Racism can be described as a specific type of prejudice against some specific group or race. Similarly if the prejudiced beliefs of people block the progress of a specific group, then it is termed as discrimination. The people who try to block the progress of a specific group are guilty of racial discrimination. The United States has a long history of racism and racial discrimination. For centuries conflicts have taken place between the Whites, blacks, Mexicans and the Asians. Race hatred often leads to the violence. The people guilty of race discrimination often form extremist groups to defend their country from minority takeover, and ultimately increase the tension and hatred between the two races.
Many surveys have been conducted to study the nature and intensity of Racism in American culture. According to General Social Survey, conducted in 1990, 40 to 56 percent of the whites were of the view that Hispanic and Blacks are prone to violence and prefer to live off welfare. It has also been found out that the Mexican Americans and the Asian Americans (especially Chinese) experience higher overall level of stress due to financial problems and due to the racial biases. According to some recent studies the day to day-perceived discrimination was linked to symptoms of depression in the children as well as in the adults of Mexican and Asian Americans.
Poverty affects the racial and ethnic minorities. The rate of poverty is much higher among the minorities as compare to the white Americans. It has been found out that 11 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 23 percent of Hispanic Americans, 24 percent of African Americans and 26 percent of American Indians are poor while only 8 percent of white Americans are poor. The poverty is also linked to poorer mental health. Many studies have shown that people in lowest income cadre are 2 to 3 times more likely, than those who are in better income cadre, to have a mantle disorder.The ethnic minorities of United States face an environment of inequality and discrimination which combined with poverty, have badly affected their mental health.
The minority of Hispanics includes Mexicans, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American, or other Hispanic heritage. They are consists of more than 500 tribes with almost entirely different cultural heritage, traditions, languages and ancestry. The 2000 census showed that the Hispanics are the Americas largest minority. According to the Times magazine 58 percent of this minority is of the Mexican origin.
The majority of Mexican Americans are most prominent in the areas, which were formerly the part of the Mexico, i.e. Southern California and Texas. The largest of Mexican Americans community was located around the Los Angles in Southern California, El Paso in Far West Texas, and the metropolitan areas of the South Texas.
The Mexican American, just like the other minorities of the United States, resides in the non-economically viable ethnic enclaves: isolated, and other forms of ethnic discrimination. Mexicans are a mixed race, most of them are white having Spanish ancestry, but almost half of them are not white. They are mestizos. It has been observed that among the Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants, mestizos are in the worst condition.
According to the Auditors of Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Mexican Americans and especially the non-white Mexican Americans experience discrimination in the housing market from realtors and lending institutions. The auditors have also found out that the Mexican Americans faced discrimination due to their skin color and not due to their Mexican accent.
Most of the Mexican Americans are the offspring of the Mexicans who voluntarily migrated to United States in the 20th Century. Hence it is the duty of the community, to which they have migrated, to assist them in adapting and absorbing them to American Society, but they were then busy in a war and colonization. This had fundamental consequences for the ability of these enclaves to provide resources to the generations of Mexican Americans.
Hence, although many people thought that the increasing immigrations of Mexicans into the United States is a Mexican problem, it is actually an American problem. This is the problem brought on by the history of the nation’s oldest and largest Mexican American communities. This is a history started with conquest and then excluded the generations from the benefits of developments.
Chinese Americans combined with other Asians and the Pacific Islanders include at least 43 separate ethnic groups who spoke 100 different languages. From the very beginning the Chinese Americans are considered as the aliens and foreigners in the land of the United States. In the year 1882, the United States Congress has passed an Act called Chinese Exclusion Act. This is supposed to be the one and only United States law, which prevent immigration and naturalization on the basis of race. The congress had renewed the law in 1892 and in 1902, and extended it for an unidentified period in 1904. In 1889, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the exclusion and expulsion of Chinese from America, and restricted the Chinese immigration to America for the next sixty years.
In the year 1924, all Asian immigrants, except of the Filipinos, were fully excluded by law, were denied citizenship and naturalization, and were prevented from marrying Caucasians and were not allowed to own land.
America had completely closed its doors to all the Asians in 1935, when according to Tydings-McDuffie Act, an annual quota of fifty immigrants, were placed on the Filipinos too. In 1914, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the principle that citizenship could be denied to foreign born Asians. In 1854, the Supreme Court of California made it Constitutional that no person of color could be allowed to give evidence in court against any white person. This was actually against the Chinese Americans but also applicable to all other colored ethnic groups. Similarly in 1892 the Grey Act excluded all the Chinese people to get any protection in the courts, including denying them bail in habeas corpus cases.
In 1913, the Congress had passed the Alien Land Act, which excluded all the Aliens (meaning Chinese) to be eligible for the citizenship, for purchasing land etc. Similarly a subsequent Act in 1920 prohibited all the Asians from leasing and even sharecropping. Chinese got the right to citizenship in 1943 because China had fought with the allies in World War II, but the Japanese did not get this right until 1952. The Immigration Act of 1965 replaced the National origin system and allowed an annual immigration quota of 20,000 persons per country. This change had a striking effect. The rate of immigrants from Asia had risen from 6 percent in 1950s to 37 percent in 1980s.
Hence it can be said that ethnic makeup of United States has changed rapidly since 1965.
After all the above discussion, I just want to add that if we continue to differentiate people based on their color, gender or nationality, then we have not achieved anything. We should head into the future, not with hatred towards others, but instead with love and dignity.
Emily Walker, Interracial relationships triumph with love, commitment, March 1996,
Jonathan Schildbach, Relax, We're All Racists Here, Part Three: A New Hope? November 22, 2001,
Deborah L. Rouse, Lives of Women of Color Create Risk for Depression, 10/01/01,