The Roaring Twenties were marked by a rapid technological breakthrough and the uninhibited progress in the subversion of gender roles, thus causing a significant change in American society. However, not all members of the newly established U.S. community felt welcome and happy in the era of the Roaring Twenties (Foner 782). Due to the rampant racial discrimination, African American people were severely marginalized in the American setting, which led to an increase in social tensions. The creation of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which pushed the concept of racial profiling to the nth degree, could be seen as the pinnacle of racism in early 20th-century America.
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African American citizens, which endured systemic oppression and were constantly marginalized at the time, represented the population that could not define the twenties as the era f peace and safety. The creation of the KKK jeopardized not only civil liberties but also the lives of numerous African Americans, causing them to experience massive distress (Foner 784). Combined with the rise in unemployment, which affected the disadvantaged population, in general, the U.S. of the 1920ies represented a weird concoction of hopeful attitudes and the depressing reality of poverty and discrimination.
However, not only African Americans but also people belonging to ethnic minorities were under a considerable threat in American society of the 1920ies. The infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case, which resulted in a gross miscarriage of justice and execution of two Italian immigrants, showed that the problem of interracial and intercultural dialogue in American society reached its peak (). Middle-class American citizens felt rather safe and secure within the context of prospering American society. However, immigrants, people of color, and other minorities were heavily threatened by the lack of social justice in the legal system and the impact that fear and propaganda, as shown in the described case, which demonstrated the effects of the “Red scare” (780). Therefore, there was a giant rift between white, middle-class Americans and ethnic and racial minorities, who could not enjoy as many social and economic advantages as the majority of the U.S. population could at the time.
Despite the era representing a significant technological breakthrough and an advance in economic development, the presence of deep-seated prejudices in American society aggravated the social situation. Furthermore, it led to tensions and an increase in the gap between different classes of people (Foner 791). They were supported by the legislation that encouraged further marginalization of immigrants, as the social attitudes in the U.S. of the 1920ies created a very hostile environment for ethnic and racial minorities, as Lucas W. Parrish’s 1921 speech indicated (Foner 792). Thus, the “Roaring Twenties” were not as stellar a period for African Americans and other racial minorities as it was for the white American demographic.
Due to the consistent discrimination against African American people, which was integrated firmly into the fabric of social interactions within the U.S. society, the specified racial minority could not participate in the massive emotional upheaval that the rest of the people of the Roaring Twentieth experienced. The upper and middle-class representatives of the American population could indulge in the opportunities that the technological advances and economic growth offered, yet African Americans were faced with hostility and disdain. The emergence of the KKK signaled that African American people were facing an imminent threat and that the racial relationships within American society had to be addressed immediately.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.