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Racial Inequality Essay

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, the narrator, asks her father, “Atticus, are we going to win it?” to which he replies, “No honey” (Lee 87). Atticus knew his hometown of Maycomb would never emerge from its racial inequality, but he did everything he could to prevent it. Racial inequality is the unjust treatment of minority groups, such as African Americans. While some believe America can achieve true racial and social equality, America is unable to rid itself of racism because it is a human characteristic for people to group together with those whom they share similarities, and years of unequal opportunities for minorities will not be forgotten.

Certainly, it is human nature to assemble into groups. The Civil War began because the Northern and Southern states started to develop different political and ethical beliefs, thus slowly growing apart from each other. The most profound of these beliefs was the veracity of enslaving African Americans. Once African Americans, tortured and neglected, were freed from slavery and finally recognized as American citizens, a new social ladder was created, where blacks were typically found at the bottom. This is referenced in the article “Only the Accused Were Innocent”, where author David Oshinsky writes about the Scottsboro trial of 1931 when nine black teenage boys were accused of raping two white women, “As news of their story spread across the country, a huge crowd, chanting “Give ‘em to us” and “Let those niggers out”, threatened to storm the Scottsboro jail” (Oshinsky 1). These statements uttered by white men allude to the fact that prejudice against blacks is a negative factor, causing different associations within society.

In this situation, no one can deny that African Americans, as a whole, will always remember the wrong that has been done to them by society. For example, in the article “Affirmative Action Harms Society”, Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted, “Segregation scars the soul of both the segregator and the segregated” (Canady 6). Segregation gave African Americans scars that will never fully heal.

Also, in the article “Only the Accused Were Innocent”, the truly innocent Scottsboro Boys, some found guilty, some found not-guilty, continued to struggle through life, many of them returning to jail, and even one committing suicide. One of the nine boys says, “Everywhere I go, it seems like Scottsboro is throwed up in my face… I don’t believe I’ll ever live it down” (Oshinsky 5).

In final consideration, African Americans dealt with racial inequality for years, and they continue to face unjust treatment. A typical white man is suspicious when he sees a black man walking along a lonely street at night, and a typical black man is scared when he notices an unfamiliar white man strolling toward his front door. These are small ways barriers are set up between races. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This statement is true when realizing blacks will not forget about segregation. Racial inequality might have diminished, but it will never fully disappear.

Works Cited

Canady, Charles T. “Affirmative Action Harms Society.” Affirmative Action. Ed. Leora Maltz. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 6 Jan. 2015. Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Harper Collins, 1960. Print. Oshinsky, David M. “Only the Accused Were Innocent.” The New York Times 3 Apr. 1994: 1-6. Print.


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