The 2000 Presidential election has brought much attention to itself. While a slew of lawyers try to cheat their respective political figurehead into the White House, the topics discussed during the debates have been put aside. Affirmative action and education touch upon a delicate subject, which hinders the fundamental progress of our nation. Racism is nothing new to this country.
In fact, much of the early development in America is the result of slavery. In this paper I will attempt to use the African American people as an example of how the deep roots of racism, like anything else, has evolved over time and has all but escaped America. Everyone is aware of the problems slavery has caused in the United States. It caused the nation to divide, as was the case in the Civil War.
The war s conclusion granted the slaves freedom. Emancipation didn t necessarily end racism or better the African American s situation. Now they had to fend for themselves with no economic support, education, or rights. As a whole, the development of the African American community had been suppressed and left a few steps behind. The Great Depression seemed to even out the economic side of things, making hardship more uniform for all. This led to the emergence of government assistance programs (Mullings 1986: 41).
The economic crisis that affected the United States during the Great Depression became the stage for the creation of many social programs geared towards providing economic relief to American families. The New Deal relief programs emerged in the 1930 s. Racial discrimination insured that in many communities black families received smaller grants than white families. They were also excluded from many of the employment programs (Bremner 1992: 11).
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Welfare at first seemed to be the opportunity to achieve financial security not dependence.
After World War II, the economy improved and the majority of middle and upper class whit America moved to the suburbs. Meanwhile the African American population began to increase in the inner cities where most blacks found themselves mainly due to the presence of money in the city. The stiff guidelines imposed by welfare programs encouraged single parent families with dependent children. These criteria would up the amount received by a household (Udesky 1991: 13).
With so many mouths to feed and such slim supplies of money, the inner city projects became the solution. Now once again due to underlying racism the two races for the most part are separated.
The whites move to the suburbs and along with them goes the businesses, which in a capitalistic society implies the money as well. With the ongoing discrimination seen at the workplace and unequal educational opportunities, a new problem presents itself. The use of welfare and housing projects as a temporary aide to help those in poverty prosper and flourish, become permanent and maintains families barely surviving. This calls into question the intentions or motives the government programs have.
Many scholars received national attention while attempting to make sense of the African American poverty in the US. Moynihan s book, Beyond the Melting Pot (1963) claims that slavery had so weakened the structure of the African American family that it could not provide the basis for uplifting African Americans out of the economic hardships they face in modern society. Contemporary researchers continue to link the changes in the African American family structure with the continuing racial disparities in family income (Thomas 1992: 443).
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The alternative, being the government-established programs, would ultimately yield power over a group of people.
This power is centered on dependency. The only way to achieve a higher income in order to better the living conditions would be through higher paying jobs, which require education and training. Traditionally in the United States public education has been the vehicle for upward mobility. However, for African Americans public education has blocked more than facilitate upward mobility. The installment of affirmative action was used to counter the disparity shown in the opportunity of advancement through education. Sadly, those in power recently did away with much of affirmative action.
Racism has developed from being wide open and accepted to subtle and publicly unaccepted without losing much strength. Due to racism in America, African Americans are where they have been since their arrival and will remain there until policies and attitudes aimed at excluding them from mainstream society change. As their population continues to grow, they will be blamed for America s social and economic problems when in reality they have been victimized by America itself (Joint Center for Political Studies 1984: 1).
What will it take for a change Open land is not as readily available as before.
Maybe the overpopulation of African Americans and other minorities in poverty will nullify the opportunity to run away from the problem. Maybe the crime surrounding minorities as a means of income must threaten the American lifestyle in order to realize the necessity of equality. Is a bleak future the answer In an increasingly global world America can ill afford the inhumanities of racism (Joint et al 1984: 46).
References Cited Bremner, Judith B 1992 Black Pink Collar Workers: Arduous Journey from Field and Kitchen to Office. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare (19) 3: 7-27. Joint Center for Political Studies 1984 A Policy Framework for Racial Justice.
In Women and Children in Poverty, pp. 45-61. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office. Mullings, Leith 1986 Uneven Development: Class, Race, and Gender in the United States Before 1900.
In Elen or Leacock and Helen I. Safa, eds. Women s Work: Development and The Division of Labor by Gender, pp. 41-57. Thomas, Melvin E. 1992 Race, Class, and Family Structure: The Case of Family Income.
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Sociological Perspectives (35) 3: 433-450. Pacific Sociological Association. Udesky, Laurie 1991 Punishing the Poor. Southern Exposure, Summer, pp.