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It's interesting how you phrase your question, as in handling the "question" of race today. Should there really be a question about it? I'm called to think of the "Jewish Question" in early Nazi Germany when we talk about the racial question. In fact, there is no question; just people who look different from one another.
How does slavery haunt America? It ought not, as there are no longer any slave owners left to blame. It's unfair to accuse current descendants of having similar beliefs, just as it would be unfair to condemn slave descendants to a life of human chattel, just because it's in their bloodline. Americans of all colors and creeds must learn to move on, respect one another for their merits, and judge based on performance rather than skin tone.
The answer to this question is very subjective, meaning that each person will answer it in his/her own way according to their own, beliefs, background and experiences. Slavery still haunts America today in the sense that the inequalities faced by many African Americans are lingering results of slavery. Because the African American race was so burdened with horrid circumstances, it has taken 400 plus years for America to progress as far as it has. There is still tension among races, there are still racial slurs thrown about with little regard to how they may affect others, there are still people who are not offered jobs, college admissions and promotions because of the color of their skin. However, the tide has definitely turned since the inception of Civil Rights in the 1960's, a mere 40 years ago. 40 years ago, Barack Obama, a bi-racial man, may have been shunned, scorned and subjected to Jim Crow laws and segregation; however, today he is our President. America has come a long, long way, but one cannot dismiss the fact that slavery does, indeed, still cast its shadow over our country.
I assume you want to know how society is handling racial issues as well as the sad history of slavery in our society. I believe education is a key factor to breaking the stereotypes of the past and helping a new generation to understand the difficulties and history of slavery. I have seen a great change in the last six decades of my own life that have made me appreciate where we are today on this most important, relevant issue. Not only in public schools, private schools and other institutions of education, but in families, cultures, and historical institutions we as a society can overcome negative racial issues and learn to live in a bias free society. The establishment of the new Smithsonian African American Museum, based in Washington DC, is an example of the highest in educational and memorable events that shaped and will be shaping our society and attitudes toward slavery and race. And I must not fail to mention the election of our new President will open many doors in how much better we as a society deal with race and issues of the past.
Today we find many undesirable activities associated with races in form of racial discrimination, prejudices and antisocial racial groups. However the original formation and development racial and other similar groups can be attributed to two essential and useful purposes served by them.
Psychologist and sociologists have found out that all human beings have a need for affiliation. They want to be part of some group of people. They identify themselves with the group and want to be accepted by others as a member of the group. Also groups help people to act collectively to help each other and improve their physical and economic well being.
Unfortunately, closer affiliation with one group automatically distance between group members and those outside the group.
I believe it is not enough to to look at the problem of racialism in isolation. We may be able to weaken the links of racial groups over a time, but simultaneously other types of groups may develop. In some parts of South India there are groups organized on the basis of their liking for a specific movie star. People in such groups are sometimes ready to kill some one who is seen as insulting their favourite actor.
Therefore there is need for mechanism is to remove very large and obvious gaps in the economic lot of people in different groups, and developing overall culture which teaches people to recognize and accept difference between interests and ways of other people without judging them as superior or inferior.
Regarding effect of slavery in America today, the most important things is to help people to get over the disadvantages they are still suffering because of wrongs committed in the past.
How do we deal with the question of race nowadays?
We deal with it in very different ways. Some people are open minded and genuinely don't 'see' another person's race. Most of us have some difficulty ignoring other people's cultural and racial differences, but have no genuine negative feelings. And some people are simply racist, disliking people because they are a different race.
Racism is a product of ignorance and emotional immaturity. Tragically, it exists in every community in the world. Racists find 'reasons' and 'explanations' to justify their basic emotional mistrust. Racists often insist they are NOT racist, but they use half truths, crude stereotypes and false logic to confirm their basic racists dislikes are intellectual rather than emotional.
Western societies are currently trying very hard to find ways to eradicate racist attitudes, it is proving extremely difficult, but not impossible. We are less racist than we used to be.
Remember, racism goes in every direction, it is not something that only the white races need to address. While slavery was a very terrible thing, there is no reason to believe that white people are nasty and did something that other races would not have done, because that is a racist idea.
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