The forty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination is alive and well against African Americans in U.S. society. From the recent U.S. SenateÆs collective apology for the unpunished lynchings in U.S. history to ongoing police brutality against African Americans in custody, racism and prejudice are still projected toward Blacks in American society. Despite this fact, a majority of African Americans take a passive view toward challenges racism and prejudice against their culture and race. This analysis will research information and information culled from interviews with two Caucasians and two African Americans to try to answer why this is so.
Jessie Williams, a retired African American janitor, aged sixty-nine, provided me with an answer to why he thought African Americans react indifferently or passively to racism in American society. As Jessie told me, ôWell, you might think Civil Rights and Martin Luther King and the Cosby Show put an end to racism but they didnÆt. I never got active over being treated unfairly at my job due to the color of my skin because if I didàIf I did I knew I would no longer have a job. I remember the days when African Americans couldnÆt even get hired.ö
JessieÆs answer to the question made me realize that many African Americans are passive regarding racism because of fear of retaliation or sanctions from mainstream white society if they do protest unfair treatment. Research shows these fears may not be unfounded. In a recent race discrimination suit filed against General Electric (GE), one that has wholly humiliated the company, African American Marcel T. Thomas sued the company. Thomas maintained that he was ôàdenied a bonus because of his race,ö but soon after making this complaint he ôàclaimed that his superiors have him a poor performance review after years of excellent reviewsö (Banks, 2005, p. 55). Ther