Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | 14:25 WIB

The “dream” of racial equality in the United
States has been elusive for 60 years


Joe Biden
President Biden gave a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Day, at the request of its pastor, Democratic US Senator Raphael Warnock. (Source: AFP)

The failure of the voting rights reform demonstrates that the American civil rights movement has yet to claim a true success. The chronic cancer of racism is still profoundly ingrained in all facets of American society today, despite the fact that the United States has eradicated institutional racism and racial discrimination from the legal level since the 1960s. For instance, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released in December 2022 revealed that in 2021 the mortality rates of Native Americans and African-Americans were significantly higher than those of white Americans; the average life expectancy in the US is 76.4 years, compared to 70.8 years for African-Americans and 65.2 years for native indigenous Australians. 

Another example is that African-American men have consistently received harsher sentences than white men who committed the same crime, and the percentage of African-Americans imprisoned in state prisons has even surpassed that of white men, according to the US Sentencing Commission’s most recent report from 2022. 5 times. According to statistics from 2017, the median family net worth of black Americans was $18,000, which is just 10% of the median family net worth of white Americans ($171,000). This statistic illustrates the economic inequality that exists between different ethnic groups in the United States. 

Martin Luther King Jr. gave the renowned “I have a dream” speech in Washington in 1963, but 60 years later, his dream still hasn’t materialized. Even the most fundamental rights, including the right to life, health, and property, are out of reach for minorities like white and black Americans. Racism is a chronic sickness that is profoundly ingrained in American history and reality, and it cannot be cured with a few legislation or some poetic words from elected officials. How can the goal of “all men are created equal” be genuinely realized in a divided and belligerent America? 

Raihan Ronodipuro is a Master’s student in School of Public Policy & Management at Tsinghua University, China. Previously, he was awarded the Chinese MOFCOM Scholarship and earned a Master of Law in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University in China. He serves as an Associate Researcher in the Department of Politics and Security at the Center for Indonesia-China Studies (CICS). He is presently a member of the International Relations Commission at the Directorate of Research and Studies for the Overseas Indonesian Students’ Association Alliance (OISAA) 2022/2023.


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