Globalization and economic development brought many challenges to the foundation of social norms in the modern world. In the United States, the most persisting one is the challenge of managing racial intolerance and violence, which emerges from the favorable immigrant policies introduced by the government decades ago. Pursuing the objective to pose itself as an immigrant-friendly nation from the sociopolitical standpoint, and seeking for a source of cheap labor force from the economic, Americans are now facing the need of introducing a social change that would equate the rights of immigrants and natives. Reflecting on the issues related to offensive behaviors and consequent actions of violence, police brutality, and racist expressions used in the English language, this essay argues that there is a need of systemic social change through the adoption of tolerant behaviors and improvement of social conditions for deprived immigrants.
News reports and publications by social care agencies report frequent acts of low-level harassment among the immigrant population of the United States. According to the investigation conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2009 in respect to the living conditions of Latino Americans, “they are regularly taunted, spit upon and pelted with apples, full soda cans, beer bottles and other projectiles”. Further, it is mentioned that Latino immigrants are experiencing a feeling of constant threat that prevents them from leaving children in the streets unattended, as well as experiencing cases of being “chased by the drivers while travelling on foot” (Ore, 2009, p. 257). Acts of aggressive behavior are mostly demonstrated by the native population that expresses hatred to the immigrants based on the non-conformity principles. It is also noted that political leaders of the respective county of Suffolk do little to discourage it, otherwise enacting hostile policies of targeting undocumented immigrants as a major theme of the local administrative laws (Ore, 2009). Racial intolerance is a major topic in this case, while the reasons for such offensive behaviors are not obvious and yet to be explored.
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Not surprisingly, the roots of such behavior could be found in the foundations of English communications and symbolism, certainly overlooked by social and political premises of the cultural adjustments that the American nation offered to the immigrants (Moore, 1976). Brutal acts committed by police officers in various parts of the country against African Americans through the last year have found reflection in both the media and Internet. The most striking examples are the law enforcement-induced death of Mr Eric Garner on Staten Island, the capture and battery of an unarmed African American female by a California Highway Patrol officer, and the lethal firing at the weaponless teenager Mike Brown that took place in Ferguson, MO. All three cases highlight brutal and harassing acts committed by police against African Americans suspected of committing crimes, without the due sequence of procedures required from police officers.
The beating of a black woman appeared in several Internet resources in an ironic form – on July 4th, when citizens of America celebrate the nationwide holiday of Independence Day. A video made of the incident shows the highway patrol officer chasing and beating an unarmed homeless woman, and punching her at least 10 times prior to handcuffing. The officer explained that the incident started when the barefoot woman attempted to step into heavy traffic, and as a result of a warning to step away from the traffic lane became, as reported, “physically combative”. However, there was no valid explanation for the use of excessive force against a homeless woman who, even behaving in a combative manner, would barely be able to defend herself against an armed police officer. The case would probably stay undisclosed if the video hadn’t appeared in social media, thus bringing the officer under administrative responsibility.
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Another case was related to the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, and concluded with the death of the latter. Shooting a suspect accused of stealing cigarillos, and the further decision of the judge to not indict the police officer responsible caused massive protests in the area of Ferguson, where the act of violence was committed (Bruni, 2007). Investigations reported that the shooting was not done in abuse of authority, since most credible witnesses reported that the suspect charged at the police officer. However, medical reports and forensic evidence published in various media show that there was an excessive amount of bullet casings around the area, which points to brutal behavior having taken place. Moreover, there were also several non-typical particularities in the case, like the length of case presentation to the grand jury (25 days), and the fact of the defendant’s testimony and disclosure of all evidence after the verdict of the grand judges (Bloom & Imam, 2014).
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An act of violence against a black man, who was attempting to sell illegal cigarettes, was also committed at Staten Island, and resulted in the death of the man. Eric Garner was confronted by the police and, with passive defiance, told police officers not to touch him, but seconds later was grabbed in a chokehold, unable to take a deep breath due to his health issues (Healy, 2014). Garner died en route to the hospital, causing another wave of protests against the brutal behavior of police officers driven by prejudices against African Americans. While having a strong criminal record of selling untaxed cigarettes, Eric Garner was a father of six children, and his death was undoubtedly a tragedy for his family.
The tolerating of violence towards African Americans and Latinos by government authorities, which has been going on since the times of the Bloomberg regime, is probably the reason we are still suffering from the affected psyches of police officers, who are unable to guarantee the safety of the nation and continue to demonstrating their inability to differentiate the threat they are faced with. Their offenses against black citizens, as highlighted in recent cases, is a direct violation of their professional code as well as the constitutional rights of people they harm. What is most worth noting is that such cases result in death often, lowering the nation’s authority-policing credibility and bringing the anger to even higher levels. With continuous problems in this area, it seems that citizens, especially those of a different race than white, to some extent have to seek protection from police brutality and harassment by themselves. The applicability of laws that ensure the seeking of legal redress according to human rights protection seems frequently not held up, thus also bringing more intolerance within local governments.
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Thus, a decisive reaction to this problem is to initiate a societal change that lies in introducing equal employment opportunities for all nations residing in a single county, supplied also with educational reforms that would allow them to obtain critical professional skills. This would not resolve harassment problems immediately, but would at least bring more confidence to the vulnerable populations, with the latter knowing that candidates from their neighborhood are involved in peace-making activities. An opportunity for bringing about the societal change discussed is to engage immigrants into appropriate activities, with respect to the constant fear demonstrated by their families. The proactive support of social care organizations would be required for this case. As soon as the government, the education system and social care organizations start cooperating together, it will be possible to analyze their combined efforts in effectively addressing social problems and dealing with social change, since there is already sufficient knowledge to understand the correct actions they would have to take. However, until that time it is unlikely any systemic change that will dramatically alter the situation could occur, hence the continuous threat to and harassment of immigrants in the country, which has paradoxically been communicating globally its immigration-friendly regime for many decades now.