Racism

is one themostprofoundsocialevilsthat has significantly affectedtheUS, influencingallaspectsof Americans lives.is thebeliefthatone’s race,skincolor,ormoregenerally,factorsthat supposedlyrevealbasicnatureof individualssuchas nationalorethnic identity,are superiorto others in humanity(Jonas 13).Thepresumedracialsuperiorityleadsto mistreatmentof thesupposedlyinferiorindividuals,denyingthem equalopportunitiesas thesupposedlysuperiorrace.Thesituationisaggravatedifthearmsof thegovernmentagreeto racismandtreatpeopledifferentlybased on their racialaffiliations(Daniel 45). has beena majorpartof theAmerican landscapesince thecolonizationof theNorth American regionby theEuropeans in theseventeenth century.Sincethen,thevariousgroupsof people,among them, theNativeAmericans, theAfrican Americans, theJews Americans andtheJapan Americans havebornthebluntof racism.This has beenmanifestedthrough discriminatorylaws,criminalbehaviorsdirectedtowards thesesupposedlyinferiorgroupsandevendiscriminative social,politicalandeconomicalpractices(Fredrickson 21).

Ofall thesegroupings, African- Americans havebornthegreatestbrunt of racismtheywereenslavedandforcedto endureallevilsthat comewith slaveryThey werediscriminatedanddeniedsocial,politicalandeconomicprivilegesthat are enjoyedby freecitizensevenafter theabolitionof slaveryandwereforcedto obeytheJim Crow Laws which weremeantto subjugateandhumiliatethem.Althoughmainstream racismagainst African Americans endedafter theestablishmentof civilrightsmovementthat soughtto fightracismalthoughthere stillexistsomesubtleformof socialracismagainst theblacks evenin modernAmerica.

Historyof against African-Americans

Amajorityof African Americans are descendants of Africans whoweretakento America as slavesin theseventeenth andeighteenth century.Theywereboughtby white masters,forcedto Christianize, whipped,torturedneatenandin manycases,hangedorlynchedat thewhimsof their white masters.Theywereforcedto workin largeplantationswithout payanddefinitelyunder verypoorworkingconditions,since theywereperceivedas a propertyof thesupposedlysuperiorwhite race.Legislationswereenactedto victimizetheslavestheywerebarredfrom owningproperty,deniedcitizenry rightssuchas votingorexpressingpoliticalviewsas wellasformingunions(Jonas 36). Whilenot allAfrican Americans wereslaves,thelawsdiscriminatedagainst all thedark-skinned people.TheselawspropelledthebeliefthatAfrican Americansareinferior,a factorthat heldthem backfrom fightingfortheir rightsespeciallyin thesouth,whereslaverywasdominant.However,thenortherners feltthatslaveryshould not be allowedin a freecountryhencejoinedhandstoformabolitionists movementsthat soughtto fightslavery.

Theabolitionist movementhelpedto establishtheUnderground Railway System, which wasa seriesof safeescaperoutesof theslavesfrom thesouthto thenorth.In 1860, Abraham Lincoln waselectedthepresidentof theUS andhis strongoppositionto slaveryledto thewithdrawalof Southern stateswhoseagriculturaleconomywasrunby slaves.Thewithdrawalof theSouthern American statestriggered theAmerican civilwarsfrom 1861 to 1865, asthesouthcontestedtheir rightsto retainslaves.Lincoln abolishedslaveryin theUS in theEmancipation Proclamation,henceallslaveswerefreed.Enslavementof theblacks by thewhites wasmadepossibleby theerroneousracistperceptionsthattheblacks andtheir descendants werelesshumanthan thewhites (Fredrickson 34).

in Antebellum Years

Thoughslaverywasultimatelyoutlawedin 1863, African Americans werenot acceptedin thewhite socialorder.Racialsegregationcontinuedin socialinstitutionssuchas churches,hotelsandothercivicplaces,especiallyin theconfederatestates.WiththeexceptionofTexas, allformerconfederatestatesformednewgovernmentsthat wererecognizedby thepresidency.However,thesegovernmentsweredominatedbyformerconfederates(Democrats) henceenactedtheinfamousBlack Codes ortheJim Crow Laws (Jonas 47). TheseBlack Codes wereenactedto re-establish white supremacyandsegregateAfrican Americans by thevirtueof their skincolor.TheseBlack Codes bannedAfrican Americans fromowningproperty,purchasingorleasing land,testifyingagainstwhites in courtsof law,voteorcongregatein largenumbers.

OppressivelaborlawswereestablishedandAfrican Americans wereforcedto signexploitativeandbindinglaborcontracts.Heavytaxeswereimposedon African Americans that werenot employedby thewhites andtheabsentees from white employmentslappedwith hugefines.Additionally, provisionsof theJim Crow Laws threatenedthephysicalmovementsof Americans. Segregationintensifiedwith blacks beingbarredfrom attendingsameschools,churchesorhospitalsas white. Instead,African Americans weremadeto attendschoolsandhospitalsthatoffereddilapidated services(Fremon 56).

Increasedsegregationinfuriatedtheblacks andpavedwayforthecreationof thefirstgeneralblack politicalmovementin theregionseekingto fightfortherightsof theblacks. However,theseuprisingsweremetwith increasedviolencesuchas beatings,lynchingandhanging. Largenumberof Africans wereinjuredorkilledas theyriotedagainst theoppressivelaws.Among thenotableriotsincludedtheMay of 1866 raceriotsin Memphis andothers in New Orleans in theJuly of thesameyear(Alexander 66). Theseheinousactsagainst theblacks wereconductedbywhitesupremacygroups,themostnotoriousbeingtheKu Klux Klan establishedin 1866, Knights of theWhite Camelia, andWhite Brotherhood. Membersof thesewhitesupremacygroupsrodeacross thecountrysidebeating,killingandlynchingAfrican Americans andsometimeswhites whoweresympatheticto blacks. TheKlansmen weresecretlysupportedby thedemocrats(confederates) whowerethemajorityin thegovernment(Fredrickson 65).

Later,theradicals(republicans),whoweresympatheticto theblacks usedtheir powersto orchestratethepassageof seriesof lawsthat aimedat providingblacks with equalpoliticalandcivicrightsastheblacks. SuchlawincludedtheCivil Rights Act of 1866 andthefourteenth amendmentratifiedin 1868. TheCivil Rights Act grantedtheblacks therightto sue,be sued,testifyin courtsof law,ownandinheritland,whiletheFourteenth amendmentmadeAfrican Americans naturalcitizensof statesthat theyresided,therebyprohibitingracialdiscriminationagainst blacks (Jonas 89).After the1866 elections,theRepublican Partygainedmoreseatsin theCongress leadingto a radicalreconstructionof black rights.Among othernotableamendmentsmadein thereconstructionperiodincludetheReconstruction Act of 1867, theFifteenth Amendment of 1870, theKu Klux Klan of 1871 andtheCivil Rights Act of 1875. TheselawsrecognizedAfricans as fullcitizens,andgavethem equalrightsas thewhites, therebyreducingracialdiscriminationagainst blacks. Theblacks beganparticipatinginpoliticsbutitwasonlyin South Carolina thatblack delegatesconstitutea majorityof theestablishedconstitutionalconventionstochampionblack rights(Fredrickson 72).

Despitetheseadvancements,thesouthremainedexcessivelyhostileagainst Africans Americans. Thus,African American establishedtheir ownchurchesandschoolstoteachthem howto writeandreadbiblesandworkcontracts.Almostallchurchesandschoolsin theSouth weresupportedby religiousinstitutionsandtheFreedmen’s Bureau of thenorth.Partof theremarkableeffortstoeducatetheblacks in thesouthwastheconstructionof institutionsof higherlearningandestablishmentof variouschurchesof Black denominationsuchastheAME andtheAME Zion. Thesesocialinstitutionsplayedamajorrolein thesocialpoliticalandeconomicalempowerment of theAfrican Americans. Consequently, a firstblack senatorwaselectedin 1870, thousands of blacks movedto Mississippi wheretheyclearedandlaidclaimon a pieceof land,makingthem propertyowners(Jonas 98).

during theWorldWarYear

DuringtheFist World War period,African Americans movedtocitiesin theNorth wheretheyexpectedto findjobsandleadbetterlives.However,a majoritylackedappropriateskillshencecould not be absorbedin employment.Thus,poorhousingareas,referredto as slumsandblack ghettos developedin innercitiesoftheUS, housing theblack. Thus,theGreat Depression hittheAfrican Americans harder than thewhite,andtheRoosevelt New Deal Program wasof littlehelpto theblacks (Daniel 55). TheSecondWorld WaropenednewopportunitiesfortheAfrican Americans. Agreatnumberwasconscriptedinto thearmywith somegettinghigherranks,a factorthat ledto increasedchangeof opinionabout their perceivedracialinferiority.However,theblacks hadnot yetattainedequalstatuswith their white counterpartstheystillfacednumerousdiscriminationsin the employmentsectoramong otherareas(Fremon 78).

Itis notable that,theSecondWorld War hadincreasedtheir confidenceandselfbelieve,leadingto thecreationof blacks’ civilrightsmovementsthat aimedat empoweringtheblacks andendingracialdiscrimination(Fredrickson 80). Among theearliestcivilrightsmovementwastheNational Association fortheAdvancementoftheColored people(NAACP), which attractedthesupportof both thewhites andblacks. Civilianrightsmovementgainedmomentumin the1950s. In 1955, a black womanknownas Rosa Parks wasarrestedin Montgomeryforrefusingto allowa whitepassagetakeher seat.Theeventtriggered a boycott against bussesledby Martin Luther Kingwhobecametheleaderof civilrightsmovements.Martin Luther ledseveralprotests,mostof them peaceful,to fightfortheblacks rights(Alexander 76). At thesameperiod,anotherblack civilrightsactivist, Malcolm X preachedthatAfrican Americans useforce(black power)toofightfortheir rights.Thesemovementsclimaxedin 1963 with thedemonstrationsin Washington D.C. whereoverone million people,bothblacksandwhitestookpart.

ThedemonstrationwasfollowedbytheCivil Rights Act (1964) that bannedracialdiscriminationin jobplaces,publicplaces,schoolsandmanyplaces.African Americans weregivenuniversalmalesuffragerightsandin 1967, thefirstblack judge,Thurgood Marshall, wasappointedto serveintheSupreme Court. In 1968, Martin Luther wasassassinatedin Memphis butthatdidnot deterthespiritof theAfrican Americas to fightforracialequality(Daniel 87).

Fromtheabove,racialdiscriminationin theUS startedfrom themomentblackgotto America as slaves.Since theseviolenttimes,African Americanshavemadesignificantprogressto improvetheir situationantattainracialequity.Theirachievementisseenin politicalspheres,wherelargecitiessuchas New York, Los AngelesandChicago havehadblack mayors,African Americans suchas Condoleezza Rice andColin Powel havebeenappointedto thepostof secretaryof stateandin 2009, Barack Obama becamethefirstAfricanAmericanpresident.

InthefilmIndustry, severalAfrican Americans suchas Bill Cosby andOprah Winfrey havecreatedtheir namewhilein sportswehavelegendslike Muhammad AliandMichael Jordan among others. Despite theseachievements,there stillexistsomeformsof racialdiscrimination.Abouttwentyfivepercent of AfricanAmericanslanguishin povertyAfrican Americans receiverelativelylowerincomethan their white counterpartsandtheir rateof unemploymentis muchhigherthan thatof thewhites. Thus,whilethere are significantpoliticalandlegalreformsthat havebeenachievedin promotingracialequality,there is stillmorethatmustbe donetoendracialdiscriminationin theUS.

WorksCited

Alexander,Rudolph. ,African Americans, and Social Justice.Lanham, MD [u.a.: Rowman &amp Littlefield, 2005. Print.

Daniel,Pete. Dispossession:Discrimination against African American Farmers in the Age of CivilRights., 2013. Print

Fredrickson,George M. :A Short History.Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2002. Print

Fremon,David K. TheJim Crow Laws and in American History.Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2000. Print.

Jonas,Gilbert Freedom`s Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle Against inAmerica, 1909-1969.East Sussex: Psychology Press,2005.Print