Most of us, being United States citizens, would like to believe that
everyone in this country is living in conditions of utmost freedom and equality.
Although according to the constitution this is true, anyone who has ever been
the victim of oppression knows not to take equality for granted. Our society has
slowly grown to accept the different types of people that live in our country;
it is now a lot less common to see peoples rights such as freedom and
equality being abused. However, the influences of the past, when the living
conditions were far less then equal for many groups of people, can still be
witnessed today. A fine example of this could be seen through the way in which
housing discrimination led to the colonization of Blacks into their own
neighborhoods and communities, which eventually led to the creation of ghettos
Racism, in itself, is a belief that a person holds; it forces another
being to be placed at a lower status within ones mind and in the society as a
whole. Keeping Blacks and other minorities at a lower level was the principal
state of mind for many of the whites during the early part of the twentieth
century. This kind of mentality exists in our society till this day among
certain groups of people. The cold and harsh manner with which the Blacks were
treated takes us all the way back to slavery. Back in those days the majority of
this countrys population accepted it. The oppressed African Americans
eventually began to become more organized and started to fight for the civil
rights they deserved as citizens of the United States.
Despite the attempts of
the Civil Rights Movement Essay, much damage was already done; unfortunately many
minds were already tarnished with negative images of what the Black person was
and could ever be. In spite of the fact that many Black people were working
towards moving up and making a life for themselves, racism continuously kept
them from advancing in the society. In the early part of the twentieth century
racism placed a strong precedent for the way in which Blacks are today. After
the civil war more and more free Blacks began to migrate north. They were
seeking the possibility of “better social and economic opportunities”
(Abrams 10). The high hopes were soon brought back down, as the Blacks were
welcomed to the cities by the overwhelming mentality of the masters looking down
on their slaves.
They encountered landlord after landlord turning them away
because of their unwillingness to rent to Blacks and other newly migrated
minorities. It was this constant refusal to integrate housing that eventually
caused the creation of minority driven neighborhoods. Since the majority of the
whites turned their backs on Blacks and the other minorities, African Americans
were forced into forming the types of communities that contained people of their
race and poor financial state. Many of them came looking to move ahead in their
new lives that they were recently granted by the constitution; but they were
only pushed to join the fairly new neighborhoods, which were slums compared to
those inhabited by the dominating white residences. The reason for this type of
segregation could be explained as another tool of racism for the white mans
advantage. The effects of these neighborhoods were more damaging then the simple
prevention of Blacks and other minorities from integrating with the whites.
zoning the individual into compartments determined by color, it excluded the
opportunity for a fusion of interests. By confining children to separate
neighborhood schools and playgrounds, it sharpened the lines of distinction and
developed illusions of superiority…It was in housing that segregation received
its greatest impetus and momentum. Once rooted there the segregation pattern
spread unattested until the Negro ghetto became an accepted part of the American
landscape (Abrams 7).
“Local authorities used every available weapon to keep
the blacks divided; housing was simply the physical expression of this racial
policy” (Rudwick 10). Even if a family was able to afford housing in a
predominantly white neighborhood, they were still not allowed to move in there.
Despite the slow improvement of their economic status Blacks still possessed
“…no freedom to move elsewhere.
American slums (were) no longer exclusively
the product of a discrepancy between rent and wages” (Abrams 10). After being
forced to confine themselves to such neighborhoods it was only a matter of time
before it was not just the housing that was segregated, it was also an abundant
amount of social segregation as .