In 2014, the Civil Rights Act turned 50, but no one seemed to care or notice. Instead of celebrating the anniversary of one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history, we asked ourselves whether or not we had come very far since the days when police officers used to fire hose black children on the streets.
What happened? Why was 2014 such a disaster as far as race relations are concerned? In every venue, racism and racial prejudice seemed to be the order of the day. Should the Washington Redskins change their name? Is the appropriation of black culture by white artists indicative of a more serious malady? Is it #BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter?
This week, President Obama told NPR News that he thinks the country is "less racially divided" than it was when he took office six years ago, but all evidence points to the contrary. The new House Majority whip, Steve Scalise (R-La.), was once a keynote speaker at a gathering hosted by a white supremacist group. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's angry response to the tragic deaths of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu has created more tension between law enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect.
Two camps are forming, and what divides them is one's willingness to accept racism as fact 50 years after President Johnson signed a bill intended to eradicate it. While President Obama may think race relations have improved, he conceded that, this year "the issue [of racism] has surfaced in a way that probably is healthy." Let's look at the ways it has surfaced over the last 12 months to see if these issues have been healthy or harmful. Here, in brief, is our recap of The Year in Racism.
Lauretta Charlton is Associated Editor at Complex Pop Culture. Follow her on Twitter at @laurettaland.