Essay Example: African American Oppression and Their Disadvantages in Today's Time

Published: 2023-05-07
Essay Example: African American Oppression and Their Disadvantages in Today's Time
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Discrimination Community Social issue
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 608 words
6 min read

Oppression is characterized by inequality and the lack of privilege and power that result in pervasive and recurrent systemic injustices against a group of individuals or communities. Jones (2019) stated that African Americans are one such group that has been oppressed repeatedly through punitive injustices, cultural imperialism and moral exclusion, which have caused damaging effects on African Americans' lives. Theriault and Mowatt (2020) purported that the wilderness is fashioned as being White, where white people benefit from social privileges by controlling the central ideals and traditions of society. This Whiteness masks an intricate history of the relationship between African Americans and nature described by oppression and violation of African Americas' privileges for centuries.

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The oppression of African Americans began with slavery when white colonists brought slaves from Africa to work in farms in North America. Theriault and Mowatt (2020) stated that about 2.8 million enslaved Africans worked in farms in the US in the 18th and 19th centuries. These slaves were subjected to cruelties while working on the farms with their daily lives being controlled by the settlers. For instance, they were forced to work for between 18 and 20 hours daily with the colonists employing violence and terror to force the slaves to improve their production (Theriault & Mowatt, 2020). Besides, the slaves lived in indecent houses, and lacked adequate clothing, food, and proper medication. For those slaves who strayed from the set rules, they were punished abhorrently such as by being confined in a coffin for a day.

African Americans continued to suffer even after the era of slavery ended. Jones (2019) pointed out the issue of moral exclusion, where African Americans were segregated economically, politically, and socially during the Great Depression. When the depression started, for example, 50% of the laid-off workers were African Americans whereas only 30% of the laid-off workers were Whites (Jones, 2019). Furthermore, African Americans had to leave their unskilled trades that Whites constantly despised them for. Consequently, African American families suffered the most from financial distress, inadequate resources, and adversities.

In today's times, the cruelty that African Americans endured in the past is still evident owing to the disadvantages that they face in the modern world. One of the disadvantages is cultural imperialism, where the beliefs and traditions of a dominant group are deemed to be the standard way of life. Jones (2019) maintained that African Americans are being subjected to cultural imperialism, whereby they feel compelled to conform to the White culture and norms. Over the years, African Americans have experienced their norms being dismissed, which force them to adjust to new norms. By adopting the White norms, African Americans submit to the "superior" image of white people, which continues to erode the African American culture.

Another major disadvantage is the skewed court system that dispenses justice unequally for African Americans and Whites. Jones (2019) argued that African Americans are sentenced to more severe punishments than Whites. This claim is backed by the finding that for a particular offense, African American men are sentenced to a 20% longer jail term compared to White men (Jones, 2019). Besides this bias, jurors are less likely to lower willingly the jail terms or fines for African Americans. If the jurors lower the sentences, the reduction will likely be in slight increments. This inequality grows in the criminal justice system as juries make decisions at their discretion. Consequently, the retributive injustice deeply entrenched in this system subjects African Americans to more distress and tribulations.


Jones, D. (2019). Oppression Among African Americans - Psyched for Social Justice. Psyched for Social Justice. Retrieved from

Theriault, D., & Mowatt, R. A. (2020). Both sides now: Transgression and oppression in African Americans' historical relationships with nature. Leisure Sciences, 42(1), 15-31.

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