In the 1900’s, African Americans were oppressed by de jure segregation, a social system that has established separate facilities for the minority groups. Furthermore, they had no or very limited access to education and had very poor choices when it comes to occupation. De jure segregation was created to reinforce the separation and separation of the African American population governed by law. De jure segregation contributed to the development of racial hierarchy and stereotypes that were very complicated to overcome.
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Racial de jure segregation as a system had no significance before the abolition of slavery since slavery was a system of subordination in itself. The Separate Northern States did not allow for the free African Americans immigration; this showed a very determinant desire of the white population not to live among African Americans. In some cities in the North, African Americans lived in distinct neighborhoods that could be easily identified. Although, de jure segregation was not necessary for those states as there were practically no social and public programs that could be segregated. Thus, de facto segregation had the same results as the de jure segregation would have had.
The Civil Rights Movement was the movements for racial equality in the United States that started towards the end of 1950’s. Through a number of peaceful acts of protests, the movements broke the framework of racial segregation and began a movement towards allowing African Americans to use the same schools, restaurants, buses, and other facilities across all states. Moreover, the Civil Rights Movement had also contributed to the emergence of 1960’s laws on equal rights that were made to put an end to racial discrimination. The movement had its top point on the 28th of August 1963 in a Washington march that protested racial discrimination and showed support for the equal rights laws that were being viewed and considered in Congress at that time. The most known highlight of the march was the speech “I Have a Dream” given by Martin Luther King in front of the two thousand people. Consequently, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson on the 2nd of July 1964.
The Civil Rights Act that had subsequently transformed into the Civil Rights Law was instrumental in ending discrimination that grounded on religion, color, race, gender, and, of course, race. The Civil Rights Law was applicable to the public facilities such as parks, swimming pools, businesses, shops, diners, and other facilities readily available to the general public, as well as any civil programs that were supported by the federal government. Furthermore, the law was followed by the Voting Rights Act that was proposed by President Johnson in 1965. The law stated that in order to register any citizen in any election, the same rules should be applied irregardless of their race, social status, gender, or religion. Moreover, the law put an end to the literacy tests and other practices that had been targeted towards preventing African Americans from voting (African Americans: From Segregation to Modern Institutional Discrimination and Modern Racism, n.d., p. 180).
Currently African Americans are faced with the problems that have a major influence on their status in the modern American society. Such problems are linked to education, employment, criminal justice, as well as other aspects of the day-to-day life of a regular citizen. The first challenge of the African American community is associated with the sustainability of the family unit. With the absent fathers, a high rate of births out of marriage, and the minimal availability of any family support facilities for African Americans, the urban areas are now facing some major problems. The longevity of these problems has been the main aspect that contributed to the reinforcement of the bad image attributed to the African Americans as well as to the idea of strict differentiation of the social and political life between the races (African Americans: From Segregation to Modern Institutional Discrimination and Modern Racism, n.d., p. 194).
The second challenge linked to the African American community is the emergence of an underclass. Despite the development of a highly professional and educated class of African Americans, the urban areas within the inner-cities are still underdeveloped. Thus, their areas are highly prone to the spreading of social disobedience, crime, and abuse of illegal substances. The issues that arise in the inner-city areas have caused the circulation of prejudice that attributes the underdeveloped African Americans to the notion of an “underclass”.
The third and the most significant challenge is the unequal earning capacity. Despite the debates about the wisdom of the policies that underline the importance of affirmative action when it comes to giving jobs to African Americans, the earning capacity of African Americans is still lower than that of the white population. According to the study conducted by the Pew Research Center, the median adjusted household income of the African citizens in 2011 was approximate $39,760 while the household income of white citizens was $67,175.
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Ghost Dance and Liberation for American Indians
The ghost dance was a religious movement that developed into many variations as it went from one Native American tribe to another. The core message of the movement was the promotion of peace on the land and the return to the days when the Europeans did not arrive yet. The Native Americans believed that the whites would die in a result of a terrible earthquake, and the tribes would then live in peace and happiness without any war, disease, or struggle. For this wish to happen, the native tribes performed a special dance that acquired the meaning for a movement of rights of the native settlers that wanted to be left in freedom and piece.
Towards the end of the 80’s, Native Americans were forced into the reservations created by the American government that forbade any religious ceremonies and pressed for the abandonment of the usual and traditional way of living. However, the ghost dance movement gave new hope and returned the religious freedom. Tragically, the movement did cause some unfortunate consequences. The US military had started a fight against the Lakotas tribe, which resulted into the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre.
The process of allotment of the Native American territory was supported by the 1887 General Allotment Act named after the Senator Henry Dawes. The Dawes act was supported by its proponents for a number of reasons. First, it was believed that the way the Native Americans used the land was regressive and communistic as the private ownership of land was viewed as an essential part of civilization. Thus, by giving the Native Americans a reason to stay in the same area, the Dawes act proponents wanted to encourage the tribes to adopt the general practices of the American settler population. However, the Dawes act did not account for any education about the proper performance of agriculture nor did it provide any equipment so that Native Americans could manage their land.
The majority of the alloted areas were unsuitable for agriculture, so the alloted population was forced to come up with alternative ways to earn a living. The Dawes act amendments enabled the Native American land to pass into the non-Native American. For instance, the 1902 Dead Indian Act allowed the tribal population to sell their inherited land if they needed to. The 1906 Bruke Act was an instrument for allowing a secretary of interior to make decisions on the matter of whether a Native American settler was competent to have the right to manage the land that belonged to him or her. If a person was deemed incompetent, the land would be taken away. Such an action could be performed without the allotee’s knowledge which led to the majority of alloted land being sold in the tax forclosure auctions. The array of amendments resulted in more than twenty-seven million of acres being lost and resold (Indian Land Tenure Foundation, 2014, para. 3).
Such an alarming number territories of lost land encouraged the American government to issue “The Problem of Indian Administration” report that had expressed dissatisfaction with the land allotment policy as well as the general policies targeted at Native Americans.
Nowadays approximately twenty percent of the Native American population lives on the tribal territories. The unemployment rates are very high due to the fact that the federal governments are the main providers of employment within the reservations. It was reported that six out of ten reservation citizens are unemployed. However, the part of the population that does have a job earns way below the wages of poverty. There is also a great need for adequate housing as more than thirty percent of housing in the reservation is overcrowded. It is very common for three generations of family members to live together under one roof (Indian Land Tenure Foundation, 2014, para. 10).
Hispanic Americans and the Immigration Patterns
The Hispanic population of the United States includes Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and some groups from Cuba. The majority of Hispanic immigrants came to the States escaping the wars that had spread on their territories. Mexicans and Puerto Ricans that came to America descended from the population that the American government annexed the territories from. Cuban immigrants left their motherland to escape the revolution and civil war that tormented the country (Vigil, 1996, para. 2).
Mexican Americans are rooted from the US southwestern settlements. That territory initially was the northern part of Mexico that was taken and colonized by the earliest New England settlers that arrived on the continent from England. By the end of the 1846-1848 Mexican-American war, the relationship between two communities was on the edge. However, with the rise of the 1910 Mexican revolution, the population began to migrate to the earlier colonized territories and settled there (Vigil, 1996, para. 7).
Cubans and Puerto Ricans began being associated with the U.S. in a result of a Spanish-American war. Thus, Puerto Ricans were also discriminated against in the States the same way the Mexicans were. Cubans, on the other hand, came to America as wealthy middle and upper-class citizens that had the funds to escape the 1959 social revolution.
Chicano Movement is the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. It fought for the restoration of the taken Mexican land, the defense of the rights of farm workers, the rights on adequate education, and the right to vote. It was very similar to other rights movements in a sense that it had shed light on the discrimination and injustice that the Mexican population struggles with. It has led to the social changes including the restoration of land grants in the 1970’s. The proponents of the Chicano movement had also brought attention to the injustices that existed in the educational system. The inadequate quality of education among Mexican population has led them to get cheap working positions thus following the same path their parents went through.
Differences in Asian American Experience
Toward the end of 1800’s, a mass wave of male Chinese immigrants came to the United States to be a workforce on the railroad, on the land, and to work in laundry facilities. After the railroad had been built, the immigrants were left without any jobs. Thus, it occurred to the white population that the Asian immigrants would now compete for a job. This was the main reason for an anti-Chinese propaganda named “the Yellow Peril” to begin. The Chinese were forced into a stereotype of drug-addicts that exhibited immoral activities. Furthermore, there was a series of anti-Chinese protests and riots that resulted in some Chinese town areas destroyed. The discriminative nature of protests led to the establishment of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement that was related to the Japanese. Both acts prohibited immigration from Asia, supported by heavy “Yellow Peril” propaganda.
Asian Americans is a diverse population of American citizens that either descended from the Asian immigrants or are immigrants themselves. Despite the controversy of the originating countries that Asian Americans come from, the common framework includes South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Across the three areas, the cultural background, language and heritage are quite different. Thus, Asian Americans are different in terms of the originating country a notion often called the ethnic difference. As a matter of fact, the differences among the Asian American population are so significant that the term that combines them should put into question (Xie & Goyette, n.d., p. 3).
The pattern of residence is quite distinct across the Asian American population. They predominantly concentrate in Hawaii and California as well as a couple of other large cities. Asian Americans tend to have high levels of attaining education as well as they gravitate towards multi-generational households with low rates of divorces and high rates of marriages. The last common feature is the fact that the Asian American population has significantly increased the outcomes of their labor force.
However, the differences among the Asian American citizens are far more significant. Their differences are mostly attributed to the problem of the ‘model minorities’. For instance, compared to other Asian Americans, the income of the Vietnamese and Filipinos are far lower. The predominance of multi-generational living among Asian Americans also differs substantially with the Japanese being far less prone to the living in a multi-generational family (Xie & Goyette, n.d., p. 45). The ethnic differences are much more evident in the Asian Americans that are foreign-born compared to the American-born population. In addition, Asian American parents tend to spend a lot of funds on the education of their children, likely to compensate for their social status of a minority group and the racial challenges they face along the way. However, the most likely scenario is Asian Americans assimilating with the white population as the cultural and racial lines becoming less pronounced.
Are White Ethnic Groups Minorities
In the majority of diversity research, the differentiation of White ethnic groups is much less pronounced that the differentiation of Black ethnic groups. The white ethnic groups are compared to the dominant white population with the attributes being ignored. White ethnic groups refer to the population descended from the Europeans, however, the Asian population is also included in this category. It is important to recognize that every white ethnic group has its separate cultural attributes, language, and traditions.
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Jewish Americans are also included into the category of the white ethnic group. Furthermore, Jews still see themselves as not belonging to the mainstream American population as they are often excluded irregardless of their appearances. Since the majority of the Jewish population moved from the European countries, they had far more knowledge and experience of a mainstream way of living in a set economy. Compared to other white minority groups that escaped their motherland to become free human beings, the Jews were not peasants in the countries they came from. Jewish women worked together with their husbands to support families, predominantly in commerce.
The process of the Jewish migration to America was predominantly the family migration, although the process did separate families for some time. One family member left for America and then bought a ticket for another family member so that he or she could come to the States too. The most popular pattern of migration was the husband first leaving for the new country to prepare the economic basis for their wife and children.
Immigration Then and Now
When speaking from a historical perspective, the modern patterns of immigration differ significantly from that of the earlier period. Thus, the current immigration rates are far lower since the American population has tripled within the course of the 20th century. The most significant differentiation point between the past and modern immigration is the predominance of undocumented immigrants in the today’s immigration patterns. The immigration to the States was relatively unlimited until the introduction of the 1924 Nationality Act that set up the system of national-origin quota. Nowadays there is a set of rules and policies that strictly monitor the entrance of immigrants into the States.
Furthermore, the current immigration rates into the United States are highly influenced by the number of refugees that are looking for a safer place to build their life. Since the ending of the World War II, more than three million refugees seeking shelter were given entrance to the country via a set of legislative laws.
Thus, the overall high rates of non-immigrants that come to the country each year for short periods of time still imply the high possibility of both legal and illegal immigration to the States. The non-immigrants that legally enter the country as tourists, workers, or students may potentially be interested in staying in the country and having their immigration status adjusted. As an example, approximately forty percent of the illegal immigrants that stay in the United States were first documented non-immigrants. The complexity of modern immigration patterns is supported with the high rates of illegal immigrants as well as refugees looking for shelter. Thus, there is a highly challenging task for the government to properly measure and control the flow of legal and illegal immigrants into the country.
Gender Inequality, Sexual Orientation, and Patriarchy
Gender and sexual orientation play significant roles in the development of the social structure in the United States. Since patriarchy is the social structure in which the male dominance is prevalent, there are also issues of wage inequality as well as the male dominance in social and personal instances. For instance, there is evidence that women earn seventy percent of what men earn for the same job (Ingham, 2013, para. 3).
Since the 1970 women liberation movement the views and opinions on gender equality have drastically changed. In the 70’s, the most prevalent opinion was that the role of a woman was to stay at home and take care of children. However with the lowered wages for men, women started to work to support their families. On the other hand, capitalism and patriarchy were the structural impediments that greatly affected the treatment of gender equality because both notions stand on the basis of inequality and male privilege. Capitalism is built on the ground of the working class exploitation as well as the oppression of women, homosexual employees and employees of color.
There is a social standard that gender should coincide with sexual orientation. However, anatomical sex does not only coincide with the gender identity of a person. A transgender individual usually identifies with the gender that is opposite to his or her sexual indications. An agender person may not identify with any gender while the bigender individual may identify with both. The same rule can be applied to sexual orientation.
Gay Rights Movement has some major similarities with the Civil Rights Movement. The both movements support equality for all people; however, the LGBT minority can be considered an “invisible minority.” Any oppression of any minority is the same thus the struggle for equality and fair treatment is also the same. On the other hand, there are also some differences. In some countries, the members of the LGBT community are considered criminals to be punished while it was not the case for African Americans. There is also very little evidence that the citizens of color are at the same level of affluence with the LGBT community. To sum up, the main point that makes both movements very similar is the notion of oppression.
The modern LGBT community strives to be recognized in the community as equal to the general public. There is still a long way to go through for achieving a lasting legal and social change and eliminating discrimination. The historic landmark was the 2015 declaration of the same-sex marriage legal across all states. Apart from allowing any couples to marry in any state, the legislation has also stopped any attempts of conservative states to deem such marriages unconstitutional.
Indian Land Tenure Foundation. (2014). History of Allotment. Web.
Ingham, J. (2013). Sexual Orientation, Gender Expectation and Patriarchy in the United States. Web.
Vigil, J. (1996). Latinos. Web.
Xie, Y., Goyette, K. (n.d.). Asian Americans: a Demographic Portrait. Web.