Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Discrimination Against Blacks In America

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Discrimination. It is defined as a difference in attitude or treatment shown to a particular person, class, etc. When the word “discrimination” is said, most people think discrimination against African-Americans, or blacks. Throughout history in the United States black people have been discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Despite the gains in the struggle to eliminate discrimination of blacks in America, discrimination is still a major issue influencing society in the United States.

In 1865, the 1th Amendment was ratified. The 1th Amendment set free the slaves, percent of whom were blacks, free. This gave them a chance to a new life and new opportunities. Three years later, in 1868, the 14th Amendment was passed. This Amendment allowed blacks to be citizens. Unfortunately blacks still could not vote and it wasn’t until 1870, with the ratification of the 15th Amendment, blacks could vote. This gave blacks more freedom and more power to be a part of American society.

During the late 1800’s and early 100’s, the Supreme Court made some decisions that helped change the way blacks were headed. In a case in 188, Homer A. Plessy refused to move out of a whites only car on a railroad train in Louisiana. Police came and arrested him for breaking the “law.” So in turn, Plessy sued the railroad, stating it affected his right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment. This became known as the Plessy v.

Ferguson case. When it was brought to the Court, the Court said that they did not discriminate because it “provided ‘separate but equal ’ seating for both races” (Dunn 6). Though it seemed as if nothing was accomplished, it actually just paved the way for cases to come.

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Linda Brown, a black girl from Topeka, Kansas, was not allowed in a public school five blocks away from her house. This was because she is black. Instead she had to go to a black school twenty-one blocks away. Linda’s father, Oliver Brown was angry and brought the case to court. When the case, Brown v. Board of Education, was first brought to court it was ruled for the defendant because of the separate but equal “law”. There were cases of this sort popping up all over the place, and so by the time Brown’s case came up, it was brought to the Supreme Court. After all the arguments had been heard, on May 17, 154, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that, “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘ “separate but equal” ’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” (Dunn 51-5). Forty-eight years after the Plessy v. Ferguson case, blacks started to become part of the United States, in legal perspectives.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), is largely involved and supportive of the blacks in these types of situations. The NAACP was formed in 110. This organization is one that unites blacks to move forward to equal freedom. They supported school admittance and desegregation. They wanted to be treated as equals.

The NAACP also supported cases like Donald G. Murray’s. In 15, Murray was allowed into a white university because there were no black universities. The court ruled

in Murray’s favor. The NAACP believed this was their first major victory. In a similar case, Lloyd Lionel Gaines was not allowed to attend the University of Missouri. This was because he was black. He sued the school because there were no all-black schools around there. After two and a half years of court hassle the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gaines. This was a start to desegregation of schools and paved the way for black student hopefuls (Dunn 48).

In 157, nine blacks enrolled at Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas. For seven days National Guard, ordered by Governor Faubus, blocked those nine black students from entering the school. On September , the students (nine blacks) were allowed to enter the school after a court ruling, by Judge Davies, to call off the National Guards. These children were now being escorted by the Army to enter the school. In September of 158, Supreme Court stated that, “even with the threat of violence, desegregation of schools must go on” (Dunn 71).

Because of all of these cases and because of such blatant disrespect of another human with different skin, people, blacks in particular, began to protest. On August 8,16, Martin Luther King led a quarter of a million Americans before the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King gave a moving speech. In this speech he said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true of its creed…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 164 because of King’s speech and all of the other protests. It is now a law.

The Civil Rights Act of 164 put an end to segregation in public facilities. This law gave the government more power to control and to fight against discrimination in the

United States (Weber 45). It “ [D] elivered a fatal blow to the legality of Jim Crow” (Dunn 88).

Unfortunately, after all of the hard work Martin Luther King and all of the cases and laws passed for blacks, discrimination is still a big part of the United States. In the 180’s and 10’s, a number of publications and public debates showed the way whites and blacks view racism. Whites and blacks saw racism and the consequences of discrimination differently. “[M]any whites believe that racial discrimination had declined, while many blacks believed that more needed to be done to combat racial discrimination” (“African” ). “[P]ublic racial intolerance and shocking acts of racial violence offered disturbing signs that race was still very significant.” (“African” -). In 10, the percent of black kids in poverty was 44 percent, while the rate of whites was three times less (Fairclough 7).

Disturbing hate crimes seem to pop up everywhere. A group of white teenagers, with bats, attacked blacks kids who “invaded” their hood. This took place in Howard Beach, New York, 186. In 18, a white gang in Brooklyn, New York killed a black teenager. “Then in 11, video pictures of Los Angeles police beating Rodney King, a black motorist stopped for a traffic violation, were broadcast on national TV.” (“African” ). These hate crimes are proof that discrimination still exists. In Ward Connerly’s words, “ I still get the killing looks--cold hard stares of contempt and hatred” (71).

Though school integration was passed, many schools and communities managed to segregate themselves. White population of urban public schools declined. Busing was

affected also. In Boston, busing went from 60 percent to 6 percent (17-187) of whites. In New Orleans it went from percent to 8 percent (168-1). In Atlanta it went from

55 percent to 18 percent (161-17). In Houston it went from 50 percent to 17 percent (170-185) (Fairclough 8-).

By the late 180’s, black college graduates were able to find professional jobs but, “ ‘ they were 1 percent less likely than young whites to be in these occupants.’ Between 170 and 10 the income gap between black and white families widened in 170 the median income for black families had reached 61 percent of the white level; twenty years later it had declined to 58 percent” (Fairclough 7). Blacks were at least twice as likely to be out of work than whites between the 170’s and 180’s.

The discrimination goes on in this country, despite the laws, is disgusting. The African-American race has made significant gains over time. However, discrimination and hatred are still present in the United States. Blacks and whites do not have equal opportunities in all areas. Blacks and whites will have to deal with those circumstances and their consequences.

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