Racial discrimination is unfair treatment of individual/s because of the difference in color, origin and ethnicity. Racial discrimination has persisted in the US and all other parts in the world; it is a major challenge in the US. In Queensland, there is a law against discrimination. Racial discrimination denies the people discriminated against many opportunities that they otherwise have enjoyed (Flinders University 1)
African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans have been affected by institutional and individual racism. This discrimination is as a result of some Americans relating ability to race. Some believe that the whites have greater potential and ability. This is therefore displayed by the way they treat people (Randall 1). Racism occurs in many ways: it can be between those that are staying together or neighbors or it can also be by teachers, employee or student (Flinders University 1).
Racism comes in different forms. The main three forms are individual racism, institutional racism and cultural racism. Individual racism is when individual or group discriminates and treats people of different race in an unfair manner. Institutional racism is encountered through institutions by their policies; this can be either knowingly or unknowingly. Cultural racism is discrimination on the basis of a person’s values, beliefs and cultural practices.
This essay will discuss in details the meaning of racial discrimination or racism. The essay will also discuss the effects of racism and how it influences people in the society. The law and regulations including the measures that the governments should take will also be included in this essay. The reference society is the USA thus this paper examines the racial discrimination in America.
History of Racism in US
United States is made up of different people. Originally, it was made up people from Asia and Europe. There were also slaves from Africa and Native Americans. US is the most immigrated place with many people from all over the world (Anti discrimination Commission Queensland 1).
In 1920, there was the great threat of racism. The non Protestants Catholics and Jews Orientals and black population were the first victims to suffer discrimination. This was because Americans had values that they never wanted to change. The Americans subjected those they discriminated against, to hard labor in poor working conditions. It is said that the Americans did not like the new language and thus that acted as a basis for discrimination (Anti discrimination Commission Queensland 1).
In 1920s the US formed an organization to restrict immigration. The Immigration Restriction League had said that the immigrants from South East Europe were inferior and were about to decrease the supremacy of the US (Anti discrimination Commission Queensland 1).
The US population also used abusive and hatred language referring to the immigrants. They used some nick names that were evidence of their hatred to the non Americans. Those from Latin background were referred to as Spic. Italians were referred to as Dogo, Guinea and Grease. Kike, Chink, Polack and Hun were also used together with many others (Racial Discrimination in America During the 1920’s 1).
In 1917 there was Bolshevik revolution.US reacted towards it. There was a belief that the Europeans were going to take over US. This was known as Red Scare. The Europeans were holding many riots and strikes in the labor force. This cost the Europeans a lot of suffering. Just after this the justice department organized for their arrest and they arrested about 6000 people. They raided their homes to get hold of the so called anarchists and communists (Racial Discrimination in America During the 1920’s 1).
The raids were named after the attorney general of that time Mitchell Palmer who had planned for them. America was filled with fear of losing its power and consequently immigration restricted. Even those in the rural areas believed that the law was right since the immigrants wanted to change their way of life (Racial Discrimination in America During the 1920’s 1).
This was followed by enforcing laws to regulate immigration. In 1921 they drew a line of 3% immigration. In 1924 Johnson Reed Act was stricter to the terms and conditions of this law. The Americans had become so negative towards immigrants that it become evident in the judicial system, for instance, two Italians were sentenced to death for stealing from a pay master. This was too much punishment for such a crime (Racial Discrimination in America During the 1920’s 1).
In 1920s the US government did not consider the aliens in its effort to reduce poverty. Even the president then kept a low profile on the issue immigrant discrimination. The US did its best to fight the minorities and advocated for 100% Americanism (Racial Discrimination in America During the 1920’s 1).
Ku Klux Klan organization was then formed to fight and protect American Protestants from foreign influences. This organization targeted the Catholics and the Jews. They used a burning cross as their symbol. The group grew instantly and got revenues from the profits that were made from membership, regalia, costumes and rituals.
They used force to have pure Americans in the nation. Murder, threats and intimidation were their main tactics. The Ku Klux Klan Lynched blacks in Southern America. Their means was to look for offences, mostly the minor crimes so as to get more victims (Chronicle 1).
Discrimination was even experienced at the workplaces whereby the immigrants were only allowed to take the lowest paid jobs which at the same time were the most tiring ones. It is noted that the blacks were especially very handy in the farm jobs and generally the American society did not like the immigrants and went to all levels to discriminate the blacks and the colored people including the native Indians from public and social places (Chronicle 1).
Jews were also discriminated in the education sector. This was because they were seen to be succeeding well in their jobs. The US therefore said that it was not problem to work with the Jews, but it was serious problem to socialize with them since Americans Racism in the 21st Century was mainly between blacks and whites. As a result the Catholics came together and formed a separate high school athletic conference. This however was not allowed into the system until 1966 under forced legislation (Chronicle 1).
1920s was mainly the time when there was racism carried out on a large scale against the minorities. The discrimination that was in existence before this was nurtured such that its effects were strongly felt (Chronicle 1). The whites in the US are to blame for the existing racism at the present time. They are the ones who allowed slavery and later on formulated and implemented policies that were discriminative (Robinson 1).
Racial Discrimination against Native Americans
Native Americans were harshly affected by racism. The Native Americans occupied US before the colonial era. The US made a lot of effort to get most of North American land. Their strategy involved use or mistreatment people. They targeted food, massacres, forced displacement and imposition of treaties. Those who survived were given only 4% of the land that was taken away from them by US. The natives signed treaties with the US but they were later violated (Chronicle 1).
Native Americans have been discriminated even in health centers. Concerning the Native Americans, Giago wrote, “It goes, first you apply, and then they deny and hope you will die. This has a special meaning to Americans” (Giago 1). Many Americans surprisingly are not aware of the situation.
From research it has been seen that American Indians and Alaskan Natives earn very low income. It is also a concern that these people receive the lowest education and therefore have the least people who get college degrees despite their distinctive status. They have also been seen to have the highest rate of people who are living below the poverty line. In addition there are many incidences of accidental deaths as well as suicides (Adams 62).
Racial discrimination is heavily felt in social institutions such as occupation, health, education, police and legal systems. The situation is more serious in urban areas. Lack of jobs has made the situation worse because many have lost their social network (Adams 62). The federal rules to distinguish between the Native Americans had been used strictly to eliminate the mixed blood from the privileges. The aim then was to promote and maintain the supremacy of the US (Adams 64).
Racial Discrimination against the Black population
Initially racism was known to be against the blacks. About 11% of the American population is black population. Firstly, the Negroes were deprived of their right to vote consequently they thus denied the right to political influence.
The blacks were only given the most despised jobs and hardest jobs which were available. At present the majority of the unemployed populations are blacks. The public places were not accessible to majority of the blacks. It was not allowed for the whites and blacks to go to the same school or eat from the same table. It was also not common to travel in the same train. (Tse-tung 1)
The hatred against the blacks was so deep that racist organizations were formed to fight the blacks. The most popular organization was the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan organized and killed many Negroes.
The Negroes were harassed by authorities and blamed for committing crimes which they never committed. They were consequently beaten and treated unfairly by the authorities who were supposed to protect them. They therefore received no justice and did not enjoy the rights that were supposed to be provided by the government (Tse-tung 1).
Back in 1957 the black population was living under wave of lack of education. This was because the authorities had denied the black children access public schools. The black population later on expressed their agony because of racism and held demonstrations trying to change the situation. This was to support their quest for the right to access shops, restaurants and many public places. (Tse-tung 1)
Their efforts to fight for freedom led to formation of a group, which was known as freedom riders in 1960. In 1962, many of the Negroes died as they fought for right to be educated: this was in Mississippi. In 1963, many Negroes were arrested in groups as they held meetings and parades whose theme was to fight racial discrimination.
Mr. Medgo Evers met his death since he was leading the group at Mississippi. The Negroes then formed an association known as American Negro Association that conducted a freedom march at Washington (Tse-tung 1)
In 1997, the Black Women’s Health Study conducted a research on the population of women with breast cancer. They found out that those who had breast cancer were mostly the ones who were experiencing some form of discrimination. Stress due to discrimination is usually related with somatic disease. Most of the blacks had gone through discriminative experiences. They complained of difficulties in accessing jobs, housing or education (Taylor et al. 1).
Other research is being done to determine the association of hypertension with the increase cases of discrimination in black Americans. In a number of past years the psychological effects have been shown to have an effect on breast cancer. Women experiencing psychological stress are more likely to have breast cancer. A research based on the association between breast cancer and stress of work showed that there was no relationship between the two (Taylor et al. 1).
The black descendants in America lacked anyone to listen to their cry. They did not have any political influence. Comparing their population of 150 million with that of indigenous Americans of 40 million it is ironical that they have very little to say in the matters affecting them.
Impacts of Racial Discrimination
Degradation of Mental Health
Racial discrimination has been associated with deterioration of mental health. Research has shown that black Americans have had a lot of problems with their mental wellness. This is mainly affected by their environmental conditions of which they experience on every day basis.
They are also vulnerable because of the nature of work they do and the little wages they get out of it. This will then translate into a kind of lifestyle they will be able to live and even the food that they are able to afford. Statistics show that the Black Americans are mostly stressed than the whites. Reports have shown that about 75% of the blacks have experienced discrimination (Viklunds 1).
Mental deterioration has a negative impact even to the economy of the country. This is because these potential people are locked up in a place that they cannot help themselves. They are not given a favorable environment to exploit their talents (Viklunds 1).
Racism and Violence
Racism has also led to fights and hatred. Violence directed even to children at times has been caused by hostile neighbors and the leaders of the land and the authorities. Europe has been seen to have a lot of racism amongst children where violence has broken out against the ones being discriminated (United Nations 6). Racism is also seen in prisons. From statistics in 2005 blacks were arrested three times as whites. Death sentences were four times in blacks than in whites (Peoples Daily 1).
Racism and Suicide
Racism has been associated with many suicides. It has been a common thin for the Native Americans to commit suicide. Though they are only about 1% of the US population, the male’s deaths due to suicide has been on the increase. It is mostly common to those who work in the government. These suicides are by use of fire arms and the percentage is about 60%. Research from Centre for Injury Prevention and Control has shown that most of these suicides are as a result of social inequalities (Kendall 21).
Racism and Education
In education, there has been great discrimination mostly to the children. These innocent children suffer in different ways. There is also discrimination of accessing education. Schools with the best facilities are only for the rich where those discriminated cannot afford. This has a negative impact on these children as they will find it very hard to raise their standards of living (Kamali 5).
The case of education discrimination on race or color basis was noted by CERD and the Committee on the Rights of children. Education discrimination can also take another form which is use of books and statements that have a negative implication towards a certain race. This will make the children to grow with a negative attitude towards the race which is negatively referred to.
The teachers and how they teach the children tend to affect the minds of the pupils. This is because at a tender age one is able to learn something that will remain forever in their minds (United Nations 5)
Failure of the government to address the issue of racial discrimination has been the main contributing factor to racial discrimination. This is because it is the authorities who are supposed to be at the front line to stop racial discrimination. The failure of the government to formulate and implement strict policies to stop racism has caused it to be persistent. Schools, for instance, have been victims of racism, yet there are no rules and regulations to protect the children and those who work the hardest for the betterment of the US (United Nations 7).
There is also failure to provide the necessary materials and education to the teachers. This has caused employment of teachers without knowledge or information on the negative impact of racism. Neglect of education to the minorities has led to many potential professionals being denied a chance to develop.
Racial Discrimination in Children
In addition, there are no adequate finances for the minority children to access better facilities. The minorities work very hard but they are not able to afford best education and yet there is no financial assistance that is offered to them. When children are discriminated at a tender age, their character is shaped in a negative way. Firstly it makes them to perform poorly in school. The discouragement they get due to poor performance may cause majority to refuse schooling at a young age (United Nations 8)
The minority children are also shown to have lower school attendance than the other children. Lack of quality education in schools has caused children to have a lower level in the society in their adulthood. This is because of lack of good f foundation in education (United Nations 9)
Racial discrimination in children moulds their character. It makes them to tolerate racism and accept it. The result is that they will grow and live like that with them also discriminating the other new people that may get into the nation. The repeated action between generations makes racism to persist and take roots in the society (United Nations 9)
Racial discrimination may have a permanent effect that almost become impossible to reverse. Racial discrimination may lead to loss of certain cultures. Those non respected minorities may want to deny their origin in order to fit into a certain group and to find acceptance in the society. This way, culture diversity reduces and even the good cultures and practices by minorities are forgotten gradually. The result is that they become extinct or uncommon.
The language of a certain group can end because the subsequent generations shy from learning the language because of the negativity associated with it. At the end there will be no one or just a few to speak their language (United Nations10).
Psychological problems also come as a result of racial discrimination. This is because the children are in need of a name and identity and they become aware that their culture or their color is not liked by the majority. They become unconfident and may not live as themselves but live an imposed life because of the circumstances around them.
Impact on Employment
Racial discrimination has a negative impact on the field of employment. It is in both children and adults. In children it is seen when the children are employed at a young age also known as child labor. This has been seen, for example, in Mexico. Many under 18 children in 1999 were known to have worked in the agricultural sector in Mexico (United Nations 12).
There is also discrimination of minority employees. They work under poor working conditions. They are also exploited in that they get least wages and that they are given those jobs involving a lot of physical activity and energy. The minority employees are therefore treated badly.
Instead of performance criteria of promotions, most people from the minority communities work so hard but never get any reward or promotion. In addition, there are cases where the minorities’ employments have been unjustly terminated without good reasons (United Nations 12).
Racial Discrimination and poverty
Racial discrimination has been a source of poverty to the minority. When they are not able to get quality education, they end up getting the worst jobs without good salaries. Since they earn a little, their children also fall into the same trap because they will not be able to provide good education to them. There is a repeated status of lack which makes poverty to persist among the minorities and hence become a vicious cycle (United Nations 14). The behavior of the employers to avoid employing the minorities cause them to always lack good jobs and therefore vulnerable to poverty.
Racial discrimination has gone as far as more than economic gain. Sexual exploitation has been noted on the basis of race. CRC found out that children trafficking had become common for sexual and economic purpose. The denial of social rights subjects these people to lose confidence in them (United Nations Cyber School 1).
Steps to stop Racial Discrimination
Racial Discrimination can be stopped only if everyone takes responsibility. It must involve individuals and community as whole. Information is the best tool to fight against racial discrimination. What people say should be positive towards other races. Use of arts to promote cohesion among people of different colors and origin can also be of great use. Participation in global network is also important as it will help one to understand the values of other cultures and focus on the positive. People should also learn how to free from racism even at the international level (United Nations Cyber School 1).
At personal level it is important to be well informed on other cultures before discriminating against them. This can be promoted by reading of newspapers, magazines, books and watching movies. One should have friends affiliated to different cultures. Keeping a social circle which consists of people of similar cultural affiliations makes it possible for racial discrimination to be well propagated. Simple statements that may be discriminative should be completely avoided (United Nations Cyber School 1).
Making and performing drama concerts for example in schools can offer an excellent learning that can promote to the shaping of children’s attitude towards other races. The drama concerts should be drawn from the society and should communicate love and cohesion across the different races (United Nations Cyber School 1).
Community development programs should promote discussions and sharing across the races. Education programs area a good platform for the exercise where people can learn about each other. Policies that are made by the United Nations should be practiced. Everyone should know that everyone is a human being in spite of their race. These include:
The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the state; The right to leave any country, including ones own, and to return to ones country; The right to nationality; The right to marriage and choice of spouse; The right to own property alone as well as in association with others; The right of freedom of thought, conscience and religion; The right of freedom of opinion and expression; and The right of freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (United Nations Cyber School 1)
Legal perspective of Racial Discrimination
The United States has two judicial systems which are state and federal. The State has city, county and trial courts. The Federal court system came after the US got a constitution.
The federal has ninety seven federal district courts. When the constitution was introduced in the United States, it had a major interest of White male citizens only. The representatives per state were only from the whites while all others were excluded. Even the non whites were not counted as the government was calculating the number of persons per state. Article IV of section 3 read:
No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due. (Flake 1)
The above law was an opening to slavery which lasted until 1865. From 1868; non white Americans got a right to citizenship. From this constitution there was evidence of racism. Later on, amendments were made to eliminate all forms of discrimination including race, religion and servitude (Flake 1).
The US’s Current Fight against Racism
The United States has put up some laws to bring down the level of racism. These laws are known as Anti- Racial Discrimination Laws. These laws are from a social legal perspective.
They are made because in some countries racism has become common until it has brought tension to the citizens. As a result the government formulates rules and regulations to govern the country in a manner that will discourage racial discrimination (Solanke 1).
The US law seeks to eliminate racism in both domestic and international level (Randall 1). The US law has given a right to housing to all races through the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) OF 1974. These laws support all the races and give an equal opportunity to own a house as well as to sell and buy real estates (Solanke 1).
From recent elections in the US, President Barack Obama marked a new time and generation in US. It has been significant since it shows that the white Americans now believe in the ability of other races and especially (Chelala 1).
In the past the federal government was the one that promoted racism. The same government is now working against racial discrimination in the housing sector. The level of effectiveness in implementation varies with an area and time. There are also laws that guard the minority in other sector including insurance and the lending market (The Webbler 1).
Those who break the rules at any level e. g. individual, institutional or cultural should be answerable for their actions. Currently, the government of the United States is regulated by the international experts on how it treats American Indians, Blacks, Latinos and the rest of racial minorities (Rizvi 1).
So far much have been done though not every idea has been achieved. The new constitution clearly indicates that people should not be discriminated under whichever grounds. The education system is being streamlined to allow all to have an equal opportunity (Taylor 1.); an evidence of an attempt to have everybody have an equal opportunity is seen through the implementation if the No Child Left Behind Act.
Since racism is both a moral and political issue, the US government should take maximum responsibility to ensure that all Americans enjoy equal rights regardless of their color (Popular issues 1). The laws and the rules are not enough. The most important thing is to love everyone as human beings. This is referred to as making a color blind society that des not judge according to one’s color (Skillen 1).
Racial discrimination is wrong. It degrades other human beings on the basis of their appearance and not their ability. It does not profit but only bring loss and suffering to the victims. In health, education and society people should work towards eliminating racial discrimination.
This should be at both personal and community level. The government should also work towards the same by introducing effective policies towards racism. The government should also ensure that they are followed without fail and that implementation has occurred in every part of the nation.
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