Century Changes and American Social Groups
For a long time, the community of the United States had been faced with several trends that have changed not only the course of American and world history, but also have identified social relations between different social groups. However, led by political and social motives, the changes during a century did not affect all social groups of diversified composition of the country. This paper deals with the problems that arise due to the ambiguous position of African Americans. Their political, social, economic and other roles were determining by the peculiarities of American history from the start of the 20th century until the 21st century. A notable part of the US history was the role of African Americans in an attempt to defend civilized and other rights. The changes occurred with African Americans in American society were the evidence of significant status of this ethnic group.
African Americans Identity
United States remained to be diverse as in structure of the groups lived there and united by common attributes and intergroup attitude as well. America’s democratic system meant the system of power executed by the principle of majority’s governance protecting the interests of minority groups at the same time. A distinctive peculiarity of the United States was isolated trends of that protection, which was becoming the dominant in social configure of the government. Thus, there were problems of such distortion of the democratic principle made the role of African Americans in society one of the leading themes of American political and social practices. In addition, it had broad capabilities along with other social groups to prejudge the direction of the state process. Diverse and multi-ethnicity of the democratic country formed the background of the historical changes that have been occurred with this ethnic group for a century in striving for a liberty.
The issue of the identity of African Americans has been raised during both the 20th and 21st centuries. Actually, it gave a onset for a euphemism “African Americans”, indicating the black people of America, who immigrated into its territory several centuries ago and has shown its intention to become a full-fledged citizens. Since the beginning of the 20th century, this ethnic group has acquired the name of the Afro-Americans, which was sometimes surveyed with the terms “coloured” and “black”. Already in the late 20th century and early 21st century the Census Bureau of the US reflected the “African American” in official documentation. Further politically correct changes of the 21st century detailed national identity of African Americans. Thus, the problem of self-identification was keeping for more than one century and finally acquired the sharper specification in the 21st century.
The African-Americans were a distinctive part of the page in the history of American society in the 20th century. These residents constituted a significant percentage of the total population close to the whites and Hispanics over the 20th and 21st centuries. Such ethnic distribution occurred due to massive displacement of Africans and Latinos to the United States in the compulsory and voluntary basis in the 17th century. Most of them have acquired full civil right only in the mid-20th century. Harassment and intimidation of the African Americans according to the Crow’s Laws and lynching were confined to actual manifestations only in the 20th century, but it did not reduce the current issue of racial discrimination in the 21st century.
Changes in the Life of the African Americans
The demographic changes that were confirmed by the official statistics of the US government were referred to the increase of the number of the African Americans. Indeed, in the early 20th century, the trend of external and internal immigration of the African Americans has lifted significantly. Also, trends of urbanization and industrialization of American society have contributed to the displacement of this ethnic group from Chicago and New York to Columbia, Mississippi, Louisiana and other States.
Political convictions of African Americans has significantly influenced on the course of the electoral procedures. Gaining full civil right in equality with the rest of the white inhabitants of America, the majority of the African Americans showed preference to support Democrats. The 20th century was distinguished mainly by democratic approach to the voting rights of Africans and was accompanied by a categorical intolerance of the whites to blacks’ participation in the elections. A century later, changes were radically shaped.
The political progress facilitated the political rights. Already in the 21 century, the presidential elections were filled with ethnic trends due to a black candidate Obama supported by the majority of the African Americans. This mood discovered patriotic spirit and genealogical memory of modern Africans, whose ancestors were forced to leave different parts of the African continent. Such political support for Democrats by African Americans was dictated by the priority issues that had deep and weighty justification. Thus, education among political preferences of the Democrats was still a sensitive and important issue for the African Americans gradually acquired clear form with time passing.
Educational changes occurred at a slower pace. Government committed to a favourable democratic mood in the country, but even in the 20th century, educational activities avoided African immigrants due to the highly segregated traditions, especially in the southern States. Special orders of the federal courts dedicated to the desegregation of schools and universities and integration of classes and groups with white- and black-skinned students were the first steps to the approximation of the African Americans to their goal. The chance appeared for the young generation of the disadvantaged part of American population meant new positive changes. Getting an education on a par with other citizens of America increased the level of social significance of the African immigrants in the community. Initial attempts of desegregation were fierce. However, these changes put the beginning for improvement of social prospects a century later. The 21st century was characterized by a broader equality for all categories of ethnic groups in education establishments.
Social rights of the African Americans in the sound political statements were not supported by the facts of real life. Among the urgent problems for these people in the 20th century, there were low levels of employment, low-paid jobs, a high percentage of prisoners, crime rate, the crisis of family relations, and chronic diseases continuing in the 21st century. In addition, the challenge was to adapt to a normal life after prison. Despite the heavy historic struggle for social rights, this part of the Americans did not get decent social living conditions.
Relationship with police presented a critical moment in both the 20th and 21st century. The positions of law enforcement officers pertained to conservative attitude towards black-skinned public. The demonstrations of the 20th century that were dedicated to the struggle for civil rights have been often broken up by police used weapons and illegal ways. Similar trends were also repeated in the 21st century, but not so clearly. If in the early 20th century, the adoption of a human rights act by the government with respect to African Americans was reluctantly carried out after a stormy and bloody demonstrations, the reaction to the illegal actions of police officers towards the blacks resulted the Presidential petition and establishment of a commission to investigate and regulate the relationship between community groups and police organizations.
Religious changes affected the African Americans after their settling down on American land. If the 20th century concerned the Christian, Catholic and Protestant religious beliefs, the 21st century has confirmed Protestant moods among the African Americans due to the expansion of this religion. The 21st century was distinguished by a large number of characteristic black churches, founded several centuries ago by freed slaves. A distinctive peculiarity of the 21st century was the proselyte of the African Americans into Islam. The religious rights from the beginning of the 20th century intended only to strength for the African Americans and contributed to the presence of different levels of this nationality among many other religions of the world.
The economic role of the US black population has changed somewhat since the beginning of the 20th century. The beginning of the next century was outlined by the increase of middle-class African population, slow decrease of the poverty line, the growth of business activity, including on senior managerial positions. At the start of the 21st century, the wages of the African Americans has lifted, but still remained below the wage of white workers. The status of “white collar” was received by the African Americans only at the beginning of the 21st century, which also testified about the slowness of the development of their working rights. It spurred by several less successful demonstrations for equal economic rights that failed thou, but led to the adoption of several property laws important for the African Americans. However, their actual implementation was considerably complicated by the inability of the US economic mechanism to reserve desegregation economic rights operatively. Thus, economic progress was in slow progress for the black-skinned citizens of the USA, although it had legislative assistance.
The role of blacks in hostilities by America was sealed by earlier use of their workforce in the armed structures. Numerous US interferences in the political regimes in other countries were accompanied by the involvement of the soldiers of the African descent. The overthrow of the regimes in Iraq, Iran, North Vietnam, and other countries occurred by a political motive, but the participation of the US black population in these military actions was deprived of any personal or national basis and limited by directive motives. The US Army had been also enriched by black soldiers in the 21st century through the contract terms and creation of more democratic conditions for the blacks on the positions in the public service.
To sum up, it should be noted that during a century, the changes that have taken a place in the life of the African Americans were positive though, but had sluggish dynamics of the essential aspects of the socio-economic status. The achievement of the century was the obtaining equal civil rights, the emergence of opportunities for education and employment, and freedom of religion. The government started to ensure the protection of the ethnic group to a greater extent in the early 21st century though, the economic conditions for the majority of the African Americans still were poor. The struggle for full US citizenship and participation in numerous movements representing the interests of the United States became the substantial evidence of recognition of America as homeland for African Americans. Nevertheless, the country was still uneasy due to the acts of racial discrimination. The role of the African Americans for the United States was more than significant from the start of 20th century to the 21st century as it was evidenced by the changes that have occurred in their history.