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African Americans: Race and Ethnic Discrimination Opinion Essay

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Updated: Nov 22nd, 2019

Race and ethnic stratification remain quite burning issues in the American society. Multi ethnic American society has faced a variety of problems which led to violence, tension and disintegration. African Americans constitute the major minority group in the USA.

This group also remains one of the most discriminated even though the struggle of the 1960s has resulted in a number of improvements for African Americans. It is possible to explain this group’s vulnerability by issues associated with race. In the first place, people tend to ‘perceive’ others on the basis of phenotype (peculiarities of physical appearance).

Admittedly, African Americans differ significantly from White Americans due to their skin color. Therefore, appearance becomes one of the most important distinctive features used by people to shape their behavioral patterns. Nonetheless, the multiethnic society is often associated with racial intermixture.

Therefore, the variety of phenotypes increases. At that, the variety within ethnic group is considerably higher than that between different races. This contributes to tension between people within a specific ethnic group. People characterized by mixed phenotypes tend to unfit both groups. They are neglected by White Americans and, at the same time, they are not seen as equals by African Americans.

It is also important to note that race is a predominantly social construction. Thus, people tend to use race as the means to justify colonialism and slavery, discrimination and exploitation. African Americans faced a variety of hardships. Slavery was justified by false assumptions that African Americans were inferior due to biological features of the race. It is necessary to note that these ideas still exist in the contemporary society.

These wrong assumptions contribute to ethnic stratification existing in the modern American society. African Americans have long been deprived of numerous opportunities. This ethnic minority has also been associated with predominantly manual labor. This led to a variety of negative effects. Thus, African Americans are now the most discriminated minority group.

For instance, immigrants of other ethnic heritage are less discriminated as they do not bear dramatic phenotypic differences. Besides, immigrants of Hispanic or Asian heritage are often perceived as professionals who are quite equal to White Americans. It is necessary to note that ethnic stratification is associated with prejudice which can hardly be eliminated from the American society.

There is also certain stratification within the group African Americans based on heritage. African Americans who are descendants of slaves brought to the Americas do not see newcomers, e.g. immigrants coming from Africa, as equals.

The majority of African Americans have to complete low-paid work as other ethnic groups tend to occupy higher-paid jobs. It is important to note that the Civil Rights movement led to empowerment of the ethnic minority, or at least, some representatives of the group. Thus, some African Americans managed to acquire certain social stability and become a part of the so-called middle class.

This, in its turn, has led to stratification within the minority group. There are middle-class African Americans and poor African American families. Notably, poor African Americans constitute the majority of the group.

To sum up, race and ethnic discrimination have affected African Americans throughout centuries. Even now, American multiethnic society is still based on wrongful perceptions and prejudice. African Americans remain the most discriminated minority group in the USA. At that, there is tension based on issues associated with ethnic stratification within the group of African Americans.

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