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Ethnic Groups and Discrimination

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The ethnic group that I am identified with is African American. Different circumstances prompted immigration to the United States for each ethnic group. In determining if Africans immigrated or colonized to the United States, a report written by co-authors, Emory J. Tolbert states, "While European immigrants were coming to America to escape political or religious persecution or to pursue a dream of economic security, Africans came involuntarily and were exploited to produce prosperity for others" (Tolbert, pg. 1). In the same report, co-author Roy S. Bryce-Laporte suggests, "One such image ignores the fact that some came to this country knowingly, sometimes more willingly than others, in hopes of bettering the personal and political or socioeconomic condition. Despite their fears as people of color, they came from their distant homelands, attracted to the unlimited possibilities promised in the lore of the American way of life" (Bryce-Laporte, pg. 18).

Ethnic Groups and Discrimination

Regardless of coming to the United States involuntarily as captives aboard a European slave ship, or voluntarily to serve as indentures servants, African Americans have faced many years of oppression. The issues of prejudice, segregation, and racism of African Americans have been a long issue in American society. "For the black African, America was to mean 250 years of slavery. After that would come the belated discovery that even with freedom, there were social and moral factors which would qualify that freedom for yet another hundred years or more" (Lowy, 130).

Racism is the major factor behind all of the issues that African Americans face. Racism is defined as the belief that one race of people is superior to another. In a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted June 5 - July 6, 2008, the majority of Americans, 51% of Whites, 59% of Hispanics, and 78% Blacks, believe racism against Blacks in the United States is widespread. Americans also see racial discrimination as a major factor in four specific problems facing the African American community - lower average education levels, lower income levels, lower life expectancies, and a higher percentage of African Americans serving time in United States prisons.

Before the conducting of the Gallup poll of 2008, racism has been the factor behind many years of segregation and prejudices of African Americans. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans challenged segregation across the land. Segregation is the practice of separating people of different races, classes or ethnic groups, as in schools, housing, and public or commercial facilities. Because of segregation, African Americans were not allowed to attend schools, ride buses, eat at the same lunch counters, or drink from the same water fountains as Whites. Racism and segregation also prevented African Americans from voting in elections. Through peaceful protest, nonviolent resistance, marches, and boycotts, African American in many parts of the



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