With the election of Barak Obama, there was a period of reflection in the US about the state of race relations and whether the US as a society had made a great leap forward in its attitudes towards minorities, and in particular, African-Americans. While some would argue that Obama’s election was the indicator of this evolution, others would point to how Obama placed himself and the people in general, in the context of American society. “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” The idea being that America has moved beyond classifying, both institutionally and socially, people by race/skin color. Now even a black man can be President of the US. America has finally achieved its original intent of universiliam, or its American Creed.
However, some critics see the idea of a ‘post-racial society’ as threatening to people’s understanding that the country still very much struggles with race in its institutions and attitudes. The structural issues that surround the War on Drugs and their impact on the African-American community, Michelle Alexander explains: Racial caste is alive and well in America.
The idea of a ‘post racial society’ seems quaint after three years of well-publicized occurrences of lethal force used against innocent and/or unarmed black civilians by various local police forces. I think the US is very much in in the moral and structural quagmire created by America’s original sin…and Americans are well aware of it.