30 April 2013
Discrimination is defined as the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. Discrimination has been around ever since the 1800’s and still exists today.
The term Native Americans “refers to the hundreds of societies including Aletus, Cherokee, Zuni, Sioux, Mohawk, Aztec, and Inca. After the Revolutionary War, the U.S. government adopted a pluralistic approach to Native American societies and tried to gain more land through treaties. Payment for land was far from fair, however, and when Native Americans resisted surrending their homelands, the U.S. government simply used its superior military power to evict them. By the early 1800s, few Native Americans remained east of the Mississippi River. In 1871, the United states declared Native Americans wards of the government and adopted a strategy of forced assimilation. Native Americans continued to lose their land and were on their way to losing their culture as well. Officials took many children from their parents and handed them over to boarding schools, where they were remobilized as “Americans”. Not until 1924 were Native Americans entitled to U.S. citizenship. Today, one-half of Native Americans consider themselves biracial or multiracial, and many large cities now contain sizable native American populations.
African accompanied European explorers to the New World in the fifteenth century, but most trace the history in 1619, when a Dutch trading ship brought twenty Africans to Jamestown. Whether these people arrived as slaves or as indentured servants, being of African descent on these shores soon became virtually synonymous with being a slave. White people ran plantations using slave labor, and until 1808, some were also slave traders. Traders forcibly transported some 10 million Africans to various countries in the Americas, including four hundred thousand to the United States. Filth and disease killed many and drove others to suicide, overall perhaps half died. Owners also divided slave families at public auctions, where human beings were brought and sold as property.Unschooled and dependent on their owners for all their basics needs, slaves had little control over their lives. Some free people of color lived in both the North and the South, laboring as small-scale farmers, skilled workers, and small business owners. The lives of most African Americans stood in glaring contradiction to the principles of freedom on which the United States was founded. However, most white people did not apply these ideals to African Americans. In the Dred Scott case in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the question “are slaves citizens”? by writing, “we think they are not, and they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures for citizens of the United States. In 1865, the thirteenth amendment to the constitution outlawed slavery. Three years later, the fourteenth amendment reversed the Dred Scott ruling, granting citizenship to all people born in the United States. The 15th amendment, ratified in 1870, stated that neither race nor previous condition of servitude could deprive any (male) citizen of the right to vote. However so-called Jim Crow laws segregated U.S. society into two racial castes. Especially in the South, white people beat and lynched black people who challenged the racial hierarchy. In the 1950’s n national civil rights movement set the climate for a landmark judicial decision that outlawed segregated schools, and in the 1960’s, legislation outlawed overt discrimination in employment and public accommodations. The Black Power movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s gave African Americans a renewed sense of pride and purpose. Since 1980, African Americans have made remarkable