Definition Essays on Racism

Definition Essays on Racism
Definition Essays on Racism
By the 1930s a few judicial decisions began to nibble at the edifice of racial segregation, and both the Great Depression and the New Deal policies exercised a certain leveling effect between poor whites and poor Negroes. Migration outside the South continued, if only in search of nondiscriminatory relief. However, it took World War II to unleash forces powerful enough to undermine the racial status quo. Negro migration to the large industrial centers of the North, the Great Lakes, and as far as the West Coast greatly accelerated during the war and continued thereafter. By 1960 only 61 per cent of Negroes were living in the South and only 21 per cent of the southern population were Negro. More servicemen than ever before fought and lived abroad, albeit in a Jim Crow army, and came in contact with societies in which racial bigotry did not exist. The strong incentive not to waste manpower motivated the establishment of Fair Employment Practices Commissions and opened up new occupational opportunities for Negroes. Racism, of course, was far from dead, as shown by the wartime internment of United States citizens of Japanese descent condoned by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The major landmarks of the history of postwar desegregation, such as the 1948 integration of the Armed Forces, the 1954 Supreme Court decision the integration of public schools, and the Montgomery bus boycott, are too well known to need reiterating here. Suffice it to say that the amount of progress realized to date warrants neither the optimism nor the complacency which, until the last three or four years, was fashionable among "liberal" intellectuals and social scientists. The objective situation has improved, to be sure, but the change is impressive only by conservative standards.

Recent developments seem to highlight two points. First, with the "revolution of rising expectations" on the part of Negro Americans, the gap between reality and aspirations has increased in spite of progress; consequently, the level of racial conflict, of frustration, and of alienation has risen in the past few years. The present situation is probably more explosive than ever before. Second, the real progress which has been made in the past seven years is the result of mass militancy and of the adoption of unconventional methods of protest such as passive resistance and civil disobedience by the oppressed minorities, rather than of magnanimity and benevolence from the Federal government or the dominant group at large.
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