What America Would Be Like Without Blacks Thesis

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America Without Blacks

Colorless America

The racial tension of the last few hundred years has taken its toll on the American psyche, leading many to speculate what it would be like if America had no black people. Because blacks have been the scapegoats for so many societal ills, this fantasy leads many people to believe that removing blacks from America would make it a land with less violence, less destruction, less poverty, and less general animosity. On the other hand, those who want to advocate the role that African-Americans have played in shaping modern American culture have been responsible for the sharing of an e-mail that grossly overstates black contributions to modern civilization, going so far as to credit a black person with the invention of the comb, a device that predates written history. (Mikkelson). What is clear is that neither of these versions is true. Without blacks, there would almost certainly be an America; there are several countries around the world with negligible black populations, and they do have some type of civilization. However, this black-free America would not be a Utopia, because other countries with negligible black populations are also plagued by violence and societal turmoil and inequality.

What is clear is that the country would not be recognizable as America if there were no black people in it.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Thesis on What America Would Be Like Without Blacks Assignment

Perhaps the most significant contribution that black Americans made to America was to help transform it into an incredibly wealthy nation. America had a climate that was well-suited to growing all types of crops. Many of those crops were sustenance crops, which were not very labor- intensive and did not require the type of care and management of the two crops that came to form the backbone of the economy of the American south: tobacco and cotton. The supply of indentured servants from Europe was insufficient to meet the growing demands of early tobacco planters, and colonists had found it difficult to enslave Native Americans, largely due to the fact that Native Americans knew the land in a way that newly-arrived African slaves did not, making it much easier for Native Americans to revolt. Therefore, without black Americans, the United States would not have achieved a significant place in the world economy so early in its history. While it is impossible to know how much of today's economic and political clout is directly due to the role that America played in the global economy in the 18th and 19th century, it is clear that, as an emerging country, the labor of slaves was pivotal in helping America achieve early economic strength.

Furthermore, although the Civil War ended institutionalized slavery, slavery was rapidly replaced by a system of sharecropping, which worked much like feudalism in Europe, and helped bolster the emerging middle class in the American south. Not that the economic impact of a black underclass was limited to the American south. Even before the Civil War, free blacks populated every state in the nation. These free blacks may not have been enslaved and theoretically could attain financial security, but many of them were consigned to service roles in society. Thus, these service-relegated people helped make life easier for other Americans, raising the American standard of living. Even today, modern Americans enjoy one of the highest qualities of life in the world. This is true regardless of the social status of Americans, because America is an incredibly wealthy country. That standard of living could not have developed without having an established lower-class, from which there was no escape. In a country that prized freedom and the idea of the economic and political freedom of individuals, it may have been impossible to impose lower-class status upon any group capably of freely mixing with the surrounding society within a generation or two. For example, while anti-Irish prejudice was extreme, this prejudice did not have to impact second-generation Irish immigrants, who were no longer marked by an Irish accent and could, if they so desired, discard their cultural heritage and assimilate into the rest of American society. Blacks had no such luxury, being marked as outsiders by the color of their skin, and, therefore, served the perfect role as the lowest class in the informal caste-based social class system that marked much of America's early history.

In addition to being a less wealthy country, an America without blacks would almost certainly be a much more restrictive country. When one looks at the history of injustice in the United States, the stark horrors of slavery tend to overshadow the fact that American women were treated as little more than property through much of the country's history. In fact, it is doubtful that the women's movement, which eventually led to female suffrage, would have been possible if there were no blacks in America. Women of the 1800s were taught that their role was to stay in the home and manage the domestic sphere, and few women dared to question the order of things. Those women who may have had the financial and political clout to question the treatment of women were the same women who stood to lose the most by questioning the status quo. However, many of these upper-middle class white women found that there was an abominable practice that they could openly question: slavery. The abolitionist movement attracted many resourceful and intelligent women, and the discussions about the horrors of slavery led many abolitionist women to the realization that they were also deprived of the same freedoms and rights as white men. Some of the notable names in the women's rights movement that began in the abolitionist movement include Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and Sojourner Truth. When Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were denied their seats at the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London because they were female, they began to advocate for women's rights in earnest. ("Elizabeth Cady Stanton"). While women did not earn the right to vote until almost a half a century after black men gained the vote, there is no question that abolition and women's rights are intertwined.

Moreover, much like the story of America's economy, the relationships between women's rights and black American civil rights has remained consistent throughout America's history. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not written with the goal of ending discrimination against women, which was, at the time, not considered a pressing social issues in the United States. On the contrary, it was written with the goal of ending the system of Jim Crow oppression and discrimination that had developed in the American south. However, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had a dramatic impact on women's rights. Title VII of the Act specifically prohibits discrimination against women on the basis of gender in employment. (42 U.S.C.S. 2000e et seq.). Without the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the first meaningful piece of federal anti-discrimination legislation, it is doubtful that women would have even the legal right to equal employment opportunities. Moreover, had America not been confronting discrimination against blacks, which clearly violated the 14th Amendment, it is unlikely that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would ever have been drafted. Therefore, it is fair to suggest that, had there been no blacks in the United States, women in the United States may still not be able to vote.

An America without black people would be poorer and have fewer freedoms, but what Americans would probably miss the most about having a world devoid of black Americans is the hundreds and thousands of ways that black Americans have contributed to American culture. For example, Jazz, which is widely regarded as the first purely-American art form, developed during the Harlem Renaissance and was created by black musicians. While modern jazz may reveal few of its impassioned roots, its roots were in a cultural explosion celebrating black Americans as culturally relevant in a way that had not been done before in American history. Likewise, the blues, another American art form, developed around this time, though its roots went further and deeper, traced to the "Negro spirituals" that slaves sang while working in the fields, and having a lineage that spanned the Atlantic back into Africa. Almost all modern American music can trace its roots to these two types of music. Elvis Presley famously stole the musical style of the black artists he snuck out to see, transforming black music into rock and roll for a white audience, and paving the way for early black rock and roll artists to achieve some financial and commercial success in white America.

Other forms of American art would be profoundly different without black Americans. Can one imagine a literary history without the powerful story contained in Alice Walker's the Color Purple or Alex Hailey's Roots? Not only are both of these novels by black authors, but they deal directly with issues of race and racism. If blacks had never been part of the American story, then these stories could have been told. There… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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