Racism has been widespread since the founding of the United States as a country. Although widely considered as socially and morally unacceptable, it is still existent in the American society even at present times. Racial politics and socioeconomic inequality are some of the few examples that show racism has never been totally eradicated. Here is a brief history of racism in the U.S. and related laws that addresses the issue.
Pre-Civil War Era
Slavery was at its peak during these times and was even considered as a flourishing business. It is also known as the Atlantic slave trade era. As colonies were sources of important crops and goods, it became only possible with the labor of slaves doing the hard work. African enslavement was arguably of economic importance during that period. For three decades slaves were transported from Africa to what is now called the United States.
As of the early part 19th century, there were already organizations and movements advocating for the freedom of black people. It was, however, only during the post-civil war era that slavery was abolished with the ratification of the famous 13th Amendment in 1865. With the 15th Amendment, African-American men were given the right to vote, seek office position and utilize public education. This freedom was later hindered by white supremacist groups leading to laws on racial segregation (Jim Crow Laws).
It was during these time times that anti-black violence has increased. It resulted in riots and massacre forcing the government to strictly reinforce segregation laws. Racial discrimination has again caved in as reflected in the government’s appropriation of budget and policy-making.
World War II and Civil Rights Era
With the mindset “separate but equal,” it was mandated that in all public places and transportation, there should be separate facilities for blacks or sometimes referred to as “colored” citizens. In most cases, those provisions were always inferior compared to those being offered to white citizens. In the economic aspect, prices of goods, health care, and even insurance are offered to black people but at a much higher price.
In some cases, these things were denied to them. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the prominent personalities that stood for the welfare and condition of black people, organized a march that transformed public perceptions on the status of black Americans in the country.
The 1980’s up to Present
With the growing consciousness against racism and racial discrimination, black poverty is still evident. From 1981 up to 1997, a case against the US Department of Agriculture has become controversial. Many black American farmers were denied loans that many white farmers have availed under similar circumstances.
In politics, many believe that during the 2008 election, a great breakthrough against racism has been made. This is with the election of Barak Obama as the first African-American President of the country. Surprisingly, Obama had gained a higher percentage of white votes compared to candidate John Kerry. It was a major feat considering that it never happened in the past. It was a milestone of the American people in the battle against racism.