As we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the social movement he inspired, the struggle for racial equality remains a harsh reality in American society. More than 50 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the cry for justice and fairness in the treatment of blacks continues. The Black Lives Matter movement is now one of the top trending political issues on social media. Some argue there is a declining significance of race while others contend discussions of race reinforce the racial divide and impede racial harmony. But race and racism are among the most highly contentious issues in America. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, 73 percent of blacks perceive racism as a big problem. An increasing number of whites (44 percent) believe racism is a big problem, an increase of 17 points since 2010.
The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice fuel the perception of differential treatment when it comes to black lives. The public sentiment following these deaths has impacted the American psyche. A mere eight percent of blacks believe the country has made the necessary changes to achieve racial equality in contrast to 40 percent of whites. Although 86 percent of blacks believe more should be done for blacks to achieve equal rights, only 53 percent of whites find the same to be true.
Excerpt from OpEd posted in PA Times Opinion/Continue reading at Keeping an Eye Towards Racial Justice
Photo credit: Skokie Parks