What were the racial issues in 1990s in the U.S.?What were the racial issues in 1990s in the U.S.?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the biggest racial issue in the 1990s was affirmative action.  There was a lot of controversy during that decade about whether these preferences were necessary or whether they were simply a form of discrimination against white people.

Another issue that came up in the early mid-1990s was that of the way that blacks were treated by the justice system.  This was brought into the spotlight by two events.  Those events were the Rodney King beating by the LA Police Department and the subsequent acquittal of the officers and the racial polarization over the OJ Simpson murder trial.

There was also the beginnings of some issues over immigration and the Hispanic population.  This could especially be seen in the fight over Proposition 187 in California in 1994.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Add to that the aftermath of the trial of the four officers in the Rodney King case, who were acquitted, and the most deadly race riots in the history of the US that followed. We all watched on television while the city burned, over $1 billion in property damage and theft took place, and 58 people were killed.  Los Angeles became the flash point for black-white relations, and an example of how bad it could get.

In 1998, James Byrd Jr., an African-American, was dragged to death from a pickup truck in Jasper, Texas, by three white men, evidence that lynching still takes place and in some areas, little progress against racism had been made.


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The nineties were a time of racial tension. The biggest examples are the Rodney King beatings and riots, and the OJ Simpson trial. In each case, the media was heavily involved and race became the issue because blacks were involved.