How Racism Influenced The So-Called “American Dream”

Due to housing laws and discrimination constructed in the early-mid 1900’s dictating where black people could live and whether or not they could even own property, class in America is heavily stratified based on race. There are people that make jokes and remarks about black people being impoverished, whilst completely ignoring that the reason their racist jokes exist; or the reason that many black people are heavily impoverished, is due to racism.

The so-called “American dream” of suburbia spurred from racism. Now, you might be wondering how the famous “American Dream” life can have any correlation with racism.

Let me explain,back when suburbs were first being created, it was illegal for black people to own property.

There were all of these white picket fence neighborhoods filled with white people and when a black family tried to rent one of the homes (since they were not able to own), property value in that neighborhood dropped.

Housing discrimination is actually one of the biggest secrets of America’s history. Just think about it. When have you ever actually learned about this in school? About how it was against the law for black people to get loans, own property, apply for mortgages or own the actual deed to their homes? There were entire neighborhoods that had signs posted outside of them saying “whites only”; and this was as late as the 1970’s! Then we get into what is called “redlining” in housing districts, something that is still going on today wherein neighborhoods that are highly segregated by race (i/e neighborhoods that are predominantly black or latino) have a severe lack in supermarkets, healthcare services, and other necessities due to racial segregation.

So, it’s very clear that upon looking at classism and racism, the two intersect so heavily that the systems pretty much fuel each other. Did you know that crack cocaine has heavier sentencing attached to it than powdered cocaine? Did you know that crack cocaine is more often found in neighborhoods that are more impoverished; have heavier populations of people of color whilst powdered cocaine, which has lighter prison sentencing, is most often found in affluent neighborhoods; neighborhoods that are white?

It’s facts like these that fight the whole ‘reverse racism’ garbage and show how systems of oppression intersect so heavily, that we barely even think twice about them anymore due to how heavily ingrained in society they are.

Let’s take a look at how many people stereotype people of color (especially black people) as poor, living in ‘the ghettos’ and in run-down neighborhoods. Then, let’s remember that white people literally forced them into those situations.
Welcome to racism in America!

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Rihanna Martin
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Future Filmmaker & journalist. Misogynoir enthusiast. I enjoy ranting about social injustice in forms of government which has been accepted and praised in our society, along with institutionalized anti-blackness and the erasure of black women. Proud Black feminist. For inquiries, email me at: martinrihanna1@gmail.com

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