Essay about Racial Privilege in America Past and Present

2065 Words 9 Pages
The Blame Game: a Prelude to Racial Privilege

In order to fully understand an easily debatable and highly controversial policy, such as racial privilege, one must first understand the political and social climates that led up to it. Racial privilege has been practiced during two periods in America’s past: the post-reconstruction era, via Jim Crow laws, and today, by way of affirmative action.
After Reconstruction in the American south, landowners reorganized their land in such a way that it could be farmed without the use of slaves. The most common structure employed sharecropping, in which the land owner divided his property into several plots of land, each farmed by different individuals who paid for the use of this land with a
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Ironically, this economic downfall was actually caused by the wealthy landowners and lenders who, for the most part, made up this Democratic leadership. Poor whites, eager to find a scapegoat for their problems, endorsed the idea of racial privilege. By seeking restitution, whites in the south successfully managed to evade personal responsibility, while also evading the possibility of a true solution to their problems. Thus began the Jim Crow era of racial oppression. In a related string of events, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s failed to bring about solutions to the problem of racial inequality plaguing America. Not until the death of one of its most prominent leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., did the Civil Rights Movement transform from a movement for racial equality to a movement for racial privilege. King, in his speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, makes clear the ideal of racial equality: “I have a dream… that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” After King’s assassination, new leaders arose claiming that it is not enough that blacks and whites are treated equally, but that, in order for deliverance from their troubled past, they must be given preference over those who
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