You Are Just Full of Surprises—A History of African American Stereotypes

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,444
SoCal
[My name removed]


April 10, 2013


Writing 2


[My professor's name removed]


You Are Just Full of Surprises—A History of African American Stereotypes


A baby is born to affluent parents in New York City in 1958 (“Neil”). After finishing school, he studies at Harvard and Columbia Universities, and eventually earns Master's and PhD degrees (“Neil”). He later becomes an astrophysicist and a prominent science commentator, and even serves as a U.S. Presidential advisor (“Neil”). Now picture this man—imagine what he looks like. Think about what he is wearing, what his face looks like, his skin color, et cetera. You are probably thinking of some white man in a lab coat or a suit and tie, correct? However, in reality the man whom I am talking about is African American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (“Neil”). My point is that people often do not adhere to stereotypes of their race, ethnic group, religion, and place of residence. The Caucasian rapper Eminem is a notable example of this. Even though many people do not expect Caucasians to become rappers, let alone successful ones, Eminem defied this stereotype and achieved great success as a rapper. Some people attempt to simplify or manipulate reality by creating stereotypes, but the truth is that reality is much more complex. In this essay, I will discuss the history of blacks in the United States and the various historical stereotypes of African Americans in the United States, including blackface caricatures, the “Tom”, “Brute”, “Sapphire”, and “magical Negro” stereotypes, and various examples of African American stereotypes in U.S. films and television shows. In addition, I will talk about how portrayals of African Americans in U.S. popular culture began portraying African Americans more favorably and accurately over time.


Before discussing stereotypes of African Americans, let us examine the history of African Americans in the United States. In order to better understand and learn from our history, one needs to study and analyze it in more detail. Almost 400,000 African blacks were brought to what is now the United States due to the slave trade in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries (“INTRODUCTION”). Meanwhile, more than 83,000 additional African blacks died during the journey from Africa to the United States during this time, often due to disease (“INTRODUCTION”). While other parts of the U.S. abolished slavery decades before the U.S. Civil War, the Southern U.S. kept slavery legal due to the dependence of its economy on slave labor. Before the start of the U.S. Civil War in 1861, almost ninety percent of African Americans in the United States were slaves (Gibson, “Table 1”). The Union (Northern) victory in the U.S. Civil War allowed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution to be passed and ratified. These amendments abolished slavery, made African Americans U.S. citizens, and gave African American men the right to vote (McReynolds). However, racist Southerners eventually implemented segregation measures (in the form of Jim Crow laws) as well as poll taxes and literacy tests which were virtually impossible for most African Americans to pass (McReynolds). Many pseudo-scientific works were created and published during this time in an attempt to promote the idea that blacks are genetically inferior to whites (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). Between 1882 and 1968, several thousand blacks were killed by lynching in the U.S., most of then in the Southern United States (“Lynching”). Starting from the 1910s, several million African Americans moved from the Southern U.S. to other parts of the United States in the hopes of improving their standard of living. There were few African Americans living outside of the Southern U.S. in 1910, but this situation changed dramatically throughout the twentieth century (Gibson, “Table 1”) (Gibson, “Table 4”). While eighty-nine percent of African Americans lived in the Southern U.S. in 1910, this percentage declined to fifty-three percent by 1990 (Gibson, “Table 1”) (Gibson, “Table 4”). Many African Americans expressed themselves by writing literature and music during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s. Eventually the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s succeeded in getting segregation and discrimination against African Americans banned, and various measures such as affirmative action were implemented to improve the lives of African Americans and others and to help them advance upward in society (Fullinwider) (McReynolds). The United States demonstrated an especially powerful example of its progress in terms of race relations when it elected its first African American President, Barack Obama, in 2008 and reelected him in 2012. To put this into perspective, the election of Barack Obama occurred less than half a century after African Americans received their civil rights. Now that we are familiar with the history of African Americans and race relations in the United States, let us examine and analyze the various historical stereotypes of African Americans.


In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, blackface was a very popular form of American entertainment (Pilgrim, “Who Was Jim”). Blackface was when Caucasians put black or dark materials on their faces and bodies in order to entertain racist people by caricaturing and ridiculing African Americans (Pilgrim, “Who Was Jim”). An early example of blackface in the United States was created in 1828 by Caucasian entertainer Thomas Dartmouth Rice (Pilgrim, “Who Was Jim”). Rice popularized a song and dance which stereotyped African Americans through the use of a character called Jim Crow, a crippled African slave who was illiterate, uneducated, unrefined, and sexually promiscuous (Pilgrim, “Who Was Jim”). Many additional blackface routines were created afterwards, and blackface was eventually performed in movies as well, including in The Jazz Singer (1927), the first feature-length sound film (Burr). These blackface routines provided humor and entertainment to many Americans and caused some performers and actors to become popular and successful (Pilgrim, “Who Was Jim”). However, blackface also had a negative aspect by making African Americans appear inferior to Caucasians (Pilgrim, “Who Was Jim”).


An early African American stereotype is the “(Uncle) Tom” caricature, named after a modified version of one of the main characters in Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). As Professor of Sociology at Ferris State University Dr. David Pilgrim describes, “Toms” were black men who were slaves and/or “faithful, happily submissive servants” (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). Despite extremely harsh treatment towards them, “Toms” are shown as smiling, wide-eyed, honest, non-threatening to whites, religious, obedient, dependable, submissive, physically weak, old, and eager to appease whites (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). “Toms” generally have no sex lives and few romantic relationships, and sometimes “Tom” characters don't even have names given to them (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). Many early 20th century films contained “Tom” characters, including Confederate Spy (1910), For Massa's Sake (1911), The Birth of a Nation (1915), Hearts in Dixie (1929), and Gone With the Wind (1939) (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). In Confederate Spy, the “Tom” character Uncle Daniel is an African American spy for the pro-slavery Confederate States of America, while the “Tom” character in For Massa's Sake sells himself back into slavery in order to help pay his former white master's (or “massa's”) debts (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). Meanwhile, the “Tom” character Pork in Gone With the Wind is a slave who is “a pathetic man” with a stooped back and halted speech who desires to please his white masters above everything else (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). As Dr. David Pilgrim states, the term “Tom” is strongly despised by African Americans in the United States today since it portrays them as subservient to whites without being willing to accomplish any of their own desires and goals (Pilgrim, “The Tom”). The “Tom” stereotype was in some ways a precursor to the “magical Negro” stereotype, though there are some differences between these two stereotypes.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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SoCal
Another common African American stereotype in the late 19th and early 20th century was the “Brute” (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). In contrast to the “Tom” stereotype, a “Brute” is an innately savage, merciless, destructive, fiendish, sociopathic, animalistic, terrifying, hideous, and criminal black man who deserves to be punished, perhaps even by death (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). As described by Dr. David Pilgrim, “Brutes” were shown to have uncontrollable sexual urges to the point of madness, often lusting for, raping, and murdering innocent, helpless white women (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). For instance, in his novel Red Rock (1898), writer Thomas Nelson Page wrote about a “loathsome and sinister” African American politician named Moses raping a white woman (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). Fitting into the “Brute” stereotype of the times, Page talked about how Moses had “a snarl of rage and sprang at [the white woman] like a wild beast” (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). Writer Thomas Dixon's book The Leopard's Spots (1902) talked negatively about the abolition of slavery, claiming that getting emancipated changed African Americans from "a chattel to be bought and sold into a beast to be feared and guarded" (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). In his book The Clansman (1905), Dixon described African Americans as "half child, half animal, the sport of impulse, whim, and conceit” and as “being(s) who, left to [their] will, roam at night and sleep in the day, whose speech knows no word of love, whose passions, once aroused, are as the fury of the tiger" (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). This stereotype was tragically and unfortunately used to justify lynching thousands of African Americans and discriminating against them with many racist whites claiming that it is for the blacks' own good (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). For instance, Dr. Pilgrim talks about how many racist Southern Congressmen and Senators used the “Brute” stereotype to justify opposing and filibustering the Dyer Bill (a proposed law against lynching African Americans) when this bill was being debated in Congress in 1921 and 1922 (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). Due to the filibustering of this bill by racist Southerners, the Dyer Bill failed to become law (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). Interestingly enough, the “Brute” stereotype was not portrayed that much in film after the film The Birth of a Nation (1915) out of the fear of inciting more race riots and African-American protests (Pilgrim, “The Brute”). However, despite this, the “Brute” stereotype was unfortunately still prevalent in some parts of the United States well into the twentieth century (Pilgrim, “The Brute”).


An African American stereotype somewhat similar to the “Brute” stereotype was the “Angry Black Woman” (“ABW” for short), or “Sapphire,” stereotype (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). This stereotype got the name Sapphire after the stereotypical “ABW” character Sapphire Stevens in the sitcom Amos 'n' Andy, which ran from 1928 to 1960 (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). The “Angry Black Woman” stereotype is pretty much described by its name (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). It portrays African American women “as rude, loud, malicious, stubborn, and overbearing,” in addition to being “tart-tongued and emasculating” (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). As stated by Dr. David Pilgrim, common “Sapphire” behavior is putting one hand on their hips, moving their heads from side to side, and pointing a finger while blaming African American men for various things (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). While African American men are the main objects of their abuse, “Sapphires” are not afraid to abuse anyone who bothers them in any way (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). “Sapphires” desire to dominate and are extremely sensitive, unhappy, and bitter, frequently complaining for the sake of complaining rather than to attempt to improve things (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). This stereotype is fascinating because it was used to scare African American women to conform to what society expects of them instead of becoming this stereotype (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). Many racist whites embraced the “ABW” stereotype because it portrayed an African American making other African Americans miserable and distracting the attention of African Americans from challenging the racist status quo and attempting to improve their horrible lives (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). In addition, racist whites used this stereotype to argue that slavery and segregation were not as bad as some people claimed since “Sapphires” also treated African American men poorly and savagely (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). There are many examples of “Sapphires” in American popular culture (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). In addition to Ernestine Wade playing the character Sapphire Stevens, African American actress Hattie McDaniel portrayed “ABW” characters in many 1930s films (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). Likewise, the 1970s comedy television show Sanford and Son had an “ABW” character in Aunt Esther and the 2000s sitcom Everybody Hates Chris has an “ABW” character in the form of Rochelle, the “dominating, aggressive, matriarch” (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). The “ABW” stereotype is unique in the sense that it has continued all the way up to the present day, in contrast to many other stereotypes (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). Nowadays some people have even attempted to portray U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and some African American female politicians as “Sapphires” (Pilgrim, “Sapphire”). This is rather disappointing since it shows that the United States still needs to continue working for a long time on eliminating the remnants of its past racism and problematic race relations history.


The stereotyping of African Americans also extended to animation in the early 20th century. One of the films full of racist stereotypes during this time is Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943), a Warner Bros. parody of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) (Lehman). In this cartoon, even the title is racist, since “Coal Black” replaces “Snow White,” giving the impression that African Americans are as dirty as coal, while white people are as pure and clean as snow. (This film's title had to be changed to So White and de Sebben Dwarfs once it began playing at theaters, though nothing else in the movie was changed.) Likewise, “the Seven Dwarfs,” is spelled incorrectly, portraying African Americans as uneducated individuals who are unable to spell words or talk correctly. In the introduction of this cartoon, the mom of the little black girl is obese and called “Mammy,” which is considered a racial slur. The main character, called “So White,” is revealed as sexually promiscuous with her short skirt and her midriff-baring, cleavage-exposing blouse. So White's mother, the Queen, is portrayed as sexually promiscuous as well, by having a huge chest and long socks. The Queen's appearance is also racist in the sense of portraying her as looking similar to a monkey. Prince Chawmin' and the dwarves are portrayed as having massive pink lips, huge eyes, and small noses, appearances which are more fitting to white men in blackface than to real African Americans (Lehman). Likewise, Prince Chawmin' is portrayed as having dice for teeth, fitting into the stereotypes of African Americans being crapshooters (Lehman). All of the African American characters in this film speak using slang, thus further making African Americans appear to be uneducated. As racism became less acceptable, this cartoon was removed from television, though other negative stereotypes of African Americans continued appearing in entertainment for a long time afterwards.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,444
SoCal
Racist stereotypes of African Americans in the early 20th century also included stereotypes of African American children (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). A popular caricature of African American children during this time was the picaninny (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). As stated by Dr. David Pilgrim, the physical features of picaninnies included “bulging eyes, unkempt hair, red lips, and wide mouths into which they stuffed huge slices of watermelon” (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). The general portrayal of picaninnies was of “nameless, shiftless natural buffons” who loved eating watermelons and fried chicken and who frequently ran away from alligators which wanted to eat them (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). Many picaninnies (especially girls) had their hair either tied or pointing in all directions, while some male picaninnies had shiny bald heads (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). Picaninnies were generally poorly dressed, sometimes exposing their genitals and/or buttocks (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). The purpose of this was to sexualize and objectify these poor, innocent black children, to portray them as immodest and uncivilized, and to portray these children's parents as negligent and uncaring by refusing to provide proper clothing to these children (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). Picaninnies are portrayed as impoverished individuals who need to steal and “fend for themselves” like wild animals in order to survive (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). Picaninnies are shown as “insignificant beings” who closely interact with animals and often experience various misfortunes (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). For instance, a match holder from the 1930s portrayed a black baby coming out from a rooster egg (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). An early famous picaninny was “a poorly dressed, disreputable, [and] neglected slave girl” named Topsy (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). The character of Topsy was created by abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe in her book Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), who did not intend for Topsy to become a racist caricature and stereotype of African Americans (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). Racists later changed Tospy's characteristics to portray her as a happy and merry individual who was happy about her unfortunate situation, thus making her more of a stereotype and caricature (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). Topsy's ragged, dirty appearance and improper use and understanding of the English language provided humor for many white Americans, rather than the sympathy for blacks that Stowe hoped that it would generate (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). During the early twentieth century, many African American children appeared in films as picaninnies (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). These children were sometimes derogatory called “inky kids, smoky kids, black lambs, snowballs, chubbie ebonies, bad chillun, and coons” (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). While the 1920s series Our Gang by Hal Roach portrayed both white and black children as buffoons, it still exemplified some picaninny stereotypes, including eating chicken and watermelon in a savage manner, speaking in dialect, being afraid of ghosts, having picaninny hair and dirty clothing, and having androgynous appearances (Pilgrim, “The Picaninny”). In addition to the picaninny stereotype of African American children, many other stereotypes of African Americans existed, including some additional stereotypes of African American children. Indeed, it is disappointing that many Caucasians in the United States simply could not stop making many stereotypes about African Americans for an enormous time period.


There are other stereotypes of African Americans in pop culture. For instance, a popular stereotype of African Americans in entertainment is the “magical Negro” (Touré). The “magical Negro” is wise and knowledgeable, and he is generally "outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint" “in some way” (Hicks) (Touré). As American novelist and cultural critic Touré states, the “magical Negro” often appears out of nowhere in order to help the Caucasian protagonist, sometimes with his magical powers (Touré). In addition, the “magical Negro” often gets the protagonist out of trouble while helping the “protagonist reach his full potential” (Touré). According to Touré, some examples of “magical Negroes” in historical literature and entertainment are “Jim in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn,” “Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance, Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile and Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus in The Matrix” (Touré). This stereotype of a magical African American helping whites has continued up to the present day, with some people describing current U.S. President Barack Obama as a “magical Negro” (Ehrenstein) (Touré). As Touré states in reference to the movie The Matrix (1999), “in 2008, Obama was Morpheus and America was Neo, a nation of great potential that had lost its mojo and did not understand reality” (Touré). Touré argues that “Obama offered America the red pill — the chance to vote for him — and we swallowed it” (Touré). However, contrary to Morpheus in The Matrix, Touré points out that Obama did not help the United States realize its full potential yet, and as a result he lost his image as a “magical Negro” (Touré). In order to understand why the “magical Negro” stereotype is racist and offensive, one only needs to look at a Time Magazine article called “The Magical Negro Falls to Earth” which Touré wrote in August 2012 (Touré). In this article, Touré explains that “[w]hile some may think it complimentary to be considered 'magical,'” in reality it is racist, “infantilizing[,] and offensive because it suggests black excellence is so shocking it can only come from a source that is supernatural” (Touré). In other words, this stereotype says that African Americans who do wonderful and beneficial things are extraordinary rather than simply average, normal people (Touré).


A modern-day stereotype of African Americans is Brian Lewis from the animated television show American Dad!, which is filled with adult-style humor. Brian Lewis, the overweight, doughnut-loving principal of Pearl Bailey High School, embodies several different stereotypes of African Americans, including portrayals of them as criminal, unqualified, corrupt, stupid, careless, uneducated, arrogant, and freeloading. Overall, this is evident when Lewis is consistently able to keep or regain his job as principal despite previously being in prison for several years and doing many extremely questionable and immoral things as principal (“The Worst Stan”). In addition to using drugs, Principal Lewis sometimes eats in a wild barbaric manner similar to that of an animal (“I Am the Walrus”) (“Naked”). In the episode Bully for Steve, he is shown to be drunk during school hours and using the basketball court as a place to urinate (“Bully”). He harasses female employees, getting a restraining order from the art teacher as a result (“Home Wrecker”) (“I Am the Walrus”). Lewis exposed himself in public to earn $20, and in one episode it is even implied that he is a pedophile (“A Ward Show”) (“You Debt”). Sometimes the things which he does are plain bizarre, such as betting money on when a female student will get her period and on little children drawing with crayons (“The Wrestler”). As if all of this was not enough, he once took students for illegal gambling, proceeding to lock them up for hours, and offered to allow these children to be killed (“Home Wrecker”). In the episode A Ward Show, Lewis is abusing his powers by using the schoolteachers to do personal errands for him and by threatening to deny them their summer vacations if they refuse (“A Ward Show”). Likewise, in this same episode, after getting fired, Lewis tries to kill one of his students, causing this student to end up in the hospital once the attempt fails (“A Ward Show”). To top it all off, Lewis regains his job as principal in later episodes (“The Worst Stan”). It is worth noting that like Family Guy, American Dad! does not hesitate to point out and make fun of stereotypes of many different ethnic, religious, and political groups. Thus, American Dad! is not attempting to imply that all African Americans are like Principal Brian Lewis, though Lewis does fit a lot of stereotypes about African Americans presented over time.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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Fortunately some recent films have portrayed African Americans more favorably. For instance, the American romantic comedy musical film From Justin to Kelly (2003) has a main African American character named Justin who is very caring and compassionate (From Justin). This film takes place during spring break, and even though his Caucasian friend Brandon is very sexually promiscuous, Justin continuously focuses on getting a specific girl to fall in love with him (From Justin). Justin is portrayed as nice, polite, easy-going, and intelligent in this film, in contrast to many of the African American characters in earlier American popular culture (From Justin). Likewise, the movie The Karate Kid (2010) has an African American protagonist named Dre Parker who works and studies intensely in order to learn karate and stand up for himself (The Karate). In the Family Guy episode Jerome is the New Black (2009), the African American character Jerome fits the stereotype of an African American when it comes to looks, since he is portrayed as having an Afro hairstyle, a mustache and a beard, and a missing tooth (“Jerome”). However, personality-wise Jerome is shown to be a good, caring, compassionate person, even saving another Caucasian character's life in one scene (“Jerome”). In The Simpsons, the main African American character Carl Carlson does not adhere to stereotypes of African Americans at all due to being a Buddhist and a nice, cool guy with a Master's Degree in Physics (“She of Little Faith”) (“Homer's Enemy”). It is obviously a good thing that some modern films do not strictly adhere to stereotypes of African Americans, which are often inaccurate, offensive, and racist.


There are several ways in which we can tackle the problem of stereotyping African Americans in the media. First of all, instead of banning or restricting racist old cartoons and movies, it is best to make these movies and cartoons easily accessible and to explain to people why these cartoons are bad and why the stereotypes presented in them are inaccurate. Likewise, there should be a very strong focus on education, especially among African Americans. Once more African Americans become educated and prominent, stereotypes of them will continue to change in American pop culture. Luckily these stereotypes are already changing, though we still have a large amount of work to do in this field. It is a positive development that racist laws in the United States were abolished over forty years ago. This, along with the debunking of previously popular racist pseudoscience allowed many Caucasians to begin viewing African Americans as their equals. I think that the media should also change its portrayal of African Americans and show more favorable stories on African Americans. Right now, there appears to be a large focus on the negative stories about African Americans, which is a bad thing since it only shows part of the reality in regards to African Americans. Hopefully some of what I have written here will eventually be implemented, and hopefully the negative stereotypes of African Americans in American pop culture will continue to decrease over time.


However, as Richard Thompson Ford (who is Professor of Law at Stanford University) states, there is still a huge number of problems that we need to address (Ford). As stated in a February 2013 study by Brandeis University, the wealth gap between Caucasian and African American families nearly tripled over the last three decades even though the Caucasian-African American income gap and education gap have decreased during this same time period (Ford) (Shapiro). This information was a huge surprise to me, since I did not anticipate the wealth gap between Caucasians and African Americans to increase by such a massive amount. Likewise, some “subtle [racial] discrimination in selling and lending” houses exists today, and the pre-Civil Rights Era government housing policies continue to have large amounts of damage on wealth inequality between African Americans and Caucasians today (Ford) (Shapiro). As Professor Ford states, the wealth of Caucasians and African Americans is similar to the amount of snow that two snowballs rolling down a hill will accumulate (Ford). Even if these snowballs “are rolling down a hill at the same speed, the one that started larger will accumulate much more snow,” similarly to Caucasians in the United States on average inherited more wealth than African Americans did (Ford). The authors of this Brandeis University study argue that the wealth gap between whites and blacks “is the civil rights issue of the 21st century” (Ford) (Shapiro). However, as Professor Ford states “the wealth gap cannot be fixed with civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination” (Ford). Ford argues that reparations would be a good idea to reduce this wealth gap, though he says that unfortunately “reparations are politically and practically infeasible” (Ford). In addition, Ford argues that many poor Caucasians “face many of the same challenges as poor blacks” (Ford). Therefore, Ford's proposal is that policymakers address the wealth gap for poor people of all racial and ethnic groups, rather than merely for poor blacks (Ford). One way to reduce the wealth gap might be to raise taxes on the wealthier Americans while providing a more government assistance to poorer Americans. In addition, the wealth gap might also be reduced if affirmative action policies are changed so that they primarily focus on giving preferential treatment to poorer people, rather than to people of certain races and/or ethnic groups. If we are able to reduce this wealth gap, perhaps the crime and drug usage rates in the United States will be reduced. Even though African Americans have achieved great success over the last half century, a large amount of work still needs to be done. We cannot pretend that we are a post-racial society yet, because we are not. The situation of African Americans today is certainly superior to the situation of African Americans half a century or a century ago. However, the situation for African Americans today is not ideal either. Let us hope that the United States and its government is able to further improve the lives of African Americans and other poor Americans over time, as well as to reduce the massive racial wealth gap which exists in the United States today. The United States is supposed to represent freedom, liberty, opportunity, equality, and justice, but unfortunately the United States has violated many of these principles throughout its often problematic and troublesome history. Hopefully the United States can redeem itself and the principles which it stands for in the future, especially in the near future.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,444
SoCal
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