Racial discrimination, ethnicity, sectarian violence, religious animosity, tribal clashes and nepotism are rampant forms of racial segregation in most communities. Where such kinds of vices are common, civil strife and animosity are manifested, and often-bloody clashes and tensions result. For peace to prevail in any given community tolerance amongst the different races in a given community is required (Albert, Peter, & Ronald 1990). In addition the law enforcement agencies are required to keep vigilant as traces of racial strife still manifest themselves in any given society. In this autobiographical paper I will discuss the challenges facing the Tacoma community in terms of racial relations.
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I am a Caucasian with familial ties to Irish and Scotch, a native of Tacoma, Washington and my community is predominantly Caucasian. There are however many race related problems in the Tacoma community. Police profiling is a major problem in the community as police often discriminate against the racial minorities. Police in Tacoma Washington have in many occasions been accused of harassing and arresting at will people from some races without clear reasons and on baseless grounds. The Tacoma community is approximated at 200,000 people according to the census report of the year 2002.
The community of Tacoma is comprised of several races. About 69% of the total population of community comprise of whites. Therefore, the whites form majority of the residents in Tacoma. African Americans constitute approximately 11% of the Tacoma community, while Asians constitute about 8% of the total Tacoma population. The other races which comprise the Tacoma community include American Indians about 2.0% and others which comprise of about 3.0%. Major economic activities of the Tacoma community include agriculture, manufacturing, forestry and fishing. Racial discrimination at Tacoma is evident in all spheres of life such as education, and job opportunities. The whites being the majority have at sometimes been accused of being discriminatory to the racial minority, mainly the African Americans and American Indians.
In Tacoma community, opportunities in the social arena, political arena, educational opportunities and even economic opportunities have largely been disproportionate and based on race and ethnicity. Evidently, in the Tacoma community racial minorities have continued to be treated differently. There are also some incidents whereby some students are unable to access scholarship and sponsorships due to the fact that they belong to the racial minority groups. Where this happened, action has been taken and corrective measures followed include the legal procedures, this shows that, despite presence of racial discrimination, efforts are being put at the community level to fight the vice.
Social life in Tacoma has been boosted in that all residents regardless of their race have an access to religious meeting places, amusement parks and are free to visit any place regardless of their race. Although there is a high crime rate in Tacoma, the communities live in harmony and rarely are any incidences of racially motivated crime reported.
The other less often spoken about discrimination that happens in Tacoma is that of non-heterosexuals such as homosexuals, bi-sexuals and trans-genders. The above groups have occasionally been treated unfairly leading to a new form of discrimination. Traditionally, the non-heterosexuals have been a minority group and have therefore been viewed as a minority community. The above has become an issue of human rights that needs to be addressed from the legislation point of view. Efforts to fight discrimination have included the setting up of a website, in which reconciliatory information is posted which serves to educate the general public on the evils and disadvantages associated with discrimination.
There is a need for law enforcers to be firm in their implementation of the federal anti-discrimination laws so as to promote a mutually beneficial interracial existence. Such efforts in Tacoma have constituted the establishment of the Tacoma human rights and human services department that is solely concerned with resolving racially motivated human rights in the Tacoma area. This program has proved to be an effective way of promoting co-existence in the Tacoma, Washington area.
There is also a need for more programs from both the state and federal governments to such as race-based hiring quotas and race-based education programs. Although the above can be a cause for bias towards the white majority, it is nevertheless a right step towards correcting the racial discrimination currently being experienced in Tacoma community.
The leadership in my community is comprised of leaders from different racial background. However most of the leaders are whites given the fact that about 70% of the community members are white. Unlike in the past when leaders would openly downplay racial discrimination, today things are different and the leadership is keen to eradicate racial discrimination from the community. The leadership of the community continues to address the racial discrimination issue in that every time such cases are reported the leadership is committed to applying justice and condemning the act openly. This has been very helpful in the fight against racial discrimination in that leaders are viewed by many as role models and people are more likely to obey what they perceive as being the wishes of the leaders.
Inspite of the efforts from the leadership in the community to fight racial discrimination, the vice continues to be manifested in the daily lives of people. I interviewed Grace who is an African American, about her efforts to secure a chance at a medical school. The lady complained that despite the fact that she had all the relevant qualifications, she passed her admission test well but it has been over 3 months now and she has not heard back from the college. She suspects it is a case of racial discrimination since most of her colleagues from other racial backgrounds with whom they applied together have received a feedback from the college.
Grace is worried because she was denied admission to the college. She is now worried that her career dreams of becoming a medical doctor may be shattered. She blames all her misfortunes on what she terms as ‘deep rooted’ racial discrimination in Tacoma Washington.
Grace’s case is an indication that a lot needs to be done in order to fight racial discrimination, tension and suspicions that exists in the Tacoma community. Despite the isolated cases such as those cited above the residents of Tacoma community have continued to collaborate in many areas.
There are many joint community projects whereby members participate regardless of one’s racial background. There is a growing evidence that any member of the community can apply and get a job in any place in Tacoma as long as one possess basic qualifications. There are many interracial marriages happening, which all point to the fact that, the society needs to collaborate and overcome the racial challenges. In terms of the texts addressing the racial discrimination issue, there are many scholars from all races that have addressed the issue of racial discrimination. For instance, to carry out this research I referred to articles written by whites who condemn the vice.
No single author seemed to support racial discrimination, a good indicator that this war is close to being won.
Of all means of fighting racial discrimination the media is a strong avenue. Careless media reporting has fueled racial, ethnic and tribal clashes in countries like Rwanda. However, in Tacoma community the media has shown great responsibility and professionalism. Most programmes aired are sensitive to all races. The FM stations and the print media have all shown commitment to diffusing racial tensions where they suffice and have tended to promote racial co-existence.
Efforts should be made to investigate all cases that are reported on racial discrimination. Where one is found guilty, proper legal steps should be taken to address the matter. More stringent laws should be introduced to fight remnants of racial discrimination. The Tacoma community is on the right track in terms of inter-racial relations, if the ongoing efforts are continued, racial discrimination shall be totally eliminated in the community in the foreseeable future.
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