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Zedrick Aguirre

Sociology
Essay 1
Racism in Tulia, Texas
The history of the United States is unfortunately intertwined with discrimination and
racism. From the slave trade in the 1800s to modern society today, people of different races have
always been at odds. Equality was a goal that both social activists and common civilians worked
for. Fortunately, equality has been legally achieved and citizens of all races are now equal on
paper. However, this is not completely true; equality is still being fought for on a more covert
front. This means that even though all citizens are equal, some people still discriminate against
other races. A prominent example of this modern racism occurred in Tulia, Texas in the spring of
1998.
In Tulia, this modern racism took the form of drug busts. The town sheriff used funds
from a regional drug task force to hire an undercover detective to locate and arrest people
involved in the drug trade. The sheriff did not expect the results to be so immediate and targeted.
In eighteen months, the undercover detective, Tom Coleman, made forty six arrests and forty of
the arrests were African Americans from Tulia. Colemans history however is filled with
illegitimacies such as baseless accusations, fabricated records of drug sales, and abuse of office.
Even stranger, no one knew of Colemans past and because of that, his word was taken without
question. The justice systems ignorance of Colemans troubled past relates to the implicit racism
in modern society.
The event that transpired in Tulia was an example of the new racism that is plaguing the
United States today. In the past, racism was more publicly shown and accepted. White Americans
openly demonstrated negative behavior towards Black Americans. The racial inequality was
much more pronounced and both races were aware of it. In those times, any White Americans
word held infinitely more meaning than a Black Americans word, which shows the difference

between society then and society now. Even though that is exactly what happened in Tulia,
societal changes and laws were developed and passed to prevent such events from happening.
Racism today is focused more on suppressing African American progress by forcing them into
disadvantages such as selective renting, anti-minority insurance, and steering towards specific
neighborhoods. In more extreme cases, arrest and jailing could be used on suspected African
Americans such as what happened in Tulia. Because discrimination and racism are no longer
socially acceptable, racism was forced to take on a new and possibly equally effective form.
The people in Tulia, Texas were disturbed by what happened to the members of the black
community there. However, as members of the same community, they could have stepped up and
worked to protect their fellow citizens against the injustice. Many of them talk about the injustice
and how the law should have protected the indicted, but the many of the cases had already gone
too far when the community members started to intervene. In reality, the members of the
community were possibly subconsciously racist to a small degree. It seems as if none of the
enforcement agencies really did much research into the multiple arrests. They simply went along
with Colemans accusations and sent the innocent people to jail.
In conclusion, even though racism is supposed to be extinct in the United States, it is
apparent that racism will always have a grip on some people. This type of thinking may be
explicit or implicit, but in the end, it still has a presence. Society seems to always want to be
better by attempting to rid itself of negative influences such as racism, but in the end, it is only
perpetuated within the population both consciously and subconsciously.