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Editorial: Division of American society at critical stage

  • June 6, 2020
  • , Nikkei , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

The protests in response to the death of a black man after he was assaulted by a white police officer have spread across the U.S. and developed into riots in the capital of Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. The confrontation over race and social class has deepened, and the divisions within American society have reached a critical stage. The chaotic state of a world power affects international politics. This is a situation that Japan can’t just overlook.


It is safe to say that the history of the U.S., a multiracial nation, is the history of racial discrimination. But the country had maintained a minimal degree of harmony by underscoring political correctness, including avoiding the uttering of discriminatory words in public.


It was President Donald Trump who disrupted this harmony. He won election in 2016 after gaining the support of white people by repeatedly engaging in discriminatory behavior. The latest escalation of protests into riots is attributable to the President, who is choosing to instigate confrontation again to win re-election in autumn.


Whites will make up less than 50% of the American population in the mid-21st century if current demographic trends continue. Whites wonder whether they will be given a hard time to the degree they discriminated. This uneasiness has supported the Trump administration. 


There arises the question what should be done to change the structure. The first thing to be done is to restore the American Dream so that anyone regardless of their race has the opportunity to succeed.


The American economy has grown thanks to the fresh ideas provided by new immigrants. If immigrants who arrived earlier to American shores realize that they have also benefited from those new ideas, they will understand the meaninglessness of insisting on national boundaries.


People who oppose discrimination also need to exercise a degree of restraint. The riots that broke out nationwide involved looting that was unrelated to the protest. This runs the danger of justifying the suppression by force.


President Trump said in his inaugural speech, “We’re one nation.” A U.S. president is a head of state and represents not only his/her supporters but all the public. It is hoped that [President Trump] will fully realize that leading American society to reconciliation is his very responsibility.


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