Racism and Immigration Then And Now
It has come to my attention as of recent how devastating racism is today. Despite social laws and equality rights, racism still plays a huge part in society in the United States.There are many active hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and more. Racism is difficult to define because it has so many meanings, but it usually classifies as a belief that one race is most pure and more superior than any other race. Common races that are discriminated against in the United States are African Americans, Mexican Americans, and people of Middle Eastern descent (this includes refugees). So many races are discriminated against due to stereotypes. Many people, such as Middle Easterns, are judged based on the act of a couple of people from their race (The attack on 9/11 being one example).Immigration is also a huge problem in the racism epidemic currently in the United States. There are countless heros that have contributed greatly to the end of racial discrimination and immigration rights of all people like Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Eva Longoria. These are only a few of this nation’s greatest heros in fighting against racism in multifarious forms. Racism is completely immoral and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan specifically should be protested against because no matter what race someone is, everyone deserves equality.
The United States of America is known around the world for being very diverse. The “melting pot” is another way of saying it. The United States accepts people from varying points in their lives and takes them in as if they are our own. Or so it seems. In reality, there is a large amount of America’s citizens that believe only the white Christian majority should be allowed to live in the United States. The main organization who believes this is called the Ku Klux Klan. Many people in this group also classify as white supremacists and black separatists. This means that they believe the white race is superior and that the white race should not mix with any other race, such as African Americans because it would taint their skin color. The KKK are very proud to be white. There are many ways that citizens protest against this group. They do marches and they also promote the hashtag black lives matter and all lives matter. However, these protests aren’t doing much to end the seemingly growing Ku Klux Klan. The KKK on average had twenty nine active groups around the United States in 2017 and they all compete for members, media attention, and the title of being the “true heir to the Klan”. Since around 2010 the group has steadily been on the rise, due to anxieties towards illegal immigration and same-sex marriage. Donald Trump, the current president of the United States, has gained a lot of support from the Ku Klux Klan because of his intention to rid America of illegal immigrants. In 1865 the Ku Klux Klan was created by six confederates from Tennessee. They wanted to protest that slavery should not have been banned. They would kill innocent victims in the dark of night with their faces hidden in an effort to fight the new civil rights law. In the 1860’s, the group was a secret organization. At the time, most of the Klan members were veterans of the Civil War. The first “Grand Wizard” of the KKK was a confederate general by the name Nathan Bedford Forrest. The Grand Wizard in the Klan was considered the head of the organization. The most famous Grand Wizard Klan member who recently left the post was David Ernest Duke, white supremacist and convicted felon. He was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Duke has published three books on his beliefs of Judaism, racism and communism. Though the Grand Wizard only applied to the reconstruction era, high ranking members are able to be inducted as a Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Many KKK members deny any form of Communism, stating that it is against their beliefs. Most Klan groups don’t accept Neo-Nazis.
White Supremacists are individuals who believe that the white race is superior to any other race and should therefore be commanding over the other races. Different white supremacist groups highlight a certain race as the enemy. White supremacy had foundations both before and after the American Civil War. During the 1800’s in the United States nearly all white supremacists owned slaves. Throughout most of America’s history, humans of a different race than caucasian were not allowed to vote or hold a government office job. They had practically no rights at all. Post 1960’s white supremacists held the “far-right” ideology. Neo-nazis typically fall under this ideology also. The far-right, or alt-right as it is also called, reject mainstream conservatism and embrace racism and white supremacy. There really isn’t an alt-left because alt-right is white supremacy but everything else, believing in equal rights, doesn’t fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. There is simply an alt-right, and an everything else. White supremacy also classifies as white pride and white power. The Ku Klux Klan is composed of white pride individuals. White pride characterizes as loving the caucasian race above all other races. People in the white pride belief system disagree with interracial relationships. This is when two different races are together. Whether it be friendships, or romantic relationships. In the present day, white supremacists are generally okay seeing different races, and sometimes they will even interact with different races, but they absolutely hate seeing a couple mix. They would prefer to see an African American man than a mixed race man. Because of this belief, white supremacy has a bad reputation. They are known for sticking with old traditions and aren’t afraid to resort to violence. On the other hand, some well known hate groups prefer the peaceful protests, such as the Ku Klux Klan group in Madison, Indiana, who held a peaceful picnic for recruitment. It wasn’t unless protests broke out on the other side that things went downhill.
The races that are discriminated against find it very upsetting that there are so many laws aimed towards equality and yet racism is so prominent. African Natives were brought into the United States against their will, forced to stay here without any rights, and then fought for freedom but was still discriminated against. Over 179,000 African American men fought in the American Civil War in over 160 units. Some slaves were even forced to fight on the Confederate side of the war in labor positions. Many of the African Americans who fought on the Union side were previously slaves who sought freedom. They did not receive equal pay for fighting, though. African American men typically collected ten dollars a month, while white men made thirteen. Today, about ninety two percent of African Americans reported feeling discriminated against at some point in their lives according to a recent study by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The people who submitted the survey were of many backgrounds and ages. Beverly Reeves, who was in an interview about African American individuals, being an African American herself, said that being treated differently than caucasians was “duh”. It was to be expected and she had experienced racism throughout her life. She goes on to tell a story about how she booked a manicure appointment for her and her friends. It was a mix of black and white women. The white salon owner looked right past her and helped the white friends before helping her, even though she was there first and was the one who booked the appointment. The conductor of the interview states that this sort of situation isn’t uncommon. Another individual reported being told there were no houses available for real estate in her area, but gave a different answer to a white couple. This stereotype isn’t just expressed within African Americans, but many other races as well, such as Mexican Americans.
People have heard innumerable rumors about Mexican Americans, or Mexican immigrants such as “mafia members”, “they steal our jobs!”, “all they do is drugs”, etc. There is minimal truth behind these stereotypes. It’s like saying that all Americans are fat. They simply aren’t. There might be a percentage who are, but still many who diet and workout. The same goes for Mexican Americans. There has been racial discrimination towards Mexican Americans since the 1840’s. It was at that time that it was officially announced that Mexican American segregation was present in American schools. There was also illegal deportations and lynching that echoed Jim Crow laws. When the United States won the Mexican-American war in 1848, a large portion of Mexico became property of the United States, therefore granting immediate citizenship to those who decided to stay in that area. As the nineteenth century went on, Mexican American discrimination became more prominent. Mob violence killed thousands of Mexican Americans in the early twentieth century. One case noted in 1851 the accused murder of a white man by Josefa Segovia resulted in a lynching after a fake trial. Over 2,000 men came to watch. Today Mexican American discrimination doesn’t typically result in violence. However, it is still very outstanding the amount of racial discrimination directed towards Mexican Americans. America’s own president, Donald Trump, has made a great number of stereotypical remarks towards those who immigrated to the United States legally. In one of his speeches, he stated that “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.” This of course caused many outbursts from the American people, some of whom even support Trump because of that remark. He also said “somebody’s doing the raping!” which can translate to the fact that he doesn’t think anybody born in America could possibly be raping anyone, only immigrants. Donald Trump said that America is the dumping ground for everyone else’s problems, even though America proudly interferes with wars. As previously mentioned, America is known as a diverse country, so Trump saying that remark didn’t make any immigrant happy, especially refugees. Refugees aren’t here because no other country wants them, but because they don’t have the basic needs to survive.
A large percentage of refugees are Middle Eastern. The Syrian civil war began officially on March 15, 2011. Since then, hundreds of thousands of citizens of Syria have been killed. Wynn Flaten, a Syrian response director, stated that “It is utterly heartbreaking to see the constant calls from humanitarian organizations to put an end to the violence, suffering, and devastation of Syrian people, go unnoticed.” Donald Trump was incorrect to say that people are dumped here because the United States wants to help people. That’s why many refugees come to America; it is one of the only places in the world where people have complete freedom. 5.6 million Syrians have fled Syria as refugees and about half are children. Despite Donald Trump’s claims that America deals with the world’s problems, many other countries took in refugees. Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt total 5.5 million of the refugees, whereas America has taken in a little over 18,000. Many religious groups are also fighting each other. In 2018, there are still 2.9 million people not getting help in Syria because they are in hard to reach places. To make matters worse, they flee to the United States of America only to face racial discrimination. Syria isn’t the only country people are fleeing from. Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia are other major countries refugees are escaping from. The racial discrimination they are facing is horrific. One UUSC article expresses that “In the United States, President Trump has drastically lowered the refugee admissions cap and signed an executive order that barred entry to the United States to refugees from 11 countries, including war-torn Syria. The United States is also witnessing a surge in xenophobic and Islamophobic political rhetoric, and with it a rise in reported hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities.” and because of these so-called helpful new policies in the United States, people aren’t getting the help they need, while also facing racism.
A hero who made a difference in her fight against racial segregation and discrimination was Rosa Parks. Parks was most known for her fight against bus seats. She was told to get up from her bus seat to allow a white man to sit and she refused. This activated many protests campaigning for her and against. Though the bus boycott of 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama is her most famous moment, it isn’t all that Rosa Parks did to drive the new law towards complete equal rights. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913, Rosa Parks was one of many to be a negro in the wrong place and time. Nevertheless, the fact that she didn’t have many rights didn’t stop her from fighting to get some. She left school at sixteen to care for her dying mother and wouldn’t return for many years to get her diploma. In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, who was an active member in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Being an African American woman in the early twentieth century brought many challenges. She could only drink from a certain water fountain, borrow books from a certain library, and attend certain clubs, schools, etc. Parks was arrested in 1955 due to not giving up her seat to a white man and was later released by bail. This led many other African Americans to do the same. There was a planned boycott on the day of her trial, Monday, December 5. Many were informed of said trial and the planning had been completed. Homes were bombed, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s. This didn’t stop the boycotters. On November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional and Parks was named the “mother of the civil rights movement”. In the years following, Rosa Parks wrote an autobiography. In 1999, Parks was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and after she died at 92 in 2005, she became the first woman in the nation’s history to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
Yet another hero who fought for the rights of African Americans is the famous Harriet Tubman. She was born in 1820 in Maryland as a slave. Tubman was deeply religious but remained illiterate for her whole life. She found courage in rescuing friends and family from the tie to slavery. Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret houses and routes used by African Americans to escape to the north. It is estimated that Tubman helped over 300 slaves receive freedom. During the Civil War, Harriet acted as a scout and spy. She helped to raise money to aid soon-to-be slaves. Harriet had eight siblings, and was nicknamed “Minty” by her mom. Harriet successfully escaped in 1849, along with two of her brothers, Harry and Ben. They ended up having second thoughts and soon returned to the plantation. In her very last trip to help free slaves, she brought the Ennals family, who had to drug their infant to keep from making noise. She was also the first woman to lead an assault during the Civil war. When Harriet was fifty nine years old, she married Nelson Davis, who was twenty two years younger than her. Nelson had tuberculosis and could not work. They adopted a baby in 1874 named Gertie. After the Civil War, Harriet began advocating for women’s suffrage. She gave many speeches in large cities such as Boston, New York and Washington. Due to an injury to the head when she was a slave, she underwent brain surgery but refused anesthesia. Instead, she chewed a bullet which is what soldiers did during the civil war. Harriet Tubman died of pneumonia but was buried with military honors.
A current advocate for Mexican Americans is Eva Longoria. Though not as well known as Rosa Parks, Longoria is doing much work for Hispanic Americans. Eva Jacqueline Longoria Bastón is an American Actress who does non profit work for an organization called the Eva Longoria Foundation. Eva was born on March 15, 1975 in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was born to Mexican American parents. She actually did not learn the Spanish language until 2009. Longoria has acted in many movies, but she has done much more towards correcting the education gap plaguing Latinas. Eva Longoria created Eva’s Heroes in 2006 which helps developmentally disabled children. Her most successful organization, the Eva Longoria Foundation, helps provide Latinos with a chance at high school and college. Longoria was name Philanthropist of the year in 2009. She also was a huge supporter of Barack Obama, and helped him to carry votes by creating the Latino Victory Project. Eva is currently very interested in immigration. She has immersed herself in the issue of immigration and has deemed Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law as unconstitutional. The law was quote “On April 23, 2010, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Senate Bill 1070 aimed at preventing illegal immigration that has significantly affected the Mexico-bordering state over many decades. The law, entitled Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, would require law enforcement officials to enforce existing federal immigration laws in the state by checking the immigration status of a person they have ‘reasonable suspicion’ of being in the U.S. illegally. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2012 and a settlement with plaintiffs in 2016 have collectively gutted the law.” Longoria is one of many current fighters for the equality of minority races.
There are many devastating things happening in the United States. It can be argued that things are going downhill, and America isn’t learning from their past mistakes. Racial discrimination and immigration are topics a lot of Americans don’t like to talk about, but equality is at stake. Not many people realize how truly awful things are in the world right now, and instead of everyone just trying to getting along, or at the very least ignoring each other, people are dying at the hands of causes that shouldn’t even exist. It shouldn’t be a questions over whether or not one race is more superior. The color of someone’s skin doesn’t define how smart they are, or how much they can do. All races are beautiful in their own way. Neo-nazis, white supremacists, black separatists, the Ku Klux Klan, etc. need to see that loving your own race doesn’t mean that other races need to be put down. Everyone can win. One race doesn’t have to be angry for another to be happy. The heroes of America’s past and present that are fighting for equal rights are just trying to show that racial discrimination is wrong. I think that fighting for what you believe in is an extremely courageous thing to do. Donald Trump’s immigration views are something that can be fought against. It’s something that will be fought against. The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This law means that people are free to believe and think what they want. I will never promote violence among groups of people, but simply educate people on the way that all people deserve to be treated. Racism is wrong, and no one deserves to be treated as if they are less pure than anyone else because of the color of their skin.