Is the U.S. still a racially segregated society? If not, does that mean that racism is no longer an important issue in the U.S.?

Expert Answers
enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Legally, no. Socially, yes.  However, the progress towards integration, on evaluating an individual by his or her merits and not by any other physical characteristic or socioeconomic background continues to rapidly advance.  President Obama's election represents and interesting milestone in the advancement of freedom and exercise of rights.  The fact that he could run and be elected because he was presumably the best person for the job is reflective of how far the US has come; prior candidates, such as Jessie Jackson, base a large part of their campaign on racial issues.  In other words, in this last contest for the Office of the President, skin color had a minor role.  Of course, there were those who voted for and against because of that, but it was mostly understood that the man's color had little to do with how well he could handle the job.

As the US becomes more and more a meritocracy, issues of color, culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc will become more and more moot.  This, in contrast to the long sweep of history, where whole cultures for centuries were legally subverted, one by another, and race, color and culture was the defining characteristic between master and slave.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The US is still definitely a segregated society.  It's obviously not segregated by law, but it is still de jure very segregated.  Studies have shown that nonwhite kids (to some extent excluding Asians) are not very likely to go to school with white kids (or with very many of them).  This is largely because of economic segregation, with poor minorities living in poor areas and more whites living in better-off areas.

So, this kind of segregation is not necessarily caused by racism.  But it may well help to perpetuate racism because it keeps people of the various races from getting used to one another and feeling comfortable in one anothers' company.

Racism is definitely still an issue in the US.  There is little overt prejudice anymore, but you still have prejudices that end up showing themselves in things like the U of Chicago study that showed that identical resumes with "black" names get fewer interview offers than those with "white" names.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Racism and discrimination still exist in United States' life.  Certainly, given this nation's history, it has minimized and is not as painfully evident as it was.  However, the issue of race has converged with the issue of economic class and with other factors, there are forms of segregation present.  It is more subtle in both actions and perceptions, but still present.  In a larger context, I believe that there might be a greater chance to articulate this condition than what might have been in the past.  There are greater forums and wider acceptability of the discussion of race as an issue.  This is not to say that it has been overcome, but it is to suggest that there is a wider level of accepting this discussion as a premise of where we are and how things are progressing.  As this potential exists, there has to be a courage needed in opening it to examine where racially charged attitudes in relation to consciousness and power still exist.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Racial segregation is illegal in USA, and the probability that it will be practiced by any organization formally or explicitly are quite slim. But this does not mean that all racial prejudices and discriminatory practices have been eliminated from the country. Many people still carry racial prejudices in their minds. These prejudices may be quite blatant and may lead to discriminatory acts when people feel safe to act in such ways. The discrimination can also be so subtle that people with these prejudices may not recognize it themselves. However in general we can say that the severity of racial discrimination has greatly reduced in last 50 years or so and is declining further.

reececup1 | Student

Honestly, yes it is. Some people still believe that based on your  color, race, ethnic background you have limits to what to do and where to go in life.

Also, racism is still an important issue in the U.S. and it should not be pushed to the side or ignored. People of variety should feel free to do anything they want or say the way they feel since this is a free country as long as it's not harming anything or anybody.