General essay on Racism

Essay by van_EcksJunior High, 9th gradeA+, June 2005

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Racism is and has been a problem in the United States. It is something that has been interwoven into the nation's history and foundation through slavery and oppression of minorities, but this in no way justifies or excuses it. Racism is, as defined by, "The belief that some races are inherently superior (physically, intellectually, or culturally) to others and therefore have a right to dominate them." In the United States, racism, particularly by Caucasians against blacks, has created profound racial tension and conflict in virtually all aspects of American society.

Historically, racism has been seen in both slavery as a practice and in the laws surrounding slavery and oppression of blacks. Slavery itself was obvious racism in that the whites felt themselves superior to the African-Americans and decided African-Americans were not capable of such things as learning and voting. In the Constitution, slavery was never mentioned, neither permitted not outlawed.

The founding fathers left it out in order to skirt around the ethics involved with slavery and not lose support for their constitution.

Until the achievements by the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, white domination over blacks was institutionalized and supported in all branches and levels of government, by denying blacks civil rights and opportunities to participate in political, economic, and social communities. Racism in the 1950s was based on caste relationships and a generalized presumption of white superiority. It was to be combated by appealing to the belief that to be an American must mean to be free and autonomous, equal under the law. The civil rights movement seized that moral high ground and succeeded.

On July 3, 1964, the movement achieved its greatest triumph, the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Thirteen days later, a race riot broke out in Harlem, the...