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Research Paper-Importance of Equal Perceptions

In history laws have been developed and changed to protect people from harm, but how can laws protect people from harm if society sees and treats “others” unequally. Others are considered to be people that are treated as second class citizens that struggle to gain equality. “Equality means the state of being equal in which a person is the same, as good, or as valuable as another person” ( Equality does not exist against gender, race, and ethnicity which places women, all people of race and ethnicities in the others category. Women are unequal in different races and different ethnicities. Men are not the only ones who discriminate against women in society; women discriminate against each other as well. Throughout history, discrimination against others, especially women existing in different races and ethnicities, have been subjected to believe that they are less than “man” because society does not want to change their perceptions and according to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self Reliance” they are considered to be ingenious and intolerable. By definition, if we are seen and treated unequally, “others” are not the same, as good, or as valuable as men. From the beginning, there has been inequality within the human race especially for women.

The oldest and the most sacred book we have on earth is the Bible. The Bible is a book that is used to help guide us on earth. The Bible shows discrimination within people. Exodus 21:20-21 states “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if they recover after a day or two since the slave is their property.” In history there have been many slaves including the Irish, Native Americans and African Americans and the Bible states if you do not kill and your slave recovers within a day or two, you will not be punished. A slave, which is a person, is considered to be property. To address a person as property is degrading because property is something that belongs to you and something you can do whatever you want with except kill according to Exodus 21:20-21. The Bible also addresses women as being below men. In 1 Corinthians 11:3, it states: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Men have and still are considered to be above women. If the most sacred book of all states clearly that men are above us then people are forced to believe that this is true. People are not all equal. They are categorized as men, women and slaves or as just “others”.

Even after slavery, equality was not present. According to the Britannica Encyclopedia “Jim Crow laws were laws that racially segregated African Americans from 1877 to the 1950s.”African Americans were physically segregated in restaurants and had segregated schools and bathrooms. According to the Black Holocaust Museum “African Americans, dealt with Economic, Political, Legal, Personal and Social Oppression while the Jim Crow laws were enforced.” Jim Crow laws greatly affected African Americans, including female African American women. One famous situation where we can see that Jim Crow laws affected women just as much as men was with “Rosa Parks when she was told to sit in the back of the bus because she was African American, but she refused and was arrested”( Although, white women were not as greatly affected as African American women, the Jim Crow laws concept “Separate but not equal” was seen in Economic issues. “Until the early 1960s, newspapers published separate job listings for men and women. Separate, of course, meant unequal: between 1950 and 1960, women with full time jobs earned between 59–64 cents for every dollar in the same job”(Runner, Brower).Women were separated in categories even working in the same job which showed that a women’s work was not valued as much as a man’s. They had no option other than to believe their value was less and were controlled in how they were paid. Women were separated in terms of what jobs they were able to take so the opportunities. How much a person gets paid is very important because it is a source of survival. Income is used for everything including shelter, food, and clothing, thereby creating an Economic oppression for women. In “Self Reliance” Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous essayist, lecturer and poet said to live day by day even if you contradict yourself the control on “others” limited them from doing so. Those who were oppressed just wanted to live.

An example of how “others” are treated, to feel like they are less than “man” can be seen in the book “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In the book Tom was an African American who was discriminated against at trial because of his race. In court, the law was separate but equal. The blacks and whites were able to be in the court room together, but they were seated in different areas. Tom helped Mayella a white woman to chop up a piece of furniture and one day she had tried to force herself upon him. Her father had seen them through a window and chased after him. At trial, the father said that Tom tried to take advantage of her, and when she had to testify, she agreed to what was said by her father. Although his lawyer proved that the rape allegation was a lie the jury was made of all white men. In the end, Tom was found guilty and ended up dying because he tried to escape. A man has the right to a fair trial and justice is served but because of Tom’s race he was taken to jail because of the juror’s stubbornness to use the perception of Tom being innocent and convict him. In this book you can also see an example of a women being controlled. The father lied because he was mad about what happened, and Mayella lied because her dad beat her and she did not want people to know. Tom had a wife and was trying to refuse Mayella politely. Her father was angry about her getting intimate with a black man. He physically beat her showing her that it was wrong to be with a black man and by his act mentally assured that being with a black man was something she should not do.

In reality, accusations of black men raping white women happened often. An example was of the “Scottsboro Boys, they were nine boys who were convicted of raping two white women. The boys were guilty even after one of the victims stated that there was no rape the case was tried 3 times, and 5 boys were sentenced 75 to life “( The Scottsboro cases presented the discrimination in history when it came to black males and how they were convicted even if they were not guilty of a crime. White men were not exceptions to sexual assault to women, but the punishment for them was not nearly as severe compared to that of an African American man. “Between the year of 1936 and 1960 only 38 men where charged with sexual assault for women and only 24 have dispositions, Of theses 24, ten were acquitted and six were charged to a fine or assault sentencing for no more than five years “(Dorr, pg248). Out of 38 sexual assault cases that were reported, only six were fined or sentenced to no more than five years. To see the comparison of how many people were charged and the comparison of a rape from a white woman, which was 75 to life and to a black woman which is no more that five years shows how black women were unequal. Many more black women were sexually assaulted, but not reported because of the views that society still had against African Americans that they were less than whites.

Although discrimination continued, changes in laws were made for progress in equality. The Mississippi Trial was about the murder of three civil rights activists, one was black and two were white. There was a campaign going on to register as many African Americans voters as possible and people did not like the idea. Whites and Blacks were involved in this campaign but was very dangerous because of some people did not want blacks to vote for a candidate that would change things in their community. The outcomes of Mississippi Trial were that seventeen men were charged on violations of the civil rights act of 1964 and 1965 and the voting rights act. Edgar Ray Killen, the man who planned to kill the activists was later charged for the murders. “The Congress of Racial Equality stated that attention was brought to the disenfranchisement of black voters that led to the voting rights act of 1965. The voting rights act of 1965 prohibits racial discrimination in voting” ( The voting rights act of 1965 gave men and women the ability to vote. To vote for a candidate that could help change or address issues in the communities. In the 21st Century, true justice has not been encountered when it comes to discrimination. Recently the Michael Brown case was presented “where a police officer shot and killed a black man who was unarmed 35 ft. away and the police officer received no charges. ”A black man has lost his life and a white police officer did not receive one charge for the crime that he has done. The police officer had to prove that it was out of defense but from 35 ft away and against an unarmed person is unreasonable to say that he felt his life was at risk enough to shoot. The discrimination observed in this case has produced many riots against the injustice observed in the Michael Brown case. When it comes to African Americans imprisoned the numbers are shocking. America’s prison population is 2.3 million and of that 1.1 million are African Americans. Almost half of the imprisoned population is black and 1.2 million is considered a combination of others such as Whites, Spanish and Asians. The statistics can either mean that African Americans do all the crimes and always get caught or that there is discrimination occurring.

Discrimination not only was observed against African Americans but with other ethnicities as well. In the book “Snow Falling on Cedars” the discrimination of Japanese around the time of the Pearl Harbor War was presented. In the book a Japanese man, Kabuo Miyamoto is prosecuted for the murder of Carl Heines. Kabuo Miyamoto father had a payment plan for seven acres of Carl Heine’s fathers land but then when the Japanese were ordered to leave they would be unable to make payments. They agreed that payments would be made when Kabuo’s father returned but Carl Heine’s dad died in the war. Kabuo Miyamoto s dad died as well so then Kabuo Miyamoto arrives to finish paying off the land Etta, Carl’s mother had already sold the land to someone else which was bought by Carl Heines. Etta Heine’s and the prosecuting attorney use Miyamotos anger of the property being sold as the reason why he would kill Carl. The injury to Carl Heines head was also similar to hitting someone with a gun with force which was observed in the war many times by the Japanese.

In the book snow “Falling on Cedars” Hatsue the defendant’s wife was told by her mother to follow their Japanese tradition. Mrs. Shigemura, Hatsue teacher to value her traditions taught her at a young age what she should and should not do. Her teacher told her to stay away from white men and marry a good Japanese man. Hatsue ‘s mother found out that she and Ishmael had love letters. Hatsues mother wanted Hatsue to be with a Japanese man as well and stick to their own traditions. Hatsue loved Hatsue but could not be with him. Hatsue then found Kabuo Miyamoto who was Japanese, married him and had children. Hatsue was influenced by her culture and what others said she should do by finding a good Japanese man. Emerson would argue that Hatsue did not have self trust because she was influenced by her traditions. She was told what she needed to learn in her Japanese traditions.

Women are limited to what they can and can’t do by society. In the film “The Accused” which is based on a true story Sarah Tobias, a woman who was raped in a bar by several men. The rape was reported by a witness and a trial was held but throughout the movie everyone thought less of her. District Attorney, Kathryn Murphy had stated that she clearly had alcohol and marijuana in her system which is where Sarah’s attorney began to think that she had a rotten character. In the film Sarah Tobias was portrayed as dressing provocatively and drinking she was looking for it which was what the attorney used to argue against her. The prosecuting attorney asked her questions such as” If she always drank? If she was wearing provocative clothes? and If she was putting on a show? to portray to the court an image of a women that always got drank, wanted men’s attention and was looking to have fun. Even if a woman was to be looking to have fun no woman looks to or deserves to be raped. It is done against a persons will. If a woman dresses “provocatively”, drinks, smokes and has a proper history they are perceived to have been looking for it. Three men had raped her and was charged with reckless endangerment which was a sentence of 2 ½ to 5 years. The charge was agreed upon between the two attorneys, which was upsetting for Sarah because it was as if the attorney did not believe her and justice wasn’t served. The attorney then helped that Mathew Haynes a man that was pushing the 3 other men to rape Sarah and was charged with Solicitation Emerson mentions in his essay “Self Reliance” he that person who is devoted to his own beliefs is intolerable”. According to Emerson society is intolerable because they want to stick with their own beliefs that women sometimes looked to be rape or want to be considered as slut. If males were to do the same things they wouldn’t be named or stated that they were looking to be raped. Men and Women are unequal because of the views that we do not change. Judicially perceptions are affected because we, as humans stubbornly do not want to change how we think and affect the way we govern and protect others.

There are laws that have been developed to protect women from sexual assault but this serious issue needs more action taken in order to see an improvement. Women get sexually assaulted every 90 seconds. Women are raped once every 6 minutes. When it comes to sexual assault there are a few laws that protect women including “The Fair Employment Protection Act(, The violence against women act of 1994( and the Clery Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that work together to protect students from sexual violence” ( The Fair Employment Act protects women form being sexually assaulted at work including inappropriate comments, threats , sexual assault and rape. The violence against women’s act of 1994 protects women from violence including rape, sexual abuse, physical abuse and sexual assault. The Clery Act and Title IX was recently amended in 2014 for the protection of college students. We can only wait and see if this paired amendments will have an affect but we can begin to change the way we view and treat as people and not as objects especially females because we are the ones in danger .

According to the Oxford Dictionary “The Sexual Revolution was the liberation of established social and moral attitudes toward sex, as the women’s liberation movement and developments in contraception instigated greater experimentation with sex.” Their were many things that were considered to be inappropriate for a woman to do such as be sexually active outside of marriage. Men were able to do and women wanted to have the same liberty be as sexually active as they pleased. “The pill was also introduced which allowed women to separate sex from procreation.”( Women have not been as vulnerable and victimized as before because they have the ability to think and say what they feel but to realize that nothing will change if a woman does give importance to their issues. Society views the human female as less than a man. Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” ( is what women have to come together and create a bigger voice for, to make change. “Transcendentalism is an ideal spiritual reality that transcends the scientific and is knowledgeable through intuition. Others feel the intuition that being unequal is not right and continue to stride for equality. Transcendentalists believed in abolitionist women’s rights as well”( To have people who use their intuition to gain knowledge builds a bigger support system for women and how they are treated unequally. Many transcendentalists were men giving women some support. This shows that men that were shown in the references of the bible, history, social or political beliefs they open up to away from their things such as their “texts” as stated in the essay “Self Reliance” giving opportunity to possible genius.

Women are as guilty as men when it comes to how we treat and view females to be unequal. In the article ‘The Making of a Slut” by Naomi Wolf she states that “It will not be safe to live comfortably in our skins until we say: You can no longer separate us out one from another. We are all ‘bad’ girls.” Women are judged on the choices they make such having intercourse and drinking. There are all sorts of names that have been created to degrade women but what names have been developed for men? Women are not comfortable and free to live their life just the same as men are. To party, to drink, be involved in sexual activity willingly with someone else is not something new that no there women has done but is something that is done all the time by women but women are continued to be separated because of their actions. If these actions portray us as being a bad girl or a slut than I guess almost all women are bad girls or sluts. Women are subjected to feel unsafe and caged because they will be attacked for the actions that are not attacked by when a man does it. Men are not at complete fault for how women are treated and controlled. Women are at fault as well because we use this words and judge against other females. Naomi Wolf’s article shows how females perceive a girl who is portrayed as a slut because she developed faster than other girls and was too proud for her body; the only difference was that she was poor. This young girl had made her own outfit and metallic blue eye shadow unlike the other girls who tried out who were wearing jeans was not selected because the teachers who were selecting the cheerleaders judged her because they chose who would present the school. They thought, they knew about her seeing her heavily made up smoking and hanging out with guys. This is a part of the set back of women not progressing.

Some women are unfortunate enough to live the life changing sexual assaults experiences in their life and seek to return before that time. In the book “The Pact” Emily and Chris, two young people who were raised together and everyone expected them to get married but Emily wanted to kill herself. Chris was then, taken to trial for the murder of Emily. In this book they view Chris as the Predator and Emily as the victim instead of seeing them as children who are in pain. Emily is suicidal with all the pressure of being pregnant, subjected sexual experience when she was younger, school and the relationship with Chris. He suffered because he did not want to see Emily in pain. Christopher’s prosecution was warranted because Emily died from a gunshot and the gun did not contain Emily’s fingerprints and it did contain his. The only person that was with her at the crime scene was Chris and no one else other than him new that she wanted to kill herself. The books climax provides moral justice because Chris was able to get everybody’s attention buy saying that he had killed Emily and that’s what almost everyone thought or began to think but then he explained how she was killed and it was by her pushing the trigger. The right thing to do is to tell the truth. Emerson states that we must recapture youth to find genius. Emily was very smart and wanted to stay away from what everyone else expected of her. Emily was young but not young enough to achieve genius because when you know genius you don’t know right from wrong. In order for Emily to be genius, she would have to go back to before her life changing experience of a sexual assault.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay entitled “Self Reliance “is about self affirmation for all men and women. To know who you are and what you want. Emerson states that when we are born we don’t know what is right and what is wrong but we are eventually taught morals. These morals keep us from doing or saying what we really want to because we know that it is morally wrong or will be judged. Emerson states that we have lost ourselves through laws, regulations and text. “All of these things guide us and already lets us know what we should do or say. He wants everyone to not seek anything outside ourselves and live day by day even if we contradict ourselves the next. We must explore what is good for ourselves. Throughout the essay he uses the word man or men. Although I don’t believe his message is only to men he clearly prefers to address the essay to males with man or men. Emerson said “Society is a conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.” He is trying to say that society is against everyone. So as an individual everyone else is trying to stop you from being who you really are and what you want to do. Society is a conspiracy against women as an individual, stopping us from who we really are and what we want to do. Women do not want to be sexually exploited or manipulated to think that we are less than men. To do this we as manhood, as individual women must stand against society or others and do what we feel and really want to say when we are perceived or treated differently. Women must go back to their youth’s perspective where they did not think about any guidelines or morals to make a change for inequality. Self-Reliance is necessary to achieve equality for women.

The equality of gender, race and ethnicities affects all because we live in a diverse world and to progress in life as an individual and as a country, perceptions must be changed. We must not continue to be intolerable and ingeniousness. Throughout history many laws have passed to give progression to equality but women seem to be vulnerable because of their physical strength against men. Women are not equal to men and to change society’s views and perception we must stop subjecting women which stops them from having any self-reliance. Self-reliance is necessary to prosper and grow as a woman and as an individual. The serious issue of sexual assault will continue to occur if we don’t do anything about it. Many females will continue to suffer including children and the elderly. This could be your child, your daughter, other family or friend. To move forward we must step out of our comfort zone and specifically men should begin to see and treat women as the same and not an object. Things can get worse and get out of hand if we don’t make efforts. Women must give importance and take actions for their own success. Equality is necessary for the well being and protection of others so that our loved ones will be safe. We will not be safe if we do not change and control our own perceptions.

Karina Lima

The Hidden Truth





Modern-Day Discrimination: The Hidden Truth










Kathyanne Smith









Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of

English 3401 Law through Literature









Professor: Julian Williams

December 17, 2014













Despite the fact that we are in the twenty first century, this country still battles inequality and racism at its fullest level. This paper will examine the experience certain groups of Americans have had as a result of specific laws such as the Jim Crow Laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voters Rights Act of 1965. The focus will be on the different types of oppression that the African Americans and other minorities have suffered because of these laws as well as other circumstances which contributed to their oppression. Additionally, I will attempt to illustrate how several improvement have been made while in others areas there have only been an appearance of change; however, it is a far cry from transformation. Further discussion will be on the treatment of these groups as second class citizens even though equal opportunity is “supposedly” available to all. Is there such a thing as “equal opportunity” in America or if there is does it only apply to a specific of group individuals?
























Lerone Bennett in The Challenge of Blackness states, “History is not something added to life; it is not something you read about in textbooks and view from afar as a spectator… The past is not something back there; it is happening now.” Black history is the negation of the Constitution… it (black history) cannot be incorporated into [ ] history without radical surgery and revolution. We are a part of history whether we are conscious of it or not; it will not go away because we don’t consider history as the life which we live. I believe history can indeed be summed up as Bennett puts it, “history is knowledge, identity and power.” Since we gather facts, information and gain skills through experience or education; this allows us to examine, identify and understand certain things about our past in order to move forward. America, the land of “equal” opportunity; this statement is deceiving because many are not given the same opportunities as others.

In accordance to an article written by Russell G. Brooker, PhD, the system of the Jim Crow Laws can be seen more vividly if we look at its five parts; economic, political, legal, social and personal oppression. “The Jim Crow system was originally established by middle-class and upper-class whites who were afraid of poor blacks and poor whites working together.  In order to keep the poor people from threatening the power of the ruling whites, new laws were made that separated the poor of both races. Blacks were given the worst jobs for the lowest pay.  Certain good jobs were set aside for whites only. Workers of both races were stopped if they tried to form labor unions.  Many blacks, and a few whites, were arrested and forced to work as slaves in plantations and mines,” according to Dr. Brooker, this is economic oppression. Can we honestly say that significant progress has been made economically for blacks in America since the segregation laws ended? In a lot of ways progress was made for blacks and others after Jim Crow, for instance the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was past, this outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. “It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public known as public accommodation.” Blacks and other minorities were finally given the opportunity to venture into areas in the workforce they had never been able to before the Civil Rights Act. It was an incredible break through because it was the beginning of something new and a sign of change. Many barriers that once prevented minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and older persons from freely choosing the educational opportunities and careers they would like to pursue have been eliminated. No longer would there be blatant public discrimination because of the color one’s skin or race without serious repercussion; this was what the law was suppose impose, protection for minorities.  However, according to an article on, this is yet to be accomplished, it states, “Although some of the worst employment discrimination was eliminated by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws, there has been strong resistance to enforcement of existing laws and political opposition to remedial affirmative action. As discrimination has become more subtle and more difficult to identify and correct, many Americans continue to endure unfair and unlawful discrimination in the workplace.” According to this article discrimination still exists in many ways, especially in the workforce, only it is completely disguised as something entirely different. “African Americans have faced the stiffest opposition in their attempts to obtain fair and nondiscriminatory treatment in the workplace. Overt discrimination, reliance on false and negative stereotypes, and subconscious bias pervasively limit the ability of African Americans to obtain fair treatment in hiring, evaluations, promotions, and other aspects of employment.” This information was also taken from the above mentioned website. The unemployment rate for Americans is 14.8 percent, 16.1 percent of which are Blacks, 12.4 percent are Hispanics, 8.4 percent are white and 6.4 percent are Asians this statistic was published on Why is there such a huge unemployment gap for African Americans as opposed the whites? Is this equal opportunity when it has been proven that blacks are in many ways set up for failure or sabotaged before they even begin?

“One goal of the Jim Crow law was to ensure that poor whites and blacks would never unite again. To stop the black political threat, blacks were “disenfranchised,” or not allowed to vote. Lack of voting power made blacks unable to remove elected officials they did not like.  It also made them easy targets for politicians who wanted to distract the white voters’ attention from unfair taxes and corrupt governments.” Dr Booker calls this political oppression, this type of political oppression mirrors the Mississippi burning trial and the struggle of women’s fight for the right to vote. The Mississippi burning trial three American civil rights workers were shot attempting to register African Americans to vote. The trial turned out to be a complete mockery of justice because the men that committed these murders were not even convicted of murder, (but civil rights violations), and spent little or no time in jail. However in June of 2005, Edgar Ray Killen, the man that organized these murders was found guilty of manslaughter after forty-one years, at the age of eighty.  Is this justice? He was allowed to live out his entire life then when is near death he was then charged with murder. The killings of these student is a perfect example of trying to suppress progress of certain people preventing them from moving forward as citizens under one nation. Today because of the past and the fight that was fought the Voters Rights Act gives new meaning to freedom for blacks and other minority groups. The same can be said about said about attempting to establish equal rights in the workplace and education for women. Over the years great achievements have been accomplished as a result of those who actively support and advocate feminism. One of the most astounding achievements for women was the right to be able to vote; this only occurred because of the dedication and determination of many women. Others “fought and campaigned for women’s right to equal pay, while others fought and won women’s right to enter into contract and own property; plus countless advocated to protect girls and women from domestic violence. However, violence against women needs more serious attention because it is very easy to blame a woman victim especially in a case where she is raped. Society tend to look the other way, blame or judge women when the woman act, behave or dress a certain way, this was so in the film, The Accused and the reading by Wolf, “The Making of a Slut”. In Wolf’s reading the character Dinah got called a slut because she was too poor, too proud of her body and because of the way that she dressed. As stated on (p 54) paragraph 7 last line and (p 55) first paragraph, “They saw a heavily made-up girl, in her short read-leather jacket and midriff cropped T-shirt, leaning against a graffiti-stained wall every afternoon with the guys in the band, smoking; and they knew all about Dinah.” They judged her solely based on her appearance and the way she carried herself. Additionally, “for many years the fight continued for the right to get maternity leave and against discrimination in the work place. The basic assumption shared by all feminists is that women suffer certain injustices on account of their sex. Women were also paid less than men until the Equal Pay Act 1970;” this is progress. According to Center for American Progress, “Women of color make up 33 percent of women in the workforce. Breaking it down by race and ethnicity, 67 percent of women in the workforce are non-Hispanic white, 13 percent are Hispanic, 13 percent are black, 5 percent are Asian, and 2 percent are other. By 2020 the number of women in the workforce is expected to grow to 77,232,000, an increase of 6.2 percent from today. Moreover, by 2020 women’s participation rate in the labor force is expected to be greater than that of men.”

Still the fight must continue because every aspect of the socioeconomic level blacks and other minorities are at the bottom. According to an article from, it states “African American children are three times more likely to live in poverty than Caucasian children. American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian families are more likely than Caucasian and Asian families to live in poverty (Costello, Keeler, & Angold, 2001; National Center for Education Statistics, 2007).” It further confirmed Minorities are more likely to receive “high-cost mortgages: African Americans (53 percent) and Latinos (43 percent), in comparison to Caucasians (18 percent) (Logan, 2008).” Is this equal opportunity for all? Are everyone given the same options or advantages? These are just a few of the areas where African Americans and other minorities are lagging behind and where the white group always seems to be thriving. Within the legal system the whites were also in control, this was so with the segregation laws; where black were continually legally oppressed. They had a very difficult time in court, all the judges were white and blacks were not allowed to testify against whites.” It was no different for Dred Scott, an enslaved African American man who had been taken by his master to free states and territories and then back to Missouri where slavery was legal. In 1846 Dred Scott petitioned the Missouri court for his freedom on the claim that his freedom was established by his stay in a free state and territory. The court found that Scott was not a citizen and as such was not entitled to bring suit in the courts and that slave master could take his slave into a free territory if he chose and still retain title to him. Again, where is the equality and justice?

Once more, such behavior was perpetuated in To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee. Tom Robinson a black man was tried and convicted even though his innocence was proven; that he could not have possibly committed the crime of which he was accused. Everyone knew that it was Bob Ewell, that beat his daughter and that she falsely accused Tom, however, no one did anything to assist him but Atticus, his lawyer. After Tom’s conviction, even Atticus children were bewildered by the jury’s decision to convict.  Atticus simply tried to explain why the jury’s decision was in many ways an inevitable conclusion. While Bob Ewell and his family were considered to be white trash by whites because they were poor and lived next to dump, they were still believed to be better than Tom Robinson because they were white and he was black. In the court’s eyes white lives carried much more value then any black person. The issue was never about Tom being guilty or innocent it was Tom being black; he was only convicted because he was black, a perfect example of systemic racism. “The Ewells’ Tom draws both on white fears of African-American men, especially where white women are concerned, and also on the stereotypes that justify white oppression of supposedly inferior African-Americans.” This injustice in Tom’s case has been ongoing for blacks in the court system for as long as one can remember; even in the movies black men are most times portrayed as the villains. They are also judged by people of a different race as being criminals, animals or thugs without knowing who they are as a person.  Sadly, this behavior towards blacks especially black young men still continues today. In relation to an article on, it states, “Our civil rights laws abolished Jim Crow laws and other vestiges of segregation, and guaranteed minority citizens the right to travel and utilize public accommodations freely. Yet today, racial profiling and police brutality make such travel hazardous to the dignity and health of law-abiding black and Hispanic citizens. Today, our criminal justice system strays far from this ideal. Unequal treatment of minorities characterizes every stage of the process. Black and Hispanic Americans, and other minority groups as well, are victimized by disproportionate targeting and unfair treatment by police and other front-line law enforcement officials; by racially skewed charging and plea bargaining decisions of prosecutors; by discriminatory sentencing practices; and by the failure of judges, elected officials and other criminal justice policy makers to redress the inequities that become more glaring every day.” Is it fair to stop and frisk someone because of the way that they look or to pull them over because they are black? Is there justice in the practice of racial profiling among blacks? Or is it fair to shoot an unarmed man because you think he might be dangerous or carrying drugs or he may look suspicious? Or is it justice to suffocate and kill someone (black men), for selling illegal cigarettes? As Emerson said, the notion of laws is always based on the moral sense, where is our moral sense as human being? Who is to be blamed for such injustice is there a systemic pact against African Americans or is it just the way of life for blacks?  What part of “I can’t breathe” is difficult to understand? Sadly, those were Eric Garner’s last words, before he was suffocated to death by the hands of the police. Where is justice and equality? This brings to mind The Pact, written by Jodi Picoult, when Emily dies everyone points their finger at someone. Where the blame really lies, however, is an answer that will challenge everything these people thought they knew about themselves. Have we gotten so corrupted that we no longer know the difference between right and wrong or between human beings and animals? How does equality fit into injustice and prejudice today for the African Americans?

Segregation was the most famous part of the Jim Crow laws. “These laws forced blacks and whites to be separate from each other in a variety of public accommodations. There were separate black and white rest rooms, drinking fountains, and waiting rooms. Blacks sat in the balcony of movie theaters or in separate theaters for blacks only. Blacks could not order food at the front of restaurants. Many restaurants simply refused to serve blacks at all. Blacks and whites went to county fairs on different days. Blacks were not allowed to use public libraries.”  This is known as social oppression, which is defined as a concept that describes a relationship of dominance and subordination between categories of people in which one benefits from the systematic abuse, exploitation, and injustice directed toward the other. In social oppression, all members of a dominant and subordinate category participate regardless of the individual attitudes or behavior. “African Americans have been the subject of racialized and discursive discourse that has socially constructed them as criminals and amoral human beings, which challenges their humanity and their right to a legitimate social and racial identity. Such racialized discourse has its roots in slavery, was reproduced during the Jim Crow era, and is maintained today through systemic racism to keep them from having a healthy identity, one that the world can appreciate and respect.” So even though segregation has ended many years ago it still silently and subtly rears its ugly head from time to time.  According to the National Association for Advancement for Colored People, “The promise of a quality education is an important civil and human right that has yet to be fully realized in the American public education system. African Americans are more likely to attend high-poverty schools, that is, public schools where more than 75 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and are less likely to graduate from high school. They subsequently attend college at rates lower than any other racial group.” The black communities always come up short because they face such issues as educational including the need for adequate funding for schools serving minority and disadvantaged students. Their living standards are less appealing since most blacks and minorities live in urban areas where rent and the cost of living is sky high, forcing them to seek government assistance.  Where is the equality for all Americans?

African Americans were constantly being oppressed from slavery to Jim Crow Laws and beyond simply because of the color of their skin. “Black people were rarely shown common courtesy by the whites.  In fact, whites often single out blacks for harassment as well threaten, beat, rape, torture, and kill blacks with little fear of formal retribution. There is some semblance of these injustices lingering in today’s society, only occurring in different forms. For instance, the recent rise in occurrence of police brutality in many prominent states in the country, illustrates the harsh, unfair treatment of minorities on a daily basis. The education system are robbing black children and other minority children of a proper education system by “ill” equipping the schools in urban areas schools with what it seem as  inferior equipments, facilities, program,  and teachers who many deem are not properly qualified to deal with the situations that they are put in. Another instances would be that of the prisons, where most of the inmates are minorities – while not all of these prisoner are innocent many recent events have shown that a great deal of them are; henceforth America is not the land of “equal” opportunity for all because many are not given the same opportunities as others.

Work Cited Page

Bennett, Lerone. The Challenge of Blackness. Chicago: Johnson Pub. Co, 1972. Print


Brooker, Russell G. “America’s Black Holocaust Museum.” Americas Black Holocaust Museum The Five Pillars of Jim Crow Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.


“Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2014.


“Workplace Fairness – Short-Changed || Discrimination.” Workplace Fairness – Short-Changed || Discrimination. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.


“Statistics on Blacks in the Workplace.” Statistics on Blacks in the Workplace. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

“Justice On Trial.” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.

“Feminism”. 2014. Web.


Burns, Croby, Kimberly Barton, and Sophia Kerby. “The State of Diversity in Today’s Workforce.” Name. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

New York City College of Technology




Mistakes of Humans:
The higher animals




Dominika Bielak
ENG 1121
Dr. Williams


Mistakes of Humans: the higher animals
Humans have a tendency to be egocentric and put their needs in front of other people. However, how can you not be, especially when life is so short and fragile some might say? Morality and justification through human eyes show their true nature reveals along with their unpreventable mistakes. Social oppression in America is a serious issue, which excludes and makes it a social norm to believe people should be treated the way that the society treats them. Sadly, however, this includes a majority of the population; the only privileged beings, which seem to not have issues with this, are white males. Speaking historically white males excluded anyone who they felt does not fit in to their social group. Logically speaking, this happens all around the world, and always did. From world w and WW2 to other genocides and wars, humans like to be in control of people, situations and environments. However, this does not truly justify the social oppression, only explains how people think. If everyone worked as a whole to create a less violent world, everything would be different. The two big topics I want to discuss are sexism and racism. These are two of the most controversial topics in many classes from philosophy to psychology.
Starting on a happy note, one of the most beautiful philosophical idea of spirituality is transcendentalism. Through poetic and hypnotizing words, the father of transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke and described a breakthrough of the nineteenth century. This wasn’t just a spiritual view, it was a movement and a new way of explaining our beliefs especially for those whom are confused about where their faith lays. Its basic definition is that everything is inner connected. This philosophical idea, dismisses basic senses as a way to understand the world, however, I goes beyond that to exploit the true inner self. This idea goes beyond to explore the true potential and at the time to experience freedom of self through creativity of writing, art and nature. In the time of this philosophy, the members believed in feminism and equality, independence and potential. (I. Finseth). This knowledge made up the core being which has creative thoughts and its own genius. In my opinion I believe that I was moved. The overall idea of transcendentalism is beautiful. I would say it’s more than just a movement but it involved philosophy and some spirituality I read somewhere then, that you cannot look at the parts, when the parts are the whole. Another big part of transcendentalism is the truth, which they defined as being in their soul. With their senses they reached over to the truth, and everyone has a different truth due to the fact that it is subjective. (Lewis, Jone)It discussed how the truth is subjective because everyone has different feelings and emotions. Even with the five senses that everyone has, our mind interprets everything differently from one another because we aren’t the same person. Transcendentalism is a difficult concept to truly understand. It explains that the spiritual essence, has an interrelated complexity. All living things, are not just a body, however more than that. All combined together as a whole we form a divine entity. In their time, these individuals in this club were looked as rebels because they didn’t believe in the government and fitting in. This also included in being active in past time movements to help the human race. Movements like feminism and anti-slavery where just some of the important ones. (Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy).What I find sad is that slavery and sexism was a regular part of life, and these intellectuals were trying to change life. However it is rewarding to see that the transcendentalism had beautiful goals which went against the government. During this time I was a harder time to speak the mind. This is beautiful and I wish everyone thought like those which were transcendentalists. Maybe we would have less hate in the world. After reading Emerson’s writing on Self- Reliance I realized that t
Both sexism and racism are continually being acted out due to the fact that it has always been done. Also both of these parties do not occur that often among toward the one percent, which is the percent of the people which hold most of the money and get to decide what happens to the rest of the ninety-nine percent. I do believe that drastic change has been made and it is remarkable that slavery and sexism both ended almost a century ago, and we have made progress. Off course, it wasn’t going to be easy to change the minds of those living in times where this was taught in their schools and at home. Some might say we could have pushed it further, and we could have. There is no doubt about that, it took America a very long time to get use to the new ways, and a lot of people around the age of sexism and racism were completely brainwashed to the point where they got to decide who they taught was better, among those who lived. This actually portrays perfectly to the essay of Mark Twain titled “The lowest animal”, which specified that humans were the lowest animals to exist. This is due to reasons such as “indecency, vulgarity, obscenity” as Mark Twain writes. Then he goes on to explain how humans are selfish and greedy. This applies to this example perfectly because humans think they can take any life they want, and inflict pain upon those who shall come in their way. This pain which they cause is a conscious decision and for doing so it makes us cruel. Since we have moral sense we should be able to tell from right and wrong, however many do not know one from the other. This is why it makes humans at fault and especially those who don’t have enough morality to think for themselves. Some of the things that thankfully have changed are finally women and none-white people have a chance to go to the top. Both can be doctors and go to school, the government tries and set equal goals to make everyone happy.
However this isn’t true in all cases, aspects which are still controversial are birth control, abortions, work pay for women, and for non-white peoples it is still systematic racism which causes larger economic, political and social problems. It is still sad to see cops singling out black kids on the street for frisking and for women to be looked down for abortion. Two of these are in completely different categories, however it still goes under a larger title: Discrimination. It is peculiar to find a human being tell others to live. And to also find what is wrong and right, what is the right way to dress and who should have more funding. It is depressing how schools single out kids, and put them in zones. If all schools got the same funding for their schools I believe that more kids would be allowed to prosper. As looking toward the answers, we see many families being all clumped in one area, and their kids grow up there too, not giving them a chance to truly think about the actions. Easier classes in these neighborhoods, and less funding is definitely a problem. However most of these schools are only in neighborhoods which are high in Hispanic and blacks. This is very somber when actually thinking about how our government does not help those in need.
There was a lot of discrimination which was available to public then than now. One truly terrifying case was the Mississippi Burning, which was written about in the book How to Kill a Mocking Bird. This book had the melancholy sound, which really showed how hatred was normal back then. It is just sad to think that people wanted to hurt one another because of skin color. Even though we have racists now, I have never came across someone who was blunt about it. In this movie, it almost seems unreal how people were treated and it seems like this is a great change, even though many people would disagree, however brainwashed people are every hard to deprogram. Culture and morals from one generation is passed to the other, and those families pass it on to another. I have not been alive for that long, to actually tell whether or not the time which we have spent trying to rebuild this country, is enough to restore it. Times after the Civil War have defined changed, and people and cities became more diverse and socially accepting.
After the civil war there was many matters which have not been resolved. Racism is something that people in the south were taught and would not just give up everything they believed in. The Jim Crow laws were there to separate the human race by two colors, colored and white. (Jim crow laws the basics) There were so many laws that separated us, that it was disgusting for us to know that now, they separated the bathrooms, restaurants and buses. Off course larger public places like schools even burial. (Jim Crow laws)I believe that now as I looking back at it, and for so many people to believe this was normal or appropriate makes me lose faith in the human race. Humans truly are the only beings on this planet to treat each other this way, and some to take pride. Reminds me of the quote “Kill one man you are a murderer, kill many a conquer, kill them all you are a god.” This shows how important authority is to humans, and to have control over social aspects because we can. As I was reading that parks, intermarriage and hospitals were segregated, I couldn’t believe that this truly happened. Sometimes it is hard to believe all of the things in history class are true because of how frightening they are. One of the worst parts of this whole thing is that the country try to back up that ‘god’ agreed or supported segregation. The bible was analyzed and then shown as proof. The bible and religion was supposed to be a peaceful representation of faith. However, people turned to it to explain this, only shown how much they wanted an explanation for what they were doing. Even though segregation was supposed to be separate but equal it was clear to see that the overall view was that whites were inferior to any other race. Morals were then created and migrated with the society to make this a custom belief.
Comparing To Kill a Mockingbird with Snow Falling on Cedars, both are focused on the trails throughout the book, off course having an additional side plots which are intertwined with the actual trails themselves. Both books are very beautiful and tell two different stories of racism in and around the court. Snow Falling on Cedars creates a rather struggle of the protagonist and his active decision and his struggles with his past. It is a very beautiful story about love and hatred, however at the turning point he finally gets to resolve his past issues, and actually in a way let go of them as he releases to the court the evidence. Ethnicity in these two books are a giant factor, which contributed in telling the story. When most people think of racism they believe that slavery might have been the only racism which occurred in this country, however, there were many cases which not many history classes focus on the time of the Japanese and American struggle within the country. This is however quite peculiar because the first time I even found out about the Japanese concentration camps during world war two, I thought it wasn’t real. I think it’s very strange how the government chooses what we have to learn for history courses.
Now a days, when we might come to a war, our government might do the same thing, and make a ethnicity suffer. I believe that one of the issues which we find struggling with, is the Middle Eastern racism. Many people after the nine eleven attacks have become hypersensitive to the countries from Middle East. Also high conviction rates of blacks and Spanish people is still one of the curious cases which still happen here and now in the 21st century. I have actually spoke to many people who believe that being more cautious of black and Spanish people because they seem to be more violent. I believe that if the government would make the communities more comfortable and give them better education, our whole crime rates would go down. Also portraying blacks and Hispanics in movies and crime shows as violent, it only predisposes people to believe that in the court as well. This isn’t easy to try and figure out why our government makes it unequal and/ or if it’s intentional. However if more people notice that we have to work together, no matter the color of our skin or sex, the government will slowly change. We need a community which grows together and tries to stick up for one another. Try and see the right and wrong in eyes of the other person, and try and understand the circumstances.
The other person may also be a significant other, or someone who is of the opposite sex. I will focus more so on the female inequality and sexism. Crimes such as sexual assault, and unequal pay, among with victimization and dehumanization of women throughout all these years has been open for all eyes to see. However with my understanding, it has decreased and women are not treated as bad as they were before. However, men will believe that their innate idea of women being lower than males does cause issues. In the movie The Accused, a woman is raped and later to only be laughed at. Only it is very difficult to watch the scene where rape occurs but it is true to see that she was raped. Men encouraging it and no one stopping it, and later mocking her, shows us how men see women as objects. Rape is very common all around the world, however the majority of the rape victims are women. One of the changed which occurred is that now women can actually accuse their husbands of rape, and that was never allowed before. There is not much that is done now a days to protect women. However I do value some males for try and comfort and try and take care of them. That might be the only way women now are protected. I would like to take a second and thank a cab driver who dropped me off next to my house when I told him I didn’t have the money to pay for the remaining of the cab ride. Also all my close male friends who walk me home, and try and make me safe. This is one of the only ways which I think that women are protected. Maybe besides from the fact some carry pepper spray or any other weapon. However, this still shows that women are prey. Depending on males close to us to keep us safe doesn’t make us independent it only shows that we need males to protect us now just like times in the past. This shows that women are just objects, in the paper, on TV to show off to men. To attract more males. There is nothing we can truly do about it, only perhaps teach our kids right.
In another essay which also discussed the issues of the woman imagine and how judgmental everyone is toward woman, Wolf’s Making of a Slut is a disturbing slap in the face which shows the readers that we learn to judge women. Depending on what they wear and how they speak about their sexuality. All of us are guilty of looking at a female wrong because she did something that wasn’t lady like, or was too honest for a lady. A conditioning of how women should act and dress, and which women are mothers and which will be the mistresses. However in the 21st century everything has changed. However I still get judged based on what I wear. As a female I think that women should be able to feel comfortable in any role, and dressing in any way makes her comfortable. Although when I spoke to my teacher he told me that being comfortable wearing feminine clothing empowers me, I disagree. I don’t have to show off my breasts or my legs to be a female, nor do I have to look like a female be one. Some feminist might disagree some might agree, however in the Making of Slut and The Accused, both are trying to empower women. Feminism is actually not as big as it used to be before, because everyone started to get use to more rights for women but there is a constant struggle of women in the society.
Another very familiar way to say feminism is the feminist movement. The whole point of the feminist movement is to improve the qualities of the female life, such issues involve reproductive rights and equal pay. However in our society which we all live in, feminism is described as women getting out of hand, some might even say over reacting. These are obvious, and might even seem like it is quite revolting when actually thinking about how women use to get treated and what was to be the norm a hundred years ago. The basic term which could have described women a hundred years ago was a slave. It is hard to talk to some people about feminism because they disregard anything about this. Many men as well as females, believe that today’s society is good enough and are too lazy to look in-between the lines to understand that, we only disregard it, and do not want to talk about it, it is because it is true. The other day after class I spoke to my boyfriend about all the interesting things I have heard about in class, and his reaction was negative. Even though I continued to talk, I saw his disinterest in his facial features. (Feminist Movement)
In one article I read that femininity is ‘ritualized suppression’, which is actually true. If we took certain phrases like ‘you are being a girl’ it literally shows us that males subconsciously and maybe even consciously, are describing certain feminine actions as negative. Ritualized gender categories, also make it difficult for females to truly be themselves, because as soon as they are born males and females are treated differently. (M. Goldberg)
As I was reading another article about the recently chimpanzee experiment, it talked about how there was never a same sex done for females. Researchers have been fascinated with gay chimpanzees however this was the first research study which completely focused on females and their sexual orientation. The result was that female’s chimpanzees often when being with another female do not focus on sex, however they focus more on pair bonding, and a relationship between them two. This could also relate back today’s society as well, many females do try and keep things together, and because of that they are looked at as weak. (S. Radtke) this could also relate back today’s society as well, many females do try and keep things together, and because of that they are looked at as weak.
In a book where everything is to question has to be The Pact by Jodi Picoult. The questionable reality of right and wrong, and whether or not helping a loved one die, when they want to can be comparable a bit to death in elderly in a hospital. When a sick person wants to die in a hospital and not struggle anymore with slowly dying, from any side it maybe or may not be reasonable to help them die right there and then… Even though I was never put in a situation like Christopher and Emily, I can say that mental issues are able to be treated and help is available. Since Emily was depressed, her love would do anything to help her no matter what. However, this seems wrong because she wasn’t mentally old enough to even understand this decision. Depression is a scary mental illness however it may be treated. Unlike dying slowly because of cancer or anything which slowly eats you up, (like the example in the hospital) this young lady was still able to get out of this situation and I feel like it was wrong for this pact to happen. However, I am not to judge whether or not the judge would find him guilty, she helped to pull the trigger which only shows that she truly did it. Justification in this book explained may be enough to try and switch people to the side toward Christopher however, it is difficult to actually justify something so brutal and somber. There isn’t enough moral justice or social justice in this situation.
The beauty of trying to justify something, meaning most of the time that that reason needs to justify which already sounds wrong. In the writing of Ralph Emerson Self-Reliance, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” It is deep rooted to actually believe what you did was for the right reason, the guilt was there while Christian was in prison. However putting him in prison with killers who wanted to do what they did, is still a breach of the government. This was not intended for pleasure, just to help a loved one, however, justified or not, he will have to live with this is enough.
Anything from any point may be justified. In World War 2, Nazi’s when interviewed and asked the question of “Why did they do it?” Their answer was that it was a given order. This goes beyond our true nature of judging those who simply were taught in this way, or trying with their belief to make this world into a better place. With personal to more political and social justifications for the law to step in and try and tell right from wrong, in its self is in a way fearsome. Not everyone has the capacity to understand the truth behind a human being, however what I do know is that we are all human, no matter what the race, the sex or the crime. With our conscious decisions and our growth of the prefrontal cortex we have somehow advanced to believe we are superior and to believe we can do the heinous crimes we do. That is why I will end with not trying to explain why people do the things they do, however they grow into the society, to grow among us and learn to be this way. Maybe it is human nature to become this way, no safe way to find out. However with this essay I will state that it brings me to disgust that racism and sexism happens and many people don’t think twice about it. In other countries our distant brother and sister, get killed, and raped and we sit here in our beds and complain about our food. This whole species is selfish yet we have made it that way. Lust and greed, has us brainwashed, believing what is right and wrong, we do not even try and have the apathy and sympathy to try and put ourselves in their place. And help one another survive in this world were money is more important than our own and love. And status now means more than ever, that’s why doctors no longer use natural methods to help someone, just feed them chemicals, to make more money. This status explains what inferior people look like, and sound like, and that it puts them higher than any living soul, because they aren’t worth it. Nevertheless, people who are racist and sexist were made to be that way, taught by people. I have trust that maybe one day we work together to see that we are equal. Through these books, authors told life lessons, but not enough people read them. In these books, you see how to some crimes against humans are justifiable in their minds. We have made them that way…

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Racism: Does it Still Exists?


Racism: Does it still exist?




Marcia Thomas – Henry



Submitted in partial Fulfillment of

English 3401- Law Thru Literature

Section E354


Dr. Williams

December 18, 2014







Throughout history, racism has been one of the major deterrents of unity amongst humans and one of the causes of many historical events in the United States, such as, the establishment of Jim Crow Laws, Slavery, Civil War and the implementation of the Voters Rights Act of 1965.   “Martin Luther King was brilliant in showing that racism is a cancer in the heart of those who have prejudice and discriminate and that it violates the most basic human an American values of justice and equal opportunity.” (Mandle) Rights that’s allows the pursuit of happiness in a land known to be the land of opportunity.

Cases such as   Dred Scott v. Stanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), highlighted an example of the injustices faced by people of color in the pass, (Inhumane treatment) which continue to haunt them today and draw attention to the inequality in society where blacks are concern.   Scott was a slave in Missouri he resided in a Louisiana territory where slavery was forbidden. After returning to Missouri, Dred Scott unsuccessfully in Missouri courts sued for his freedom claiming that his residence in a free state made him a free man. The Court decided that Dred Scott was not recognized as a citizen because was black and since he was not a U. S citizen he could not bring a law suit before the federal court. (Dred)

The writings of Harper lee in To Kill a Mocking Bird and Frederick Douglas in What to the Slave is the Fourth of July also the case United States v. Cecil Price, 383 U.S. 787 (86 S.Ct. 1152, 16 L.Ed.2d 267) addressed issues of the pass that was originated as a result of racism such as biasness, segregation, systemic racism and racial injustices. After comparing the events of the pass and present, one is left to wonder whether racism still exists and if it does, is it responsible for the prejudices and unfair treatment of people of color in society today which cause rebellion, is it responsible for the sentiment by specific ethnic groups that they are superior to blacks or is it responsible for the lack of diversity in certain areas which cause problems such as poverty and

Thomas – Henry -2-

unemployment. In this paper I will examine the pass and present issues faced by people of color in America and conclude whether the biasness experienced in the pass still subsist today and will continue in the future.

Racism is defined by as 1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. 2. Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. (Google) The basic problem with racism begins with the notion that there is a difference between races. We are all taught that we are created equal so the ideology that one group is inferior to another goes against what Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence strived to attain, when he created these words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient cause.” (U. S 1776) There are so much discussions over what “ Created equal” meant to Thomas Jefferson and what it might signify to us today, one thing that can be understood from the start is that it must not only refer to more than possession of equal rights but can also mean “ human differences and freedom of choice.

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Racism has been in the United States throughout the years. One of the most significant forms was the ingress of Displaced African American and the injustices they suffered. Racism began with the inhumane enslavement of black people. The slavery colonies began to strip blacks of all the titles of their native land then reduced their status to chattel or property. Blacks in America were given names such as Negro, Nigger, colors and other words of hate. Blacks, the third work force in America were brought in as replacement labor after the failure of work force one, the Irish and work force two, the Native American. Displaced Africans, as they were called at the time, were discriminated against and forced to endure injustices such as poverty and segregation which cause them to become scared and oppressed people.

Today, society is aware of how constant racism has been throughout the years; the separation of blacks and whites has continued to be a major reason for cultural division and the prevention of integration amongst all citizens of America. People of color and whites have a history of being treated differently. According to, one of the important events during the presidency of the 18th American President, Ulysses Grant, was the Jim Crow Laws. The Jim Crow Laws were statutes enacted by Southern states, for example Mississippi and Missouri, in the 1880s which created segregation between African Americans and whites. People of different ethnicity were not allowed to socialize. The Jim Crow laws restricted the freedom of African Americans to use public facilities, schools, to vote, to find decent employment, basically excluding African Americans from exercising their rights as citizens of the United States. Examples of the Jim Crow Laws are, 1. Separate official records of black births, marriages, and deaths from records of the lives of white people. 2. Segregating black and white prisoners in state penitentiaries and 3. Factories and workplaces were required to maintain separate bathrooms.

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Even though Enforcement Acts were passed to end segregation and help to prevent inequality, the 13th Amendment of 1865, which abolished slavery, the 14th Amendment of 1868 which related to citizenship rights and the 15th Amendment of 1870 that declared the voting rights of black male citizens. (Historama) Racism continued through white brotherhood groups like the Klu Klux Klan(KKK).

The Ku Klux Klan was one of a number of secret, oath-bound organizations using violence, which included the Southern Cross in New Orleans 1860s. One of the aims of the KKK was to suppress black voting in the south in the 1960s. One of the most memorable events associated with the Klan was the Mississippi Burning Trial. This case arose from the murders of three civil rights workers who volunteered to register black voters of Mississippi in 1964. The voter’s registration program was conducted for the presidential election year through freedom summer. Twenty one members of the local KKK were prosecuted in this matter and were only found guilty of civil rights violations. (See United States v. Cecil Price, 383 U.S. 787 (86 S.Ct. 1152, 16 L.Ed.2d 267). While United States v. Price (1967) produced a landmark decision that signaled a huge shift in American’s legal history and race relations, for it meant that local authorities could no longer shield racist lawbreakers, Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System still lingered. “Decades after the era when the Ku Klux Klan lynched African-Americans, the hate group is still fighting for white power.” Said Harrison Jacobs in his article What The Ku Klux Klan Look like today. Mr. Jacobs said that, “There are active chapters in 41 U.S. states, with between 5,000 and 8,000 active members, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Members are split among local organizations like the Fraternal White


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Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Tennessee and a few national organizations, like the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”(Jacobs)

To Kill a Mocking bird by Harper Lee highlighted the South of America during a time of segregation. It showed that justice was served based on the socio economic class and race of the person charged with the crime. For example, in the book, Tom Robinson a black man was faced with an undeserved charge of raping a white woman. Despite the facts in the case that showed that Mr. Robinson was innocent he was found guilty, his crime was being black in a country where there is a verdict for black American and there is a verdict for white American. Andrew Hacker in his book Two Nations, Black and White separate, Hostile, Unequal, paints a stark picture of racial inequality of blacks in America. His reasoning shows that the issues tackled by blacks previously continue to be the difficulties confronted   by blacks presently, Hacker wrote, “Quite clearly, the phrase “black crime” does not make people think of tax evasion or embezzling from brokerage firm. Rather the offenses generally associate with blacks are those that carry threat of actuality for bodily injury. In a word, crimes involving violence: most particularly, murder, robbery and rape. Blacks comprise of only 12 percent of the American population, they account for a high proportion of 60.9 percent of all arrest. In instances where race of assailants are known, blacks were responsible for 55.4 percent of all criminal deaths and accounted for 55.1 percent of murder and manslaughter arrest. Altogether 70.9 percent of the people who reported that they had been robbed said that their assailants were black. While this is higher than the 60.9 percent of black robbery arrest, it still supports the view that blacks are more

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likely than whites to commit these kinds of crimes.” (Hacker) The American Prospect, by Sophia Kerby states that “According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Individuals of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.” (Kerby)

The issues with racism were clearly understood then and its relevance to society in this era is acknowledged by many. Being discriminated against based on race cut more deeply and cause more harm than other presumptions American may make about another and cause further division today as was done previously. Abraham Lincoln in his speech “House divided” tells what can be the results of a conflicted nation, He said, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure; permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” (Representatives)


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On Wednesday, 11 August 1965, Marquette Frye, a 21-year-old black man, was arrested for drunk driving on the edge of Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. The ensuing struggle during his arrest sparked off 6 days of rioting, resulting in 34 deaths, over 1,000 injuries, nearly 4,000 arrests, and the destruction of property valued at $40 million. (Stanford). On August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer. The disputed circumstances of the shooting and the resultant protests and civil unrest received considerable attention in the U.S. and abroad, and have sparked debate about law enforcement’s relationship with African Americans and police use of force doctrine. (Wikipedia)The trend of discriminating against black males has been around has been around for a long time and has been responsible for the minimal progress of black in America. Discrimination leads to rebellion and mistrust.

On February 26, 2012 an unarmed seventeen year old boy, Treyvon Martin was fatally shot by a Hispanic male. After the fatal racial incident a number of controversies followed under the claims of racial discrimination. Shortly after, On April 14, 2012, Brent Staples publish an article in the New York Times “Young, Black, Male, and Stalked by Bias” Mr. Staples used Treyvon’s incident to further imply an understanding he believes society had African American men. The article states, “Society’s message to black boys — “we fear you and view you as dangerous” — is constantly reinforced. Boys who are seduced by this version of themselves end up on a fast track to prison and to the graveyard. But even those who keep their distance from this deadly idea are at risk of losing their lives to it. The death of Trayvon Martin vividly underscores that danger.” (Staple) Jere Hester, in his article in response to the deaths of Eric garner a black man who died of a choke hold by a white police officer, “Chris Rock’s

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Resonance: Comedian Highlights Racism in Hollywood, Grand Jury Decision” States, White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.” (Hester) This simply means that little or no progress has been made in the area of combating racism.

Andrew Hacker in his bestselling analysis of a divided society in Two Nations, Black and White separate, Hostile, Unequal, explains why racial disparities persists, he clarifies the meaning of racism, conflicting theories, superiority, equality as well as such subtle factor as guilt and sexual fears. Hacker looked at the racial inequality of this nation, then show that despite efforts to increase understanding, black and white American still lead separate lives. He highlighted the reality of family life, income, employment as well as controversies affecting education and shows how race influences the attitudes and behavior of all Americans. According to Hacker, “If you are black and young and a man, the arrival of the police does not usually signify help but something very different. If you are a teenager simply socializing with friends, the police may order you to disperse and get off the streets. They may turn on a search light, order you against a wall. Then come the command to spread your legs and empty out your pockets and stand splayed there while they call in your identity over the radio. You may be a college student and sing in the choir, but that will not overcome the police presumption that you have probably done something wrong.” (Hacker 51)

Frederick Douglas in his speech asked this rhetorical question, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” His question to a mostly white audience was, “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended

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to us blacks?” He then said “This Fourth July is yours, not mine”; to ask a black person to celebrate the white man’s freedom from oppression and tyranny is “inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony” (Evil defilement of sacred American principles, democracy, freedom, and equal rights). Douglass tells the audience, “your 4th of July is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license (enslaving Negros), your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery. (Zirin). Douglass criticized American system as being unpredictable, a system that professes freedom it does not give all people. He implied that this system does not grant complete right to its own entire people. Similarly, he argues that while the American Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal,” American society creates an under-class of men and women. (Zirin) Even though Douglass’ words addressed his moment is history, his words are still applicable today. He said, “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade it, neither persons nor property will be safe.” (Frederick Douglass) In society today, the rate of black unemployed males doubles the amount in comparison to the rate for white males. Statistics shows that the average unemployment rate for whites in The Unites States is 6.8 percent; the percentage for African American is 12.4 percent. (Hacker189).

History shows us that society has suffered because of racism.  The injustice done to blacks and the torture inflicted upon them have been recorded over the centuries and illustrated in movies like the Mississippi Burning. Oppressors and hate mongers use an already distressed system to continue racial prejudices, continue biasness and control a system already living in fear. In “Freedom of Fear” a quote, Aung San Suu Kyi said “Within a system

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which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day.   Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” (Kyi) Individuals now- a- days seem to have pre- conceived ideas about the other, persons who is of a different skin color, habits and culture is classed as “other”. Such discriminating terms and credentials of so many aspects of people’s everyday lives (black/ white) can spur hatred among persons causing racial separation and distrust.

Racism has shaped the United States throughout its existence. As a whole, many in society have adapted to its presence and choose to act as it does not exist. When looking back at certain circumstances and their results people realize the true nature of racism. Black people in America continue to endue unfair treatment. Black children and their community has a greater chance of not obtaining a good education , black men will always be in fear of being stopped and searched for just being the race they are and people of color will always be oppressed in America. Mark Twain in his study of class, culture and power categorized man as the lowest animal. He wrote:

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the lower animals (so- called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that the theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.


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Man is the only one that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, wait till a chance offers, then takes revenge. The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals. Man is the only animal that robs his helpless fellow of his country–takes possession of it and drives him out of it or destroys him. Man has done this in all the ages. There is not an acre of ground on the globe that is in possession of its rightful owner, or that has not been taken away from owner after owner, cycle after cycle, by force and bloodshed. Man is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who en­slaves. He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another. In our day he is always some man’s slave for wages, and does that man’s work; and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work. The higher animals are the only ones who exclusively do their own work and provide their own living. Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy ex­pense to grab slices of other peoples countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between cam­paigns, he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man, with his mouth. Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Ani­mal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. In truth, man is incurably foolish. Simple things which the other animals easily learn, he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a

fox , a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally, a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.


Mark Twains’ feeling is that Man’s moral sense is his greatest defect. He can be cruel and will do anything to achieve what he wants as long as the laws allow it. He can discriminate, He can be prejudice and he can condone racism even if it is goes against the principle of the United States. (Twain)

Although some may say that racism does not exist because slavery was abolished in 1865 and laws such as the Jim Crow laws are no longer in existence; however, clues display on television such as Freedom march, unexplained murder of blacks, research and every day experiences show it is still a reality years later. Racism can be seen when blacks are sent to jail at a more rapid rate than other ethnic groups in America. Blacks make up 12.5% of the United States population and 1.1 million of this percentage is in jail. (Class lecture) Racism can be seen when our first black president tries to implement new regulations that will benefit all American


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citizens but these regulations are dismissed by congress for no logical reason other than being declared by a black man. It is a belief that people are products of their surroundings so if restraints are built into the system to oppress specific groups, there is never going to be an end to prejudice and discriminations. Racism never ended it is still here, so there will be no diversity in communities, there will be no equality for all and the unity that will bring about change, freedom and liberty for all will continue to be a dream for black American at present as it was a dream for our fore parents.

















Work Cited


Douglass Frederick, Frederick Douglass Quotes,

Hacker Andrew, Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal, Ballantine Books, 1995

Hester Jere, Chris Rock’s Resonance: Comedian Highlights Racism in Hollywood, Grand Jury Decision,, 2014

Dred Scott Decision,

Jacobs Harrison, What The Ku Klux Klan Looks Like Today,, 2014

Jim Crow Laws- reconstruction, American – Historama. Org /1866-1881

Kerby Sophia, The American Prospect: 1 in 13 black men go to prison? The 10 most disturbing Facts About Racial Inequality in the U. S Criminal Justice System,, 2012

Kyi Aung San Suu, Freedom from Fear,, 102486

Lee Harper, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Mass Marked Paperback, 1982

Mandle Joan, Do you believe that there is still racism in the US? Do you believe that the promise of Equality has been fulfilled now, in the year 2001,, 2001

Representatives Hall Lecturm, House Divided Speech, 1858, Watts Rebellion Los Angeles, 1965, 1965

Staples Brent, Young, Black, Male and Stalked by Bias,, 2012

Twain Mark, The Lowest Animal,

United States v. Cecil Price, 383 U.S. 787 (86 S.Ct. 1152, 16 L.Ed.2d 267).

Wikipedia, Shooting of Michael Brown,, 2014

Zirin Dave, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? By Frederick Douglas,, 2012

Mariia’s Abstract Paper

The purpose of this research paper is to identify distinct groups that have been victims in the past decades, as well as laws that have shaped the United States of America, by examining the social oppression. The development of laws according to events and circumstances in the society in it’s different stages of 20th century will be examined as well. The research was based upon adopted laws, famous Mississippi Trial, statistics and few other materials to prove the position of inequality within specific groups. In conclusion I will prove that people in USA are not actually “equal” as they claim to be in the world.

Dominika’s abstract

With all of my power I will try and prove the importance of gender and its determination for life. Throughout human life, it determines many factors including social interactions. This paper will make the reader understand the struggles associated with sexism, and its consequences. Through books, articles/short writings and true events this will show the inequality of the social, political and economic aspects of sexism. I will examine from the very start of human life, and the gender role complex, which is accompanying to it. I will also go through the decades to demonstrate gradual evolution toward feminism and its discriminations, ending with today’s modern world and its issues today. The results of female abuse regarding to not only physical however mental; and other crimes along with many other associated to the government and how it is disregarded. Many political issues which are associated with women are omitted. To conclude, it will state the awful truth behind human nature.


Laura Lema
ENG 3401: Law Through Literature
Dr. Williams

It is somewhat distasteful to chant the “Pledge of Allegiance” and still encumber an ideology where men are superior to women, where rich people are worth more than the poor, and that white men’s lives are much more significant than that of a black man’s. The constitution is fundamental; it is the “supreme law,” throughout the years, however; many were rejected, chastised, reprimanded and the outcasts of the “free world.” Racism was instilled and hardened by laws enacted by the government, so was segregation and almost always did women face sexism. The constitution remains the same, but it was amended, our young country is an example of a mind, societal evolution. From the beginning of western European thought (or ever since there has been records to show), women or people of a certain religion or ethnicity were overlooked, deemed as second class citizens. Fortunately, because of democracy and free speech, people in this country can speak out, protest, write, read, overthrow an old, dissatisfied government and replace it with a new one. It is self-evident that as human kind, we are progressing.

The United States Constitution is a beautiful but double standard body of law made to govern our society, along with the rules and regulations that were born from it to further affect change and keep order. However, do these laws render just and fair retribution to those who have succumbed to their follies and transgressed against humanity? This paper will show through research I have conducted  about American History from the “Civil War of 1861″ to the “Mississippi burning trial” case and the growth of our judiciary system that, although we have come a far way, we still have a very long way to journey to create a just and fair society where the punishment fits the crime. Other than where  the individual commits the crime but may never  receive retribution for the crime they commit but instead is given a different sentence for a lesser crime. Through close examination of statistics and various writings such as ” To Kill a Mocking Bird,” “The Pact”, and films like “The Accused” that depict and illustrate through vivid imagery and metaphors the type of society we come from and live in today. What I will establish will dishearten the minds of the people interested in justice and equality and the pursuit of happiness for all.

My research will further  prove that the laws that are supposedly set in place to give retribution but, our court system often fails to utilize the eloquently, and intellectually  written laws that govern our nation to do just that. The court system has failed to protect, regulate and offer solace to our society by not holding all individuals to the  same standard of the law. I will prove that  Until our government and society expel this type of rationality we will always be forever frozen in our justice system; where criminals are given punishments that take the sting out of their reality and the consequences are quenched with lower and different penalties. If this continues they will never comprehend and truly realize the wrongs they have committed against humanity.

Racism: Does it still exist?

“Martin Luther King was brilliant in showing that racism is a cancer in the heart of those who have prejudice and discriminate and that it violates the most basic human an American values of justice and equal opportunity.” (Joan Mandle). Throughout history, racism has been a main cause of the important events of the United States (Civil War). Dred Scott v. Stanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), highlighted examples of injustices faced by people of color in the pass. The Court decided that Dred Scott was not recognized as a citizen because he was black and since he was not a U. S citizen he could not bring a law suit before the federal court.

The writings of Harper Lee in To Kill a Mocking Bird,  Frederick Douglas in What to the Slave is the Fourth of July and also the movie Mississippi Burning addressed issues racism can create such as slavery, segregation, systemic racism and racial injustices. After comparing the events of the pass and present, one is left to imagine whether racism still exists.

Although some may say that racism does not exist because slavery was abolished in 1865, evidences display on television, research and every day experiences show it is still in existence years later in today’s modern society. Racism can be seen when blacks are incarnated at a more rapid rate than other ethnic groups in America. Blacks make up 12.5% of the United States population and 1.1 million of this percentage is in jail (Lecture). Racism can be seen when a black president tries to implement new legislatures that will benefit all American citizens but they are dismissed by congress for no logical reason. People are products of their surroundings so if restraints are built into the system to oppress specific groups, there will never be an end to prejudice and discriminations. Racism still exists.

Marcia Thomas – Henry