The US is home to virtually all ethnic groups in the world. For that reason, the US is home to Whites, Asians, Hispanics and Africans. Nonetheless, certain races have often been perceived as socially inferior in the US. On the other hand, others have often been perceived as socially superior. These perceptions are the root cause of racism and ethnic stratification in the US.
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Racists believe that some ethnic groups are naturally inferior due to their genetic or biological composition. Therefore, racism has frequently been used to justify the different forms of prejudices in the US. Ethnic minorities are more prone to prejudice and discrimination than the majority ethnic groups in the US. In addition, some of the US citizens have refused to acknowledge individual differences.
Consequently, they do not believe that racial differences are superficial. However, there is no evidence that a particular ethnic group is superior to another. For that reason, all ethnic groups in the US are equal. This essay uses an example of African Americans to provide insights into ethnic hierarchy and discrimination in the US.
African Americans form the bulk of ethnic minorities of immigrant origin in the US. In the US, ethnic relations are historically understood through interactions between the Whites and African Americans. For that reason, African Americans are one of the most important ethnic groups in the US. Currently, majority of African Americans are not 100% African descent. They are a mixture of Blacks, Whites and Native Americans. Additionally, 14.1% of the American population is made up of African Americans.
Prejudices are the negative attitudes ethnic groups have toward other ethnic groups. Discrimination, on the other hand, is the conversion of prejudices into physical actions. Therefore, discrimination is the unequal and negative treatment that a particular ethnic group faces. Although formal discrimination against African Americans has significant declined, direct discrimination persists. There are many instances of discrimination against African Americans in their daily interactions with other ethnic groups.
For instance, other ethnic groups are less likely to date and marry African Americans. This is the informal discrimination against African Americans. However, there are instances of institutional discrimination against African Americans. For instance, about one third of African Americans are born in poor neighborhoods. These neighborhoods still encounter socio-economic hardships that are difficult to overcome.
One of the most uncomfortable subjects in the US is class. This subject is more painful to the African Americans than any other ethnic group. Ethnic hierarchies indicate that ethnic groups are not equal, but are organized hierarchically by their socio-economic status and power.
Therefore, there are serious disparities among the Whites, Asian Americans, Hispanics and Africans in the US. African Americans became politically correct and socially relevant in the US around forty years ago. This was after the civil rights legislation was enacted. Although their socio-economic status has improved, African Africans are placed at the bottom of the ethnic hierarchy in the US. For instance, the average household income for an African American is $42,300.
This is $4,400 lower than that of a Hispanic and $30,000 lower than that of an Asian American. For that reason, there are few African Americans in the middle-class category. Additionally, structural discrimination and lack of opportunities has led to disruptive internal behavioral patterns among the African Americans. Some of these behaviors include prostitution and crime. These behaviors have a negative impact on African Americans’ socio-economic mobility.