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Race in the United States

Essay by   •  June 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,863 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,325 Views

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According to the New York Times (2006), Black men in the United States face a far more dire situation than is portrayed by common employment and education statistics; finishing high school is the exception, legal work is scarcer than ever and prison is almost routine, with incarceration rates climbing for blacks even as urban crime rates have declined. Rev. Martin Luther King once said "Our lives began to end the day we become silent about things that matter. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools". Many people in society should join forces to be committed to social justice because the need to challenge poverty and discrimination is greater than ever at this time. In the next few paragraphs, I will discuss my racial identity, my inter-group experience, summary of my experiences and the processes I have gone through and may go through.

My mother is African American and my father is Hispanic. I speak English only and no Spanish. I consider myself African American and born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. According to Wikipedia, New York has the largest African American community of any city in the country resides primarily in Brooklyn and I am still considered a minority. Culture as defined by Webster is the "integrated pattern of human behavior that includes though, speech, action, and artifacts and depends upon man's capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. It is customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group".

Ethnicity includes our cultural values, attitudes, and behaviors. I believe when you discuss my culture, everyone talks about Africa but it is more than that. Since Black people were stolen from the African continent, enslaved, and legally designated as property, white people have defined the Black experience. Since their inception, white-owned newspapers featured Black people as objects, not subjects. There are so many stereotypes about my culture and racial group. Many refer to many African Americans are on welfare, the males are all in jail and do crimes, teenage pregnancy, alcoholics, drug addicts, all we do is use slang words or ebonics, we eat is chicken and watermelon only, and smoke weed, what we do well is play sports, and there are so many other things. I can say that what distinguishes my culture from other cultures is that we continue our African influence in our everyday lives, we rely on our extended family and we can be very religious.

Even before I attended high school, me just being black is subjected to many things perceive to be. According to the New York Times (2010), only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys. In this world today, me being a young black male, I am subjected to a lot of things. I am subjected to being stopped by the cops while walking down the streets, being watched in stores that I go in, being watched on the streets by the elderly because they think their bag will get stolen, when I start driving and how often I will be stopped and being judged by the company I keep. I do my best to stay out of trouble and someone always wants to hold you back.

My mother and father were working parents just making it and I remember my mother did at one point in time receiving food stamps. I felt shame to use the food stamps and that people would see me buying the cheapest brands as well. I have learned that in trying to shape my personal identity, there are always going to be obstacles that I have to hurdle and it is going to take time. In today's society many African American males have been pre-judged just because of their ethnic background. Due to many rapes, robberies, and murders acclaimed by the majority of black males, many figure that all African American males partake in these activities. Looks can be deceiving and no one man should be pre-judged by his race nor his gender. Looking forward, I have to really prove myself in the jobs I take and show people I am more than just an African American male but a smart one that does want to do something with my life and have a nice home, job and to be able to afford good health care. I have to do this because opportunities with jobs and even owning a home is very limited and I better have a good credit score.

According to Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson, in the United States minorities generated two thirds of the nation's population growth. As a person of color in this day and age, I am sometimes placed in a position in which I must process the disrespect I perceive or the assumptions that others make of me. I spoke to my grandmother and she said we can go back to the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King and how he marched for social justice. For King it was a divine gift from God based on the event of Calvary that liberates and helps to bring about justice (Bauer, 2008). King and many others advocated for antidiscrimination legislation and ensured that civil rights are central concerns.

I was watching this film "The Green Mile" that was set during the era of the Great Depression. The culture that was portrayed in the film was cultural cynicism. The film showed how people took a leap of faith and accepted moral rules pertaining to mystical realm.

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