By: A. Cordeiro
As said so beautifully in president Joe Biden’s inauguration by the 22-year old poet Amanda Gorman, who spoke of a country where “a skinny Black girl descended from slaves” and “raised by a single mother” can “dream of becoming president”, we can infer and understand that even though the country, and the world as a whole, has come a long way in terms of equality, there is still an ever-there omnipresent segregation that envelops the United States.
In the United States, slavery was abolished on December the 6th of 1865, however segregation of the African American race continued being a large part of the country and society. This discrimination only became worse when, in 1877, the Jim Crow laws were enforced in many states of the country. These laws legalized racial segregation mainly in the Southern states of the country. They marginalized African Americans through denying them a good education, jobs good enough to sustain themselves and their families, the right to vote, and many other crucial parts of a citizen’s life. The people who tried to defy the Jim Crow laws could be arrested, fined, or even punished by death.
There are horrifying stories of occurrences during the period the Jim Crow laws were being implemented, for example, the story of a young black boy, Emmett Louis Till. The story is not for the soft-gutted, to say the least. In resume, Emmett Louis Till was a boy of only 14 years of age who went to visit his family in Mississippi in 1955, however, he was accused of offending a woman in a grocery store and a few days later was found brutally murdered in a body of water. His mother decided to demonstrate to the world how horribly her son was murdered and held an open-casket funeral in his honor. Her actions led to many people finally seeing the grand problem that was, and still is, racial segregation in the United States.
Although the level of discrimination in the United States has significantly decreased, it still omnipresent in society. Statistics prove that 80% of large metropolitan areas in the US were more plagued by segregation in 2019 than in 1990. Statistics also prove that nearly half of African Americans faced some sort of racial discrimination when trying to rent or buy a home or apartment. Richard L. Menschel, a professor at Harvard Health, stated that “Over the course of our series, we are seeing again and again that income is not a shield from discrimination”. From all of this, a simple conclusion can be drawn: even after the civil rights movement, racial discrimination is still prominent in America, and not only towards African Americans, but to many other minorities as well.
As Amanda Gorman said, “the hill we climb”, as a society, and as one people, is still an ongoing process, an ongoing process which will ideally end in the extermination of discrimination and segregation in the world.