The United States is considered the most developed and sophisticated nation in the world due to its democratic institutions, culture and processes. However, very few people will recall the black days and events that engulfed this nation before and after the First World War.
Today, Barrack Obama is the president of this most powerful nation in the world and continues to face racial criticism despite efforts to integrate all races and adopt a non partisan approach in managing national issues (Remnick 7). This research paper explores the issue of president barrack Obama and race in politics and culture.
America has evolved from a racist nation and is slowly embracing other cultures in its national issues. The most evident illustration of racism was when it used to allocate national positions to whites while discriminating against other racial groups. It is clearly illustrated in how blacks and red Indians used to be treated unfairly not only in national issues but also those that involved intercultural relations (Harris 71).
Very few Americans allowed their family members to interact with black and this was the epitome of racism. However, American presidents like Kennedy and Lincoln tried their best to integrate all communities to participate in national issues but this was not possible. This country had architects of racism who ensured non whites were never given opportunities to use facilities meant for the elites.
Slavery was also another illustration of how Africans were treated by the whites who during that time thought that the African population was inferior and used them as cheap labor. This trade led to the migration of blacks from Africa to America and later they found their ways into suburbs.
It was impossible to travel back to Africa since they did not have enough money for air ticket. Secondly, it was impossible for them to board a train. This group became so agitated by the discrimination practiced by the whites. This was evident in schools, churches, public transport, churches, recreation facilities and employment (Feagin 109).
The industrial revolution witnessed in America before the beginning of the First World War was an indicator that things were going to turn from bad to worse as the demand for equality and justice continued to gain momentum. Workers unions became very powerful instruments for demanding these rights and they led their members to demo0snbtrate to demand their rights and freedoms. It is important top explain that these demonstrations turned ugly when they took a racial turn.
Africans and Asians were on the streets demanding the immediate inclusion of their demands in national issues while the whites were also protesting and demanding that their country should be respected. It is important to understand d that this war turned from being a demonstration of workers to racial conformations where many blacks and whites were killed on the streets. In addition, the existing government used police brutality to silence hundreds of youths who were spearheading these demonstrations.
Leaders of political p0arties affiliated to the black population and workers unions were detained for months following the chaos witnessed during these demonstrations. Capitalism was a principle adopted by the whites to oppress the poor in the society. This enabled the perpetrator5s to control the instruments of power that enabled them to amass huge wealth in terms of land, labor and money (Harris 41).
The ideology continued to spread to other nations but was stopped by communism that was gaining ground in the Soviet Union. The first and second world wars were culminations of the pent up pressure among the whites and non whites. Even though, this war left many nations with serious injuries and losses they were necessary to create conditions for different nations and races to negotiate and discuss various issues that affected their members.
Critics have claimed that these wars gave America opportunity to exercise justice and equality to its citizens and immigrants. Therefore, it was a necessary evil that could not have been avoided (Barrack 54). The end of these wars signified a new dawn for American democracy and paved way for peaceful demonstrations and negotiations between whites and non whites. However, politics became good ways of advancing racial interests as is evident in the legislations that barred non whites from engaging in active politics or holding public offices.
The Obama presidency has been praised for respecting the rule of justice and equality by ensuring all Americans irrespective of their races are able to access these rights without restrictions. However, this has not been the case due to a number of factors. First, the American population that constitutes a large population of the whites is very conservative.
Even though, Obama continues to urge them to adopt racial integration his efforts are more of public shows that commitments to fight racism. There is no doubt that there are many issues usually swept under the carpet when it comes to American politics. Race is a significant factor that guides voting among the American population.
The main issue of concern here is that even though many non whites are vying for elective seats very few of them manage to win these positions and this is an indication that the American population is still clinging to the old tradition of preferring whites to blacks when it comes to nation al and leadership issues.
The objective of this paper is to identify and illustrate the following issues that play key roles in determining the future of politics in America. First, the American population is perceived to have adopted a non racist culture basing on the fact that it voted for president Obama in the last two general elections.
Seco0ndly, this paper examines the impacts of a black American president on the institutions and culture of the United States. Lastly, this paper will outline the recommendations for ensuring that the American government, politics and culture adopts a non racist approach in its social, economic and political affairs.
This paper will answer the following questions that will help the audience to examine the role of racism in politics and cultural practices. The following questions will guide this paper in examining these issues.
- What is the role of racism in American politics?
- What aspects promote racism in American politics and culture?
- What role has president Obama played in promoting and eliminating racism?
- What are the effects of racism in politics and culture?
- What steps should the American government take to avert racism?
The Substance of Hope, Barrack Obama and the Paradox of Progress by William Jellani Cobb
William Jellani Cobb criticizes the Obama presidency for openly advocating for racial progress that would allow all races to play active roles in American politics. He focuses his discussion on Obama’s punch line “hope” that marked all his pre-election speeches. The writer argues that Obama used this word to create false optimism and cheated the American population and the world that he was the messiah for them.
This word became a song to all non whites and motivated them to show up in large numbers during voting. Private organizations and well wishers from the non white populations became very loyal and philanthropic to Obama’s campaign to ensure they transform the politics of this country.
However, their efforts are yet to bear fruits since Obama’s presidency has almost every thing in common with the Bush regime. This author is convinced that the Obama presidency has a good opportunity to transform the politics of the United States but has failed to do so. He argues that most non whites that are elected into office are those located in areas that have a huge black population. This means that racism continues to thrive in American culture and is evident i9n political activities.
The Health Care Reform and American Politics, What Everyone Needs to Know By Lawrence Jacobs
Jacobs Lawrence argues that Obama has helped the American government in dealing with racial challenges. However, the challenges he is experiences are to blame for his slow response to racial; issues. This author argues that most non whites face serious health challenges that expose them to diseases and poor services from private healthcare institutions. However, president Obama is trying very hard to make sure that all poor Americans access quality healthcare services through reforming all bills related to healthcare.
In addition, this author claims that most non whites are mistreated at their places of work by being underpaid and subjected to poor working conditions. Therefore, president Obama is ensuring that the senate adopts the recommendations to amend all bills regarding minimum wages to allow workers in informal and formal employments to get salaries that will sustain them.
In addition, the president is encouraging many youths and no whites to play active roles of ensuring that they participate in civic processes. These are some of the issues that show how Obama is committed to transforming the racist culture that existed in America for many years.
A Day Late and a Dollar Short, High Hopes and Deferred Dreams in Obama’s “Post-Racial” America by Jon Jeter and Robert E. Pierre
These authors hold the same view with many critics of the Obama presidency by arguing that what president Obama is doing is too little to help his country manage the problem of racism. Even though, they recognize the efforts being done to com bat terrorism they argue that these steps are too slow and cannot be managed by the current financial position of this country.
Their claim is based on the poor financial performance of the united tastes government that have exposed it to damaging allegations of racism. They present that president Obama continued to finance American troop-s to fight the Arab nation by investing in drones and other military equipment, training and staffing to ensure America wins the war. These authors identify the war on Iraq and Afghanistan as serious racial challenges facing Obama’s presidency.
They proposed that he should have distanced himself from perpetuating the evils advanced by the former president Bush. In addition, they argue that Obama has not helped African or Arab nations to develop their economies but instead he has used a lot of American funds to travel to countries that will help his government to develop its economies. This is capitalism that depicts racial practices that were witnessed before and after the First World War.
The American government perpetuated racism by dominating other countries and fighting cold wars with those that opposed it or seemed to give it competition in terms of dominating in world affairs. These authors argues that the war going on in Iraq and Afghanistan have nothing to do with terrorism but are aimed at silencing these nations against developing strong ties with the rest of the world since this will be as serious challenge to America.
Effects of Race on Barrack Obama’s Presidency
Politics play central roles in determining various activities of a nation since it establishes guidelines that regulate the allocation of national resources and the provision of services to the population. The United States has a sophisticated political system that ensures the government is representative of all communities and regions in the United States.
It has two houses that work together to ensure the country adopts policies that will develop its institutions, infrastructure and promote the well being of its citizens (Kennedy 43). However, racism had become a serious threat to the exustabce4 of cordial relations between America and its trading partners and this forced the American government to adopt ways of managing this issue.
It is important to state that political analysts had predicted a win for president Obama based on the following issues. The Bush regime had exposed the American government to criticism on its role to eliminate international terrorism. Even though, it had suffered numerous terrorist attacks it had no obligation to commit heinous crimes against innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The constitution did not give Bush any power to invade another country no matter the seriousness of the crimes committed by some of the people from that nation. Therefore, this exposed this government to international criticism and there were fears that if this trend would have continued many nations would have broken their ties with America. As a result, Obama used this criticism as a campaign platform to give people hope that he will stop the war on Afghanistan to ensure the world gains confidence on the American administration.
People were frustrated the way Bush used a lot of money to finance and develop equipment, train soldiers and finance these wars at the expense of the high inflation rates in America (Tesler and Sears 69). Therefore, they admired the manifesto presented by Obama that would ensure the culture of racism will be eliminated and funds will be directed to development projects and provision of goof healthcare services to the population.
However, this was not achieved within the first term of president Obama in office and even though he was granted a second term there is a lot to be done to ensure that American government desists from engaging in racial practices. Therefore, this was a chance for Americans to prove that they are not racist and would not advocate for it in their election process (Kinder and Riddle 33).
However, the election and subsequent re-election of president Obama is just a public show to prove to the world that this nation has adopted non racial approaches to politics. Even though, president Obama claims to be a black American his cultural beliefs are strongly based on the American culture exhibited by the whites. There is no difference between him and the whites since they all have perpetuated class differences based on racial practices.
Therefore, it is necessary to explain that Obama is black in appearance but white in al his political and cultural activities. This is evident in his recent proposal regarding the minimum wage that workers should earn. This policy is meant to increase the salaries of many non whites working in various places but the irony of this provision is that this will also raise taxes levied on their salaries.
Most nations are struggling to reduce their expenses on recurrent bills like salaries and wages of public servants though different financial plans. Obama knows that the United States is experiencing the worst financial performance since the end of the Second World War and should not engage in activities or plans that will force the country to incur unnecessary budgets.
Therefore, his proposal to increase minimum wages is just a populist approach to persuade the government that he is taking care of all racial groups in America. It should be understood that most people earning low salaries are black Americans, Indian and Asians who went to America through slave trade are have migrated there in the recent years. In addition, most of them cannot afford health insurance schemes that will safeguard their health; therefore, he has come up with a proposal for cheap medical services.
These are populist approaches used to hoodwink the non white population that Obama will solve their problems (Alim 77). Therefore, they are perceived to be gullible and cannot reason that America cannot afford to increase salaries and provide cheap medical suffices during this time. Critics have argued that this nation is suffering serious challenges associated with unemployment which stands at about 30% among the educated and 40% among those that have not attained university or college degrees.
Therefore, it is going to be extremely difficult to raise salaries yet there are no jobs for the poor in the society. This means that the cost of living will increase and force the poor and jobless to seek other alternatives of survival. Therefore, they argue that Obama’s presidency will not achieve any good results in its fight against racism but instead it has established other precincts for perpetuating racial practices through populist declarations and policies that will have serious consequences on those that earn low salaries.
Barrack Obama is the only president who gave Americans (whites and blacks) hope that they will live a better life free from economic, social and political challenges. However, this has proved to be a hard nut to crack especially with the many challenges facing his government, the congress has become partisan in moist affairs and this has affected the realization of the dreams of the American population.
Many people had hoped that Obama was going to revolutionize politics of racism and ensure that everybody was involved in his government. In addition, people had hoped that there would be many employment opportunities and many people will invest in various sectors of the economy however, these were just mere dreams that could not be realized no matter how hard they struggled to make it to be reality.
Financial institutions and other money lending organizations still have the culture of evaluating g the ability of clients to repay their loans based on their race. Therefore, they make it easy for whites to access loan facilities and deny the blacks these chances.
Even though, the media has played significant roles in promoting ethical practices in various professions it has failed to highlight the problems non whites experience while applying for bank loan (Pierre and Jeter 108). In addition, housing continues to be a major problem in the American government as tenants are allowed to occupy houses depending on their racial backgrounds.
This has promoted social stratifications and even though racial schools were banned teachers continue to express racial sentiments through punishments given to students. Racism is associated with discriminations and exploitation of the race perceived to be inferi0or and schools are slowly embracing cultural integration. However, this is not associated with prescient Obama but withy the modern trends that require people to interact irrespective of their racial backgrounds.
Moreover, it is necessary to note that Americans have been forced to embrace racial integration as a necessity and not a deliberate step towards abolishing racial practices. This means that Obama has played a minor role in promoting good relations among different races.
The media played a significant role of tracing the origin of Obama and his family lineage that associates him with the Luo community in Kenya. However, since his election to presidency he has never toured Kenya even though this country continues to face serious challenges in terms of poverty, corruption and political wrangles (Cobb 23).
The best he does is issues public statements (video records) that en courage Kenyans to be patriotic and embrace nationhood. However, critics have clai9med that these are reflections that he may be feeling guilty and ashamed of his color; something that has not gone down well with his ancestral kinsmen. The fact that he has never visited Kenya and there is no likelihood that he will do so makes critics to predict that he does not have any good intentions for Africans.
In addition, he has focused a lot of his attention o the war in Iraq since his inauguration into office. This means that he is not different from his predecessors who wanted to show the world that America is a super power and cannot be challenged by any nation. The Indian tigers and Chinese are getting many contracts in African countries and this is giving Obama sleepless nights.
This means that soon they will take over most contracts that were awarded to America and leave America with weak ties. This will reduce its influence on African countries and the rest of the world. As a result china will gain more political and economic power which is serious threats to Obama’s administration. Therefore, he is working very hard to ensure that America remains the most influential nation in the world by cutting tiers with nations that support china.
In addition, Obama, though the congress is establish plans to contain china’s influence on other countries by supporting the enemies of china and putting sanctions on nations perceived to be supporting this country (Fiona 32). However, critics have argued that if Obama continues to steer his government to oppose china’s invasion in international market this will interfere with the economy of America and expose it to many challenges.
However, Obama, just like his predecessors cannot sit and watch other nations magnify their influence. He is using all his powers to ensure that China does not spread its influence to its key partners through establishing strict policies that will limit China’s abilities to invest in some countries.
The congress has become very partisan and advanced Obama’s ideologies that am4erica will continue to be the world super power. The legislations passed in parliament ensure that America continues to interfere in the affairs of other nations while it resists any interference by other nations in its affairs.
It is necessary to explain that the Bush and Obama adnministrat6ion have very much in common regarding international affairs. There are many sanctions and restrictions placed on third world countries compared to how America relates with developed nations. Obama perceives America as the only nation that can manipulate international bodies like the IMF and World Bank to ensure those that accept its policies are able to participate in international affair.
Recently, Obama commented that Kenya will face international restrictions if Kenyans elect International Criminal Court suspects into office in their 2013 general elections. The irony of his statement is that America is not a signatory to the Rome statute yet it continues to urge other countries to respect the institution. Political analysts have claimed that Obama has used this institution to undermine the sovereignty o f third world countries.
The terrorist attacks on various organs of the American government exposed Americans to serious threats. This forced it to issue travel advisory to many nations as an attempt to fight terrorism and keep its citizens safe from terrorist attacks. However, the biggest challenge to Obama is that if he is seriously committed to eradicate terrorism he should not warn his citizens against travelling to nations that are prone to terrorist attacks; instead, he should help these nations to stop these activities.
However, his leadership is associated with racial undertones since he seems to care very much about Americans more than any other people min the world. Bush had subjected this country to animosity with Arab nations and this was a serious threat to American tourist, investors and students that visited other nations. Therefore, Obama was elected as president of America to deceive the worlds that America has now embraced racial integration and that all nations should perceive America as a friendly nation.
Therefore, Obama has not been very active in fighting racial differences in the American culture. His political ideologies are based on the activities of his predecessor and even though most people associate him with an African ancestral origin this has no impact on his presidency (Jacobs and Skocpol 51). It is important to understand that he has lived in America all his life and has interacted with Americans on various political and social events.
For that reason, he knows all aspects of racial and political discrimination affecting Americans. However, his failure to address these issues makes him a racist president and exposes him to criticism from political analysis and other nations. Therefore, he has failed to promote racial integration among different races in America.
President Obama has a good opportunity of transforming the political; and cultural practices of America by showing the world that he abhors racism. He can do the following issues to ensure America is a non resist country. First, he should encourage the senate to be non partisan in its affairs to show the public that this house is committed to ensuring the lives of Americans are improved.
The senate has always taken sides with the incumbent president or with a political view that seems to favor the opposing side. This has made members of parliament to advance their interests and ignore their commitment to improve the economy and life of Americans.
Secondly, he should adopt a divergent approach to national issues and avoid issuing public statements for the sake of it. His recent declaration that America will ensure the minimum wage for low income earners will be increased has been mate with mixed reactions.
Some critics argue that this statement is meant to hoodwink the majority who are poor to believe that their welfare will be improved while others perceive this as a way of raising revenue to finance the huge budget that is straining its economy. However, they claim that he should not make statements that will not help his political life since his performance will be evaluated in these issues.
In addition, Obama has a good opportunity to develop the economy of America if he focuses on issues that affect Americans and stops wasting national resources on unnecessary activities like investing in drones. America has pother serious challenges like poor healthcare services, unemployment, drugs and inflation and this should be given first priority by his government.
Therefore, he has options to choose from but he should know that Americans and the rest of the world will evaluate his performance depending on how he manages issues related to politics and racism.
Racism is a long term problem that has continued to face America since the beginning of slave trade. Even though, this trade was abolished in the beginning of the 21st century it continues to thrive underground. American politics is largely influenced by international relations and developments and this makes it to lack polit5icalk plans to develop its infrastructure and institutions.
President Obama has a good opportunity to prove his critics wrong by embracing racial integration and practicing politics that will benefit Americans and immigrants.
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