Persuasive essay on racism

Essay by trishstarHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2002

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Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, there is always somebody different. The American society focuses on differences and not similarities of other people.

Imagine walking down the street and having people stare at you or call you names, or talk behind your back. Imagine not knowing the time because nobody will tell you. Why won't they tell you the time, or spare you some change? Because you are black. Actually, because your skin is a different color, or because you are a different kind of religion. In a way I admire them because they've survived for hundreds of years until they were free, and now that they're free, the modern white man harasses them and beats them. I mean, they even had a world wide organization named for them. The KKK has been around for a while. The KKK, or Ku Klux Klan, began because of their intense hatred of black and Jewish people.

Valerie Joseph, author of " A Monument To Racism," writes that in front of Danny Carver's house, a KKK leader, in Flowery Branch, Georgia, were 8 or more signs, that read: "A brain is a terrible thing to waste, that's why niggers don't have one." Another sign read; "NAACP" or "Niggers, Alligators, Apes, Coons, and Possums." Or insisting that blacks don't have brains and that they should be treated like animals. There was also a figure in the front yard that had 4 young black men sitting on it with 2 KKK hooded members by them. To top it off, Carver's lawn was on the Atlantic highway, the main way through the capital. I strongly agree with Valerie Joseph when she says that she "wanted to believe that people actually cared, she wanted to believe that there were lawyers, activists, parents, church groups of all races that were bombarding this man with phone calls and letters. She hoped that maybe teenagers would plan to smash the figures in the middle of the night." She also said that " you can help stop this, all you have to do is try to accept people different than you as you do anyone else. If you can't, you don't have to express it, keep it to yourself. If you hear somebody saying something about somebody else, all you have to say is, 'listen, they're just as equal as you are. If you do, pretty soon they'll quit."

Many years ago, the states had to force businesses and schools to allow blacks in. For example, one of the establishments was the Brown V. Board of Education. Many years before, federal troops forced Little Rock Central High School to admit black students. The question I ask is, why would they want to be there if the government had to force the school system to let them in?

Many years ago, there was a segregation where blacks and whites were separated in everyday life. They had different water fountains, restrooms, and even different lines at the movie theaters. Blacks also had to sit in the back of the bus while whites had top picks on seats and standing when a white person wanted your seat. Then, segregation was finally abolished. "As blacks acquired middle-class status, just like their whites counterparts, they moved out of central cities and the sustaining buffers between lower-class blacks and the surrounding white role models, etc...,were largely removed." (USA TODAY 55)

I came across a "Time" magazine article that was titled "Evict The Neighbor." It was about a couple that had been getting harassed by their neighbors and so they sued for $10 million in damages. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Williams granted a settlement agreement whereby the harassers will have to leave their home within 180 days. People continue to do these things even though they know that they could go to jail. Why?

We ask ourselves, "why do people do this?" Well, it all started with the slaves. The African-Americans came to the United States hundreds and hundreds of years ago from Africa. Most of the slaves came from Ethiopia, Zaire, Somalia, and Nigeria. They came across that Atlantic Ocean with some of the first settlers. They were then sold to slave traders and auctioned off. But, back to the modern day; blacks should have some sort of protection or sense of safety with police officers, but let's consider the Rodney King trial in 1993 when police pulled over a drunken black man that they said was swerving all over the road. When the man, Rodney King, got out of his car, more than 3 police officers approached him and beat him almost to death. The whole thing was captured on video tape from one of the police car's dash-mounted cameras. The four identified police officers had a trial and when the verdict given was "not guilty." The L.A. riots started almost immediately. People were beating others, looting stores, blacks were shooting people and beating white police officers. Some think that there would have been riots all over again if the jury would have found O.J. Simpson guilty a few years ago.

Texaco, a large chain of gas stations throughout the United States, was sued for calling black employees "porch monkeys" and "orangutans." Texaco pled guilty because an employee walked in on a faculty meeting and heard white employees copying the way African Americans talk. All the white employees were also getting promoted to higher ranks whereas black employees were working harder and receiving reduced checks. The settlement in the Texaco case was $115 million to about 1,400 current and former black workers, $26.1 million in pay raises over five years for black employees, $35 million for a task force to set up diversity training programs, and an independent panel to oversee Texaco's employment practices. Another suit was filed against "Avis" for refusing to serve blacks in North and South Carolina.

Also, rappers, who everyone knows are mostly black, are harassed and put down daily, because of what they sing about. Nobody criticizes country singers who sing about the same thing over and over, or the love songs that all sound the same; you can't tell one apart from the other. It shouldn't matter what color that are or what they look like, it's the music that they sing. Every parent thinks that rap is bad, because it has a few swear words, but not if you get the edited version. Everyone thinks that only rappers commit crimes. But in actuality, blacks make up to 12 percent of the population, and 30 percent of arrests made are blacks being arrested for violent crimes (US NEWS 93). A black man can not even get a cab for hours because cabbies are afraid to drive through the ghetto. Really, what is the ghetto? Only a place where homeless and low income black and white people live and hang out.

In a recent Associated Press article, (Charles J. Ogletree, Harvard Law Professor), a powerful group of civil rights and class-action lawyers will seek compensation for American black descendants from slaves. The effort appears to be the most serious initiative to get compensation for American blacks for 244 years of legalized slavery. Ogletree stated, "We will be seeking more than just monetary compensation. We want a change in America. We want full recognition and a remedy of how slavery stigmatized, raped, murdered, and exploited millions of African through no fault of their own." There are more questions than answers in the planned lawsuit, such as: when will the suit be filed, who are the defendants, and what damages will be sought? However, both public and private parties will be the subject of their efforts. This will be the most important case in the history of out country.

No one knows the magnitude effect the lawsuit will have on this nation. It would have seemed better that America aggressively pursue a political solution but lawsuits and legislation have really gone nowhere in the past. It will probably come down to this, that when corporate America is hit in it's own pocketbook, real change will occur. I strongly believe that the responsibility doesn't solely lie with big businesses and government but also within each one of us. one person can make a difference Making a choice to treat everyone equally, fairly, and with respect is the first step. Watching what we say by putting ourselves in another's situation first is also doing our part. Otherwise, we just become part of the huge problem we currently have. What's it going to be--will you be a part of the perpetual persecution of blacks or stand up for what is right?