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Is Racism a Permanent Feature of American Society?

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D'Angelo, Raymond and Herbert Douglas, eds. Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Race and Ethnicity, 7th edition (Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill 2009). "Issue #9: Is Racism a Permanent Feature of American Society?"

"Race consciousness is so imbedded in whites that it is virtually impossible to rise above it," argued Derrick Bell, a prominent African American scholar. He argues that racial equality is merely" illusory" for blacks to achieve in the United States, which in today's society is true. Dinesh D'Souza an Indian America counter argues Bell's point of view about racism and states t "Racial discrimination against blacks has substantially eroded within American society and lagging progress among them is due to other factors such as culture," which is true, but only to a certain extent, being that, even though the times have changed, racism still plays apart in American society. Bell's dispute that racism still exists in American society, is more accurate because of how he compares the history of racism with the future of racism and the examples he uses to dispute D'Souza point of view that racism isn't a prominent feature in American society exist when in all actuality it is.

Born in the Hill District of Pittsburg, Derrick Bell received an A.B. from Duquesne University in 1952. In 1957 he received an L.L.B from the University of Pittsburg Law. After graduation, Bell took a position with the Civil Rights Division of the United States Justice Department. He was one of the few black lawyers working for the Justice Department at the time. In 1959, the government asked him to resign his membership in the NAACP, because it was thought that his objectivity, and that of the department, might be compromised or called into question. Bell resigned rather than giving up his NAACP membership. Soon afterwards, Bell took a position as an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), crafting legal strategies at the forefront of the battle to undo racist laws and segregation in schools. Bell's known for many novels most known however is Race, Racism and American Law, and Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Race.While analyzing both arguments it was very clear on what side each person stood on. the argument also brought to the forefront that racism is still a big factor and a big issue in American society that many Americans try to cover up, by using blacks as scapegoats and that is the role they play in society, "Tolerated in good times, despised when things go wrong, as a people we are scapegoated and sacrificed as distraction or catalyst for compromise to facilitate resolution of political differences or relieve economic adversity," Derrick Bell argued. Bell also believes and argues that slavery left African Americans with lifelong poverty and soul-devastating despair, "Poverty is less the source than the status of men and women who, despised because of their race, seek refuge in self-rejection. Drug-related crime, teenaged parenthood, and disrupted and disrupting family life all are manifestations of a despair that feeds on self." This statement made by Bell, is more of his opinion and not a fact, in the sense that teenage pregnancy and drug related crimes still go on in today's society and not only happen just to blacks, but to all races. However Bell's persistent argument about racism is shown through the data he used from 1990, that showed where African Americans had lost either their jobs or homes, and that it was 2.5 times the rate of whites. Many blacks, most of who own little wealth and have little income are three times more likely to have income below the poverty level than whites. Bell also goes on to talk about his own childhood and how slavery was barely mentioned in the schools and barely discussed by descendants of its survivors. The author Derrick Bell uses mostly primary sources to prove a valid point, he also goes on and states that emigration provided a geographical distance that encouraged and enhanced individual's denial of their collective slave past, which in return had an effect on the spiritual songs that they would sing. Slaves would sing the spirituals but detach the song from the slave origin. He goes on to explain that Americans did not invent



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