow, and two decades later, segregation was made illegal. In 1960, a sustained effort for political inclusion was initiated that triumphed this year in the election of an African-American president and the Black-elected officials since reconstruction.
Yet there is a dichotomy between the symbol of hope and racial progress of President Obama’s election and the entrenched realities of our painful racial legacy. While the country has allowed individuals to permeate the barriers of discrimination, entire groups of people are still locked out of the American dream because of race.
An unknown Barack dressed in jeans and a T-shirt might find it difficult to get a cab. As a Black man, he would be much more likely to be subjected to threats or use of force than a white man were he stopped by police according to Bureau of Justice Statistics. African-Americans are still unfairly profiled and subjected to a justice system that uses mass incarceration to address too many of our nation’s social problems. We have the second highest incarceration rate in the world with more than two million adults in prison. With an estimated one in nine African American men and one in 35 African American women likely to be incarcerated, the nation’s racial disparities in the criminal justice system are indisputable. African Americans, who represent 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, are 30.5 percent of all people arrested.
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