Black Oppression in America: Jim Crow Laws to Today’s Society
The project will include how black men and women have struggled and fought for equal rights under Jim Crow laws, segregation, and police brutality from then to now. It will also include the racially prejudice occurrences from 1876 compared to current events in our more modern society. The project shall also discuss the issues of colorism in the U.S. which will also be a part of discussion of segregation and recent events. All of the topics will better explain racism during that time, recent racist occurrences, and how it affects our country. The project will also include possible solutions that one could apply to their way of thinking and break barriers of prejudice.
Contents of this project serves the purpose of informing those whom it may concern and those citizens of America who may read this. The information within this essay shall let reader grasp an understanding of the country’s history of racial bias towards those of lighter complications. With the project, hopefully the reader will take it as an opportunity to learn something new and apply it to their real life situations. The paper is a form of social commentary, though it is a research paper to effectively inform the audience while inspiring and sparking change within the country. The United States of America is thought to be the “land of the free.” Freedom is what one thinks of the U.S., but there is a long history of millions of African Americans that were treated unfairly and worse than people of the Caucasian race because of the color of their skin which still goes on today. So, are we really free?
In today’s society, black oppression throughout history resembles somewhat of what black Americans have to endure in recent occurrences. Although the laws have been repealed, it resembles racism in our country daily. Those who lived during Jim Crow laws suffered from the laws that was placed to put African Americans in a low poverty filled class. Majority of poverty in modern times by ethnicity shows that those of the African American race have higher poverty rates. African Americans during the Jim Crow laws were constantly discriminated against because of their natural skin pigmentation. Throughout time, America has developed equality for all races, but according to today’s police brutality and systematic racism prejudice against blacks still exist although it may not be as severe as before.
After the Civil War, almost all Americans were forced to abide by Jim Crow laws. The segregation of blacks was intended to make black Americans as inferior to whites. Jim Crow laws influenced the way whites viewed black Americans which aided in the racism that flows through our country today. The racially biased rules were enforced onto almost all aspects of living in the country with punishments for any minor infraction which led to police brutality of blacks. Police officers abused their powers by harassing black people, serving harsh sentences leaving African Americans at a disadvantage within the courtroom, and denied satisfactory council. When black lawyers were present in a courtroom, the white judges and juries would barely listen nor pay attention to the case that was being presented.
Because of our country’s systemic racism, African Americans have a high chance of falling into poverty though few become successful and make it to the higher class. The poverty rate is “about 20.8% for blacks” in America in 2019 (Poverty in the United States). Those black Americans that live in poverty are composed of single mothers and fathers or large families. During the times of segregation, white supremacists for violent protest groups called the Ku Klux Klan that believed that all races except whites were inferior. KKK groups would commit crimes such as burning or even blowing up black churches, schools, and even blacks’ homes. Although it seems as if white supremacist groups no longer exist, unfortunately that is not the case. In most recent events, studies have found that groups like the well-known group the Ku Klux Klan still exists. The groups are violent by brutally injuring for the “purification” of America but have not had mass killings as they did under Jim Crow laws. “President Donald Trump mentioned the movement by name on Aug. 14. In response to the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The rally resulted in clashes with counterdemonstrators that left one woman dead and more than a dozen injured” (Megan Trimble).
Another factor of racial prejudice that is similar to that during Jim Crow laws is discrimination of employment in the job market. Because of segregation from 1876 to 1965, African Americans were limited to choosing from a small selection of low status jobs and pay. “Researchers examined the level of racial discrimination in the United States labor market…compared to white individuals, black individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed, and earn nearly 25 percent less when they are employed.” (Discrimination in the Job Market in the United States).
One of the main societal issues the country faces is colorism. Colorism is the racial prejudice or discrimination against individuals with dark skin tones. Colorism exists because the major effect Jim Crow laws had on the views of citizens therefore issue of skin color is still a problem. The roots of this kind of bigotry runs deep throughout the country. “While peasants became tanned as they labored outdoors, the privileged had lighter complexions because they didn’t. Thus, dark skin became associated with lower classes and light skin with the elite” (Nadra Kareem Nittle). Colorism has existed since slavery began but didn’t really begin to have a big effect until Jim Crow laws took places and because of it it affects how everyone in America views black Americans which also contributes to racial profiling.
Nowadays anyone in America can see the use of colorism in the media by simply observing shows, commercials, and even movies. If a commercial consists of a majority of white people usually they will show at least one black man or women for “diversity.” Majority of the time one would see a show based on a black family, a biracial or white family member would be or tried to be added. An example of this would be the show Everybody Hates Chris when Chris Rock explained that when the executives did casting for the roles of his family members, they wanted to hire a white woman to play his own mother. “Rock went on to further support his point, admitting that not only did he have to fight to get actress Tichina Arnold cast as the mom in Everybody Hates Chris, a sitcom-biopic based on Rock’s own life, he hinted that they wanted to cast a non-Black woman for the role” (Soraya Joseph).
As U.S. citizens, a wakeup call should be in order to see the truth of this country and how they led citizens against one another, fighting to be in the highest social class leaving blacks and blacks with dark complications with a major disadvantage. Instead of being biased towards skin pigmentation, the country should work on solving the issues of racism and becoming intolerant to racism in today’s society for it has continued for too long. The country must fight for equality from the government all the way down to local communities.
People always say that children are our future, but if racism continues eventually that will only apply to white children and a small portion of minorities until the country ends up right back to dealing with segregation. School systems should teach the privileges that will affect those students in today’s society and the harsh truth of racial prejudice.
Equality is something that citizens will always seem to have opposing opinions on based on how history tends to repeat itself. As a country we should do better and value each human respectively by giving basic human rights to all no matter race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. Skin pigmentation is not something that can be controlled as it is a natural genetic formula in our deoxyribonucleic acid. The world will never be fair but as human our society should do better in educating all generations, old and new, that in the end we all bleed red blood therefore no one should get special privileges.
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