Racism in the USA: A History of Inequality - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1870 Words
Date:  2023-01-16


All through history, the issue of racism has persisted in the United States. Racism has existed since the state was founded since the founding society, despite the different national and religious differences had a similar negative attitude towards the other minority groups. The victims of racism include the non-white indigenous population, black slaves as well as the Asians. Even though significant progress has been made in regards to racism, equality between the races has not yet been established in such a way that minority groups such as the indigenous Americans, Black Americans, and Asian Americans all experience similarities in treatment. The persistence in racism can be attributed to many factors, such as slavery and slave trade, which made the whites to perceive the black people as lower than them in terms of social class. However, new laws were set up to curb this issue of racism through promoting equality among all people regardless of race or ethnicity. I believe that the problem of race is still significant in America since, despite the measures put in place to eliminate this problem. The issue of racism persists and has become more common among the people in a way that it is no longer a secret to express a negative attitude towards another individual simply because the color of their skin is different from yours.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Definition and Understanding of the Concept of Racism

The concept of racism is closely related to the issue of discrimination, thus making the problem more acute. Racism generally implies that a person is discriminated according to the color of their skin or their race. Similarly, race was also identified as the violation of fundamental liberties and rights of an individual because of their skin color or the tribe of affiliation. However, the enactment of civil rights prevented individuals from publicly violating the rights and freedoms of the individual from minority groups. Nevertheless, since the issue of racism depends on the societal construct, it is still rampant among the people in such a way that an individual can make racial comments towards another without the fear of the repercussions that they may face. For instance, in an interview, a lady who was an Indigenous American stated that "I have had older white men come up to me and say 'oh man, if this were 40 years ago I would have just done whatever I wanted to you'"( "A Conversation with Native Americans" 1:25-1:33) which was offensive and can be categorized as a negative racial comment. Therefore, it is clear that racism can have different indicators, including the use of negative comments towards an ethnic minority group.

Classification of the Concept of Racism

Classification, according to racism, is mostly governed by the "one-drop rule." This rule primarily applies to the black people in such a way that one drop of blood from a black person makes them black despite the color of their skin. One interviewee further adds that "the one drop rule was meant to keep more people oppressed or legitimize the oppression of black people. On the other side, one drop of blood dilutes a native person in such a way that if you are a native and you have a drop of something else, you become less native as opposed to the black side" ("A Conversation with Native Americans" 2:48-3:12). This notion also applies to the multiracial people who have more than one race.

Evolution of Racism

It is worth noting that the concept of racism has evolved. It can be identified as a natural effect that arose from the domination of the white people over the other groups. The enactment of civil laws has served to reduce the spread of racism. These rights, however, do not protect the victims from discrimination or against unequal opportunities at work. The problem of discrimination is still persistent in such a way that non-white individuals experience unequal treatment at work, school and even in hotels. For instance, one African-American interviewee explained that two white police officers interrogated her in uniform for being on a hotel corridor, and when she told them that she had booked a room, they wanted to know her names and the room she was staying in yet she had made no mistake that would warrant such interrogations. The situation got to the point that she had to get a white colleague to assure the officers before any confirmation was made by the hotel management ("A Conversation with Black Women" 00:59-1:49). This scenario indicates that the non-white minorities suffer from discrimination in such a way that in the interviewee's case, the officers were suspicious of her even though she had done nothing wrong other than walking on that hotel corridor. The lack of offence from the interviewee's side leaves no other room but to assume that the white officers were discriminatory towards her simply because she was black. This is not the only case since the whole interview provides discrimination experiences of black women by the white people either at work or at school and in the interviewee's case, at hotels.

Perception of Racism

Racism can also be identified as part of a social construct. Racial identity can be perceived as fluid in such a way that the perception of ethnic identity is dependent on the experiences and time. For instance, ethnic identity was dependent on the colour of one skin. However, the globalization of the United States has led to racial identity shifting from depending on the fact that one is multiracial to the perception of experiences. An example in the racial understanding of the whites is whereby one interviewee indicates that she does not know if she is racist but she does not like to think that she is since perception to her can be identified as 'a guy in a robe' ("A Conversation with White People" 1:01-1:11). Also, the shift in racial identity can result in groups that are not yet defined but insist on the rigidity of races. This statement means that many white people in this generation do not perceive themselves or their actions as racist, even though their actions may still be viewed as racist by the minority groups.

Another instance of racism is a social construct that can be identified in the use of offensive words such as "nigger" and "Chink". It is common knowledge that white people are not allowed to use the word "nigger" and "chink" because they are considered racist and offensive to black and Asian people. In contrast, black people freely use words when referring to themselves. Nayor explained that the word nigger is frowned upon by the black society when used by the white people but not the black people since it does not have any racial meanings. She further noted that "the people in my grandmother's living room took a word that whites used to signify worthlessness or degradation and rendered it impotent. Gathering there together, they transformed nigger to signify the varied and complex human beings they knew themselves to be." (3). To Nayor, meeting the word nigger head on meant that the word did not affect the way that the black people were determined to live. Similarly, Leong pointed out that using "chink" among themselves is a way of dealing with a label which describes her eyes and color of her skin but cannot be erased even though the label does not determine who she is inside or what she is capable of achieving (496). Therefore, the way the society perceives the context of racism is how the individuals within the community will base their definition and understanding of racism.

Multiracial People and Racism

The multiracial people face even worse discrimination and criticism from either race. They are subject to discrimination from the racial sides of the parents as well as the other ethnic groups. As a result, they may find it hard to identify a group in which they belong. For instance, one interviewee who is both Arabic and Philippine explains that there is pressure from both sides of the family. This pressure is in such a way that if he visits his dad's family, they always ask if he knows the native language, and even though he is lucky to know both languages, he is aware that if he did not know the language then he would have faced some form of exclusion from the family ("Being Multiracial" 2:51-3:14). Furthermore, the multiracial group find it hard to pick a specific group to affiliate with themselves because they cannot ignore one part of their identity. Another reason is also because of the issue of mistaken identity in such a way that a child who has Black American and white American parents is often perceived to be black, even though one parent is white. These unique issues faced by multiracial people may affect their well-being.


I believe that the issue of racism is an important problem in the United States. From the explanations above, it is clear that the state suffers from wide gaps that are still present between the dominant and minority groups, which results in the discrimination and oppression of the minority groups. Furthermore, Racism is defined by markers such as skin color, eye shape and hair texture and to some extent, even name. However, these social markers are constructed by society and should not have an impact on the classification of an individual. Nevertheless, these social markers have a substantial effect on the individual since the majority of the individuals are discriminated in terms of their name, skin colour, and hair texture. To make matters worse, the growth of multicultural groups poses a negative future since the gap between the dominant and minority groups. The emergence of multiracial individuals creates more complications since the new group does not necessarily belong to one specific race. Therefore, it is imperative to come up with solutions that will help to dissolve the issue of racism to ensure that all citizens of the United States, regardless of their skin colour have access to equal opportunities and have a feeling of belonging and safety in their own country.

Works Cited

Leong, Christine. "Being a Chink." www.harlan-ind.k12.ky.us/userfiles/951/Classes/538/Being-a-Chink.pdf. Accessed 23 May 2019.

Naylor, Gloria. "The Meanings of a Word." www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj2pOi9o7HiAhWtzoUKHXUOAdoQFjAKegQIAhAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mpsaz.org%2Fmtnview%2Fstaff%2Flmbormann%2Fclass1%2Flinks%2Ffiles%2Fthe_meanings_of_a_word_text_version.pdf&usg=AOvVaw01gcvSbE7HdwYYzGgFXMsg.

The New York Times "Being Multiracial in America | The New York Times." YouTube, 31 Mar. 2008, www.youtube.com/watch?v=21H9lA6MLHM&feature=youtu.be.

The New York Times. "A Conversation with Black Women on Race | Op-Docs." YouTube, 3 Dec. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-xz4qiUBsw&feature=youtu.be.

The New York Times. "A Conversation with Native Americans on Race | Op-Docs." YouTube, 15 Apr. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMal6QVblE&feature=youtu.be.

The New York Times. "A Conversation with White People On Race | Op-Docs | The New York Times." YouTube, 9 July 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXow7olFyIM&feature=youtu.be.

Cite this page

Racism in the USA: A History of Inequality - Essay Sample. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/racism-in-the-usa-a-history-of-inequality-essay-sample

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the midtermguru.com website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism