During early twentieth century, racial discrimination was the order of the day. The society had placed stereotypes on almost every racial group in the country, most of which were negative. The black Americans were the most affected group. They were regarded to as being violent, illiterate and unreasonable people, stereotypes that existed ever since the time of slavery.
I remember one incident back in 1947, early in the month of April. The rainy season was just about to set in and therefore plans to prepare land for planting in the plantations were underway. In a group of five girls, we walked towards the farm because we did not want to board commuter buses to avoid the usual insults from the whites. We could see large groups of black men and women busy working in the neighboring fields. They carried huge sacs of manure and did heavy tasks with only short breaks in between. Upon arrival, the supervisor shouted at us that we ought to run to our respective work stations lest he whipped us. I vividly remember one lady who had sat down for a while to nurse her baby. The baby was crying so much and this attracted the supervisor’s attention. He approached the lady, snatched the baby from her and sat it carelessly on the grass. He threatened to kill the baby by claiming that it made the woman to become lazy at work. The woman’s plight and wailing from the baby were falling on deaf years of the supervisor. I felt so hurt by the heartless act and was so mad at the offender but there is nothing much I could do.
It is worth noting that the end result of stereotyping a specific group within a community is not healthy. This is because most of the time, the target group lives up to accept the stigma. Whether they are positive or negative stereotypes, they have a considerable effect on the individual’s life. In the case of African American men, their stereotypes have been strongly fixed into people’s minds especially because of the influence of the media (Lewis & Krysan, 2006). Black Americans were viewed as people who could not control their actions. They were viewed as people who could do whatever they wanted without caring whether it is right or not. That is the reason why they were associated with violence and other related crimes such as murder and rape among others.
The struggle against racial discrimination comes a long way. During the time of slavery black people were looked down upon by whites. It was the duty of black people to satisfy their masters, mostly as sex objects or engage in hard labor. Failure to that, they would get corporal punishment (MARTIN, 2009). There was a strong belief that white men were superior to other people in the world. Black people were believed to be immoral and unruly, while the Asians were conniving, the Mexicans were believed to be either extremely lazy or intrusive. Extreme mistreatment of non-whites was a common occurrence and well accepted in the society.
Perhaps, the greatest achievement towards fight against racial discrimination was the election of Barack Obama, as the first black president in the United States. During his campaign for presidency, Obama faced criticism from radicals that are known for racial profiling. There are those who even questioned his rightful quest for presidency based on his origin. However, during his term in office, Obama’s administration has facilitated developments that will see an end to discrimination against the minority groups in the society.
In the history of the US such ideas lead to extreme mistreatment of non-Whites. Oppression in various forms went unanswered despite legal attempts in the justice system, which at times even led to unlawful and immoral massacres of people in these categories. Despite the odds, the United States has witnessed people who have come out strongly to oppose and condemn brutal acts of discrimination against race or religion. There are great leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr who played a pivotal role in Civil Rights movement in the United States of America (Lewis & Krysan, 2006). He was deeply convinced that people from this nation will one day live in a harmonious way without segregating anyone against race, color or religion. Many developments occurred in the social framework since this period of liberation to date. Half a century after the death of Martin Luther King Jr, United States got its first black president. President Obama has truly lived the dream that Civil Right activists were fighting for (Lewis & Krysan, 2006). He has also played a great role in ensuring equality among all groups of people in the society for a peaceful co-existence that is characterized with mutual respect.
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