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Racism is the notion that attributes and abilities can be associated with people on the basis of their race and that some groups are superior to others by the virtue of their race. Racism has be a source of discrimination popular known as "racial discrimination." In fact racial discrimination has been the face of racism for numerous years and has placed many races which are considered to be leaser at a disadvantage. Racism and discrimination have together been employed as mighty weapons to bring about hatred and fear in different groups of people during war times or times of conflict as well as during periods of economic melt down. Racism is very touch issues affect many aspect of the world including law and policies. For instance, it affects the issues revolving around freedom of speech the 19th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
People feel that talks about racism and the related prejudices have no impact on the way people relate and people should be allowed to air their views. However, others feel that racial statements should never be aired and since airing such views could lead to serious consequences such as the Nazi administration policies. Racism has been in America for centuries now since the colonial and slavery eras. In fact at one time racism in America was legally sanctioned and imposed numerous restrictions on Native Americans, Asians, Mexicans, African and other group while enhancing the dominance of the whites. This is not surprising at all given that America is a country with many races; almost every race is represented in America. In my paper, I am gong to discus the face of racism in America since 1865 to present. Racism in the country has changed overtime with human political, social and economic development.
Racism from 1865-1876
This period is popularly known as the Reconstruction Period (CPBM, n.d.). There was some reconstruction in American but stopped before it could yield any positive results. In 1965 the 13th amendment abolished slavery, 14th allowed for people naturalized or born in the US to have civil rights and 15th amendments allowed all men to vote regardless of race. The reconstruction also allowed blacks to be elected as officials. There were also land reformats. Most white did not like the changes and tried to resist them. In 1865 there was the formation of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) which was informally referred to as the Klan by Confederates from Tennessee and Pulaski (Rory, 2009). This was a far right group that advocated for extreme racist measures while at the same time advocating for white nationalism and supremacy. They also discouraged immigration and use extreme terroristic activities to enforce their ideas. The Klan was on other oath bounding organizations at that time. The others were the Southern Cross in New Orleans and Louisiana's Knights of the White Camellia.
The Klan burned attacked blacks and burned their house and further left their dead bodies on the roads. The Klan's dogma was developed by Gorge Gordon a former Confederate Brigadier general. It later came up with structure to facilitate leadership. The blacks in response formed their defensive unite that resisted the Klan. The white paramilitary group ware numerous and tormented the blacks yet state governments turned a blind eye on their activities only prosecuting a few culprits. This however changed after the Civil rights act of 1975 that granted equal access to public facilities irrespective of race. There later a ruling the left the ruling over the case of this violence to the federal government. Indeed the activities of these gangs had provided an atmosphere for drastic measure to pass laws to recognize the rights of the blacks. However the blacks still found themselves without basic civil rights and liberties (McWhorter, 2001). In 1976 the Hayes/Tilden Compromise ended the reconstruction (CPBM, n.d.). The union solder also left the south leaving the southerners to do as they please on matter of race and the white in the south allowed to vote. Later, the confederate solder were made eligible for the US veterans Pension similar to the union solders.
1877-1920 Era of Explicit Racism
1877-1820 is believed to have been one of the worst times for the blacks (CPBM, n.d.). A lot of blacks were lynched by white groups. Blacks were also hated for having fought for the government in the south during the civil war which served to increase the number of attacks and lynches. It seems racism had risen to take that place of slavery since slavery had been abolished. Most of the blacks in America over 90% lived in the rural areas and 90% of them in the south. Most of this lived in cotton firms depending of the cotton farmers or land owners who subjected them to extreme violence and repression. In 1882 the Civil rights Bill was declared to be unconstitutional (CPBM, n.d.). The Supreme Court ruled that the congress did not have the authority regulate private conspiracies under the provisions of the 14th amendment.
Thus in United States V Harris it rule that the Klan act was partially unconstitutional. However, the Klan seem to had disappeared but valance between whites and blacks in the south kept going. The Black Death peaked in 1892 when 161 blacks were lynched. KKK however reinvented itself in 1915 and continued with its activities (Rory, 2009). The group used the weakness in the 14th amendment to reinvent itself. Also during this era, southern states passed and adopted the Jim Crow segregations laws. In 1893, the Supreme Court ruling on the Plessy v Ferguron added a new twist to segregation. It was ruled that the two were "separate but equal" but this was never in reality. It seemed to have marked the beginning of America Apartheid. This remained a vary vibrant law reference in the united states till 1945 after Brown V the Board of Education. With this move the Supreme Court seem to have gutted down the 14th amendment.
Land reforms failed to take place while the elite whites recreated privileged and class to their favor. Sharecropping was introduced a new mean of getting cheap labor while criminal code were enhances to facilitate supply free labor when needed. There was the white primary which made it illegal for blacks to vote in the south in 1915 (Becker, 2005). The fall of the blacks from what had been achieve during the reconstruction period was equated to the syphilis syndrome (the Myth that God asked syphilis to push a rock to the top of a hill, but it rolled back down when he got there. The whites seemed to be total disinterested in having anything to do with the blacks. They passed Anti-Miscegenation laws between 1880 and 1920 to discourage racial intermarriages. This development did not escape resistance from the blacks. They kept resisting the whites through various activities such as boycotts, petitions and rhetoric citizenship. The Africans Americans formed their own civil rights groups and started championing for their rights and freedoms.
Racism from 1921 to 1945 (Harlem of Renaissance)
The situation of the Africans started to improve in 1921. The civil rights movements that had been started by the African Americans started to grow and become stronger. The 1920s were popularly referred to as the Harlem of Renaissance. As the result of the great migrating of blacks from the south to the north, the number of African Americans in the northern States increased steadily (Black, 2005). The blacks got increased opportunities to exercise their rights in the north since the oppression in the northern states was not as server as it was in the southern states. Consequently the new cultural movement called the Harlem of Resistance spread to other parts of the nation thus providing it an opportunity to become a powerful movement which proved that the African American s had ability to realize success in the United States. This movement and other movements such as the African American Civil Rights Movement received support from many outstanding artists such as Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence and others (Weiner &. Knopf, 2004). Despite the negative effects of the economic melt down of the 1920s and 30s severely affected the position of African Americans. However, this did not affect their ability to deal with their problem or contributing to the US and Allies victories in the Second World War.
Post World War II (1946-1976)
During this period, the civil rights movement had attained the highest peak development possible. The movements prominent leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King who lead it through the 1940s successfully managed create a movement of social resistance that forced the whites who were dominant to extend more opportunities to the African Americans allowing them to exercises their rights. For example, the civil rights movement managed to eliminate segregation that had existed in schools since the "separate but equal" ruling. The racial discrimination that had thrived in the country was formally declared illegal. Also, the violence that had been exercised against African Americans decreased considerably. However, despite the violence having subsided, the movement leader Martin Luther King was killed in 1968 (Braude, 2000)
Late 20th century (1976-Present)
The milestone that had been achieved by the union during the reign of the Martin Luther King started to bear fruits in the late 20th century. The African American started enjoying rights similar to their white counterparts. They could get prestigious jobs attend prestigious Schools, vote and use public facilities without victimization The number of African Americans taking political power and those being appointed into public offices increased considerably. For instance, there were numerous opportunities for Africans to get elected as legislator or get judicial and executive positions. For instance, Douglas Wilder, in 1989 got elect as a governor, becoming the first African American governor in the United States while Carol Moseley-Braun was elected to the senate in 1992 becoming the first African American woman to serve in the US senate (Franklin 2001). The fortunes for African American continued to increase as many more took public office and political seats across the country. The country further surprisingly elected Barack Obama in the previous presidential elections making him the first African American president of the country.
However, despite the fact that the position of the African American in the US society has improved, it is still far from perfect. Absolute equality is yet to be achieved. The ruling elites in the country are still the whites and only a few blacks have made it. Majority of African Americans on the other hand live in poverty in neighborhoods that look like factories of poverty manufacturing and churning out poor African Americans. Also, some modern schools still exhibit the sentiment of the segregation epoch because they tend to admit more white students that black ones. In some schools the population of the whites stands at 99%.
The struggle against racism in America has come along way and much has been achieve. The African American civil Rights Movement certainly brought the African Americans something to smile about. Though some racist prejudices still exist, the situation is far much better that it was in the late 19th and early 20th century.