Marginalization of African-Americans in US society

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Linde Riphagen
This abstract will shortly summarize the main discussions and conclusions from this thesis. This abstract is meant to give readers a short overview and understanding of the thesis and its outcomes. The thesis deals with the marginalization of African-Americans in US society, because of the particularities of the oppression of this specific racial group in terms of a more extreme situation for this than any other racial group in US society. Major achievements such as within the civil rights era are indicating significant advancements. However, the situation has after this era unfortunately stagnated. A total bottom position of an entire race can not only be maintained by individual and political actions, and has therefore been integrated in the design of institutions such as the criminal justice system and housing and educational segregation. Those institutions have been created to push African-Americans to the bottom of society, and ensure the bottom position of African-Americans today, as negative images surrounding African-Americans are maintained and upward mobility for significant proportions of African-Americans is highly impaired and reversed by those institutional implications. This system of segregation and the design of specific institutions such as the criminal justice system are consciously and unconsciously having a high toll on African-Americans. Those systems are thereby serving multiple reasons, of maintaining an entire race as scapegoats in terms of negative trends and in times of recession and maintain privileges to a much larger extend enjoyed by White Americans. African-American economic, social and political position continues to benefit mainstream society in all areas. Therefore, mainstream society is not striving and fighting as hard for a totally just and equal society, as this would mean sacrifices on their own behalf. However, society is benefiting from African-Americans as well, such as in the performance of menial labour and positioning within vulnerable jobs. Therefore, certain rights have to be given to African-Americans over time, as to maintain stability and relative satisfaction amongst the African-American population within the society. However, those rights are always positioned within certain boundaries that will not thwart a system designed to mostly benefit and privilege Whites. When examining this thesis, the reader would become aware that the situation of African-Americans within all aspects of US society might be direr than one might have expected. Although society is in certain aspects maintaining negative images surrounding African-Americans, it is on the other hand portraying the situation of some certain African-Americans to be rosier than it actually is. Consider the African-American middle class that has been highly applauded in recent years, because of its explosive growth. However, wrong indicators to measure well being, such as income instead of wealth are used to make the situation to appear more positive than it in reality is. Furthermore, other variables, such as discrimination against African-Americans in all spheres and a poorer situation for African-Americans when earning the same income as whites, due to greater distances from shops and overpricing for certain services, are completely ignored. The ever deteriorating and stagnating position of African-Americans in recent years is a result of a further allowance of segregation, such as educational segregation. Further cut backs in benefits for achieving higher upward mobility and a better position for African-Americans in society, such as cuts in welfare benefits, affirmative action, job training in inner cities and more such tools, have been used to continue to push African-Americans to a bottom societal position. Politically engaged African-Americans striving for the development of African-American communities are unfortunately neither heard nor appreciated within a whitely dominated political environment. Although, if elected, Obama might be able to challenge some of the overt injustices, US society has a long way to go for its African-American citizens to be completely equal to its White citizens.
Publication date2008
Number of pages73
Publishing institutionAalborg University
ID: 14400673