Race, Class and Gender / Blacks Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1458 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Race

Race, Class and Gender / Blacks & Latinos

The impact of issues relative to ethnicity, socioeconomic class and gender on African-Americans and Latinos from WWII through the 1970s was dramatic and socially significant, both in terms of the welfare of Blacks and Latinos, and in terms of the overall well-being of the nation. The social change activism of Blacks and Latinos, in particular Blacks, and the legal challenges that led the Supreme Court to strike down unfair, unconstitutional laws, changed America from a segregated nation into a far more integrated country - albeit racism and discrimination still exists and may always exist to some degree.

In the book a Social and Political History of the United States the author (p. 562) notes that the most "blatant" omission of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal was racial fairness and justice. Even after defeating the racist fanatic Hitler, and the end of WWII, Caucasian-Americans were not ready to open the door for Blacks and Latinos when it came to racial justice. Indeed, the Cold War was a major distraction to the fight for racial justice that was unfortunate because millions of African-Americans were not able to vote and did not enjoy the protections that the Constitution gave to Caucasian citizens.

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And so as President Truman ran for reelection in 1948, he did something about the situation by ordering the armed forces and federal civil service to be integrated. He campaigned on a platform of civil rights, and black voters in many northern cities helped him eek out a narrow victory over Thomas Dewey (Jones, 562).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Race, Class and Gender / Blacks & Assignment

That huge turnout of black voters had an impact on the future of rights for minorities; and even though Truman caused divisions within the Democratic Party (many Southern Democrats rejected Truman's call for civil rights), he set the tone and the stage for future gains by blacks. The country began a crackdown in the early 1950s on suspected communists in the U.S. And Jones asserts on page 564 that the anticommunist movement actually helped the fight for equal rights in the U.S. The NAACP supported Truman in his effort to root out communists in return for his support of civil rights legislation.

Another positive things for blacks after the war was the GI Bill; many veterans of color were able to buy homes even though the housing in the suburbs were dominated by Caucasians, Jones points out on page 576. This is an example of how ordinary people who happened to be of color and happened to have served patriotically in WWII used the GI Bill to help break down the color barrier - and economic barrier - that had previously existed in housing developments. On page 577 the author discusses the fact that while blacks and Latinos were gradually moving from lower economic classes into the middle class, there was still discrimination in the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), which gave loans for people to buy new houses. The policy known as "red lining" blocked blacks and Latinos from certain neighborhoods, a new kind of Jim Crow.

Jones alludes to the play, Raisin in the Sun, which was first performed on Broadway in 1959, and it had a dramatic impact because it was the first time a play about an African-American family had appeared on stage in a musical in New York. A lot of blacks had performed and acted and sang and danced in Broadway musical productions before 1959, but never had there been a play that really reflected how life was for blacks in America.

The fact that the play's scene was set in the low-income areas on the south side of Chicago made it very realistic. It was an eye-opener for a lot of white folks, and that was important at that time, because in America a lot of Jim Crow attitudes and mentalities were still out there. The "American Dream" of a nice house in a nice neighborhood had not yet been realized by the great majority of black and Latino families.

At the same time, many Mexican field workers and other Latino immigrants began arriving in large numbers in the Southwest, looking for, and finding, jobs that paid more than they could make in their home country. Puerto Ricans moved into New York City and other Eastern cities where, Jones states on 578, they could earn "four times" what the average wage… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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