Why We Have Failed

Michael O. Emerson and George Yancey

in Transcending Racial Barriers

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199742684
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943388 | DOI:
Why We Have Failed

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Many Americans, mostly but not exclusively white Americans, believe that when it comes to race relations, we have not failed. Television, radio, and blogging pundits preach it daily, and millions of Americans readily accept it as fact. Race, as an organizer of inequality and mistreatment, is over. Racial oppression, save for the attempts of a few crackpots, is gone. Race relations, only occasionally strained by some old-timers who will not let go, improve constantly. Slavery, the racial caste system, and the Jim Crow segregation of the South all appear to be gone, been eliminated and destroyed. We have a black president, so, clearly, what we have now is a meritocracy. Conversely, we have millions and millions of Americans, mostly but not exclusively non-white Americans, who believe we have failed. This chapter explains why the United States has failed to eliminate racism, citing the American racial psyche and the paradox of group loyalty.

Keywords: United States; race relations; racial psyche; group loyalty; race; racial oppression; racism

Chapter.  3732 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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