Intolerance in American Society
Intolerance of other people's culture, religion, ethnic background and
skin colour was a major issue in the 1920's America. This was, of
course the era of the economic boom that helped to make America a rich
and prosperous country in which to live.
This economic boom made America a very attractive place to immigrate
to, especially to those in countries that were not so well off. This
meant immigration on a massive scale. People from all over the world,
particularly Eastern Europe came together in one city and work for a
living. The amount of people from different countries and social
backgrounds all in one small area i.e. a city, America is huge, is
bound to spark off racial tensions even hatred as they all congregate
together and compete for jobs and the need to prosper.
The people who lived in these cities in the first place would see
these immigrants as a threat to their jobs, homes and way of living as
people from poorer countries would be willing to work harder, for
longer hours and less pay. Also, along with the immigrant themselves
comes their culture and way of living, which may be totally different
from the natives' and more than they are willing to accept. In
American cities, the more established immigrant groups;
Irish-Americans, French Canadian-Americans and German-Americans,
tended to look down on the more recent Italian and Eastern European
immigrants. In turn these immigrants had nothing but disapproval for
blacks and Mexicans, at the foot of the 'scale'.
After a while, because of their unwillingness, even refusal to live
along side one another, ghettos, small areas of one highly
concentrated grouping started to emerge e.g. Harlem is a ghetto that
is dominated primarily by black people. These areas where a place that
was reserved for your kind of person and if overstepped the line and
moved in to a street where you were not of the ethnic majority then
you would expect a cold, even fierce reception.
These ghettos were in virtually every northern city with blacks being
mainly in Chicago and New York.
Racial tensions were not only present in the northern cities; they
were all over the southern states as well as black people sometimes
outnumbered the whites.
The first black people came to America as slaves by the white settlers
in the 17th century. By the abolishment of slavery in the 1800's,
blacks did indeed...