Social Inequality in America

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African-Americans have had a profound impact in making the United States of America into what it is today. Through many decades of enslavement, to many more decades of political turmoil, African-Americans have had a rough journey being apart of the United States and dealing with social inequality. Relations between races have gradually been improving in the last one hundred and fifty years and continue to improve in today’s modern America.

Social inequality refers to relational processes in society that have the effect of limiting or harming a group’s social status, social class, and social circle. (Science Daily) The social inequality experienced by African-Americans throughout the 19th and 20th century in America wasn’t a naturally-born reaction, it was indoctrinated into society over time. Common belief throughout the past was that African-Americans are inferior to that of white people in the United States and the institution of slavery is a prime example of this inequality. Slavery is a practice in which one person (the master) owns another person or several other people (slaves) as their own property. In America’s case, the masters consisted of white people while the slaves consisted of colored people.

Slavery was an unethical system that degraded one’s ego down to nothing. Many slaves tried to run away to become free, but after several attempts and recognizing a pattern, they gave up and accepted their dreaded role. A free black man, by the name of David Walker, saw what slavery was doing to people and decided to take initiative and construct a literary work known best as David Walker’s Appeal.

David Walker’s Appeal is composed of four articles and a preamble that were all put together. Walker comprised the work to be directed towards all colored people in the world but more specifically in the United States of America. He felt it was important to fight against the oppression African-Americans were experiencing and to make the whites realize what they were doing to blacks was wrong.

Even though David’s appeal was written almost two hundred years ago, the content within it still pertains to some issues in today’s society. In article two of four, David writes, “ ‘I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind? ‘-It,’says he, ‘is not against experience to suppose, that different species of the same genius, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications’ “ (Walker 31) The power that whites possessed and the lack of power that blacks hold is still evident in today’s world. Activist groups such as Black Lives Matter are a great example of what David Walker was pushing for. He wanted people to recognize that the way they were being treated was wrong and to fight against the oppression.

Over the duration of this class, a notable concept I’ve learned is that unity can bring about change. In our class textbook, it states, “ During the 1930s African-American men and women initiated their own agenda and determined to use every resource at their disposal to destroy the obstacles to racial justice and barriers to equal opportunity. The NAACP sponsored a legal campaign, led by Charles Houston and Thurgood Marshall, against educational discrimination and political disfranchisement; mobilized black communities; and sustained hope in the struggle. … Black people would emerge from the Depression more determined than ever to make Democracy work for them“ (Hine 403). If the African-American community wanted their social status and lives to improve in general, they had to come together like David Walker had stated in his appeal. The NAACP brought unity to African-American men and women during the 1930s and this allowed for the whites to take notice to what was happening in the African-American community.

A first-hand experience of unity would be displayed during my freshman year of high school. At my school, two kids were being discriminated upon because of their race. The kids went to the principal and spoke with him. The administration in my school took note of the occurrence but nothing was done to prevent future occurrences from happening. This prompted the two kids to get a group of about 10 to 15 non-white students and talk directly with the principal of the school. The principle listened to the students and the school now has an Anti-bullying campaign as well as an Anti-Racism campaign around the school. The two by themselves weren’t able to attract enough attention but when a group of student got together, change occurred.

Another notable concept that I feel is expressed throughout the content of the course and pertains to black African-American women is that failure is inevitable in life. You will not be successful at everything you do. If you want to be successful, you must be willing to sacrifice everything and try again and again even while facing adversity. . In our textbook, it states,”The National Federation of Afro-American Women and the National Colored Woman’s League-merged in 1896 to form the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), with Mary Church Terrell elected the first president.

The NACW adopted the self-help motto ‘Lifting as We Climb,’ and in the reforming spirit of the progressive age they stressed moral, mental, and material advancement. By 1914 the NACW had 50,000 members in 1,000 clubs nationwide“ (Hine 351). Black women had long experienced discrimination in the United States and they decided to create their own campaigns to not only aid with the African-American community, but to help show others that black women are just as capable of doing the work of men. With the formation of the NACW, people started to pay more attention to what black women had to say.

For the past one hundred years, black women have attempted to gain more power. African-American women have run as candidates for political positions in the United States but have fallen short many times in securing the positions. Just recently, an African-American woman by the name of Andrea Stewart-Cousins, was elected to be the next majority leader for the US Senate. This is very special because Andrea is the first African-American woman to be elected into such a powerful political position. Andrea helps to show the progress for African-American women and the obstacles they’ve had to overcome through constant adversity. If you continue to try and you are passionate about what you believe in, you will become success in whatever it is.

The African-American community in the United States has come a very long way from where they were in the 19th and 20th. By never giving up on themselves and unifying together, African-Americans were able to accomplish amazing things but they are not done just yet. The African-American community will continue to improve themselves gradually over time and they are never going to stop fighting for the rights in which they deserve.

Works Cited

  1. Hine, Darlene Clark., et al. African Americans: A Concise History. 5th ed., Pearson, 2014.
  2. “Social Inequality.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, www.sciencedaily.com/terms/social_inequality.htm. 28 Nov. 2018

Cite this paper

Social Inequality in America. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/social-inequality-in-america/

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