Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History
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UNIT 9

American Culture Unit Nine

Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States

TIANJIN FOREIGN STUDIES UNIVERSITY

Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States I have a dream that my four little children will one day in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character. —Martin Luther King Jr.

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Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States What, then, is the American, the new man? He is either a European, or the descendant of American European… He is an American who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners… Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of man. —Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur

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Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States The United States has always been described as a “melting pot” in which many different racial and ethnic groups have assimilated into one culture. The metaphor came from the title of a stage play in 1909 when the United States was experiencing a massive immigration: “America is God’s Crucible, the great melting-pot where all races of Europe are melting and reforming.” Although the media and politicians routinely pay homage to “America, the melting pot,” some critics believe that for much of American history, the “melting pot” concept was largely a myth. While minorities may have altered their national culture, for the most part the melting pot has meant Americanization—conforming to cultural patterns of the mainstream American society.

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Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States

Contrary to the melting pot image, another metaphor recently has been used to describe the American society—salad bowl, where the various racial and ethnic groups have remained somewhat distinct and different from one another, creating a richly diverse country. In this sense, some minority groups have, while becoming Americans in other ways, maintained much of their traditional culture.

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Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States The truth probably lies somewhere between these two views. Generally speaking, western European immigrants are more readily merged into the rest of American society than nonwhite ethnic groups, such as Asians or Hispanics who are more likely to retain the language and the customs of their original culture.

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I. The Dominance of WASPs in American Society

The term WASPs stands for White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Strictly speaking, WASPs are whites of English descent, but more loosely the category also includes whites of Canadians, Scottish, Australians, and Northern European descent. It is used in this broader sense.

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I. The Dominance of WASPs in American Society A. WASPs dominance A. WASPs dominance

•1. The majority of immigrants in early American history •(1) The first US census (1790): 78% from England, Scotland and Wales •(2) American culture with their language, religion and customs •(3) Dominance of American political, economic system and social values 2015/4/9

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•2. Today: 60 million (less than 25%), continuing dominance

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I. The Dominance of WASPs in American Society B. More inclusive use of the term 4. White Americans—a numerical majority of the population and dominance of American culture

1. Non-Protestant white people—white ethnics White ethnics refer to white European groups that are descendants of 3. As many immigrants from Eastern More inclusive people of Irish, and Southern European French and use of the term nations, particularly Italy Italian descent alone as and Poland, but they also WASPs include Greek, Irish, and Slavic peoples. They arrived by the millions during the late 19th and 2. The ethnics that have assimilated early 20th century. Most most into the mainstream American of them were Catholics society or Jews. 2015/4/9

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II. Native Americans

No minority group has suffered more at the hands of the dominant white population in the United States than the original inhabitants of North America. Between 1800 and 1850, 500,000 Native Americans perished as a result of diseases brought by European settlers, along with dislocation, warfare, genocide and impoverishment.

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II. Native Americans A. The tragic history

1. Obstacles to European settlers’ westward expansion 2. The Removal Act (1830): brutal migration to the west the infamous Trail of Tears 3. By 1850, forceful migration west of the Mississippi 2015/4/9

B. Change of government policy

During the 1930s, Native Americans were encouraged to restore their cultural roots, if they wished. Tribes were also urged to legally incorporate, to adopt a modified form of constitutional government, and to establish business enterprise. Page  11

C. A period of fundamenta l change

1. 2 million: 1% of the population 2. 3/4 in or near to reservations, mostly located in the west 3. One of the most disadvantaged groups: in the 1990s, nearly 30% of them lived below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate on many reservations was over 50%.

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III. African Americans

African Americans constitute one of the largest of America’s minority groups, about 13% of the total population. Unlike other nonwhite ethnic groups, African Americans were brought to the United States against their free will. They were sold to America as slaves.

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III. African Americans A. Institutionalized discrimination

1. Southern whites’ control of major political and economic institution after the Reconstruction 2. Formation of white supremacist groups such as Ku Klux Klan 3. Practice of “Jim Crow” laws—a set of legal and traditional discriminatory practices barred blacks from voting, using political facilities, attending schools with whites, and associating with whites

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III. African Americans B. Improvement of the situation

1. Brown vs. Board of Topeka (1954) 2. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent strategy—civil disobedience 3. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 4. Remarkable progress since 1970s (1) Jesse Jackson—the first African American to run for President (1984 and 1988) (2) Colin Powell (3) Emergence of African American middle-class

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III. African Americans C. Gap narrowed but not closed

1. About 60% of the average white family’s 2. Lower college finish rate 3. Doubled unemployment rate 4. Segregated neighborhoods

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IV. Hispanic Americans

The term Hispanic Americans refers to Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and other groups from Central and South American countries that have a Spanish heritage. High birthrates and immigration combine to make Hispanics one of the most rapidly growing minorities in the country. Making up about 14% of the population, Hispanics have outnumbered blacks and become the nation’s largest minority group.

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IV. Hispanic Americans A. Mexican Americans (Chicanos) 6. Near the bottom of the income scale

1. The largest Hispanic group: 63%

2. One of the oldest immigrant groups

Chicanos

3. The MexicanAmerican War in 1848 2015/4/9

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5. Little education and high adult illiteracy in English

4. Predominantly as manual labors on railways and farms TIANJIN FOREIGN STUDIES UNIVERSITY

IV. Hispanic Americans

B. Puerto Rican Americans 4. The poorest among the Hispanic groups

1. About 1/6 of the Hispanic population

Contemporary Trends

3. Concentratio n in New York City

2. Citizenship granted in 1917 2015/4/9

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IV. Hispanic Americans C. Cubans About 1 million 1

Concentration in Miami, Florida area

5

The highest family income of any Hispanic group

2

4 3

Large-scale emigration since 1959

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Early Cuban immigrants as well-educated white-collar professionals and skilled workers Page  19

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V. Asian Americans

Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority in the United States, but numerically they still represent only 4% of the population. The Asian population is predicted to more than double by 2010 and quadruple by 2050.

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V. Asian Americans V. Asian Americans

•A. “Model minority”— success in education and business

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•B. The Chinese •1. Gold Rush and the transcontinental railway •2. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 •3. Strict federal legislation against Chinese immigration •4. Publicly recognized success

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V. Asian Americans V. Asian Americans

•D. Changed situation •1. Large numbers of Asian

•C. The Japanese •1. Large number of immigrants to the West Coast since 1885 •2. Prejudice and discrimination • the Immigration Act in 1924 •3. Relocation centers during WWII •4. Income and educational levels higher than the white 2015/4/9

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immigrants since 1965, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans and Indians •2. Vietnamese •(1) Political and economic refugees after the Vietnam War •(2) Concentration in California and Texas and establishment of communities

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TIANJIN FOREIGN STUDIES UNIVERSITY

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