By Patrick Barron, Opinion Writer
As I look around in the year 2017, I’ve asked myself a difficult question. From the actions of some people and society, it seems as though we are going in the right direction as a nation. Then again, I remain skeptical for good reasons. What does the future look like for African-Americans in our country?
Civil rights are on the mind of numerous people in our country, however most people care more about their well-being and/or that of their family. This means that the issue of race does not have a place in the national arena when it should have a permanent spot.
This is most evident in the voting patterns of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, in which voters chose to vote for a candidate who used both hateful and inflammatory remarks towards minorities.
Far too often, I notice disturbing trends today which make it appropriate for me to question the future of African-Americans in our country.
For example, Internet news articles or commentary regarding race stirs extremely heated debates from some. When people discuss these issues, they will say that race does not matter or that they do not see color. Then, I look at the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who is indifferent towards African-Americans.
During a Black History Month speech, Trump could not talk much about the country’s finest Black heroes without going on a tangent about himself or two of his Black cabinet members/advisors. It was embarrassing to hear, but not a surprise, which is truly heart-breaking.
As another illustration, look at South Orange, New Jersey which has recently been mired in controversy. At the South Mountain Elementary School, fifth-graders were asked to create posters advertising slave auctions. How culturally insensitive!
Imagine how the Black students felt when they and others created those posters, some of which even depicted smiling slaves in a “wanted” poster. Although, the superintendent, Dr. John J. Ramos, apologized for the school’s actions, it still highlights a problem that the educational system fails to address.
Furthermore, the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, has released their projection of the United States population in terms of racial or ethnic groups for the year 2065. First and foremost, they declared that no racial or ethnic group would be a majority.
Here are the projections from 2015 to 2065: White 62 percent to 46 percent, Hispanic 18 percent to 24 percent, Black 12 percent to 13 percent, Asian 6 percent to 14 percent.
This projection for our country predicts that we will be more ethnically diverse, which is terrific because it will reaffirm the country as one vast melting pot. However, the Black population is the only group not projected to have a significant change, whether that be a sizeable increase or decrease.
There are probably various reasons to describe this stagnancy, such as family size, lack of immigration from Black countries, and prison population. Blacks are often incarcerated at a disproportionate rate to other ethnicities.
According to the Prison Policy, in 2010, Blacks made up 40 percent of the prison population, but they made up 13 percent of the U.S. population. This is a major problem which we have to tackle. It seems our lives do not matter as we as filling up our nation’s prisons.
Now, I do not want to be pessimistic, but it is important to note that our country appears to not want to confront its complicated history of race relations which represents a large portion of our country’s problematic history.
Given these points, the question I pose to every African-American like me is this: is there a future for us?
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 4th print edition.
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