Authorities imposed a curfew in the city of Ferguson in St. Louis County, Missouri as a result of unrest over racial discrimination. On Aug. 9, an unarmed African-American teenager was shot six times and killed by a Caucasian police officer. The police later released a surveillance video suggesting that the African-American teenager had committed a robbery. This footage has caused strong dissatisfaction, and the reason is simple. Even if this teenager did commit a crime, there is no legal basis to open fire and shoot him to death.
This incident has caused the most serious unrest involving African-Americans in recent years. It shows that even with a black president, the shadow of racial discrimination continues to linger over a large number of African-Americans.
Objectively speaking, the U.S. has made significant progress fighting racism for over half a century. Racial discrimination has been completely prohibited by law, and racial equality has become a reality on many fronts. Barack Obama being elected president is certainly a symbol that summarizes these accomplishments and confirms that overt prejudices targeting African-Americans no longer exist in the U.S.
However, the racial gap in the U.S. and the discrimination that stems from it is a huge problem that has not been truly resolved in American society. Even with a group of inspirationally successful African-American elites in the U.S., on average, there is still a tremendous gap in the start and struggles of life between black and white populations. To many African-Americans, crossing this divide remains difficult. This is the social basis for the failure to reach a compromise on the racial problem in America.
The U.S. owes a historical debt to African-Americans, and the country’s approach of gradually allowing racial issues to fade away is actually quite heartless. All African-Americans were asked to integrate into society, their original cultural roots destroyed. To a large extent, the government of the U.S. benefits from this simplification of its racial issues. If the U.S. continues to go down this path, its racial issues will one day disappear completely.
As the representative of the former socialist camp, the Soviet Union established a governance model of ethnic autonomy with the intention to seek a balance between safeguarding national unity and protecting the diversity of its ethnic cultures. Its approach gave much respect to the ethnic cultures, but also generated a series of unexpected consequences.
Overall, be it America’s approach of integration or the Soviets’ path, both have their respective problems. Ethnic and racial integration is destined to be a difficult and sensitive process, and a perfect solution does not exist.
The U.S. has suffered much through its history of racial issues, but the sacrifices these years seem a bit modest, relatively speaking. An important reason for this is that the U.S. has been dominating the Soviet Union in overall competitiveness since the 1970s and 1980s, and has therefore had the power to evaluate its own ethnic issues.
The force of public opinion in the West is strong enough to penetrate the ideologies of the ethnically autonomous socialist nations, inciting various emotions in other countries regarding their own ethnic issues. The dissolution of the Soviet Union served as a further validation of the American approach to its ethnic problems.
Over time, the flaws of the American integration policy have been forgotten, and the nature of ethnic autonomy has become unclear. From time to time, people would suggest that China adopt the American approach, but after much consideration, stripping the ethnically autonomous populations of their “cultural welfare” is unrealistic. The irony is that the U.S., after forcing a state of ethnic integration, is now often accusing countries like China of violating the rights of minorities.
The latest unrest in Ferguson against racial discrimination reveals a scar for the U.S., one that many countries also have. It is ultimately a long-term process to reach a proper resolution to the ethnic and racial issues of this world. In light of current international public opinion, those countries that are least susceptible to external influences, most independent in their decision-making and possess the inherent ability to control the scale of the problem will be most proactive in addressing these issues.