Cultural and Ethnic Studies Coursework

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Students are to construct a research paper arguing their position on the rights of people of color in America. Use the articles provided within this course and those that you find in your research. Use proper APA Style rules for formatting and citations. The paper must contain a cover page and an annotated bibliography.


Rights of People of Color in America

On the 4th of July 1776, New America declared independence and stated: “that all men are created equal” (Behnken, 2011). Even so, discrimination against racial and ethnic groups continued to occur, and it was one of the factors in the Civil War of the 1860s. By the 1900s, there were huge numbers of international immigrants, and this situation greatly contributed to an increase in racial discrimination (Behnken, 2011). This period saw the introduction of many civil rights movements that campaigned against discrimination on grounds of diverse factors including race disability, gender, religion, and sexuality. Through such civil movements, these minority groups campaigned for equal rights, especially in economic and social realms.


A number of landmark gains were made during the 1800s as part of the fight against racial discrimination against people of color. One of them was the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863under President Abraham Lincoln. Besides, the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 granted equal protection to all citizens. However, racial separation became even more prominent when the Supreme Court ruling that statutory governments could separate public facilities for different races as long as they were of the same quality and standard. Yet minorities continued to be extremely marginalized with African Americans bearing the biggest form of public discrimination. This largely continued until the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Bashi, 2013).

Title II of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination or access to public accommodation because of race, color, origin or religion. The law effectively prohibited discrimination in public facilities such as courts and jails. Title IV of the law prohibits discrimination in public schools including elementary schools, high schools and universities andcolleges (Bashi, 2013). Title VII which prohibits employment discrimination signified a major step forward in the fight against discriminations against people of color. There was a three year-long non-violent strike by Hispanic farmers and protests by sanitation workers in Tennessee as well as the ultimate assassination of Martin King in 1968 (Bashi, 2013). In subsequent years, the Civil Rights Act catered to people with disabilities, institutionalized people, American Indians and people of Japanese ancestry (Lee, 2014).

Despite these immense achievements made during the 20th century, racial progress and awareness remains modest at best. In what is identified as modern or new racism, discrimination against people of color continues to occur.Its manifestation ranges from subtle and crafty media communication to new political arrangements. The media has been criticized for its failure to maintain balance in terms of racial representation in commercials and TV shows (Gallo, 2014). Furthermore, many media houses perpetuate profound racial stereotypes that satirize these characteristics while at the same time propelling racist attitudes. Interestingly, even commercials with minority representation receive backlash such as when subjects of interracial heritage or marriage are featured. During the Obama presidency, white supremacists pushed for new voting regulations that are based on old racist agendas and ideas of black and corrupt black politicians or voters (Blea, 2003). For this reason, there is great truth in the idea that racial progress and racism have both made forward growth. More so, even in today’s post black-presidency, racism in the US appears to have taken a new form that reintroduces the far-right racists and white supremacists.


Notably, rights of people of color now extend across a multifaceted identity. Different needs, social structures and modifications have heightened considerations such as gender, religion and culture. For this reason, different groups and rights are provided for people of color based on these groups (Lee, 2014). In recent events, developments made in addressing the needs of Aboriginal communities has revealed that a form of reconciliation deceit that will ultimately lead to more division and a system of apartheid. These groups have come out to demand for Aboriginal Australians to gain more legal rights and political representation. In the US, the idea of white privilege has given rise to the topic of black privilege (Higinbotham, 2013). In what is paving way for one of the most controversial structures, conservatives in the white population suggest that ‘white is the new black’.

Even though it is fundamentally true that colored racism is still prevalent, the development of a sense of black privilege represents a gap in a post-racial society. This reinforces the perception that while people of color fight for their rights and gain more ground, the white population has begunto feel that they are being condemned as being racist simply by exercising pride of their races and cultures while people of color are receiving special treatment (Hermon, 2013). One may observe that the evolution of racial, ethnic, cultural and religious structures is developing into a complex phenomenon that will require more than just the traditional or mainstream solutions to address. A common example is the bans on certain religious or cultural groups due to security threats. In recent events, Muslims have been the most recent victims in the wake of terrorism of discrimination that extends on a global scale (Waller, 1998). As the global community continues to diversify and merge, the US faces great challenges in balancing the needs of minority and majority racial groups as espoused by Civil Rights Act in an era of a growing threat of terrorism.There is a need for a new sense of understanding, knowledge and research on the extent of racism and how it affects not just the rights of people of color but also those of white populations.


Bashi, V. (2013). The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethnic Factions. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Behnken, B. (2011). Fighting Their Own Battles: Mexican Americans, African Americans, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Texas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Blea, I. (2003). The Feminization of Racism: Promoting World Peace in America. Westport: Praeger.

Gallo, S. (2014). Behind the White Picket Fence: Power and Privilege in a Multiethnic Neighborhood. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Hermon, G. (2013). Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism, and Racial Inequality in Contemporary America. The Western Journal of Black Studies, 37 (1).

Higinbotham, M. (2013). Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America. New York: New York Unversity Press.

Lee, S. (2014). Building a Latino Civil Rights Movement: Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Justice in New York City. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Waller, J. (1998). Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism across America. New York: Insight Books.

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