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African and Hispanic Americans - Essay Example

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Not withstanding the fact that the Democratic Party's current presidential primaries has an African American and a Hispanic American competing for the party's nomination,members of either ethnic group tend to be politically,economically and socially marginalized…
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Download file to see previous pages Within the context of America's ethnic hierarchy, there is little doubt that both African and Hispanic Americans occupy the bottom tier. Not withstanding the fact that the Democratic Party's current presidential primaries has an African America, Barack Obama, and a Hispanic American, Bill Richardson, competing for the party's nomination, members of either ethnic group tend to be politically, economically and socially marginalized.Not only have the African Americans been in this county for close to four centuries but, they played an integral and often overlooked role in the creation of the United States. Forcibly brought into the country by slave traders and sold as slave laborers, owned property, to plantation owners and, to a lesser extent, factor owners and industrialists, the African American labor played a seminal role in the development, even creation, of the American economy.America and its economy may have been founded upon the forced labor, blood, sweat and tears of its African population but, rather than be credited for it, this ethnic group has spent the greater part of its history in America s dehumanized beings. From the 1600 until the Civil War they were regarded as property and denied, by law, the right to literacy. From the Civil War until the Civil Rights Movement, they were subjected to Jim Crow laws which barely recognized their humanity and irrevocably cast them as sub-human and inferior to all other ethnic groups. It was only from the 1960s and onwards that the African Americans began to acquire their civil rights, with state and federal laws gradually changing to reflect official recognition and acknowledgement of their equality. Indeed, within the context of these laws, discrimination against African American is illegal.
Although African Americans have integrated into American culture, they have formed their own sub-culture, complete with their own linguistic variation, Ebonics. The point here is that consequent to mainstream America's centuries-long abuse and as a direct outcome of continued undertones of racism, African Americans have somewhat retreated into their own culture and communities. Needless to say, their continued disadvantaged economic status, largely an outcome of constrained educational, social and occupational opportunities has hardly facilitated their complete assimilation into America, per se. Quite simply stated, relations between white and black America are somewhat tense and while they are tolerated by the mainstream WASP America, the color-blind culture as yet to set it.
While a significant percentage of African Americans are of middle class status and the group, as a whole, is politically active and organized, the majority remains economically, educationally, socially, occupationally and politically marginalized. Indeed, the African Americans comprise one of the most disadvantaged of the country's ethnic and racial groups.
With a long history of settlement in this country behind them, the later waves of Hispanic labor immigration to America, on the one hand, and political asylum seekers, on the other, largely lend to the impression that the Hispanics constitute one of the newer ethnic groups in America. This is not at all the case and their history in America almost rivals that of the African American in length. Possibly, the tendency to categorize all Latin and Central American groups as Hispanic, rather than accurately identify them as Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican and such, has contributed to this impression. Establishing distinctions is important because once one does so, one finds that the Cubans are in a relatively higher position than are the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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