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Color, Ethnicity and Society

In late 16th century, America was still lacking elements of democracy. However, during this period, people were still coming from different parts of the world. These are people who escaped persecutions from different countries like Armenia, which was torn by Turkish and Kurdish invasion. They were moving to a country that had adverse discrimination along race, which denied most of the immigrants their privileges. Different attempts by the colonies to restore democracy in America were an exercise in futility. America experienced discrimination and slavery where the immigrants were forced to work in colonies firms. These issues brought different opinions that brought a stalemate in an effort to restore democracy. People held a convention in Philadelphia in 1787 in order to bring independence in America. The declaration promised people of their own ideal in America, free from slavery and discrimination against races. The declaration was meant to open doors of privileges to the citizens of America (Schaefer, 2008).

Philadelphia declaration was hit by a major blow when there was a stalemate to ending slavery and racial discrimination. The constitution could not deliver people who came from other regions, those with different colors and creed from their full rights and privileges as citizens of the United States. The denial of freedom from slavery, rights, and privileges resulted to a constant war in America. People protested through wars in order to bridge the gap that existed between the natives/founders and the foreigners/colonizers. The struggle was meant to restore order in human ideals and the reality of humanity (Obama, 2008).

America holds history of various injustices, ranging from discrimination and denial of privileges to brutality and slavery. People have different stories and come from different places. For example, I am an Armenian origin, a third generation whose grandparents suffered in the hands of Turkish and Kurdish. My descent faced prejudices that forced them to move outside Armenia and come to America which had a similar story of discrimination. I am raised by parents whose parents suffered in Armenian genocide of 1915. My grandparents could not mix with the Turkish and Kurdish and other members of the rich and high social class. My grandparents were pulled out of their homes and forced to match several miles and later faced executions. They settled in America after facing massacres which were indiscriminate.

Race has been a major issue in America. Non-Americans were not allowed to participate in American politics. Racial discrimination in America has been in terms of white and black as well as brown and black. Racial tensions usually come to question when American plays politics. Elections were done along racial lines. For example, in Obama’s speech during his political campaigns in America, he noticed that there were a number of polls released by the press that were characterized by racial polarization. According to the polls, racial discrimination in politics was not just in terms of black and whites, but also black and brown (Schaefer, 2008).

Racial debate in America sometimes takes divisive directions. Others think that non Americas are out to bring racial reconciliation, while others argues that such crusaders of racial discrimination are only out to widen the racial gap in America. People have considered race issues in America as extremely endemic, a view that I strongly disagree with. Racial discrimination and denial of privileges has shaped my life to fight for a better future, a future that my children and grand children will have hope for in America (Schaefer, 2008).

The racial war in America persisted with civil war and struggles for independence. It must be fought through unity, since most people have experienced from the past through stories from the grandparents and parents. The problem was seen to have that of foreigners like me, black or white, and Latino or Asian. Today I see that the problem of race in America and underprivileged group must be confronted by all of us, people whose parents and grandparents faced genocide in their own country. We are subject of persecutions and massacres. America faced situations of religious discrimination, where blacks or Latinos, or Asians had their own churches. Muslim community in America was condemned for a long time. This situation was similar to what was in Armenia during my grandfathers’ time, when they were not allowed to mix with other religious groups. Black churches in America only embodied black communities while the Asian or Latino churches embodied their own communities. This was an indication that isolation existed from the Native Americans who disregarded other races (Obama, 2008).

In America, words were uttered in the past about people ethnic background that could make somebody cringe. In America, other races could not mix with the American whites either in restaurant, supermarkets or a bus. The non-Americans were not accorded the same privileges as those of Americans. People were divided along ethnic and racial stereotypes. The people that were subjected to these stereotypes were part of me and part America. This experience has enabled me to realize that people are equal no matter what ethnic background and should be treated equally.

Race and privilege are not issues that can be ignored in America even today. How these two things are incorporated, remains the central focus. It is in deed true that America is occupied by different races. The reality should not deny them the privileges accorded to them as part of Americans. However, stereotypes and negative statements made against non America distort the reality that we are part of America. The negative comments on different races in America continue to raise complexities of race. The experience only forces us to foster unity against such discrimination. Obama notes in his presidential speech that if unity is not fostered, if people continue to hide in their respective cocoons based on skin colors, then there is no possibility of solving problems that the country has faced (Obama, 2008).

Disparities that exist between Armenian and America community are traced to inequalities that existed among different races. They have also been passed from one generation to another. It can be traced to ottoman rule that forced my grandparents out of Armenia. These injustices reflect how my generation suffered under brutality, genocide and massacres in Armenia. They came to America and suffered under the precincts of slavery and Jim Crow rule.

In America, Armenians and blacks were subjected to legalized discrimination where they were prevented from owning properties in America. They were denied the privilege to access loans from the business owners in America. Discrimination was also extended from unions, police force or to acquire any meaningful wealth that they could pass to the next generations. The history and the stories told help me understand the gap that existed between non Americans and Americans in terms of wealth and income. There was the existence of poverty among some racial groups that indicated how America had a socially stratified society that undermined the low class people of their privileges.


In America, questions of race and racism still exist. It continues to define the world view of the people including me in very many ways. It shapes my understanding of privileges as a citizen. The memories of humiliation and discrimination have not gone away nor the bitterness that my grandparents faced both in Armenia and America. History of racial injustice in America can speak for itself in volumes. Many disparities that exist today in America are caused by racial discrimination and denial of privileges faced by the past generation.

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