African Americans; Minority Group in the U.S.
The modern society sociologists define minorities as groups of people that are differentiated from other groups in the same society either by race, nationality, religion or by their language. They are perceived as a differentiated group and with negative implications. They relatively lack in power and are subject to discrimination, certain exclusions, and are accorded different type of treatment. In this study, African-Americans have been analyzed as a minority group in the U.S.
Picture: showing African Americans performing a traditional dance at a festival.
The key factors that are used to characterize a minority group include having distinguished physical or cultural traits, for example, language and skin color. Also, they are unequally treated and have less power over the issues surrounding their environment. In addition, they are characterized by high in-group marriages. Besides, they are aware of their subordinate status and have a high group solidarity (Schaefer, 2014).
History of African American in USA
In the early 17th Century, North America was rapidly growing, therefore, the need for labor increased. Consequently, white European settlers turned poor Europeans into servants for cheap labor. At the onset of 1600s, plentiful labor was available from Africa as slaves. The first handful of slaves were sold in the area that became the united states by, Jamestown, a Dutch- man of war. By 18th century New world had acquired more than seven millions slaves from Africa hence depriving Africa off its best resource of the most fit men and women.
Most African Americans are generations of African descendants who were sold into slavery in the New World, however blacks from the Caribbean are also referred to as African Americans for they share a common origin. Throughout American history, African Americans have been known by various names including Negros and colored. Both Europeans and black slaves were viewed equally until 17th century (Schaefer, 2014). Although the English colonies worn war over slavery, the slavery system in United States and the widespread anti-black connotation continued. Discrimination occurred in social, economic processes and events including marginalization to education and voting (Kennedy, Roy & Goldman, 2013).
Relevant Legislation of African Americans
Racial discriminations prolonged and the need to provide proper legislative measures arose. Abraham Lincoln issued an Emancipation Proclamation which was meant to free the slaves in the United States held during the civil war. After the war slavery was abolished in 1865 by 13th amendment of the constitution, the 14th amendment of the constitution in the year 1868 ensured that all former slaves were legal citizens and had equal privileges of protection by the law. The 15th amendment 1879 made it a criminal act to deny citizens their right to vote on the basis of their race, ethnicity or color. However, in 1896 the supreme court of the United States issued the “Separate but Equal Doctrine” which lasted until 1954. This was due to the fact that, despite of the laws issued, the minority groups continued to be discriminated against and the need to issue separate but equal public facilities arose.
Population of African Americans in the United States
The population of African Americans in the United States has gradually grown over time. The census bureau of United States (2016) had estimated the population of African Americans to be about 46,778,674. This population estimate was 14.5% of the total American population.
Education Levels, Employment and Earning of African Americans
The “separate but equal doctrine” issued by parliament in 1896 ensured that African Americans attended facilities including schools separate from the whites. In the modern world, discrimination against the right to education exist. African American learners are often seen to be of lesser statue (Drewry & Doermann, 2012). Studies also shows that scholars of African American display significant amount of stress caused by racial discrimination right from lower grade to high grades thus resulting to high cases of school drop outs among the African American scholars (Civil Rights, 2013).
Jackson (2001).Research shows that racial discrimination in the United States labor market also exist, Blacks have lower chances of getting employment than their counter parts of white origin. A study by pew research center showed that whites possess twenty times more wealth than African Americans. This is due to education disparities between the minority and the dominant groups. Research also show that African American receive lower earnings than employees of white origin despite the same level of education and qualifications (Drewry & Doermann, 2012).
Stereotypes Associated With African Americans
Minstrel shows displayed black people as ignorant, lazy, superstitious, joyous and musical. Currently, African American are stereotyped as drug users and drug dealers. The figure of a black person as a dangerous criminal and as veracious person with animal instincts has popularly been displayed in the modern day American popular culture.
Strengths of the African Americans
African Americans are believed to be resourceful by improvisation of ideas in meeting life challenges, they are resilient and have a high sense of spirituality. African American are also well connected in terms of extended families and peers as a sense of looking out for each other. They have a high sense of life, high energy, style and emotional vitality that embraces life.
Civil Rights: Law and History. (2013). Retrieved from: http://civilrights.findlaw.com/civil-rights-overview/civil-rights-law-and-history.html
Drewry, H. N., & Doermann, H. (2012). Stand and Prosper: Private Black Colleges and Their Students. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/african-american-history/
Jackson, C. L. (2001). African American education: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, Inc. retrieved from: http://www.ioufoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article
Kennedy, R. F., Roy, C. S., & Goldman, M. L. (2013). Race and ethnicity in the classical world: An anthology of primary sources in translation. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Company, Inc. retrieved from: https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology/chapter/chapter11-race-and-ethnicity/
Persell, C. H., & Hendrie, G. F. (January 01, 2007). Race, Education, and Inequality. 286-324.retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/unequal-opportunity-race-and-education/
Schaefer, R.T. (2014). Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the USA. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Chapters 5-8. Retrieved from https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/product/Schaefer-Racial-and-Ethnic-Diversity-in-the-USA