Sample Argumentative Essay On Racism
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It is but a sad thought that racism is still evident in the society today. Despite the growing advancements in science and the environment, it seems that the people has not moved on from the racial issues that our ancestors have had in the past. In an article written by Forrest-Bank and Jenson, racial discrimination has endured being a frustrating problem in the United States (142). Although this is the case, the effort of reducing racial discrimination tolerances has been also a continuing combat bot in the social and legal realms of society during the past years. This change in perspective is alongside with the progressing diversity that is apparent in the American population. It was also mentioned in the study by Forrest-Bank and Jenson that the Caucasian whites are no longer considered the majority. In most parts of the country, this is quite evident, and they will soon be lesser in the national numbers within the next years (142). Moreover, the civil rights laws have already imposed a prohibition on any act of discrimination in this country. However, to reiterate, although these changes were made to address the problems of the current times, social class and status based on the color of the skin is still associated to inequality. This inequality exists in housing, employment, education and income in the American group. In addition, racial discrimination has also become a substantial factor of emotional and social well-being for all people of color (Forrest-Bank and Jenson, 142). It is, therefore, an evident determinant that from both a public health and policy perspective, racial discrimination is an important risk determinant. It is essential for rather a number of mental and health problems experienced at first-hand by many people of color. Additionally, discrimination unfavorably impacts access and the quality of health and the mental health services available for all people of color; thus making health problems a difficult tribulation for these people. As a means to discover the impacts of racism and discrimination of the people of color, this paper will aim to discuss the forms, the effects and the consequences caused by racism to people of color. This paper will also aim to help set recommendations in order to alleviate the problems of racism in this country. These scenarios to be addressed include discrimination in the workplace, in the public health sector and the people’s access to education. Despite the laws passed in the senate, the government has overlooked the fact that people are entitled to their perspective. It would also be evident as an argument in this paper that although legislations to counter racism exists, the twentieth century still exists as a haven for racist actions.
As a resolution, it would be best to describe and define what race is all about today. Many people refer to race as the physical appearance of a person and is a characteristic definition of humanity (Garner, 1). There are a number of races considered globally. In America, there are the Caucasians, the African Americans and the Hispanics. These three are considered the top “races” that are currently a part of the American population. According to Garner, many people think that race holds to meaning a conscious categorization of people in society. By the categories attached to the members of the population, there have been an existing number of problems with understanding the true importance of the “races.” First, these labels such as the “Caucasian” and the “African American” are relatively novel in our vocabulary. The tag “Caucasian” as an example was not used even before the 1940s. On the other hand, The “African American” label, has only come into utility since the year 1990s. In addition to the history of labels, the Hispanic origin has only been used since the 1970s. Because of the novelty attached to these words understanding the importance of the term race has become quite impossible. Second, since the world is composed of many countries and not just the USA, other people’s understanding in one place is not necessarily the knowledge that other people bear in another country. Lastly, if people pursue the idea that the world can be categorized into races requires a great dismissal of logic (Garner, 1).
Moving forward from the idea of race leads us to the conceptual meaning of racial identity. According to Neblett and Roberts, racial identity is defined as the substance and essence that people use to describe a race (943). Stanley has described this concept as based on the biological characteristics, such as skin color that may cause people to categorize themselves into groups based on these physical features (234). It is the leading mitigating determinant for the concept of perceived psychological adjustment and racial discrimination. Since it is a determinant for the ideas of psychological adjustment and perceived racial discrimination, the effects of racial identity can be quite detrimental to a person. As an example given by Neblett and Roberts, racial identity can influence how an individual understands and survives discriminatory scenarios and effects (943). Because of such scenarios and instances where people have tendencies of categorizing themselves based on their skin color or physical attributes, the phenomena of racial discrimination, therefore, occurs.
II. Racial Discrimination in America
In the United States, racism, although still not known at that time, has already come into existence even in the earlier days of the country. It was at the end of reconstruction when the Southerners regained their powers in the government. These political figures made the establishment of reordering racial relations as their main focus. An example of this reordering would have to be the existing sharecropping as demonstrated in Figure 1. It was considered as a compromise in the Southern economy so that most of the African Americans could move to the Southern cities to leave their lands behind. As the population of the African American group developed, many of these officials passed segregation laws for their benefit. These segregation laws have created a delineation line in areas that highlight racial boundaries (Vox, Civil Rights Act of 1964). One of the segregation events emerging during that time was coined as the “Jim Crow.” Of course, such an isolation of groups did not go unchallenged for a long time. The Plessy vs. Ferguson case was one of the early instances that have sparked the people’s desire to end racism in America. It was in the year 1892 when the shoemaker Homer A. Plessy decided to try the Louisiana Separate Car Act. This Act aimed to separate the white and the colored passengers inside the train cars. Plessy’s case was a brave move to challenge the lawfulness of the Act. However, upon reaching the realms of the Supreme Court, the judges have decided it was legal and constitutional. As long as the amenities for all persons of the vehicles regardless of color were equal, the Act was constitutional. From then, the concept, “separate but equal” was observed (Vox, Civil Rights Act of 1964).
Although this again was another victory for the Jim Crow law, the legislation again encountered new challenges brought about in the year 1954. It was during this year that the United States Civil Rights Movement challenged the said law in court on the proof of identifying the benefits as not equal. This movement was supported by the ongoing case of Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka when a man named Thurgood Marshall protested that the separate facilities were obviously unequal. Other challenges that were made against the Jim Crow were the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the year 1955, the sit-ins in the 1960s and the Freedom Rides in the year 1961. Because of such actions that aimed to put an end to segregation, the higher officials could no longer neglect and ignore the impact. The growing issues of racial discrimination in the country have pushed the government to take the act(Vox, Civil Rights Act of 1964). More and more activists have risked their lives to alarm the people to the graveness of such a segregation law. These radical actions have alerted the government in such a way that they could no longer turn a blind eye to the issue.
The unity of the people and the great desire to create and eliminate segregation paved the way of the civil rights act of 1964. This Act is believably the most obvious civil rights act imposed in today’s times. The law served as an example of other laws that followed which aimed to combat discrimination. This law has extended the people’s defense against discrimination in different settings. It was created through the labors of the late President, President John F. Kennedy. During a speech that he conducted on June 11, 1963, Kennedy revealed his plans of creating a more detailed bill for civil rights. After his assassination, the assumed president, Lyndon Johnson, swore to presidency and has eventually continued to make the civil rights act of 1964 effective. Johnson moved mountains and did what he had to do lawfully to cease the existence of the 1957 Civil Rights Act (Vox, Civil Rights Act of 1964).
Despite his Southern origins, Johnson saw that the country needed a civil rights legislation that could also enable the African American community to develop in the United States. He was strategic enough to use to his advantage the shock caused by Kennedy’s assassination in order to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Vox, Civil Rights Act of 1964). Johnson has always claimed that he owed it to the late President’s life to continue the said legislation. Of course, since a majority of the floor of the government belonged to the Southern officials at that time, the legislation has eventually faced strong labors from the Congress to weaken the Act. Therefore, in order to justify the visions and objectives of the law, Johnson created a counterargument to the Southern members of the Congress. The proposal meant that it would not tolerate anyone to use the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a device to have an easy life. This law will disregard color, age, sex or race for the sake of fairness. Because of such a proposal, the public changed its course to challenge the Civil Rights Act and turned to support the notion of a more meaningful civil rights statute. The support that the Civil Rights Act had during that time rose to a significant 68%. This support has enabled the President to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in July (Vox, Civil Rights Act of 1964).
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the government prerogative to cease the segregation in the South and prohibited the segregation by public places. A public place was identified as any place that received federal funding or tax. The act tried to reach every corner that some lawyers might eventually find a loophole in order to counter the law. Through this Act, the commission on equal employment was then made. Also, federal funding was also not given to schools who implemented a segregated policy in their system. Those organizations who also wanted to venture into federal business was also affected by this legislation. Any company that supported segregation and then applied for a contract with the government was not considered for the job. Since its implication, many of the Southern officials in the government were surprised by the scope of this act. This shock was because it also helped small communities to solve racial arguments and has imposed government power in order to ensure that segregation could no longer exist in any public place. These public places include schools, business structures, universities, parks and other facilities. It also forbids the use of literacy exams as one of the main requirements for voter registration. This enlarged coverage has opened the way for more voters to have the rights to choose their preferred officials.
Following such a journey, the path to social equality and the elimination of racism had achieved its utmost victory in the year 1965. The social equality progress had achieved its climactic victory when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. According to Martin Luther King Jr, in the course of two years, the country has accomplished more in its desire to drive the equal rights for minority groups than since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Although there were high praises given then, it is but good to question the state of discrimination in today’s society. The twentieth century has opened its doors for many people across the world. Our world has already assumed the fast developing lifestyle that the people of this era are accustomed to hold beginning from scientific breakthroughs to difficult discoveries. While the modern breakthroughs are but astonishing feats to applaud, it seems that only science and technology has kept up with the fast developments of the century. Certain issues still happen today that have frozen the minds of many Americans to the customs of the 1940s.
III. Racism in the twentieth century
According to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, contemporary America is still a victim of the permeating issue of discrimination (1-2). As he states, racial determinants still shade almost every aspect of movement in America. The dark-skinned racial minorities and the African Americans are seen to lag well behind the whites in almost every area of the social strata (2). These dark-skinned groups are considered to be three times more possible to be poor than their white counterparts. This poverty rate is also demonstrated in the second figure (Figure 2) from the United States Census found in the appendix section of this paper. Also according to Bonilla-Silva, these dark-skinned minority groups have about an eighth of the net worth of the whites, and they earn forty percent less than the Caucasians (2). Found from "Racism without Racists,” it was revealed that the minority groups have received a more inferior type of education. This fact is as compared to the whites even when the have attended integrated universities and schools (2). On the other hand, housing programs are estimated to have an equality rate of only thirty-five percent in terms of equality in this sector. This fact means that only thirty-five percent of the groups of African Americans and Latinos have houses that are comparable to houses that are owned by their Caucasian counterparts. Added to this scenario is the fact that these groups have less access to the housing market as compared to the whites. This scenario is slowly emerging because of the different exclusions practiced by the white realtors and homeowners. According to Bonilla-Silva, these exclusionary practices have been triumphant in delimiting the African and Hispanic groups from entering a number of existing neighborhoods (2).
These sectors are not the only places where the minorities receive unfortunate scenarios. Bonilla-Silva states that the African Americans also receive rude treatments in stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments (2). According to most scholars who study racism, blacks, and dark-skinned Hispanics are most often than not, the target of the racial profiling conducted by the police investigators. This type of profiling as combined with the greatly racial type of a judicial system, almost guarantees a high chance of conviction among those prosecuted, arrested, executed and incarcerated (Bonilla-Silva, 2). Driving on highways has also proved to promote racial treatments for the blacks and dark-skinned groups. This fact is evidenced by the term, “driving while black.” Through these events in present society, Bonilla-Silva has conclusively arrived at the finality that the blacks and most minorities are, “at the bottom of the group (2).”
IV. Affirmative action as a solution to eliminate racism
One of the great recommendations that can also be found in many legislative writings is the use of affirmative action. Affirmative action according to Holzer and Neumark is a group of behaviors done by government offices, employers, schools and university admission leaders in order to avoid racism (1). All of these actions are executed with the goal of intensely decontaminating the economic status of minority groups and women in the aspects of business growth, employment and education. This solution can take the practice of distinct recruitment processes to have more candidates in certain parts of the company ranging from the minority groups and women. But this event might also contain additional deliberations of partialities for these types of applicants. This event is given the fact that their qualifications along with certain magnitudes might seem feebler than those of their equals (Holzer and Newmark, 1).
Despite poor leadership, Leonard states that affirmative action has helped encouraged greater employment numbers from minority groups and women. This statement is supported by the study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009 found in Figure 3 in the appendix. Caused by the former discrimination issues in the past, the Supreme Court has continued to strengthen that gender or race can be taken into attention in platforms made to improve employment and other opportunities for people of color. Certainly, according to Judge Blackmun, “for people to look past racism, we must first consider race. There is no other way.” Also, as Justice O’Connor emphasized, in the case of Adarand v. Pena: “the unhappy persistence of the lasting effects and repetition of racism against racial groups in this country is an unsuccessful reality.” The government is not and should not turn a blind eye against reacting to the issue of racism.”
As evidenced by the studies discrimination is still a pressing issue in our society today. Many are truly hindering the development of the minorities based only on color. This scenario is rather a sad fact. Luckily, there are people who move for the progress of the minority groups and who considered the employment of these people of color based on their capacity and not on their skin color. Affirmative Action for one is an effective way to counter these hindrances. However, it would take more years for the effective implementation of such an action. No matter how many legislations against discriminations are passed, without cultural intelligence and the act of looking past one’s skin color, discrimination will continue to become an issue in society for many generations to come. It is no longer the government’s duty to cure such an idea. It would take the people’s initiative truly to eliminate the effects of discrimination not only in America but all over the world.
American Civil Liberties Union. Affirmative Action. New York: American Civil Liberties Union, 2000. Print. 15 Feb. 2015.
Becker, Gary, Thomas Sowell, and Kurt Vonnegut. Discrimination, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. The Fraser Institute, 1982. Print.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. Racism Without Racists: Color-blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America. 4th ed. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013. Print.
Forrest-Bank, Shandra, and Jeffrey Jenson. "Differences in Experiences of Racial and Ethnic Microaggression among Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Black, and White Young Adults." Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 42.1 (2015): 141-161. Print.
Garner, Steve. "The Idea of ‘Race’ and the Practice of Racisms." Racisms: An Introduction. London: Sage, 2009. 1-18. Print.
Harris, Luke Charles, and Uma Narayan. 'Affirmative Action As Equalizing Opportunity: Challenging The Myth Of “Preferential Treatment”'. Wiley 4 (2013): n. pag. Print.
Holzer, Harry J, and David Neumark. 'Affirmative Action: What Do We Know?'. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 25.2 (2005): 463--490. Print.
Katznelson, Ira. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.
Leonard, Jonathan S. 'The Impact Of Affirmative Action Regulation And Equal Employment Law On Black Employment'. The Journal of Economic Perspectives (1990): 47--63. Print.
National Partnership for Women and Families,. What Affirmative Action Is (And What It Is Not). Print.
New Zealand Police. Literature Review about the use of Affirmative Action Programmes to Address Gender Discrimination in the Workplace. New Zealand: New Zealand Police, 2013. Ministry for Women. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.
Shteynberg, Garriy, Lisa M. Leslie, Andrew P. Knight, and David M. Mayer. "But Affirmative Action Hurts Us! Race-related Beliefs Shape Perceptions of White Disadvantage and Policy Unfairness." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2011): n. pag. Print.
Figure 1. The Sharecropping Cycle
Figure 2. Poverty Rates by the United States Census in 2011
Figure 3. Percentage of employed civilians by minority groups 2009
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