Race in a Southern Community

North Little Rock is ranked number six in the population density among all the cities in Arkansas. This city was founded as Argenta in 1866, but it was incorporated in 1901 under the name North Little Rock. The population of this city in the 2000 census was approximately 60,500 people inclusive of about 25,000 households and 16,000 families. This community is made up of people from different cultural backgrounds though the whites’ population is the majority at around 63%, followed by the blacks at around 34%.

The other ethnic communities in this city include Native Americans at around 0.4%, 0.6% being Asians and 0.03% being the pacific Islanders. 1.18% of this community is made up of the other races which include minority races such as the Hispanic and Latino (Pitts, 2002). The government of this city is headed by a mayor together with eight other aldermen serving to a maximum of four years period.

In many discussions on racism, the most famous races are usually the whites and blacks. The main difference between these two races is their skin color though their cultures also differ a great deal. Blacks for example are known to be rowdy though this is more of a stereotype than a fact. Other elements that bring about differences between whites and blacks are their entertainment industries.

Music done and listened to by blacks is generally hip-hop which contrasts with the soft classical music preferred by the whites. Their preference in terms of movies also differs a lot with the whites preferring the romantic movies while the blacks are mostly inclined to thrillers and action movies. The existence of these two ethnic communities in the same region has always been a problem especially where the whites are dominant.

They are known to discriminate against the blacks asserting that they are criminals and they typically work towards eliminating them in their neighborhoods. This has however never worked particularly after bills against blacks’ discrimination were passed in parliament, and this tendency was now being treated an offense against the law chargeable in court.

Just like in any other region in America in the 1950’s the Arkansas state, was thoroughly dominated by cases of racial discrimination against the black community.

They were being referred to as the colored people who were never allowed access to most of the social amenities including the learning institutions. A movement was formed dubbed National Association for the Advancement of Colored people and the main aim of this movement was to attempt to terminate the discrimination especially in the learning institutions (Egelman, 2002).

It was believed that the black people would always remain servants if they were never given the opportunity to obtain higher education and become professionals. The court however, came up with a conclusion that there was nothing wrong with there being independent schools as long as they were equal. This movement however, did not agree with the ruling stating that blacks, and whites schools had never been equal, and they would never be.

The information provided by the movement to the court was proof enough that these schools were not equal and therefore, the previous judgment was overruled, and the separate schools policy was declared unconstitutional. The state of Arkansas was one of the states that refused to abide by the new rulings of abolishing the independent schools policy.

A good example of this is that of a student who had been admitted to a previously white’s only school and ended up facing unbearable humiliation on the first day. She had enrolled at the Little Rock Central High School, and when she went on the reporting date, she happened to be the only black on site. On her arrival, the people who were at the entrance moved away as she approached and they began shouting insults at her.

There were guards on site whom she thought would protect her in case the crowd turned violent but she was wrong about that. She was forced to leave the school neighborhood for her safety as she realized the extent of racial discrimination in this community was way beyond what she had thought. This is just an example of the severity of racial discrimination in North Little Rock city.

The municipality leaders made up of the mayor and the aldermen are also highly affected by racial discrimination issues. A good example of this is whereby the governor once hired guards to prevent blacks from accessing a school’s premises. The fact that there are different joints in town for whites and the colored is enough indication that the leaders are in the front line in promoting racial discrimination.

There are shops for whites and for blacks and as expected those for the whites have an advantage over the blacks. When it comes to the payment of government dues such as taxes, complains have been raised that blacks are charged more than the whites especially in investments (Pitts, 2002).

When it comes to the elections, the whites stand a better chance of winning owing to their great numbers and so the black contestants have never gotten the chance to acquire positions in the government. This explains why the battles against black discrimination are always lost.

The whites however are usually treated in a different way. They are given all the privileges denied to the blacks including well- kept facilities and more investment opportunities. They freely attend the best schools in the city and as a result end up taking up the best professional jobs. This is owed to the fact that the leaders of the city are largely whites. The joints allowed for the whites in the city are more in number compared to those allowed to the blacks.

These facilities are also well kept and stocked in a way that the whites are able to access whatever services and products at their own convenience. Their stores for example are located in the largest malls in the city while those for the blacks are located in the outskirts of the city. The products are also sold at lower prices in the most of the white’s stores and this discrimination issue is blamed on the local government because they are never take any action against this despite the fact that they are in a position to do so.

The texts used in the study of race and ethnicity mostly address the blacks’ discrimination owing to the fact that this has been the most recognized category of people who have suffered this ordeal. An example of such texts is the Racial and ethnic groups by Richard T. Schaefer. This book presents the different races in the city of North Little Rock which includes the whites as the dominating population followed closely by the African Americans.

Others include Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and other races in the world. The text however concentrates more on the blacks/whites relationships in relation to racial discrimination (Schaefer, 2006). It brings out the challenges brought about by racial discrimination in the local government, the service groups, and clubs as well as in schools. According to the text, this problem has been persistent for a long time and this has resulted in an almost permanent hatred between the whites and the blacks communities.

Most of the texts and manuals that are published however contain little information on the blacks and the challenges they face as a result of racial discrimination. This is mainly due to the fact that such information always raises eye brows especially in the international community.

To prevent this therefore, the local government of North Little Rock city prevents much publication of the levels of discrimination in the city. Some black writers have however tried to publicize this whole issue and one of such successful attempts was by Daisy Bates who was at that time the president of NAACP in Arkansas. She wrote a book titled The Long Shadow of Little Rock and this was aimed at bringing up the issue of how the blacks suffered under the segregation policies.

This book showed how the students were treated in the schools and the leader’s utterances concerning this problem. One of the local government leaders was heard saying “blood will run in the streets if Negro pupils continue with their attempts to enter central high school” (Schaefer, 2006). The leaders attempted to stop the publication of such books but since they are constitutionally permitted, they writer was protected by the constitution.

The local media in the North Little Rock city have also been affected by racial issues a great deal. The media is biased in producing its reports in the sense that the black community is only mentioned in relation to crimes and other bad things in the city such as drug trafficking and other forms of hooliganism.

The whites on the other hand are mostly displayed as being the victims of crimes committed by the blacks. This therefore brings about the idea that blacks are the bad people in the society and they fall victims to police harassment. Young people walking on the streets in the evening are most likely to be arrested if they are blacks with the assumption that they are about to commit some sort of crimes.

This is owe to the portrait had been painted by media concerning the black youths. As a result of this harassment, these people automatically turn into criminals alleging that they had better be harassed for what they have done rather than suffer innocently. At the end of the day, they believe they have nothing much to lose compared to what they have already been stripped of, that is their dignity.

In most parts of the United States, the leadership positions are dominated by the whites and so racial discrimination against the blacks seems inevitable. These people are usually mean to the point of preventing the other races from developing and obtaining relevant positions in the leadership circle.

This is why despite the many years of campaigning, racial discrimination still remains a big problem. Rules are passed and implemented in writing but when it comes to practicing, things are different. People are not in a position to incorporate non -discriminatory policies because they even do not know how to handle them.

The blacks for example are used to being discriminated against such that they do not believe whites can treat them well without any ulterior motives. The result of this therefore is that both parties are not able to embrace a non- discriminatory society even when it is created. It therefore proves difficult to fully represent the interests of the minority groups because of the whites’ supremacy.

From the text, it is notable that the main concept in relation to race is that of discrimination. In most cases, the term race is usually followed closely by discrimination and this is an indication that different races in the United States have never been able to coexist without there being some sort of discrimination, whether direct or indirect.

This is therefore considered as an issue that will never be fully settled though the government is trying its best to reduce the magnitude of the same. In the study of racial discrimination, the relationship between the whites and blacks features most of the discussions owing to the fact that these people have been in a constant conflict since the days of the slave trade to date. This explains why these two ethnic communities have always been important in the study of racial discrimination.

Reference list

Egelman, W. (2002). Understanding racial and ethnic groups: Critical thinking and analysis. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Pitts, P. (2002). Anti-Racism Leadership: The strategic response to Neo-Racism. Little Rock Nine Remembered, 10(3), 23-28.

Schaefer, R. T. (2006). Racial and ethnic groups. Upper saddle River, NJ: Prentice hall.