At first glance, the United States seems to be a relatively monolithic country, but many problems, ethnic, religious, social, and racial contradictions lie in its depths. Using the example of the modern United States, one can see how these moods manifest themselves in the current political situation. The racial issue has always occupied a central place in American history, and a modern melting pot cannot exist without conflict. The more contacts occur between groups, the more differences between these groups, and the stronger their conflict.
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With the abolition of slavery, racism has not disappeared, but only changed its shape in the form of segregation. Officially, racial discrimination was entrenched with the removal of slavery in 1865 with the adoption of an amendment to the US Constitution. American society was divided into whites and people of color, and schools, public transport, various social spheres were classified according to skin color. The second Ku Klux Klan did not become as popular in the South as the first Klan in the 1860s. The growth of the black population gradually led to an increase in radicalization, and both the white and the black populations began to share radical views.
The population of the South USA was conservative and was even ready to give their lives for their way of life. The consciousness of the southerner was characterized by a synthesis of the spirit of militarism saturated with racism and religiosity. The life of southern society in the first half of the twentieth century was based on racial segregation, which divided people by skin color. Segregation can be traced everywhere from water fountains to public transport, from schools to places of leisure. The colored population was subjected to racial violence up to physical destruction. Racism was firmly entrenched in the consciousness of the southerner, which was reflected in southern legislation. The federal government at that time still could not influence the elimination of violence against blacks, but the first attempts were already made.
Lynching was common in the southern states, and Texas and Louisiana took first place. Since the end of the nineteenth century, through the 60s XX century, a large number of African Americans were lynched in Louisiana. (Schermerhorn 2017). In addition to blacks, Jews, Catholics and Italians were killed because of suspicions of cooperation with the mafia. Lynching may have its roots in vigilance committees that were popular in the second half of this century. The main task of the vigilantes was “compliance with the laws,” which the American government allegedly could not cope with. The most massive lynching occurred in 1892 and began again with the advent of the second Ku Klux Klan. (Anderson 2020). There were many cases of lynching, which spilled out from the performances of the people. Racial protests were also characteristic of the late 19th century. In Louisiana, in 1887, 10 thousand workers in sugar plantations demanded higher wages, but they only angered the local authorities and residents with their protests (Schermerhorn 2017). The crowd began to lynch, many people died, and a group of dissatisfied burst into prison and executed the African American for suspicion of murder.
The racial issue remained the main problem of American society, and the Supreme Court in 1896 legally secured the right of states to segregate. In the South, the Jim Crow Laws acted that infringed on the rights of national minorities. Southern society consisted of two small worlds, where one world was for whites and the other for a colored population. In some areas where people of different races lived, housing and rental taxes were higher. This circumstance contributed to the emergence of criminal black areas in which poor African Americans lived. The reputation of these areas made whites avoid them, and separation was also present in hiring. Promising places were given to whites, and ethnic minorities were provided with unskilled work. African Americans responded in the same way as whites. Often this caused tension in society. The government could not yet successfully combat such manifestations of racism in the South. It was necessary to change public opinion and put an end to lynching.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Public figures asked to pay attention to the problem of lynching in the South. Of the total number of those subjected to lynching, mainly blacks were killed for minor misconduct. In 1909, the organization “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” was formed, which began work on the elimination of violence (Bragg 2009). Wilson, in 1918 made a request to the Americans to stop the practice of lynching. However, public opinion was so strong that the Senate did not support the president in this matter. G. Truman and F. D. Roosevelt were unable to tighten laws against lynching due to the loss of southerners’ votes. After World War II, lynching cases began to decline and linked them to various hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. The federal government began to conduct investigations, and this was made possible thanks to a change in public opinion and the joint struggle of the white and people of color of America against the brown plague. Awareness of the danger of misanthropic ideology contributed to the rethinking of values and the consolidation of the nation, regardless of skin color.
Communists and Marxists
Both communists and Marxists were not a dominant force in the center of capitalism and democracy, which is why it could have been an additional element in the opposition against black oppression. It is stated that Marx himself always avoided the question of race and women’s rights (Heideman 2018). It is possible that such an attitude was either because he was adherent to certain nationalist beliefs or did not want to establish equality. Therefore, socialists in the United Stated showed no support for segregated communities and did not promote their agenda. It seems that these parties could have played a major role in leading blacks and other oppressed minorities in their civil rights movement. However, they remained silent and negligent by not showing even the slightest amount of attention towards these groups.
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In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an experienced and realistic-minded politician, took the victory in the US presidential election. Given the great depression, the situation of the people, the president took the New Deal of his policy. It is important to note that all spheres of society have undergone a change. Having come to power, the first thing Roosevelt announced was a bank holiday, and all US banks were closed, where banks were further “cleaned.” Broken banks came under the control of the state’s Reconstructive Finance Corporation. Banks that have passed the audit were allowed to go about their business. The result of this step was the enlargement of the banking system, and the banks that passed the certification were large. Changes occurred in the industrial complex because a national law on the restoration of the industry was issued. This meant that there should be fair competition in the market, which determines the conditions, volume of production, and the minimum price level. This alignment was beneficial to large monopolies, which in fact established the terms of production and sales in their sectors.
Social activities were aimed at reducing the rate of unemployment in the country. Roosevelt adopted a public works program where highways and bridges were built, and the unemployed were involved in this business. In addition to all these activities, the distribution of benefits to the unemployed in need began. Additional work consisted in ofe construction of highways, cleaning forests, creating forest stands, and landscaping parks. However, many of the astounding changes were race and gender-neutral, which made them highly discriminatory (Reed 2008). In other words, New Deal did not benefit exclusively forcks or women, and thus, the discrimination gap and segregation still persisted.
In conclusion, racism in the United States has undergone a number of different stages and has taken various shapes. However, the fact remains that blacks and other minorities were and still are systemically oppressed. The initial form of racism was manifested in slavery, which was replaced by segregation and aggressive lynching. Many African Americans lacked the government’s support and were not protected by law enforcement agencies. Then lynching resulted in NAACP, which made major improvements but did not end racism. In addition, no single political entity showed support for African Americans and other minority groups, especially socialists, who were proponents of equality. This led to questions regarding Marx’s views on race and racial justice. Lastly, Roosevelt’s New Deal implemented major changes that led to significant improvements in the nation, but their race and gender-neutral features made them racist. Not addressing the most evident issue means that one supports it.
Anderson, Carol. 2020. “In 1919, The State Failed to Protect Black Americans. A Century Later, It’s Still Failing.” The Guardian, Web.
Bragg, Susan. 2009. “The National Association for The Advancement of Colored People and The Long Struggle for Civil Rights in The United States.” BlackPast. Web.
Heideman, Paul. 2018. “Socialism and Black Oppression.” Jacobin, Web.
Reed, Adolph. 2008. “Race and the New Deal Coalition.” The Nation, Web.
Schermerhorn, Calvin. 2017. “The Thibodaux Massacre Left 60 African-Americans Dead and Spelled the End of Unionized Farm Labor in the South for Decades.” Smithsonian Magazine, Web.