DISCLAIMER: The articles and thoughts expressed on this page are the sole opinions of the individual author or group that expresses them and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Los Angeles Sentinel. We welcome comments from our readers. To send material for the editorial page be sure to include a name, your area of residence and if available, an e-mail where you can be contacted accompanying the material submitted. Please note, we maintain the right to edit for brevity and clarity. THE LOS ANGELES SENTINEL
Forming from a culture of clashes, race relations throughout American history have hardly ever been ideal. A nation built on continuous immigration, each demographic of the present day population have all experienced hardships as minorities attempting to integrate into the masses. The darkness of one’s skin directly correlated with the difficultly of the marginalization process. The African population of colonial times unwillingly inherited a new nation by way of slavery, while even previous generations of European immigrants were limited in resources needed to obtain the promises of the constitution.
Sixty years ago, the nation experienced the most beneficial revitalization of the American dream through the civil rights movement. After a hard fought battle, hundreds of years in the making, African Americans and other minorites finally received 1st class citizenship on legal basis. The Jim Crow laws were proven to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, separate but equal shattered, poll taxes erased, and affirmative action ensured diversity in all work places. Of course repealing the law does not necessarily repeal the racist motives from which the law stems but a start nonetheless. For the first time in American history, there were legal boundaries that separated minorities from oppression. Drastic changes ensued.
America has come a long way since the black and white days of the mid 20th century. The immigration carousel continues to turn making America more diverse than ever. People of Latino decent are now the second largest population, and as a nation for the people by the people, America has made valid efforts to adapt. The coexistence mentality used to break racial barriers in the sixty's has created new tensions within society, leaving many citizens insecure about the nations progress. A question was posed, what's the difference between not getting a job because the color of one’s skin... And not getting it because one does not speak Spanish?
A bilingual qualification has become common practice in many work places, creating an identity issue and causing some to question rather the racial selection process implemented in the 1960’s are at work today. Do not be mislead, the forces at work in the 1960’s are not the source of our current dilemma. The necessity to provide all citizens with services and goods has caused many businesses to limit their potential employment pool. Descending from the pinnacle of racial tensions, the nation is simply making efforts to accommodate for all demographics of the population.
The America of past time was horrified of change; the America of our time is not. Though some remain resistant, the majority of citizens are starting to perceive the population as a whole, standing as one American people while still respecting racial backgrounds. In some regions of the country the Hispanic American population is so large; employees must be able to speak multiple languages to cater to all customers. It is out of the respect of all citizens’ racial backgrounds, rather than the disrespect of particular backgrounds, that work places selectively hire employees. America is at another cross road, and change is to ensue.
We must adapt, as a people, if we are to continue our coexistence mentality without having it deduct opportunity from society as a whole. The current generation will receive the most difficulty in doing so, but the ones to come will benefit. America is built on common ground, but efforts must be made to reach it. As of now the best thing we can do, is to continue to respect all racial backgrounds. Eventually America will progress to marginalize once again. In order to ease the process, multiple languages should be taught to all American citizens from the beginning of the education process. In Europe it is common for citizens to speak up to six different languages, while most Americans not of Hispanic background are only fluent in one. Along with these changes, over time Hispanic citizens will also grow to learn to speak English and America will be able to operate on a higher level.