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Racial Discrimination Essay

1155 words - 5 pages

In her essay “White Privilege,” Peggy McIntosh, writes “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” McIntosh, in my opinion, must have been personally frustrated with race relations or guilty that her merits were unearned and she was the recipient of white privileges. White men set up a system of oppression centuries ago to be dominated by whites. Though most white Americans didn’t rely on these privileges; nevertheless, they have been taking advantage of them for centuries. In this essay I intend to show that white privilege wasn’t by accident but by design.

This system of oppression was ...view middle of the document...

This ideology of spread beyond Tennessee into every state in the South, and included mayors, judges, sheriffs and common criminals as well. The development of Klan ideology is just one instance Southern defiance of the proclamation to ensure rights of blacks. The presence of the Ku Klux Klan intimidated blacks in the South for decades and it succeeded by ensuring that whites would be in control of the South for decades to come. Even though the US Congress passed the Enforcement Acts in 1869, to directly combat the actions of the Klan which included the murder and intimidation of blacks who gained the rights given to every American through the 14th Amendment in 1868.

In 1875 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which forbid the discrimination in public places, only lasted until 1883, when the United States Supreme Court declared it Unconstitutional. In part the ruling stated,” The Fourteenth Amendment is prohibitory upon the States only, and the legislation authorized to be adopted by Congress for enforcing it is not direct legislation on the matters respecting which the States are prohibited from making or enforcing certain laws, or doing certain acts, but it is corrective legislation, such as may be necessary or proper for counteracting and redressing the effect of such laws or acts." This decision essentially gave states, specifically Southern, the right to continue their oppressive and discriminatory actions toward blacks.

In 1877 a set of state laws, to continue white dominance and black oppression were put in place called the Jim Crow laws. These laws were adopted by Southern and border states alike to maintain the status quo of black oppression. The Jim Crow Laws lasted until the 1960’s nearly a century. The Jim Crow Laws cemented the system of oppression into American ideology along with institutions like the Klan; it basically made it acceptable to discriminate against all people of color in American culture.

In 1954 the United States Supreme Court ruled, that segregation was
When McIntosh wrote this article, America was thirty years beyond the Civil Rights movement, a time of reluctant change for southern whites. A lot of whites did not realize that there was such a thing as white privilege. They were used to being at the top of all hierarchies, and believed that it was their merits that earned them that right, not their skin color. Once whites...

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