Try to imagine everyday life. Who do you see on television? Who do you see as political leaders? What kind of people do you see working as doctors and lawyers versus the kinds of people you see working at fast food restaurants and as garbage collectors? Who is on the list of the wealthiest Americans?
Who do you see living in your neighborhood? Is it racially mixed or segregated? When you think of a criminal who comes to mind? When answering these questions you " ll probably see a pattern. Whites are associated with better job positions, better living conditions, better lifestyles and blacks are associated with things like welfare, crime, poverty, and a reputation for not caring. These assumptions are based purely on how society likes to portray blacks and whites.
It is not the African Americans fault that they are portrayed in this way but the fact that they are still being treated differently than whites. There are definitely two societies: a black society and white society and it will probably be that way for a long time. Institutional racism is to blame for the two societies on the basis that African Americans are discriminated against in the realms of education, health care, and criminal justice. The fact that whites are viewed as supreme and above blacks probably has a lot to do with the fact that for hundreds of years they were. Slavery and the separating of the two societies have never been fully lived down. From the beginning of this countries birth they were separated and it is hard for people to not see skin color as a difference.
Blacks have had to work to get where they are from basically nothing. When freed they had no money, no land, no education and whites had everything, so basically from then until now it has been blacks trying to catch up to whites. Today many think that discrimination and racism don't take place because we as a society have learned to adapt but in actuality for most blacks poverty, unemployment, segregation, etc have all increased due to institutional racism. Since society is clearly trying to make it seem blacks and whites are extremely different from each other, that is the way blacks and whites are thinking resulting in the separation of societies. One reason why institutional racism is a factor in having two societies is in relation to the education system.
It is a known fact that more white children than black children go to college. This is due to the fact blacks have fewer educational opportunities and their education system is on a lower level (McGhan). For example where I live in the city of Cleveland, the city is basically split up into two sides: the blacks on the east side and the whites on the west side. The west side has a better school system and more private schools than the east side. The east side schools are predominantly taught by black teachers and the west side taught by white teachers. Although the school system in Cleveland is not so good, the schools on the west side receive more money and the conditions of the buildings are better.
Many say that it is the blacks fault because they ruined what they had but in actuality they don't receive as much money and what they are learning is not as advanced as what predominately white students are learning. Another reason why institutional racism promotes two societies is within the health care system. Since blacks are discriminated against in the education system, then they have less of a chance to get a good job and to have a job with benefits. So basically the problem starts out small but just keeps getting bigger and bigger when you add in all of the institutions that are involved in this racism. Since blacks do not have as good as jobs as whites due to education then they live in poorer housing developments and usually these communities are minority communities resulting in the division of blacks and whites.
Since many practicing doctors are white and set up their practice in predominately white communities, black communities are under-served and have unequal access to hospitals and doctors. "A disproportionate number of blacks have no insurance, are unemployed, are employed in jobs that do not provide healthcare insurance, and disqualify for government assistance" (Randall). This then results in blacks becoming ill more frequently than whites and dying at a significantly higher rate. The last reason why institutional racism keeps blacks and whites as two different societies is the discrimination within the criminal justice system. "Even though five times as many whites use "illegal drugs" as do blacks but blacks (who are just 13% of the U.S. population) are 62% of drug offenders send to state prisons" (Prejudice and Punishment). Just in that area of criminal justice alone blacks are being highly discriminated against.
Not to mention the high rate of blacks being stopped by police on the road than whites even though the white population to the black population on the road is triple, maybe even quadruple. With the stereotypes of blacks being drug offenders and criminals, it is leading our police to believing it's always true. Whites certainly do have the advantage when it comes to criminal justice because society just envisions the black person as always the one to blame, which is quite wrong and unfair. Even as far as black and white neighborhoods, the black neighborhood is always labeled as the unsafe one or the lower class one because of the discrimination of blacks in the criminal justice system. Some people argue that we as a society and as a nation have come along way concerning the racial factor and that blacks and whites are living in one society.
They argue that blacks and whites live together, work together, go to school together, attend events together and so on, but just because we interact with each other does not mean that we are one as a society. For example, I live in an all white neighborhood and last year a black family moved in. Everything was fine for awhile but then the black family got a black Barbie doll with blood on it in their mailbox telling them to go where they belong and this followed with more threats and very disturbing letters. Considering it is 2003, I thought that those kinds of incidents didn't occur anymore but I found out in a personal way that they do and it is very disturbing. To me it sounded like the neighborhood didn't want them to move in because more and more blacks might come and somehow that was a bad thing. If we were one society then all of this hatred and discrimination toward one another wouldn't be happening and we would be able to live without fear and rejection.
The society of the present day is substantially different from the society of the 18th, 19th, 20th centuries but there are still so many changes that need to happen in our society before we are able to say that we live as one society. No matter how many times people try and stop racism there are always new ways on how to get around the laws and successfully exclude blacks from the things they rightly deserve. Institutionalized racism is an example of how these racists get around the laws. Health care, education, and criminal justice system are only three of the many realms that blacks face each day with institutional racism and hopefully in the next century we can stop this racism, we can bring the white society and black society into one American society. McGhan, Barry. "Racism Lives Today".
The Center for Public School Renewal. web "Prejudice and Punishment: Blacks unfairly treated in 'War on Drugs'". 22 June 2000, web Randall, Vernellia R. ed. "Institutional Racism in the U.S. Health Care System". The University of Dayton School of Law. web.