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Racial Diversity: Historical Worksheet

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Answer the following questions in 100 to 250 words each. Provide citations for all the sources you use.

• Throughout most of U.S. history, in most locations, what race has been in the majority? What is the common ancestral background of most members of this group?

The United States is a diverse country, racially and ethnically. Six races are officially recognized: White, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and people of two or more races; a race called “Some other race” is also used in the census and other surveys, but is not official. The United States Census Bureau also classifies Americans as “Hispanic or Latino” and “Not Hispanic or Latino”, which identifiesHispanic and Latino Americans as a racially diverse ethnicity that composes the largest minority group in the nation.

White Americans (non-Hispanic/Latino and Hispanic/Latino) are the racial majority, with a 72% share of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 US Census. Hispanic and Latino Americans comprise 15% of the population, making up the largest ethnic minority. Black Americans are the largest racial minority, comprising nearly 13% of the population. The White, non-Hispanic or Latino population comprises 63% of the nation’s total.

White Americans are the majority in every region, but comprise the highest proportion of the population in the Midwestern United States, at 85% per the PEP, or 83% per the ACS. Non-Hispanic Whites make up 79% of the Midwest’s population, the highest ratio of any region. However, 35% of White Americans (whether all White Americans or non-Hispanic/Latino only) live in the South, the most of any region.

55% of the “Black or African American” population lives in The South. A plurality or majority of the other official groups reside in the West. This region is home to 42% of Hispanic and Latino Americans, 46% of Asian Americans, 48% ofAmerican Indians and Alaska Natives, 68% of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, 37% of the “two or more races” population (Multiracial Americans), and 46% of those designated “some other race”.

In 2009, German Americans (16.5%), Irish Americans (11.9%), and English Americans (9.0%) were the three largest self-reported ancestry groups in the United States forming 37.4% of the population.

Overall, as the largest group, European Americans have the lowest poverty rate and the second highest educational attainment levels, median household income, and median personal income of any racial demographic in the nation.

• What are some of the larger racial minorities in U.S. history? What have been the common ancestral backgrounds of each of these groups? When did each become a significant or notable minority group?

German Americans, Irish Americans and English Americans.

None of the German states had New World colonies. Not until the 1670s did the first significant groups of German immigrants arrive in the British colonies, settling primarily in New York and Pennsylvania. Immigration continued in very large numbers during the 19th century, with some eight million arrivals from Germany. They were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out of Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression.

Many arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others simply for the chance to start fresh in the New World. The arrivals before 1850 were mostly farmers who sought out the most productive land, where their intensive farming techniques would pay off. After 1840, many came to cities, where “Germania”—German-speaking districts—soon emerged. Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland.

A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Surveyconducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Roughly another 3.5 million (or about another 1.2% of Americans) identified more specifically with Scotch-Irish ancestry. The Irish diaspora population in the United States is roughly six times the modern population of Ireland.

The only self-reported ancestral group larger than Irish Americans is German Americans. The Irish are widely dispersed in terms of geography, and demographics. Irish American political leaders have played a major role in local and national politics since before the American Revolutionary War: eight Irish Americans signed the United States Declaration of Independence, and twenty-two American Presidents, from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama, have been at least partly of Irish ancestry.

English Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those “having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who reported “White” or wrote in entries such as German, Italian, Irish, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab or Polish,” Like all official U.S. racial categories, “White” has a “Not Hispanic or Latino” and a “Hispanic or Latino” component, the latter consisting mostly of White Mexican Americans and white Cuban Americans.

The term “Caucasian” is often used interchangeably with “White”, although the terms are technically not synonymous. German Americans (16.5%), Irish Americans (11.9%), English Americans (9.0%), Italian Americans (5.8%), French Americans (4%), Polish Americans (3%), Scottish Americans (1.9%), Dutch Americans (1.6%), Norwegian Americans (1.5%), and Swedish Americans (1.4%) constitute the ten largest White American ancestries. Whites constitute the majority, with a total of 223,553,265 or 72.4% of the population in the 2010 United States Census.

• In what ways have laws been used to enforce discrimination? Provide examples. These laws were intended against which racial minorities?

There have been numerous laws in the past that have enforced discrimination. One example are the Jim Crow laws in the south that prevented blacks from obtaining equality in society for about 100 years. Affirmative action of the courts and prison systems which discriminates against Blacks and Hispanics, gives them 20% longer sentences, targets their neighborhoods, racially profiles, weakens minority neighborhoods electorally, created the culture of fatherless homes as a reaction to the Civil Rights Movement, fills prisons with low-level offenders for petty drug offenses, with illegal searches and in some states; where those crimes have been decriminalized anyways and disproportionately targets minority youths in instances where white youths would be dealt with informally.

Which is masked by “Affirmative Action” which largely benefits white women and Jews anyways. There were also the Convict codes, which were used to put Blacks back on the plantation, the loitering laws, the Bloggs Act which targeted Blacks and Mexicans for marijuana until it was realized whites use it more, the sentences disparity between crack and cocaine at a 100 to 1 ratio, the lynch laws and various others. These laws were mainly against African Americans above all but, also Latino Americans.

• In what ways have laws been used to eliminate discrimination? Provide examples. Did the laws work to eliminate discrimination?

Implement policies that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and school zones. Draft key points that fight discrimination, set them in stone and publicize them to employees and students. Such rules that fight discrimination would include firing, suspending or expelling those that use foul language, discriminatory jokes, name calling and foul body gestures. Publicize the rules in the student and employee handbook, as well as posting flyers. Handbooks displaying the company or school code of conduct should be given to each employee or student upon admittance. Display flyers in popular spots among the work or school zone, such as in hallways, information boards, break rooms and restrooms.

Make the work or school zone aware that not only is discrimination wrong, but it will not be tolerated. Display the consequences if found guilty of discrimination though the policy handbook. Give employees and students a workplace policy guide or the school’s code of ethics handbook which shows what might happen if one is found guilty of discrimination. Employees may be suspended without pay or fired from the job. Students may be suspended or expelled from school. Enforce the rules to stop discrimination. I think no, our laws have not worked properly to eliminate discrimination but, it sure should have.

Reference Page

Nancy DeVan
Eastern Strandard Time
[email protected]

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