Racial Equality In America

892 Words4 Pages
Starting in the late 18th century, the process of naturalization and racial equality has plagued America. In 1790 congress decided to extend citizenship only to free whites in the Naturalization Act of 1790. That standard changed after the War when citizenship was also granted to people of African descent but that change did not mean equal treatment or equal rights. Although blacks and minorities were indeed citizens, they were stripped of many basic rights and privileges such as unhindered ability to vote, access to facilities, restaurants and businesses, and housing. Black codes, passed in 1866, restricted African Americans’ economic potential by ensuring that blacks remained a cheap labor force. Blacks had to sign yearly labor contracts…show more content…
The communities with high numbers of minorities were less favorable and had the color red and these communities were “redlined.” Living in different locations didn’t just mean less favorable housing but less favorable in almost every aspect of life. Living in redlined districts kept families from access to the best education, families faced higher crime rates, and families had difficulty leaving their homes. President Johnson’s Fair Housing Act in 1968 pushed to end this systematic inequality in housing by prohibiting the sale or financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or sex. This act did not, however, fix the problem of racism in housing. When neighborhoods began integrate, whites began to leave, fearing house value depression. Real estate agents would use the fear of blacks to drive whites to sell their homes quickly and then sell the homes at higher rates to minorities. This transformation from a predominantly white community to predominantly minority community was known as blockbusting. Even if whites weren’t racist they knew from a financial standpoint that they would lose money by living in a community with black people. White people controlled the assets and took them with them wherever they went. The livelihoods of families through the 20th century was determined solely by the color of their skin. Their skin color determined whether they would be the victims of Jim Crow laws, unfavorable housing, and consequentially a severe disadvantage in business, education, and success. No biological science could determine race but race determined so much for America and how its people were treated. The effects of explicit inequality in this nation’s history still implicitly impact minorities negatively today and give whites largely unrecognized
Open Document