The Race Card Project — HuaKai Zhou

The Race Card Project

        February is Black History Month; I attended Michele Norris’ speech this year. In her remarks, he introduced the progress of the project of “ The Race Card Project,” which is a program to collect personal stories from the different groups of people. African Americans have had many stories concerning their experiences and the experiences of their ancestors in the country. The transformations in American society has made it possible for some African Americans in the country to live better lives than those in the past. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, African American people went through dehumanizing experiences of slavery. However, slavery ended in 1863, and many things changed concerning race and the lives of African American people in the United States of America. The black American race later went through a period of racial segregation from the end of the 19th century to the mid-20th century. After the end of racial segregation in the 1960s, many things have happened in the country. For example, Barack Obama, a black American, became the president of the United States in 2008. Obama’s election changed the way African Americans viewed themselves, how the whites viewed African Americans and changed the opinions of the world in the United States. President Obama’s victory proved that the United States is an immigrant country of all ethnic groups, not any ethnic group can fully represent this country. The ethnic minorities have worked for generations to achieve this result.

        The election of President Barack Obama was a landmark in the relationship between the African American people and the whites. For a long time these whites looked down on African Americans by criminalizing them and discriminating them in various aspects of life (Osuagwu, 2014). Consequently, most black citizens had no thought that with the white majority in mind an African American would lead the country. Martin Luther King Jr. had once thought of a country in which all races will live freely and interact without the racial lines and most importantly, without white supremacy and anti-blackness. The election of Obama was like a dream-come-true for the country and black Americans as it seemed to symbolize change for African Americans and their relationship to the country. It also instilled hope. They gathered that they had the potential to be anything or anybody as the racial boundaries were no longer in the United States. People of black descent as well as the world witnessed an unprecedented event. Therefore, the president influenced not only the African American people in the United States but also all races in the entire world.

          Obama’s election as the president changed how the whites viewed the black Americans in the country. Some whites had continued discriminating against the African American citizens in the country before the election of Barack Obama. However, the phenomenon changed as whites started to give the people of color the respect they had always deserved in their country (Pinkard, 2009). The change was magnificent and significant to the growth and progress of American society from a racial one to a more accommodating one. The event was a rubber stamp of the fact that racism was on its deathbed after the struggles that most civil rights activists went through during the 20th century. The election was less than a century after the segregation issues ceased in the country in the 1960s and 70s. The relationship between the two races improved, and the country healed from the racial issues that had numbed it for many years since the period of slavery.

        The election of a black American president created a new view at the international level about the United States. The international community viewed the United States as having made a significant step in achieving modern society. There had been discussions at the international level where the United States has been having issues of racial discrimination. Other countries who viewed the United States as a racist country could not understand that the country had moved steps ahead in terms of accommodating all races (Piston, 2009). In a nutshell, the United States is one of the few countries in the world with the most diverse population containing many races. Therefore, the election of a black American president was not a surprise to those who knew the history of the United States. The programs in the media associated with the election of President Obama play a vital role in reminding African American people that the rest of the world and the United States, in particular, recognizes them.

         Obama is a significant figure in the history of the United States since he was the first black American president. His election was significant to the population of African American people as they could identify themselves with a person of the level at which Obama was and where he is at the moment. Africa American people viewed themselves as a group of successful individuals. The whites viewed black Americans from a different perspective after the election of Obama as the president of the United States of America. The whites recognized all races in the country and furthered the respect they had for the population of black citizens. The international community also focused on the election and pointed it out as a landmark decision of the American people. Many people around the world were following the elections and came to realize that indeed racism had ended in the country. Therefore, many people could later visit the country in large numbers more than it was before the election of a black American president.

References

Osuagwu, E. (2014). Affirmative Action: Has the Election of Barack Obama Changed the Discussion?. Journal Of Politics And Law, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.5539/jpl.v7n4p120

Pinkard, L. (2009). Historic Election: Obama and Prop. 8. Tikkun, 24(1), 15-16. https://doi.org/10.1215/08879982-2009-1009

Piston, S. (2009). How Overt Racial Prejudice Hurt Obama in the 2008 Election. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1441480

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