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Interpreting African American Views On Other Americans In An Age Of Tense Racial Relations

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The plan for the qualitative research is to interview two African Americans, both in college and in their early twenties. This research will abide by the interpretivist approach. The report will be semi-structured and will consist of in-depth interviews that will last about 45 minutes. Once interviewed, the results will be summarized. This will hopefully shed some insight on how African Americans view Americans in the modern age, filled with conflict and tense relations.

The United States has often been referred to as a melting pot of different races and cultures. A single country in the world attempting to unite not just a state of a different tribe, but a nation of them; White and black, Christian and Muslim, to name a minute of nomenclatures. Yet, America, since long before its inception, has had a serious problem with race. The current projections indicate that the United States will continue experiencing greater racial and ethnic diversity. By 2050, White Americans are expected to account for less than 50% of the population. In 2008, the United States elected its first African American president. African Americans were thrilled at the thought he would ease the pain and economic and political barriers to collective black progress in America. This historical event was especially symbolic being in the same city where just over 40 years prior, African Americans peacefully marched on Washington for civil rights. Was this moment the pinnacle of race relations? Or was this the start of a staunch turning point.

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President Barack Obama inherited an economic and financial crisis unlike any experienced since the great depression. Despite improving the economy and lowering the unemployment rate to 7.8%, the economy became a central argument in the 2012 election against Mitt Romney. Romney and many other politicians refused to give Obama credit for helping to turn around the economy). While it is not necessarily racially motivated to disagree with the president from an objective standpoint, this raises the importance of recognizing racial cognitive consistency.

Racial cognitive consistency refers to the biased processing of information motivated by a need to reduce believes. Several recent studies have examined the racial attitudes and how they relate to the economy. They all claim that “Obama’s racial demography provided elites with a mechanism to frame policy using explicit and implicit racial cues”. As a result, simply having Obama in office, and advocating for policies, racializes opinions on matters that have no explicit connection to race. Even though these political issues are not race related, race was interjected simply because Obama was African American. Furthermore, symbolic racism towards African Americans slipped into perceptions of the economy, mainly because of the election of the first African American president. The data showed no relationship between symbolic racism and views of unemployment in 2004 or 2008. However in 2012, during Obama’s reelection, whites with higher racial resentment were less likely than those with lower resentment to acknowledge the unemployment rate in 2012, despite unemployment in decline. Just over a year into the Trump precedency, many Americans think racism is getting worse, while others decline to discuss their feelings. Stories are reported in the media nearly every week that race relations may not be advanced, prompting Americans to think of issues they may have thought were long gone.

The racial talks of today that do occur are “tribalistic”. In one corner, average white people, are generally represented by the Republican party and conservative media. The other corner usually has minority groups and a “cosmopolitan-and usually wealthier- class of white”. These sides don’t even speak the same language: One side sees white privilege while the other sees anti-white racism. There is hardly any room for agreement or even understanding when it comes to issues important to African Americans. One thing that particularly comes to mind when referring to race relations is the recent high-profile shootings of unarmed black men by police officers, which has almost surely impacted how African Americans view other Americans. Race plays a powerful role in explanations of police-involved shootings in the United States. Empirical studies have shown that people of color are, and have historically been, at greater risk for experiencing police-involved harm than are Whites.

Police kill, on average, 2.8 men per day. Police were responsible for about 8% of all homicides with adult male victims between 2012 and 2018. Black men’s mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100 000 per year, Latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2, and White risk is between 0.6 and 0.7. Police homicide risk is higher than suggested by official data. Black and Latino men are at higher risk for death than are White men, and these disparities vary markedly across place.

The deaths of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Renee Davis, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Daniel Covarrubias, Eric Garner, Charleena Lyles, and many others have been in the headlines as a result. The response to these killings has been massive, sparking public outcry for criminal justice reform, social changes, and the formation of pro-life groups, as well as Black Lives Matter. How positively adolescents’ others feel about their ethnic-racial group is an important part of their ethnic-racial identity, which is likely informed by contextual and individual factors. Ethnic-racial identity content captures the significance and qualitative meaning than an individual attaches to his or her ethnical racial background at a given point during their life. Public regard is a crucial component of ethnic-racial identity because it is a “metaperception” of how others view one’s ethnic group. This is especially important in determining how African Americans view other Americans. African American views are likely determined based on environment and experiences/perceptions of how other races are.

With such negativity in today’s society, it’s no wonder that racial relations are so tense. Despite electing the nation’s first African American president, Barack Obama was subjected to racial cognitive consistency. Much of this plagued his presidency, limiting what he could accomplish and casting doubt over what he did accomplish. This added divisiveness in politics and created a divide between typical democratic African Americans and White American Republicans. In addition, by a large margin, African Americans are subjected to much more violence by police than both white and Latino males. This has sparked both fear and outrage in the black community. However, despite this, I still feel like we have come a long way from Jim Crow era America. Race relations are from perfect and they likely will never be. While I feel that tensions may be high, all races have a desire to get along and work together. Most people are tired of the conflict that has been more common in the last few years.

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