USA Today reports on America’s racism issue and asks prominent Black Americans to offer solutions to the nation’s racial problems.
1989 (Sep 11)
After recent racial tensions and violence, including the killing of young Blacks in predominantly white neighborhoods in New York City, a USA Today poll found that 60 percent of America's Blacks encounter racism at least occasionally. Higher income Black Americans reported that they experienced racism more than poor Blacks. Blacks who reside in southern states reported less racism than Blacks in other regions of the country. Another finding was that 71 percent of the Blacks surveyed would like to live in integrated neighborhoods, although 53 percent live in largely Black areas. USA Today also asked a number of prominent Black Americans to offer solutions to the nation's racial problems. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a professor of law at Georgetown University and former chairperson of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), suggested that "there needs to be a continuing public, conciliatory dialogue between racial and cultural groups so that those who continue to harbor racial prejudice feel isolated. We need to talk these things out, not act them out.... Black-white relations between average Americans are not hostile - they simply are not close enough. The kind of integrated society that has been hypothesized simply has not yet been achieved." Tony Brown, executive producer and host of PBS's "Tony Brown's Journal," remarked: "It doesn't surprise me that southern Blacks find less racism. If Blacks had marched in Bensonhurst and Howard Beach 30 years ago instead of Selma (Alabama), then the whites in Bensonhurst and Howard Beach would be as sensitive today to racism as whites in Selma are.... What Blacks must do is through our achievements, through our own unity, through faith in ourselves, through sharing our resources, we must make these gains that will destroy the environmental supports [of racism]." Charles Moody, Sr., vice president for minority affairs at the University of Michigan and founder of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, suggested that the first thing that people have to do is come to grips with the fact that racism does exist and not be so quick to try to rationalize it away or justify it, but to accept the fact that it's there and begin to do something about it. ... I think people as individuals can do something about it by looking at themselves and trying to change that part of the institution or community that they have control over."