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America has a long history that characterizes its development as home to diverse groups of people such as Native-Americans, Africa-Americans, Asian-Americans, women, and the LGBTQ community. Specifically, this paper discusses this history while at the same time comparing and contrasting the struggle for equality among the afore-mentioned groups.
Native-Americans are said to have settled in America thousands of years ago (Rutman 59). Besides, their consequent contact with the Europeans had a thoughtful influence on their history. Native-Americans observed a Clovis culture that is mainly detected by the use of a fluted spear point. Black Americans consist of a group of Africans who were compulsorily taken to America where they were held hostage from 1555 to 1865. It is argued that most of the Negros originated in Africa. In addition, African-Americans comprise of Blacks from the Caribbean whose descendants settled in the US during the slavery period. Slaves came from different ethnic groups, primarily from the west and central Africa. However, they lived a similar way of life, despite having different customs, religious beliefs, and language. According to Rutman, the Asian-American history is mostly connected with racial and cultural groups from the Asian descendants (60). Asian-America was an impression conceived in the 1960s. It was destined to bring together Japanese, Filipino-Americans, and Chinese for calculated political drives. As time passed by, other Asian groups, for instance, Koreans, South Asian-Americans, Hmong, and Vietnamese were included. The Chinese, Hmong, and the Japanese came to the US to provide labor in places such as gold mines and rail construction among others while the rest of the Asian-Americans came as slaves. As Morrison reveals, the history of women in the US can be traced in the colonial eras that happened during the colonization of America (88). Women who found their way to America mainly migrated from England and Wales. They had come as settlers.
A few other women came from Scotland and Ireland. For example, in New England, immigrants came with their integrated religious culture that created a social arrangement that upheld the issue of submissiveness among women to their husbands, including their commitment to nurturing children with good morals. On the other hand, the way women were treated depended on their ethnic backgrounds. For instance, England settlers’ wives never worked with their husbands in the field while German and Dutch women immigrants enjoyed more control of their husbands’ assets. According to Lin, LGBTQ history in America traces its roots to the period immediately after the country’s independence (573). In the 19th century, many states in America limited people against strolling and solicitation of sex in public places, targeting to tame the same sexual advances among LGBTQ members. However, the dawn of the 20th century was marked by many same-sex groups that performed their activities in undisclosed places to avoid persecution. During this century, the groups developed to the extent that they could demand their homosexual rights from the US government and even the global community. Despite facing tough restrictions in the 1920s, the LGBTQ group was employed to offer entertainment assistance in urban locations in cities such as New York.
The movements by Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, women, and the LGBTQ community are alike in various aspects. All the actions the groups participated in aimed at fighting for their equality rights. They wanted to be treated equally as American citizens. They were fighting against racial segregation and discrimination in society. They also fought for the right to own property, as well as housing for those who were poor. These movements endeavored to be allowed to take part in the whereabouts of the state, for instance, participating in voting during elections.
The actions taken by the above-mentioned groups differed from one movement to another. As O’Brien, the Black-American movement fought for the abolishment of slavery institutions since most of them came to America as slaves (359). On the other hand, according to Rutman, the Asian-American movement was a social crusade against racial injustice among the Asian community living in America (61). The Native-Americans’ struggle took place in the 1950s when the Natives were moved from their reserved properties to the cities. They sought to not only fight for their tribal lands but also recover what was taken from them illegally. According to Morrison, women struggled to be recognized in the community and to be treated equally with men in society in terms of work, salary, and professional programs (89). The LGBT community fought to be accepted by the public since it faced discrimination even at their places of work. This movement promoted equal treatment just like any other gender in American society.
Reactions from the Public and Opposition
According to Lin, the movements received different reactions by the public and the opposition (575). The LGBTs were subjected to discrimination in the community since they were observed to be living against the Disorderly Conduct Law. Many of the LGBTs were detained for sodomy or even hospitalized in facilities that dealt with homosexuality-related mental problems. According to Morrison, women experienced some challenges since men would not allow women to enjoy equal rights, especially at the workplace (90). On the other hand, the Native-Americans encountered a tough battle with the general population that had grabbed their land since they were not willing to return the illegally acquired property. African-Americans received a hostile reception from the slavery organizations since their freedom was to cost the institutions free labor and resources that they used to provide. According to Rutman, the Asian-American movement was not received well by the colonies and the elite in the society since it was regarded as elevating the social status of the Asian community (62).
According to O’Brien, every struggle of the groups had positive results (361). For example, the slavery that targeted Africans ended. Besides, Native-Americans received their land rights when they first won their guaranteed victory in 1967 over issues of land and water. Women’s fight for their empowerment rights bore fruits since they could participate in politics and/or acquire higher education among other things. The Asian-American movement was successful since many Asians received good housing. Discrimination against them also ended. On the other hand, the LGBTQ received a boost for their pursuit when activists and prominent business people joined efforts to fight for their rights and acceptance in society.
Several setbacks were experienced during the struggle. For instance, the women’s movement split in the 1970s. The confrontation became common during the Natives movement. Black Americans acquired their freedom, although it took many years of struggle to acquire liberty from the white settlers. As Lin observes, the LGBTQ community got its rights, although members were not accepted fully in society (577). They still face internal discrimination even today. The Asian-Americans’ struggle continues up to date since not all what was stipulated in the constitution has been fully embraced.
Today, the quest or struggle for equality continues in the LGBTQ community. This group faces opposition from individuals and groups across the world, claiming that it encourages unacceptable behaviors in society. However, the US and other western nations have legalized same-sex marriage, despite the stiff opposition from the global community. It will need much sensitization for the public to appreciate the LGBT community to avert discrimination and stigmatization.
Lin, Yen-jui. “Development and Validation of a Psychological Sense of LGBT Community Scale.” Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 40, no. 5, 2012, pp. 573-587
Morrison, Karen. “Afro-Latin American Women Writers and the Historical Complexities of Reproducing Race.” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, vol. 14, no. 2, 2016, pp. 88-117
O’Brien, Joseph. “Equality in U.S. History: Where Great Persons, Literacy, and Historical Evidence Intersect.” History Teacher, vol. 49, no. 3, 2016, pp. 359-382.
Rutman, Shira. “Native Generations: A Campaign Addressing Infant Mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives in Urban Areas.” American Indian & Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of the National Center, vol. 23, no. 6, 2016, pp. 59-77.