Why do you think that the color line remains one of the most volatile topics facing the nation?

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The issue of "the color line" remains so volatile because systemic, internalized, and interpersonal racism is still incredibly real on a local, state, federal, and international level. In the U.S., for example, racism is a major problem that has led to immense pain and suffering of people of color. From...

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The issue of "the color line" remains so volatile because systemic, internalized, and interpersonal racism is still incredibly real on a local, state, federal, and international level. In the U.S., for example, racism is a major problem that has led to immense pain and suffering of people of color. From police brutality, mass incarceration, discrimination on an everyday occurrence, discrimination in hiring and housing, the school-to-prison pipeline, and mis/under representation in the media (literature, movies, shows, news, etc), people of color are systematically discriminated against. On a global scale, nations occupied by mostly people of color are still enduring the effects of ongoing colonization, as their homelands are treated as areas to be controlled and resources to be extracted for the benefit of the Global North. Workers in the Global South are forced into slave-like conditions and paid horrific sweatshop wages for the benefit of the Global North.

Authors, such as Michelle Alexander, have powerfully demonstrated the oppression that black people continue to face in this country. As another example, in 2017, in Charlottesville, Va hundreds of openly identified white supremacists marched on the streets, beating people of color, and even shooting at a black person in the middle of the march. James Field, an openly identified white supremacist, chose to run his car into a crowd of anti-racist marchers, killing one woman and hospitalizing and permanently disabling many more.

Farm workers in the U.S., who are often people of color, work in dangerous and tedious jobs for minuscule pay and often suffer abuses at the hands of the company boss. in Immokalee, Florida, hundreds of farm workers (almost all of whom are people of color) have been literally forced into slavery at the hands of white farm owners. In several separate cases on different farms, farm workers were physically abused, sexually abused, not paid, and not allowed to leave the owners' farms. The situation had been ongoing for years and eventually some farm workers banded together in 1993 to form the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers to bring a number of convictions of slave labor against the owners.

An issue as intense and deeply unjust as racism will continue to be volatile as long as it exists and continues to impact the lives of people of color.

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Referencing Du Bois' contention, the "color line" is such a volatile topic because it impacts so many in so many different ways.  The challenging element in assessing the role of race and ethnicity in consciousness is that different experiences fill the landscape.  It is hard to assess what "the color line" exactly means because for so many it means different realities. Some of these are psychological experiences, others are professional, and some are economic experiences.  The color line's impact on the lives of individuals is diverse.  Full exploration of this diversity of narrative impact is one of the reasons why it is such a volatile topic.

For Du Bois, another reason why the "color line" remains a volatile topic is because it creates a "double consciousness."  People of color who live on one side of the color line are forced to look at their being in the world as representative of both what it is like to live under the struggle of the color line and what "the other" is like.  For those who experience the brutality of the color line, this double consciousness is something that plagues and continually gnaws at the individual. This persistent condition is one fo the reasons why Du Bois sees it as a volatile and challenging topic which has been a part of American culture and what he would say as remaining as a part of American culture even today.

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I think that this is the case because both blacks and whites have relatively good reasons to feel like they are being victimized.  This makes both sides angry and helps to make the issue more volatile.

Blacks have good reason to be angry because they have been systematically mistreated up to, at most, 45 years ago.  The effects of this discrimination and mistreatment cannot possibly be cured in such a short time and so blacks still suffer both from racism in the present day and from the effects of past racism.  Therefore, it is logical for them to feel victimized.

At the same time, whites can make a case for being victimized for no good reason today.  Even though blacks have been discriminated against in the past, it is very easy for a white person today to argue that they themselves have done nothing wrong and should not be punished for the sins of past generations.  Giving a black person preference over a white person today to make up for past wrongs seems wrong to many people.  Thus, whites can legitimately feel victimized as well.

Since there is no clear right way to deal with the problem and since both sides seem in some ways to be in the right, the issue remains volatile.

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