Racial discrimination in the United States is as old as America itself. The United States motto deduces that, although America is a single country, it is made up of people of all walks from all the corners of the world, but some as slaves, especially from Africa. The American population is diverse both culturally and racially thus the name 'Melting Point'. The African Americans, commonly known as black Americans or rather Negroes, are individuals who reside in America and have their origin in black continents such as Africa. The descendants of the black Americans are said to be the Africans who were taken as captives in America and managed to survive the era of slavery. On the other hand, racial discrimination is the act of subordinating an individual due to the color of the skin or race. In the discussion that will follow, the focus will be on African American discrimination in America and its history through modern day. Although racial discrimination against African-American has been criticized for a long time, it has made the history of America.
The United States is known as having an extensive history of racial discrimination on black Americans. Racism, it seems, has dominated the society of America and there are no signs of reducing. Although racial discrimination against the black Americans started in 1660s with slavery, the civil rights movement to counter the same began in 1963 with renowned personalities like Martin Luther king the junior (Conrad, 2005). However, racism in the United States is a big problem that is not likely to end anytime soon. In the 1960s, the segregated learning institutions where only children from a certain race could attend were in operation. In the same vein, the black Americans could not share public places like restaurants with the whites. There were so many things in the 60s that made life very terrible for the black Americans.
According to the history of America, national afro-American league was formed in 1890 to fight for equal recognition of the blacks in all areas economically, politically, and socially. The blacks at this time had been segregated by the whites, who wanted to be seen as superior. In 1905, another movement, the Niagara movement, was established followed by another one in 1909. Some of the powerful leaders at the time involve W.E.B Dubois, who was pushing for protests against segregation. The sit-ins, protesting against racial segregation started in 1960s by students from a college in North Carolina by occupying the seats that were specially preserved for the whites. This influenced more sit-ins in weeks and months that followed. It clearly indicated that the learners were determined to reject segregation openly. Following the sit-ins, freedom rides started in 1961 in a bid to test the decision by the Supreme Court that racial segregation was unlawful in all bus stations. Although the freedom riders were met with strong opposition, it was a good way of showing how people were determined to eliminate racial segregation in the American society.
Detroit, a well known black city, has been in the history of America for all the wrong reasons. The city will forever be remembered for what took place there over six decades ago. In 1947, race riot broke out in Detroit soon after the end of the Second World War. There was increased racial tension in WWII when thousands of black employees moved from the south going to Detroit to secure jobs in the automotive company. In 1947, a raw erupted between a white and a black man and there were riots for 24 hours that left nine whites and over twenty black Americans dead. Reports indicate that, 17 people out of the 25 black Americans who succumbed were shot in cold blood by police (Hall, 2010). Out of all the whites who lost their lives, none was killed by police. The riots were being triggered by the segregation of the blacks in schools, employment, and housing. Four days after the riots were over, police were sent into the city and in a total of five days that they engaged the residents in running battles, over 30 blacks and a total of 10 whites lost their lives. Additionally, over 1,800 were wounded and arrests of over 7000 people were made. Although there were big riots following the killing of Martin Luther king in 1968, the riots in Detroit stood unrivalled in 1960s, all because of racial discrimination against black Americans.
Owing to race riots that rocked the town of Detroit in 1967, it stands among the poorest towns in America. There has been a wide range of debate on how to end racism there with little or no success. In 1952, the African-American were being discriminated against and killing them was being equated to killing of a chicken. In the 20th century, instead of the situation improving it took another direction. Currently, racism has turned to be multicultural and multicolored. In the America society, there is an influx of different populations who are entering in the country. For this reason, racial discrimination has grown to even to accommodate antagonism among individuals of diverse culture.
In 1954 up to 1968, there was formation of civil rights movement that was aiming at finishing racial discrimination for good. It particularly aimed the southern part of the United States. The protests that were made were mainly meant to put pressure on the sitting president during that time John F. Kennedy. The civil rights act was enacted in 1964 and it banned all discriminations of any kind in all public places. Another act was enacted in 1965 that increased federal power in all states in a bid to ensure that the black Americans were entitle to voting rights in the elections (Feagin, 2009). The black power movement would later emerge in the year 1966 and it pushed for self-sufficiency in political and economic matters. In political and economic scenes, black Americans have made significant strides especially in 1989 when the first black American governor was elected in the history of United States. In judicial matters, black Americans have served in the supreme court of the United States. As time progressed, the first black American lady was elected as the senate of Illinois in 1992. Statistics in the United States showed that there were over 8000 officeholders of the black origin in 2000, which was a big increase since 1970. The following year, black mayors are said to have been 484.
In the 21st century, things have changed to include legislation that curbs discrimination of all kinds. The affirmative action is in application to ensure people are not denied equal chances in jobs, housing, and in any other sector. In the same vein, shows in the television have taken a different direction altogether. However, it should be noted that racial discrimination is still within the society but people are maintaining their diverse views intelligently. There are still instances of racial discrimination but in an invisible manner. The fights for transition are there always but there are those who will always resist. These are mainly the people who cannot forego their status quo. Matters surrounding economy, social, control and power will always be dominated by discrimination.
As history progresses, things have changed. By the year 2000, it is evident that black Americans had moved very far. In regard to education, they are still behind when a comparison is made between them and the Asian Americans or the whites. Studies show that they attend high learning institutions in high numbers but not as the whites. In economic sector, the black Americans are said to have improved since the enactment of the civil rights act. The disparity that was there of poverty has reduced. Studies reveal that 47% of black Americans are proud owners of homes. The rate of poverty has equally gone down from 25% in 1999 to 23% in 2005. Among the minority groups in America, the black Americans are second placed in terms of earning, with the Asian American leading. In terms of health, the black Americans are still not at par with the whites. It is estimated that they are likely to die because of an outbreak of a disease at a higher rate than their white counterparts. In terms of cultural influence, racial discrimination has reduced and their cultures are being recognized just like any other culture (Patel & Rushefsky, 2008).
Racial discrimination against the black Americans has been in the offing for a long time in the United States. It can be traced back to 1660 when the first African slaves arrived in the United States. The protest against racial segregation can be traced back in 1947 when riots broke in Detroit all the way to 1967 (Berkin et al., 2010). It is the fight for the rights of blacks that led to the killing of a renowned personality, Martin Luther king. However, towards the end of the 20th century, racial discrimination seems to have reduced following the electing of black Americans in public offices. The situation has also improved in other sectors such as education, economics, politics, and health.