‘Race and Ethnic Relations’ is mainly directed to the sociology student as it includes readings on ethnicity, race, and sociological theories. The author comes across as an enthusiastic and educated scholar that balances the projections, misconceptions and prejudices associated with race and its implications on US history. Blacks have a distinct history, as Russians, Germans, and the Irish among others. Marger breaks down how they entered the United States, the prejudices they endured, their power and incomes compared to other races. Marger comes strong when portraying that the US is largely dominated by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. As such, their vast population ensured that African Americans endured tumultuous times in early America. Ultimately, African Americans progressed as they gradually attained the status of normal citizens.
In this chapter, Marger remarkably uses numerous sources to support his readings on African Americans in the US. The magnitude of information regarding blacks is immense. The Early era of US is presented as one of discrimination, stereotypes, and assimilation. Ethnic and race relations are portrayed as fluid and are prone to constant change. The information is arranged systematically as Marger reveals the entry of Africans in the US, the issues they had to deal with, and their struggle for liberation.
Through this chapter, one learns how Africans became part of America in the 16th century after being taken as slaves in North American colonies. After the United States achieved independence from Spanish and English colonialists, black people were still enslaved and considered inferior. Marger paints a clear picture of how these circumstances were changed by the Reconstruction era, development of the black society, the civil rights movement, and elimination of racial segregation. As they gradually gained freedom, states especially in the south worked to limit their progress.
The development of African Americans is seen through their endeavors of setting up congregations, community associations and schools, as they looked move away from white oversight or control. While they witnessed progress in the post-war reconstruction period, Marger uses significant examples such as the Jim Crow laws that curtailed this progress. To maintain dignity and self-esteem, blacks such as Mary Bethune and Anthony Overton continued build social clubs, banks, schools, and churches for African Americans.
Marger also reveals the political and economic progress blacks made during the post-civil rights period. For example, one learns of Douglas Wilder’s achievement of becoming the first African American to hold a governor’s office in the US. The final period of the 19th century oversaw the subsiding of racial violence and discrimination laws. Such laws include the racial segregation act. Such acts ensured voter suppression, mass racial violence, and denial of resources or economic opportunities aimed at blacks.
In conclusion, the reader gains a clear picture of the issues African Americans dealt with as they endeavored to emancipate themselves from white rule and control. Upon reading this book, one becomes enlightened on matters race and its influence of the African American community. This is a stimulating chapter on African American reality and perspectives in the US. Marger composes an enduring text. He conducts intricate research and uses numerous and relevant examples to reinforce his findings. Ultimately, this chapter and the entire book should not only be upheld by both the instructor and student. Anyone interested in socio-historic and comprehensive theories of global races from past to present.
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