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Racial Oppression in America (Essay Sample)


Essay Assignment:



  1. Define the term oppression and provide an example from a group that has experienced oppression within the U.S. society. Make sure to use a variety of sources below to support your discussion.  Make sure that your paper contains the following:


The explanation of social issues from course materials that the organization addresses

The thesis statement does four important things:

  • Narrows your subject to a single, central idea you want readers to gain from your essay.
  • Claims something specific and important about your subject, a claim that requires support.
  • Conveys your purpose, your reason for writing.
  • Concisely previews the arrangement of ideas to come in the paper.
  1. Use ONLY from the sources listed below.  All of the sources can be found through a quick Google search.
  2. Use at least 4 of the sources.
  3. Use APA format
  4. 4 pages (not including cover page or reference page)


The Danger of A Single Story
Understanding the Origin of Skin Pigmentation (14:48), Ted Talks
What White Parents (Like Me) Should Not Tell Children
Imagine a Country, 2012, Holly Sklar
Domination & Subordination,  Jean Baker Miller
Defining Racism: "Can We Talk?", Beverly Daniel Tatum
Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege, Pem Davidson Buck
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Annette Lareau

Myth of the Welfare Queen

Class in America: 2012, Gregory Mantsios

Deconstructing the Underclass, Herbet Gans

"Nickel and Dimed" from The American Ruling Class , Bill Moyers

Cause of Death: Inequality, Alejandro Reuss

Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid, Jonathan Kozol

College Choices Are Limited for Students From Needy Familes, Report Says, Stephen Burd

The Making of the American 99% and the Collapse of the Middle Class, Barbara  Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, 

Wealth Gaps Rise To Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics: Twenty-to-One, Kochhar, Fry, & Taylor, 

Mass Incarceration in the Time of Color-Blindness"  Michelle Alexander and Bryan Stephenson
Central Park 5: Short Video Report
 Harvard Law Professor Ogletree on the Arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Short Video Report
A Class Divided (46: 00), Frontline
The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch, Richard Wright
Ronald Reagan's Racially Tinged Messages 3 Min video
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia: "Using Objects of Intolerance to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice

C.P. Ellis, Studs Terkel,

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America,

The Black Codes, W.E.B. Du Bois,
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857,
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954,

Brown v. Board of Education: In Pursuit of Freedom and Equality Traveling Exhibit 

Meaning of Oppression
Oppression refers to the social act of subordination, maltreatment, or prejudice in which a dominant group exercises over a minority group with an aim of deriving privileges or enhancing supremacy. It also exist where a minority group cannot compete favorably on societal issues with other dominant social groups due to the restrictions imposed or lack of ability to secure more power necessary for the accomplishment of social issues of much importance. A person may be said to be undergoing oppression when the domineering party has intentionally or unintentionally set specific rules and regulations under which the oppressed person strives to follow irrespective of whether they are suitable or not. A particular segment of the society may experience oppression because it possesses to a certain degree the specific demographic characteristics, which the major segment associated with some attributes, norms, or stereotypes.
Oppression has been commonplace in the American society since the era of slavery. For ages, the issue of racism has been the main form of oppression in the United States. Blacks have always been viewed to be inferior to the whites in every aspect of the society. The African Americans have undergone a myriad of racial prejudices that have seen them being denied opportunities and continuously abused by the whites in all dimensions of the society (Buck, 2001). The denial of the civil liberties has to some extent been perpetuated by the law and institutions of justice. The white supremacy has been protected by the successive leadership regimes with latest being the administration of Ronald Reagan in 1980s. The African Americans were not treated as equals to the whites in terms of education attainment, employment, and even in leadership.
Racial Oppression in America
Dred Scott Case
In late 1850s, a black slave by the name Dred Scott petitioned his white owner for subjecting him to slavery against his will. He, therefore, sought to be compensated for the sufferings he had undergone as a slave and free his family from slavery. In a decision by the United States Supreme Court that was read by Chief Justice Roger Taney, Scott quest was declined on the basis of being black, therefore, he had no right to claim citizenship of the United States. Judge Taney maintained that no black on the American soil could be a bonafide U.S citizen as the Constitution only recognized America as a country built by the whites, for the whites. Dred Scott was born in slavery in early 1800s. His parents lived in service of Blow family, which lived in Virginia.
After the death of Mr. Blow and his wife, Scott was sold to Dr. Emerson, an army personnel based in Texas. After the death of Dr. Emerson, his wife Irene Emerson took over the ownership of Dred Scott and it is from this point the Scott hired lawyers to represent him in the federal court as he sought for his freedom. Scott kept on trying to seek his freedom despite the unsuccessful attempts. His case should how deep-rooted racial oppression was in the American society even in the institutions of justice. This was the beginning of the abolitionist movement that fought for the abolition of slavery in the en...
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