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Origins And Causes Of Ethnic I Essay, Research Paper

Origins and causes of ethnic inequality applied to minorities in U.S.


For Blacks racial inequality existed from the very beginning. The whole black population wasn t free. There were many white indentured servants in the earlier periods of colonization. There were many Native Indian servants as well.

Ethnocentrism already existed at that time (even between whites of different origin and religion), but it was far from racial or ethnic stratification. It occurred later with the evaluation of plantation system, which became very popular in the south part of future United States.

So, by 1660s several colonies had passed laws sanctioning the enslavement of blacks, and the principle was rapidly evolving, that slaves were property, and therefore had few or no legal rights. By this time slavery had become a status from which one could not escape, and which was automatically passed onto one s children. (Farley 2000; p.112)

That all happened because in that region plantation-owning class was the ruling, dominant group, and the plantation system could only be supported by very cheap labor.

Blacks happened to be enslaved legally, because they were in the most convenient position for that comparing to other groups unequal power (Noel; 1968 (Farley2000)) important factor of enslavement. Natives and whites, if escaped could rejoin their groups; they also could even rebel (Fredricksen and Knobel 1980 (Farley2000)). Plus white colonies were sometimes dependant on Indians. So if black enslavement was institutionalized that would solve and avoid many problems.

Thus, according to Farley; 2000,p.114 the conclusion could be: the black enslavement was caused by three factors: economic, power factor and prejudice that was mostly based on religious aspects of Calvinism and Protestantism.

During the era of slavery, antiblack racism gradually intensified, so that by mid-nineteenth century a pervasive racist ideology had developed in the South unlike anything that existed when slavery was first established (Jordan1968; ch.2; Wilson 1973,p-p 76-81(Farley2000, p.115)). By that time racial prejudice evolved in ideological racism, which appeared to justify slavery by emphasizing white superiority.

The conclusion may be that racial inequality applying to blacks is inherited, because since economical environment doesn t support it anymore, it tends to disappear slowly.


Historical relationships between British whites were formed (as the black-white relationship) on the basis of ethnocentrism and exploitation. Although it wasn t the exploitation of Natives labor, but their free will and their land, which occurred as a result of competition for survival. British made attempts to enslave the aborigine population, but they were quickly abandoned.

Ethnocentrism of the whites was supported by their religious beliefs, which were used to justify the order of things that occurred. Through the period of time Native – Americans were overpowered and forced to give up their territories in exchange for prison-like reservations by growing population of whites. Later they were even made to live their lives the European way in their own communities.

White paternalism and general effort to press Indians to surrender their own culture, and adopt white man s ways had always been a key part of European colonial, and later, American policy toward Indian people (Farley2000; p.127, 128). They were not regarded as U.S. citizens, and they were allowed no input into the running of reservations either, although reservations were supposedly their land (Farley2000; p.115)

The assumption maybe that racial inequality is historically inherited and occurred because it was profitable to the more powerful whites.


Such a group as a Chicanos (Mexican-Americans) appeared as result of White American expansion onto Mexican lands.

From the very beginning Anglo Mexican relationships were mostly cooperative with little stratification. Prejudice was the way of explaining exploitative behavior toward Mexicans and a traditional attribute of American South. In inequality cases with all three ethnic groups there was one similar thing contact with the white people. Through wars, revolutions, annexions whites got the chance to influx in originally Mexican territories causing hard competition for land and resources. They already had reach experience of communication with other ethnic groups in this perspective, so they managed to outnumber and overpower these people as well. All Factors, that caused inequality before were present at that time.

By many reasons (such as white dominance and economical and political instability in Mexico itself) Mexicans were lived no choice, but to live the way white people wanted them to. They were exploiting them and their land. Chicanos were used as a cheap labor power in places not acceptable for whites themselves. So the competitive pattern could be considered to be rigid competitive close to paternalistic.

I believe, that situation with labor exploitation still exists, and only partially inherited, because considerable part of this ethnic group are illegal immigrants, which gives opportunity to others to use them for the purpose of a cheap labor.


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