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Ethnic Groups and Discrimination - African Americans

The ethnic group I am associated with is African Americans. Starting in 1440's, Europeans began buying African Americans as slaves, (McGill, 2009.) In the 1500's Brazil was discovered, and it was then that the classic form of slave trade was created. European merchants would ship their products to Africa, trade the products for slaves. Consequently Africans were forced to the “new world”, also known as America. After being shipped to America, Africans were traded for American products, (McGill, 2009.) This type of trade was referred to as the “triangle trade.” In order to start the triangle trade slaves needed to be acquired. Europeans would trade goods with African leaders that owned slaves, or Europeans would kidnap Africans and refer to them as slaves. After taking possession of Africans, Europeans would then pack them tightly into a ship and begin voyage to America. McGill states that, “of the estimated 40 million Africans ensnared in the slave trade, it is thought that only 15 million ever made it to the Americas.” The first African was bought as a slave in 1619, in Jamestown settlement. The slaves bought by northern settlers were primarily used for domestic work, while southern settlers were bought for farm labor, (McGill, 2009.) Despite the legislation passed by Britain and the United States in 1807, the Atlantic Slave Trade did not end until 1841 when numerous slave ships were captured and brought to court, (McGill, 2009.)

In 1777, the Virginia legislature discussed Thomas Jefferson's proposal to colonize African Americans, (Boyer, 2001.) This was the start of an ongoing issue that would remain a part of legislature discussions for many years to come. In 1816 Robert Finley institutionalized the colonization effort, (Boyer, 2001.) Finley's hopes were to colonize and end slavery. Instead of ending slavery, in 1850 the Fugitive Slave Act was signed. The Fugitive Slavery Act involved fugitive commissioners issuing warrants for runaway slaves. Fortunately in 1864 congress repealed the Fugitive Slavery Act. It was not until the end of the Civil War, by the influence of Abraham Lincoln that slavery began to come to an end.

After the forced colonization of African Americans the early years of emancipation lead poor education or no access to higher education for African Americans. As a result Africans were affected by the Dual Labor Market. Africans were affected because they are not given meaningful jobs or jobs without structure or benefits because of the lack of higher education. Additionally, Africans were given lower paying jobs, thus forcing them to reside in poorer living conditions. While every ethnic group is affected by the dual labor market Africans Americans seem to be targeted more frequently because of the lack of higher education. Fortunately in this affirmative action helps prevent discrimination that results from the dual labor market. This validates that African Americans are additionally affected by affirmative action. Affirmative Action helps redress issues pertaining to discrimination and women or minorities.

In regard to redlining and African Americans, I strongly believe that African Americans are affected by redlining because one often sees neighborhoods upon neighborhoods with just one minority residing in the entire neighborhood. Dr. Massey and Dr. Eggers of the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania observed that, “gathered factors of distributional structure of income, Extent of income inequality and the degree of spatial segregation by income demonstrated that concentrated urban poverty is confined to Africans in the West and Hispanics in the Northeast. Massey and Eggers, (1990) further concluded that, “the occurrence of rising poverty under conditions of high racial/ethnic segregation explains the growing spatial isolation of poor blacks and Hispanics in U.S. urban society.”

Double jeopardy is a constitutional right that affects every ethnic group. As is discrimination and reverse discrimination. Double jeopardy prevents an individual from being tried for the same crime after either being convicted or acquitted of a crime. Discrimination is the negative feelings of an individual or group towards another. African Americans have been and still are discriminated against frequently even in this day and time. Reverse discrimination additionally affects every ethnic group, however is not as common as discrimination.

The last area of discrimination in which African Americans have endured includes: glass ceilings, glass walls and glass escalators. Within the work force these types of discrimination can be the hardest to determine. Thankfully the employment's human resource department should have the authority to prevent such instances. In conclusion, African Americans have overcome many obstacles which include prejudice, racism and segregation. The most important aspect to remember is to keep personal morals in mind before passing judgment on any ethnic group. That is the only way that America can finally come together and peacefully live amongst one another. Personally I culturally identify with both mainstream and my ethnic group. I have morals which have been passed down to me through generations before. These include treating every human being as I would want to be treated. I additionally try to keep up with mainstream U.S. in order to kept up to date with fashion and music, I teach my kids to be equally identifiable as well. I strongly feel this is the only way to become united as one nation, everyone representing their own culture minus the hatred one may have for another.


Boyer, P.S. (2001). Colonization Movement, African. The Oxford Companion to United States History. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from

Massey, D., Eggers, M.L. (March 1990). The Ecology of Inequality: Minorities and the Concentration of Poverty, 1970-1980. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from

McGill, S.A. (2009). Atlantic Slave Trade. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from MasterFile Database

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