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Racial Inequality Essay

Racial inequality is regrettably imbedded in the history of the United States. Americans like to think of the American colonies as the start or founding of the quest for freedom, initially, the ending of religious oppression and later political and economic liberty. Yet, from the start, the fabric of American society was equally founded on brutal forms of supremacy, inequality and oppression which involved the absolute denial of freedom for slaves. This is one of the great paradoxes of American history – how could the ideals of equality and freedom coexist with slavery?

We live with the ramifications of that paradox even today and effects how all Americans live and thrive in the United States. Many of the races that were sanctioned legally due to their ethnicity such as the Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans. Whereas as European Americans were granted privileges by law, also known as “white privileged”. During the founding of the United States, many non-Protestant European immigrants such as individuals from the Jewish, Irish and Italian descents suffered exclusion and other forms of discrimination in American society.

Race still plays a major unspoken role in the way our society is organized (Rothenberg). The existence of different genders, races and cultures within a society is also thought to contribute to economic inequality. People believe, mainly whites that racial inequality is dead but it is still alive in all factors of our daily lives. “The disparities between black and white Americans remain consistent, nagging and substantial,” League president Marc Morial stated. Here are some questions that need to be considered when addressing racial inequality. What are the main forms of contemporary racial inequality?

How have these patterns of inequality developed over time? How can we explain the persistence of racial inequality despite the decline in factors that supposedly accounted for it in the past? There has been significant work in regards to these questions but there is not enough evidence for the reasons behind the racial gap. Racial inequality is classified as “imbalances in the distribution of power, economic resources, and opportunities. ” (Shapiro). Present-day racial inequalities in the United States have their background in over three hundred years based on race.

Color-blind racism is a new term for contemporary racial inequality in the United States as the outcome of nonracial dynamics. Color-blind racism embellishes the thought that race is no longer an issue and that they are non-racial explanations for inequality. There are four structures that support this issue (Bonilla-Silva). Abstract liberalism uses the ideas associated with political liberalism; it is based on liberal ideas comparable to equal opportunity, individualism, and choice (Bonilla-Silva).

Naturalization describes racial inequality as a cause of natural occurrences; it claims that segregation is not the result of racial dynamics (Bonilla-Silva). Cultural racism explains racial inequality through culture which is described as stereotypical behavior of minorities (Bonilla-Silva). Then there is minimization of racism attempts to minimize the factor of race as a major influence in affecting the life chances of minorities (Bonilla-Silva).

Richard Lynn discusses that there are distinctive group differences in capacity that are somewhat accountable for constructing race and gender group differences in wealth (Lynn). Culture and religion are believed to play a part in constructing inequality by encouraging or discouraging wealth-acquiring behavior, and by giving a basis for discrimination. Certain racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be poor depending on the country that the individual belongs to. Another cause includes cultural differences between different races, an educational success gaps, and racism.

It is a known fact that African Americans and other minorities lag behind whites, which poses serious issue (Contemporary Racial Inequality in the United States Russell Sage Foundation). Gender inequality and discrimination is discussed to cause and disseminate poverty and helplessness in society as a whole. Household and intra-household information and means are key guidance in an individual’s talent to take advantage of peripheral living opportunities or respond properly to threats. High education levels and social integration considerably increases the productivity of all participants of the household.


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