Free People Of Color Essay Example
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Throughout history, the problem of race has been a sensitive issue in the United States of America. Classifications on the basis of race and ethnicity have evolved from 19th century to the present. This classification forms the basis upon which U.S. Census has been conducted. In 1790, whites were classified against “other” during Census. However, these two categories of Americans have been further divided into various ethnic communities which include Whites, African American, Chinese American and Indian America (Washington Post, 1). The United States of America has had a deep history of racial division. Silva and Glover (p. 97) contend that Americans will acknowledge oneness as a social mantra in the years to come. This paper answers fundamental questions on the subject of race and ethnicity in the U.S. history.
Question one: “Othering” people of color and marginalization in U.S.
Disparities on the basis of color have been the hallmarks of America’s way of life for far too long. People of color have savored the worst forms of oppression and wanton neglect (Hixson, p. 9). The election of a person of color, U.S. president Barack Obama, was believed to be the culmination of the many years of segregation in the United States. Contrary to the popular perception, people of color continue to face racial disparities in healthcare, education, employment and criminal justice (Castarieda & Zuniga, p. 57). Whites have kept people of color away while they take advantage of the opportunities that emerge to accumulate wealth and power. They have manipulated the legal and criminal justice systems to favor them at the expense of the blacks. Today in America, the neoliberal economic policies favor white capitalists while the minority communities have been left to bear indignations of squalor and poverty. These people have been suffered colonization, segregation, slavery and exploitation throughout their lives in the United States of America (Hixson, p. 9).The subtle marginalization of people of color has been systematically choreographed to keep white at positions of influence and control of the country’s key resources. ‘Othering’ has helped whites to take strategic positions of influence and power. Consequently, they have used these positions to exploit people of color and consign them to penury while they enjoy the benefits of socio-economic policies.
The implication of marginalization is that when people of color do not access quality education, their white counterparts use their resources to give their children the best education in the United States. Thus, keeping away people of color from accessing quality education increases the chances of whites to access quality education. On the same note, whites keep away people of color from accessing quality healthcare so that the available healthcare facilities can suit their needs at the expense of people of color.
Castarieda and Zuniga observed that level of unemployment is two to one for Blacks in relation to Whites. This means that a white individual ha a 66.7% chance of being employed compared to 33.3% of a black individual in America. Thus, “othering” of people was meant to create a boundary upon which employment opportunities could be used to favor whites. Castarieda and Zuniga added that people of color have continued to be poor because most of them lack jobs (p. 57). This means that they cannot fend for their families or take their children to school.
Marvasti and McKinney observed that the experience of Middle East Americans has not been good given the high level of suspicion that has characterized the lives of other Americans following the terrorist attacks that have been carried out by people of similar ethnic origin (Marvasti & McKinney p. 238). This group of Americans has been asked to explain themselves and produce documents that indicate that they are genuine Americans. The authors contend that the fate of Middle Easterners has been similar to that of Japanese Americans in the initial stages of the 20th century. Middle Easterners living in America face identity crisis because they are not able to explain themselves beyond being citizens of the United States.
Question two: Understanding inequality-dominant culture characteristics
Creating better policies that can help understand the subject of inequality is important in crafting effective policies. Castarieda and Zunega (p. 58) observed race was used to justify white dominance over people of color. In this regard, some people were regarded as racially inferior. The motivation behind this construction of racism, various pro-majority policies was entrenched through law and public policy. These policies were meant to advance social advantages in favor of people that are racially constructed as whites. Against this backdrop, racism was institutionalized to create advantages to white people. The pro-majority policies, attributed to the white supremacy touched various aspects such as immigration, economy, education and healthcare. These policies were constructed to favor white population and exclude people of color from meaningful development (Castarieda & Zuniga, p. 59).
Benavides observed that policies that are designed to assist the Hispanic population cannot be formulated without understanding of their cultural origin, issues such as immigration and the kind of things that define the Hispanic culture (p. 101). Within the Hispanic population, there are people that originated from countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Thus, the cultural legacy of this group of people forms an important part of the United States culture (Furman et al. 2009, p. 2; Benavides, p. 103). Public administrators that deal with this group of people should take cognizance of the diversity in their origins. This is because Hispanic population is varied. The growth of Hispanic population relative to other populations is high. This increase in growth has cultural and political implication.
More policies may be enacted in favor of the Hispanic population than other populations. The high growth of this population may trigger politicians to initiate policies change that might give Hispanics some advantage as a way of influencing their electoral decisions. An awareness of the dominant Hispanic culture can help understand the inequality challenges that have pervaded the United States. Such awareness is influenced by cultural competency. Cultural competency enables managers to understand the people they are serving and adapt to their needs. This claim is further supported in the works of Dozier and White (p. 108). They argue that a multicultural perspective is required to attend to the cultural values as well as social realities of a group. This can be achieved within an ethnically competent practice.
Question three: Policy changes criminal justice system
The U.S. criminal justice system has failed the test of fairness. Castarieda and Zuniga pointed out a glaring disparity in the justice system. They observed that the rate of incarceration of people of color to whites is eight to one (p. 57). People of color feel threatened by stereotyping that has pervaded the American social landscape for a long time. Bigotry and ethnic jingoism has been on the rise. This development has cast aspersions on the possibility of redress following the ascension of a person of color into the White House. The criminal law discriminates against African-Americans. These people constitute majority of offenders charged with cocaine offences. Blacks are jailed a lot of times because the criminal laws do not favor them. This discrimination is a manifestation of unfairness that has pervaded the criminal justice system. The Hispanic community has undergone similar disparities in the dispensation of justice. Castarieda and Zuniga observed that racism has been embedded in virtually areas of social life (61). This explains why most laws in the United States are tailored to suit the interest of whites at the expense of people of color.
How the changes impact racial and ethnic inequality in the United States
Fair polices in the criminal justice system can entrench equality among majorities and minorities. The development of multiracial coalitions for change will ensure deep understanding on the subject of race and racism (Castarieda & Zuniga, 61). For example, changing policies to reduce the proportion of whites relative to blacks can increase the proportion of people of color in decision making. This would ensure fairness when in policy making and formulation. Hispanic community makes up the largest minority population. Yet, the criminal justice system has consistently been biased towards the Hispanic population. Entrenching fairness in the policy framework will ensure that Hispanic population feels part of the greater American society. A new policy that can guarantee African Americans and Hispanics should take cognizance of rehabilitation after life in prison. The basis for reforms in the criminal justices systems should hinge on punishment, determent and rehabilitation of offenders.
Benavides, A. D. (n.d.). Cultural competency in Hispanic communities.
Castarieda, C. R., & Zuniga, X. (n.d). Racism.
Davies, F. J. (n.d.). Who is Black? One’s Nation’s Definition.
Dozier, C. D., & White, G. J. (n.d.). The more things change, the more they remain the same: A
framework for effective practice with African Americans.
Furman, R. et al., (2009). Social work with Latinos: Key issues for social workers. National
Hixson, J. L. (n.d.). Developing culturally anchored services: Confronting the challenge of
Marvasti, A., & McKinney, K. D. (n.d.). Middle Eastern Lives in America.
Silva, R., & Glover, K. S. (n.d). “We are all Americans”: The Latin Americanization of race
relations in the United States.
“The evolution of identity.” Washington Post.
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