Improvement in Race Relations Race relations in the United States are much better now than they were when Toni Morrison wrote A Slow Walk of Trees 25 years ago. The United States prides itself in being considered the most diverse country in the planet. Living in Los Angeles, California, one of the biggest metropolitan cities in our country, I have the opportunity of seeing different races every day. Our cultural melting pot of a country has evolved so much from the mid-1970's, that interracial marriages, minority executives, celebrities and athletes are all now commonplace in our society. It is also not unheard of to see many minorities living in prominent neighborhoods... There are still many racial stereotypes in our country.
Some people, many of which are Caucasian, are still alienated when seeing a group of young African-American or Latino males. African-American and Latino minorities are still being pulled over by police officers for no particular reason, other than looking suspicious. Racial stereotypes are a result of many instances. One major cause of racial stereotypes in the African-American community is rap music. Rap artists such as Kurupt, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Nas, DMX, Master P Lainez 2 and the late Christopher Wallace (Notorious B.I. G) often use lyrics riddled with incidents such as the dealing and use of narcotics, promiscuity, robbery and homicide. The large exposure of rap music, currently the number one selling music genre in our country, gives many people the impression that the majority of black people live that same exact dangerous lifestyle often glamorized by irresponsible rap artists.
However, there are rap artists such as Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Outkast, The Roots, and Common Sense that write lyrics about the lack of racial unity in our country, oppression, and the disagreement of the rap style of the rappers who project criminal personalities. Th media has a stronghold on our country. Incidents concerning racism are now receiving a lot of media attention. Twenty-five years ago, a group of police officers beating on a black person would not have gotten as much media attention as the Rodney King incident.
Rodney King was an African-American who was pulled over and beaten by four Los Angeles police officers for reckless driving while under the influence of an illegal substance. That unfortunate event was pivotal in the sense that the whole world gained consciousness on what was really going on as far as racial tension was concerned. There have been many other publicized incidents in the news after the Rodney King incident. For example, there was an Ethiopian man sodomized with a plunger by an on-duty New York police officer.
Lainez 3 It is not rare to see a minority as a celebrity. Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Antonio Banderas, Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne are all top-tier actors in the movie industry. Shaquille O Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Sammy Sosa, Vladimir Guerrero and Pedro Martinez are all prominent sports superstars. Various children of all races in the United States look up to these celebrities and athletes without any regard to the skin color of these heroic figures. The United States has grown so much in the past 25 years, but we still have a long way to go. I am convinced that future generations will be more accepting of other races.
People are now concerned with the racism in our country, because they realize that a racist belief is a wrong one. That is the reason why various racist incidents are being publicized in the media. The mentality of our country has changed in the sense that we realize that racism is a problem that needs to be changed. We are now in the year 2000, and as we look back at our country 25 years ago, the differences are noticeable. As a Latino male, I can walk through the streets of Los Angeles with confidence and faith that I will not be tormented because of my race. Though I honestly doubt that racial prejudice will ever end, I am sure that in the next 25 years my teenage son or daughter will be able to walk the streets of our city with less fear of racial profiling.
I hope to live to see that day, when our states will truly be united.