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Racial Equality – Fact or Fiction?

William Manful
By William Manful

William Manful is a human rights advocate committed to the democratization of Africa. He has worked as a contributing columnist for afrik- and talkafrique. He holds degrees in french and spanish as well as international relations from the University of Cambridge. Mr manful also writes on philosophy, sports and cinema. He is currently working for the Government of Ghana.

Posted on Friday, 19 July 2013 18:48

50 years after Martin Luther King jr called for racial equality in America by sharing his solipsistic dream with his fellow countrymen, the issue of race serving as the basis for appraising the value of an individual still seems to reign supreme.

Racial integration in the US seemed to climax with the election of a black president, Barack Obama way back in 2008 when the elusive dream of having a man of color rule the most powerful nation in the world became a reality.

the deep seated hatred for black people are now veiled behind outward courtesies and facial niceties

In the modernist social climate, with the liberal credo taking center stage, inordinate progress appears to have been made in the campaign to fight racism, but the reality of quotidian existence in America and beyond proves that people of color continue to crowd inner cities, ghettoes and slum areas struggling to emancipate economically whilst remaining on the fringes of society.

Racism it seems has left the public area and is now seeking refuge in social policy, social economics, and social justice.

The improvements in the American egalitarian mantra notwithstanding, the deep seated hatred for black people are now veiled behind outward courtesies and facial niceties belying an inner heart that is still defined by racial hatred.

It looks as if racial bigotry knows no end, as it becomes harder to change people’s thoughts and feelings when it comes to the issue of tolerance and acceptance.

In some cases the element of hate is predicated on a perception that is even rooted in language making it increasingly difficult for the speaker of the concerned language to attribute any positive values to the black race.

A case in point, amid a wide pejorative use of the word black, is the Spanish idiom ‘tener la negra‘ literally translated means carrying a ‘black mark’ but actually referring to a bearer of bad luck thereby, rendering racial tolerance for a native speaker of the language that much harder.

Not surprisingly, a number of sportsmen, particularly footballers, have incurred the wrath of soccer fans featuring in prominent European football leagues in Spain, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands.

Players of African origin like Mario Balotelli have tried to bridge the racial gap in Europe by opting to play for their adopted homeland only to realize that, racist chants are loudest amongst home fans during international matches.

In the realm of politics examples of racial stereotypes and racially offensive commentary abounds with the Vice President of the Italian Senate comparing Cecile Kyenge, the Italian integration Minister of Congolese origin to an orangutan.

It is important for the world to live up to the fact that, abating racial discrimination socially does not translate to the elimination of racial prejudice. The former is expressed through social comportment whilst the latter exists within the inner character of people who are struggling to equate the ‘Negro’ to the ‘Caucasoid’.

Harsh terms but illustrative of an existing mindset that will never go away not even with the advent of triumphs for blacks in the fields of politics, sports, academia, science, entertainment, religion and many more human endeavors.

The great American reverend’s dream of social equality so far remains just that, a dream.

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