Race Relations in America

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“The United States has had a varied history with regards to race relations. While the country is made up of many different races, there have been periods whereby these groups did not always get along. Some of the most notable tensions existed between the white Americans and the African Americans as well as the Japanese Americans. Various concepts have been used to describe how race relations in the country were handled. These include Social Darwinism, “survival of the fittest”, integration and segregation. People held different beliefs on the concepts, most notably divided into the northern and southern states. The racial tensions were extremely high during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration and the reaction to the dinner President Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington, an African American educator, had exemplifies some of this.

Social Darwinism refers to the belief that there is a class of people that is stronger than the rest and, as such, the wealth and power of the strong continues to increase while that of the weak continues to decrease. It is related to the concept of “survival of the fittest” which states that the odds of surviving in a hostile environment are always in favor of those who are stronger. When applied to the issue of racial relations, the idea was that the whites were stronger and more powerful and, therefore, could not be in the same social category as the blacks and other minorities. Integration refers to the measures taken to bring the different races together by removing the barriers placed against association. Segregation, on the other hand, refers to the steps taken to separate the different races. It requires that the races do not interact in the daily aspects of life such as eating at restaurants and using public transport. Segregation was carried out in the United States by ensuring that there were different facilities for the whites and the blacks. It was also extended to Japanese Americans who were sent to concentration camps away from the rest of the population.

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Theodore Roosevelt was a believer in segregation although he had established many friendships with African Americans even before becoming president. He was already taking the advice of Booker T. Washington on cabinet appointments (Morris 127). On his part, Washington was a former slave who believed in integration rather than the segregation policy in place.

Theodore and Washington lived at a time when support for segregation was at a high level. When the dinner happened, southerners believed that Roosevelt was equating blacks to whites. Dinner was a highly regarded event that was only extended to those people a person felt were of the same social class. Inviting a man to dinner meant that he was free to ask the host’s daughter for a hand in marriage or that the host could ask the same of the guest. The northerners, however, believed that Roosevelt was just trying to show that he was a president for all people. According to them, the dinner would help to quell some of the racial tensions that existed at the time

In conclusion, my opinion on race relations is that integration is the better policy. There is a need to treat every race with the dignity that human beings deserve. People should be allowed to have an equal opportunity to develop themselves. The concept of Social Darwinism or “survival of the fittest” should happen on an equal footing. Integration is one way to provide equality amongst all the races. If there was integration during Roosevelt’s presidency, it might have helped to lower the tensions that existed. The lynching of black men would have occurred less.”

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Race Relations in America. (2021, Apr 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/race-relations-in-america/