The Issue Of Overcoming Racial Inequality In The United States

3276 words - 13 pages

The label of inferiority poses immense challenges on the structure of a society. Branding a group of people as “savages” creates divisions in society that drastically affects how individuals are supposed to interact with these “inferiors.” It makes you think of someone who is uneducated or unsocialized, one who is not granted full rights and privileges. Other words that might have the same the sort of connotation for many in the United States today are “alien,” “immigrant worker,” or “illegal immigrant.” For immigrants who arrive on the shores of America for opportunity, a bleaker outlook has to be realized due to the constant threat of deportation. This creates an environment where immigrants working as “undocumented workers” can be exploited by those who are looking to make a turn a profit using cheap labor. Historically U.S. American society has institutionalized types of people as based on their physiognomy and an Anglo-American interpretation of a foreign society. Democracy in the United States as recalled in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a “…government of the people by the people for the people…” (Lincoln). But who is actually granted the privileges of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and who is subjected to inferior treatment (US Declaration Ind.)? Just the color of one’s skin could grant a state of opportunity or a state of slavery. The racism that exists against black people, Native Americans, or illegal immigrants might appear absurd to some, but assigning people to a lower social class based on race has had a profound impact on the history of our nation.

Shaping society in the U.S. was a complicated process that involves many ideas that cannot be understood without invoking sociological theories and recounting historical records. In The Social Construction of Reality, sociologists Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann detail how social institutions are formed and supported, and the role religion has on the development of almost any social institution. Using these concepts to better understand the complex reality of race relations in the United States, a clearer picture can be painted of why white racial supremacy has been so powerful in all aspects of U.S. American society.

The institution of slavery in the United States of America was a process that evolved over generations; an institution which developed in the northern colonies of New England area very differently than the Southern colonies. In the South, slavery as an institution started to enhance the productivity of agriculture. It may not have been the most humane way to grow cotton or sugar cane, but slavery provided essentially “free” labor to white farmers: “The settlers in the Southern States were naturally tempted by the example of the West Indian planters, to make use of these imported black[s] in the service of field labor” ("Slaves and Slavery"). African people were kidnapped from their home, shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, and sold as property in order to...

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