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Racial Inequality in the United States Outline

RacialInequality in the United States


  • Racial inequality is a major problem in the United States.

  • The disparities are observed in the distribution of economic resources, power and life opportunities that people are offered depending on their race.

  • This paper seeks to discuss racial inequality in the United States.

Historyof Racial Inequality in the United States

  • Historical oppression of the minorities in the US

  • How the blacks entered in America as slaves, and how it led to racial inequality

TheSocial/Cultural Changes that have occurred over the Past 10 years inRacial Inequality

  • Racial changes in the 21st century

  • How the blacks have improved economically in the recent past

  • The current wave of immigration


  • How the concept of the poverty in manifested in America

  • How class contributes to racial inequality

  • How the neighborhood can contribute to the inequality

Waysthat Education and Socialization Have influenced my thinking aboutRacial Inequality

  • How the education has enhanced my understanding or racial inequality


Despitethe positive social changes that have occurred in the past 10 years,racial inequality still remains a significant problem facing minoritypopulations in the United States.


Racialinequality is a major problem in the United States. It is describedas societal advantages and disparities that impact on different raceswithin America. The societal disparities exist between the Whites andthe racial minorities including the African Americans, the LatinAmericans, Asians, the Native North Americans and the AmericanIndians. Racial identity has formed an important component infacilitating recognition of racial disparities among the diverseminority racial groups in America. The disparities are observed inthe distribution of economic resources, power and life opportunitiesthat people are offered depending on their race. Examples of theseracial inequalities include disparities in unemployment rates,housing patterns, wealth, incarceration rates and educationalopportunities. Studies indicate that the racial inequalityexperienced today has been facilitated by factors such as inequalityin inheritance, historical oppression and general prejudice of theminority racial groups. Some studies indicate that the racialdisparities experienced in the U.S have their roots traced topolitical, legal, economic, cultural and physical discriminationbased on race. Although some studies reveal that the rate of racialinequality has reduced significantly, the high rates of unemployedpopulation and low earning among the minority population suggestotherwise (O`Connell,2012).

Thispaper seeks to discuss racial inequality in the United States.

Historyof Racial Inequality in the United States

Thehistorical events such as the historical oppression of the racialminority populations shaped our contemporary idea of race. Oppressionwas manifested through social practices, the establishment ofdiscriminatory laws, and criminal behavior attributed to a particulartarget group. Racial inequality began in the 17thCentury when Europeans colonized North America. The Europeans subduedand conquered North American land and attempted to eliminate theirNative American traditions. During the same period, the AfricanAmericans were brought to America as slaves where they were kidnappedfrom their original homes in different parts of Africa. They weresubjected to torture, forced to convert to Christianity and erasedtheir identities and names. Africans were perceived to be inferior tothe Whites in terms of endowments of the body and intellectualcapability. Africans were denied their freedom and the rights ofNative Americans were withheld. In the 18thand 19thCenturies, scientists began categorizing things including humansafter obtaining the idea from philosophers in Europe. In the 19thCentury, the idea of race became widespread and included other groupsof people including Chinese Americans and Mexican Americans. By WorldWar II, racial categories had been developed in America includingPhilippinos, Mexicans, Indians and Japanese. These historical eventshave contributed to the existing racial inequality experienced todayin the United States (Omi&amp Winant, 2014).

TheSocial/Cultural Changes that have occurred over the Past 10 years inRacial Inequality

Significantpositive social changes have been observed in the United States overthe past 10 years. America has experienced significant changes inracial relations in the 21stCentury. The massive transformations experienced today werefacilitated by the various changes that were generated in themid-20thCentury through the civil rights movement, elimination of economicand cultural factors that promoted racial discrimination anddestruction of the systems of legal segregation in the 1950s and1960s and the rise in economic growth. The factors have shaped theattitudes, behaviors and beliefs of the Whites towards the minoritygroups in the United States (Feagin,2014).

Althoughracial inequality remains a significant challenge, major progress hasbeen observed in over the past ten years. For instance, the economicsituations among African-Americans have improved whereby their annualearnings has increased, and the educational gaps between the Whitesand African Americans have reduced significantly. The distribution ofemployment among the African Americans has become similar to that ofWhites whereby a relatively large proportion of African Americans arebeing offered managerial positions just like their White counterpartsbased on merit (Feagin,2014).

Moreover,the number of mixed marriages is increasing, there is more raceinteraction in workplaces, and from excellent friendships with eachother. Furthermore, the rate of employment of African American womenhas improved considerably. In the past before the social changesoccurred, the African American women were being forced intoparticipation in labor force compared to white women. However, theincrease in labor force participation over the years has contributedto increase in population thus leading to equal employmentopportunities for both the African American women and the whitewomen. These social changes have contributed to the considerableelimination of racial domination and oppression structures (Feagin,2014).

Thesocial issues currently existing in the United States include the newwave of immigration that includes people of color, particularly theHispanic. Immigration has contributed to the increase in non-whitepopulation thus facilitating increased rates of racial prejudice andinequalities. Additionally, immigrates have higher rates ofentrepreneurship and skills required for participation in labor forcethan the African Americans thus they are more likely to be consideredfor employment opportunity. This is clear indication that immigrantsare taking job opportunities from the minority population in Americatherefore, this further contributes to increased rate of racialdisparities among these populations (Vijaya,Eshleman &amp Halley, 2015).

Povertyis also another social issue that is endemic among the AfricanAmericans and the Hispanics. The high poverty rates experienced amongthe African Americans and the Hispanics is caused by the rising rateof joblessness among these populations. Evidence suggest that thereis high rate of discrimination among minority population at the pointof recruitment by white employers. The racial disparity inunemployment rates has led to increased rates of poverty due tonarrow opportunities available for the minority populations.Furthermore,a different development of economic inequality has emerged. Theearnings among the African Americans still remain a problem atdifferent levels of economic attainment. Studies indicates thatdespite the notable economic growth that occurred in 2000, thepoverty rate among Latin Americans and African Americans stillremained significantly high than the white Americans. The gap inpoverty rate between the White Americans and the minority populationhas continued to be observed throughout the subsequent years (Vijaya,Eshleman &amp Halley, 2015).


AccordingtoO`Connell(2012), despite the development and implementation of Civil Rightslaws, racial inequality continues to exist in America. The adoptionand implementation of the Civil Rights Laws led to the elimination ofthe social segregation laws against the minority population inAmerica. It contributed to the increase in wages in the 1970s thathelped to eliminate the group differences between the dominant whitepopulation and the minority population. However, O`Connell (2012),points out despite the improvement and changes in economic and socialclass among the minority population in the U.S, racial discriminationremains a significant problem in the country. The persistence ofracial inequality is manifested majorly through the concept ofpoverty that is rampant in the African American and the Hispanicpopulations. The author attributes the increased rates of poverty inthe history of slavery that has facilitated the existence of racialinequalities in America.

Brown(2000) suggests that racial inequality is prevalent in American dueto the existence of class in the United States. The study indicatesthat the existence of class inequality contributes to the persistenceof racial inequality. Evidence points out that African Americans arestill experiencing racial hostility across the social classes inAmerica. Brown (2000) argues that despite the decline of racialprejudice, the persistence of poverty among the African Americanpopulation suggests that racial inequality is still prevalent inAmerica.

Accordingto Mode, Evans and Zonderman (2016), mortality rates in America isbased on neighborhood, economic status of an individual and race. Thestudy indicates that mortality rate is high among the AfricanAmerican populations compared to the Whites due to the differences inthe level of income inequality and the neighborhood economic status.Most of the African Americans populations are living in incomeinequality society which leads to poverty thereby lack access toquality health care that contributes to high mortality rates. Mode,Evans and Zonderman (2016), indicate that people living in poorneighborhoods have limited resources and options such as lack ofaccess to quality health care services that contribute to increasedmortality rate experienced among these populations.

Waysthat Education and Socialization Have influenced my thinking aboutRacial Inequality

Thehistorical events development various stereotypes on minoritypopulations especially the African Americans who are viewed asinferior to the Whites. The various minority groups in the UnitedStates are often classified together with the African Americans aspeople of color and thus face high racial hostility from the whites.These stereotypes have contributed to the existing racialdiscrimination among minority populations in the United States.

However,education has played a significant role in addressing the challengeof racial inequality. Personally, through sociology studies, I havebeen able to learn the norms and practices of different races andthis has enhanced my understudying. I have learned that, thoughpeople are different in color or skills, it does not mean they areinferior to others. I have also gained the understanding of thedifferent types of inequalities and its impacts on the targetedpopulation. These factors have changed my thinking towards theminority populations especially the African Americans. I now haveknowledge and awareness on the effects of racial inequality andeliminated the stereotype that minority populations are inferior tothe dominant populations, the Whites.

Educationhas enhanced my understanding that the modern and historical forceshave combined thus contributing to increased racial disparities amongminority population. Persistent racial discrimination has continuedto deny millions of American populations opportunities such as decentemployment and housing. Employment and housing are the major socialproblems that have continued to persist thus affecting minoritypopulation.

Additionally,through education and socialization, I have learnt that allindividuals irrespective of race have equal capacity in terms ofability to achieve great things, dignity and rights. I have realizedthat racial inequality together with other types of inequality basedon social characteristics is both unfortunate and unjust. I havegained understanding of the value of equality in society. Forinstance, equality promotes improvement in economic and physicalsecurity, enhances development of a common sense of responsibilityand social mobility. Furthermore, I have obtained knowledge thatracial inequalities have contributed to race-based barriers that hashindered the ability of America as a country to fulfil the sharedvalues democracy.


Racialinequality is still a challenge in America despite the significantsocial changes observed over the past ten years. The notable socialissues that are still experienced in the U.S include poverty,increased discrimination of people of color such as the Hispanic andeconomic inequality. The social changes experienced in racialinequality over the past 10 years include improvement in economicsituations, significant reduction of educational gaps, equality indistribution of employment, increased rate of mixed marriage and morerace interaction in workplaces. The racial inequalities in Americaare contributed to by factors such as existence of class and thedifferences in the level of income inequality and the neighborhoodeconomic status.The application of social conflict theory can generate profoundpositive impacts on addressing racial inequality. The theoryperceives society as an area of disparities that leads to socialchange and conflict. It plays a major role in explaining socialchange and the inequalities that exist in the society. The theoryviews life as a competition over resources, power among other thingsbetween a dominant and minority racial group that leads to conflicts.Therefore, the theory will be important in enhancing theunderstanding of racial conflicts existing in America, its effectsand how to address the problem (Giddens,Duneier &amp Appelbaum, 2003).


Brown,M. K. (2000). Is Race Experienced as Class?. LaborHistory,41(4),513-516.

Feagin,J. R. (2014). RacistAmerica: Roots, current realities, and future reparations.Routledge.

Giddens,A., Duneier, M., &amp Appelbaum, R. P. (2003). Introductionto sociology.Norton.

Mode,N. A., Evans, M. K., &amp Zonderman, A. B. (2016). Race,Neighborhood Economic Status, Income Inequality and Mortality. PloSone,11(5),e0154535.

O`Connell,H. A. (2012). The impact of slavery on racial inequality in povertyin the contemporary US South. SocialForces,90(3),713-734.

Omi,M., &amp Winant, H. (2014). Racialformation in the United States.Routledge.

Vijaya,R. M., Eshleman, A., &amp Halley, J. (2015). The Culture of Classand Its Economic Impact. TheReview of Black Political Economy,42(1-2),7-18.