The disparate racial composition of the American penal system has drastically altered the life trajectory of many minority groups, in particular young black males. Just as college and the military, prison has become a leading potential life course for young men in urban societies. Since a large number of those in the penal system are minorities, particularly African-American, it is estimated that felon disenfranchisement has provided a small but distinct advantage to Republican candidates in every presidential and senatorial elections from 1972 to 2000. Education, as the great equalizing mechanism in society, the social space fought over so passionately during historic legislative battles such as Brown v. Education, is rendered innocuous in part by the discriminate treatment of children based on cultural and ethnic identifiers.
Many segregated schools struggle to attract highly qualified teachers and administrators, do not prepare students well for college, and fail to graduate more than half their students.
The United States risks becoming a nation in which a new majority of non-white young people will attend "separate and inferior" schools.
Latinos are the fastest growing minority in U.S. schools. Researches noted that "often Latino students face triple segregation by race, class and language."
A shift in the control of representation by those denied access to media decision-making and product distribution would help to lessen the muted forms of stereotypes that continue to proliferate American mass media. Over 50 years after Ralph Waldo Ellison and Louis Armstrong asked, “What did I do to be so Black and Blue?”, America still lacks a wide arrays of state educational systems that celebrates and embracing the national ideals of equality and, in its stead, perpetuates systems of institutionalized prejudices and racism. Only when this glaring chasm is addressed will more than 100 years of overt, covert, and mass mediated injustice, violence, and prejudice begin to recede in the collective social conscious. Maybe then we will finally be able to bid Jim Crow and Plessy v. Ferguson a proper adieu.
“Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason”
~Abraham J. Heschel