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A Comparison of Freedom Documents Essay

• Throughout most of U.S. history, in most locations, what race has been in the majority? What is the common ancestral background of most members of this group?

The United States is a very diverse country, racially and ethnically. Six races are officially recognized in the U.S. and they are White, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and there are also the people of two or more races; a race which is called “Some other race” is also used in the census and other surveys, but is not official. Throughout U.S. history White Americans are the racial majority, with a 72% share of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 US Census. The majority of the 300 million people currently living in the United States are descended from European immigrants who have arrived in the past 400 years.

• What are some of the larger racial minorities in U.S. history? What have been the common ancestral backgrounds of each of these groups? When did each become a significant or notable minority group?

Some of the larger racial minorities in U.S. history are American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, and Native Hawaiian. Some of the common ancestral backgrounds of each of these groups are: Asian American-The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. African American- African Americans make up the second largest racial and ethnic minority in the United States. Most African Americans are of West and Central African descent and are descendants of enslaved blacks within the boundaries of the present United States. Hispanics and Latino Americans- Hispanic thus includes persons from Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin Americans excluding Brazilians while Latino excludes persons from Spain but includes both Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Latin Americans.

• In what ways have laws been used to enforce discrimination? Provide examples. These laws were intended against which racial minorities?

Affirmative action of the courts and prison systems which discriminates against Blacks and Hispanics, gives them 20% longer sentences, targets their neighborhoods, racially profiles, weakens minority neighborhoods electorally, created the culture of fatherless homes as a reaction to the Civil Rights Movement, fills prisons with low-level offenders for petty drug offenses, with illegal searches and in some states; where those crimes have been decriminalized anyways and disproportionately targets minority youths in instances where white youths would be dealt with informally, which is masked by “Affirmative Action” which largely benefits white women and Jews anyways. There were also the Convict codes, which were used to put Blacks back on the plantation, the loitering laws, the Blogs Act which targeted Blacks and Mexicans for marijuana until it was realized whites use it more, the sentences disparity between crack and cocaine at a 100 to 1 ratio, the lynch laws and various others.

• In what ways have laws been used to eliminate discrimination? Provide examples. Did the laws work to eliminate discrimination?

There are some laws and act that are anti-discrimination. 1) Age Discrimination Act of 1975 is a law which prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, for instance, financial assistance to schools and colleges, provided by U.S. Department of Education. 2) The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990. 3) The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act, INS, Act of 1965, Pub.L. 89-236) abolished the National Origins Formula that had been in place in the United States since the Immigration Act of 1924.


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