How Racial and Ethnic Structures and Meanings have impacted a Specific Aspect of Social Life

Racial and ethnic structures and meanings have had a huge impact on the social lives of minorities, preventing them from active political participation starting from historical periods up to the recent times. Even after the abolition of slavery, Blacks were denied most of their social privileges even the ones protected in the bill of rights. George Wallace is an American politician who initially supported the civil rights of the Blacks but ended up becoming an arch-segregationist like other southern politicians. He used a type of racism and ethnicity that inspired a specific group of people (the Whites) without excessively contravening the prevailing social limits. Southern Democrats such as George Wallace remained firm supporters of policies that support segregation. This paper critically analyzes how racism and ethnic structures and meanings have impacted on political participation of minority groups.

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Recent Trends

In a news article entitled “How Trump Happened,” Jamelle Bouie says that White Americans are hoping that Donald Trump will have the ability of restoring the racial hierarchy that was overturned by President Barrack Obama. Race has played a huge role when it comes to the analysis of the upcoming U.S. elections. However, the impact of racism and ethnicity has not been significant enough for people to understand how Trump rose up the hierarchy to be selected as the Republican nominee. Years of divisive politics have been blamed for the outcome of the political strategy among the Republicans which is associated with White racial resentment when it comes to winning elections. The campaign approach initiated by Trump is a clear expression of the Southern strategy. This technique has been deployed by the Republican Party for several years in order to gain support from the old Confederate states by introducing appeals to white solidarity and racial resentment.

It is quite evident that most blacks and other minority groups do not support the nomination of Trump since his campaigns are associated with huge levels of racial resentment. From a sociological perspective, it can be argued that the popularity of Trump is as a result of grassroots response to neglect and abandonment of the electrolyte by the Republican elite. These high ranking politicians decided to abandon and ignore the working-class voters and grassroots people in preference for laissez-faire capitalism. Most of the working-class individuals who support Trump have been offered nothing by the conservative movement and the Republican Party. However, it is important to note that the conservative policies have not shown that they have the capacity of generating the kind of growth that is required to improve the living standards of the working-class electrolyte. This implies that minority groups which make up the highest percentage of the working-class will marginally benefit from the presidency of a republican representative.

Racially Identification

Decades before 1964 election, neither the Republican Party not the Democratic Party was racially identified. At the national level, the Democratic Party started to embrace civil rights for all individuals, partly as a means of acquiring the increasing political power of Black people who had moved to the northern states. Conversely, most party leaders among the Republicans opposed the eradication of racial segregation. It is evident that the Republican Party and most of the people who vote for it are commonly White. As late as 1962, both parties roughly committed to progress in terms of eradicating racism and the public perceived both political parties as being committed to establishing racial justice. However, the presidential election in 1964 led to the initiation of racial realignment as it can be witnessed today. Although both parties in 1962 were perceived as equally supporting of civil rights, after two years, 60% and 7% of the public identified with the democrats and the republicans respectively as likely to pursue equal treatment.

Racism can also affect the ability of the society to form groups which may not be necessarily politically affiliated or share similar political ideologies at the beginning. Most of the groups that are formed may translate into political organizations particularly among the minority groups.  As Captain America says, the mixed platoon shows that the aspects of race can be viewed from different perspectives, and not just in a single manner. For instance, a platoon can be an instrument that has been created with the intention of fulfilling a specific goal, and this portrays people’s cohesion in a society during times of extraordinary stress. People watch to see whether there are individuals who are willing to sacrifice themselves fighting for the common good of the society.

Republicans have historically strategized on ways of moving their political party to the far right in terms of race, with democrats leaning on the other direction. In the past, Northern states were dismayed by the violence that was meted on the civil right protestors by the Republicans. When such issues occur, the oppressed individuals tend to form a close unit that can be used to defend and protect themselves from the oppressors.  A Platoon is much larger than just a single family, encompassing a civil society and moving beyond a specific region, and sometime being larger than a nation-state. It may be seen as performing the roles of a race, but it actually does diverse issues. In combat for instance, the most important issue is survival of the group, implying that a platoon is stripped off its ethnic and racial attributes when operating on the ground. The Republicans were against implementation of laws that would enable minority groups to enjoy their civil rights. They were therefore seen as enemies of civil rights movements and the Democratic Party decided to support the Blacks.

Racism Strategies

Southern Americans, who have always been against the justice of minority groups, were said be behind efforts to neutralize the effectiveness of civil rights groups. However, President J.F. Kennedy decided to react and he introduced a bill of civil rights that provided sweeping directives to ensure that minority groups were given equal opportunities. To start with, these regulations provided that segregation was illegalized in employment and business places became open to the general public. Despite the fact that the bill provided several hopes, there was little possibility of prevailing since the Southern Democrats loathed the activists and supported the Southerners. With the assassination of President Kennedy in November 22, 1963, Vice President Lyndon Johnson vowed to champion all the policies initiated by his predecessor.

Past politicians such as Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon were the most vocal when it came promoting segregation and curtailing on the abilities of the minorities to enjoy their civil rights. However, although these politicians had harbored prejudice perspectives, scholars argue that they were not racist in a particularly hate-filled sense. It is also argued that none of them had the motivation of harming the minorities. In contrast, before they had known about the benefits of racial pandering, all of them had the attributes of being moderate when it came to racial issues. Furthermore, the three politicians used their positions and influence to manipulate the race so that they can get elected. These politicians never sought to fight for the rights of the minorities, but they actually aimed at extending racial segregation. Although they never created the bigotry that was associated during election period, they sought it, recognized, stoked and legitimized. Although they never inflicted harm or humiliation on the minorities, the consequences of their actions were sure to follow and hurt the non-White communities. The fact that they were willing to engage in racial circus for them to get elected, it implies that their racial demagogues was acting out of what is considered as strategic racism.

Party Traditions

Most minority groups especially African-Americans have failed to support the Republican Party as a result of its traditions which seem to hold on to eras when the Blacks where severely assaulted by the White supremacists from the Southern States. Studies have shown the Republican Party has traditionally harnessed the racial resentment of the Whites in order to win elections. None of the theories that are raised by the U.S. politicians are unique to America alone, with these issues being experienced both in the country and other parts of the world. For instance, wages have for long been stagnant for the work-class employees, job opportunities for employees with college level education have collapsed since the 1990s, and most of the employment problems have been present since the Great Depression. As a result, these problems do not target a specific ethnic or social group. Millions of Whites, African-Americans, and other minority groups have been negatively affected by declining economic prospects, political participation, and social disintegration for lengthy amounts of periods due to demagogues like American politicians.

As mentioned before, racial background plays an instrumental role in determining the direction of upcoming elections on a candidate. Trump does not simply control a movement, but also Whites who are exclusively disaffected. He has also gained strongest support in counties and states that have recorded high level of racial polarization. White voters who have voted for Trump have reported high level to resentment and this implies that the public is yet to determine the factors that have contributed to the rise his popularity. It is believed that his resentment against President Obama is based on the fact that he is the first Black president and he has succeeded immensely when in office.

Some pundits are of the opinion that barrack Obama’s presidency polarized the country’s racial divide. Although this may be correct up to a certain level, it is difficult to argue that racial attributes can originate from the front instead of backward for it to have the ability of dividing the country. It is evident that a huge proportion of White people ignored the issue of racism from 1970s to 2000s. There were few times when the issue was played openly in the public. For instance, after the case of O.J Simpson came to an end, the Whites started to openly segregate themselves from the blacks. They reacted as if the lives of White people were completely different from the lives of black people.  The election of president Obama significantly changed the political environment and most African American politicians gained confidence of being reelected. Nevertheless, the election of President Obama has not led to an end in the discrimination of the minority groups or an increase in the political participation across the country. This is due to the fact that a society that is free from racial and ethnic discrimination can only be achieved ones authorities are in a position of changing some of the fundamental fabrics of the society. These are mainly the socioeconomic factors that improve people’s living conditions irrespective of their racial or ethnic backgrounds and political affiliation.