How America developed a racially segregated society and why the issue has persisted

America's society has a serious problem with racism. Racism occurs when one ethnic group is perceived as superior to others. Racism has produced unwanted results, brutal violence, and cries of racial oppression have persisted as a significant problem for American society. When minorities and marginalized groups suffered the negative effects of racism, they protested, and groups like the Civil Rights Movement were established in an effort to achieve social justice. The term "racialized social system" refers to modern American society. The social racial categories have had a significant impact on how social hierarchies and institutions are constituted and shaped. Racism and ethical segregation of social inequality have extensively persisted in the American society owing to the support of racial ideologies. Historically, the legitimization and explanation of racism in America have been done through the dominant racial ideologies such as slavery which have continued the existence of the American racial stratification. This paper will discuss and illustrate how America became a racialized society and enumerate why this problem has stretched and continued in the society basing on the critical race theory.

How America became a Racialized Society and why the Problem has continued to Persist


Slavery in America was characterized by forced labor and its roots are traced to the Northern part of America which became a legal institution in 1776. This later on widespread until 1865 when the thirteen amendment was passed. Before that, the American slave traders took many of Africans to work on the plantations and it led to the genesis of racism in the America society as they were viewed to inferior. They were not accorded any rights and in the entire colonies of the Caribbean to North America, brutal laws were passed which established discrimination and segregation of the slaves. The formulated laws highly forbid the slaves from carrying any weapon, intermarriages with the whites and stated that family ties could be broken up. Moreover, the laws prevented them from owning any property and they were not allowed to carry out any business transaction that would bring them profit.

The masters of slavery did institute regimes that were barbaric and aimed at repressing and preventing of a rise in a slave revolt. Dog hunting was used to track any slave that was trying to escape. The slave was then oppressed and killed to serve as an example to the others who thought of escaping. The penalties that came with any resistance to slavery were extremely brutal and deadly. Religious instructions were encouraged among the slave by some colonies. It goes without saying that slaves had no rights to education, civil rights, voting rights and even political rights. As a critical racist theorist, it can be seen that these concepts became embedded deep into the American society and since then, they have driven the wheel behind racism and ethical segregation. One will term this as the beginning of a racialized American society and slavery as a factor that has stretched an element of racism in America.

Spatial Segregation and Neighborhoods

The reason why racism has persisted in the American society can also be traced to the historical spatial segregations and neighborhoods. Spatial segregation was categorized by the division of the urban residential space in a manner to control and discourage any newcomers who wished to discover the livable niche of the urban society (Nightingale 2). Challenges were faced by those who moved into the new geographical mobility and were denied equal accessibility to economic and social opportunities. Under this, class zoning and urban race worked towards instilling racism and ethnicity in American which has deeply taken its roots to the restrictions on immigration along the national borders. These immigration policies prohibit mobility to the regions of greater privileges causing violations of the rights to the city which has also promoted racism according to critical racial theory.

Also, segregation was associated with neighborhoods which prohibited any race in moving into the residential areas set aside for the Whites (Margery et al. 65). Segregation gave the whites a tool of enhancing power and this was strongly supported by court intellectuals, landowners, and priests. As Nightingale reports “Racist segregationists have the will, the clear purpose, and the actual power both to live together and to exclude others from their neighborhoods” (Nightingale 5). City-splitters contributed to racism through aspects like the zoning ordinance practice steering racism, segregated public and private housing development, gated communities, discriminatory accessibility to credit and land together with race-infused economic incentives. Theoretically, the spatial and residential segregation have been a powerful magnet in pulling racism into the current society causing miserable outcomes to Hispanic, African-Americans and other minorities.

Racial Politics

From very early on in American history, politics has frequently divided the American society on the racial grounds and along brutal lines of religion, ethnicity and personal values. Ethnicity has played a vital role in politics and politicians together with their people have voted in regard to their ethical backgrounds leading to foundations of ethnic and racial discrimination. Racial discord on political basis among the Whites and the Blacks has dominated the numerous contemporary discussions of how racism became part of American society. The scars that long rose from political racism saw the formation of many protesting movements that were driven towards political freedom. Critically, the story of American politics has complicated the society, especially when studied from the “have and have not” of political power (Doane 4).

Groups of Asians, Latinos and Irish have tasted the bitter roots of severe discriminations. The creation of the American contemporary political institutions has led to understanding the obstacle encountered in hopes of accessing power and equal resources. According to a critical racial theorist, this has uncovered the sobering reality of a racialized America society. Amongst its numerous impacts, the Civil Rights Movement caused a declined ideologies of racial superiority and decreased levels of racial segregation. The need for equal rights to all people became a questionable call to the American society and it pushed for political struggle. Economic and social changes did continue to restructure the American political racial order and made it be racial. More institutional racism and everyday political segregations have continued to embed the American society due to racial politics.

De Jure Segregation

De Jure Segregation was also the wheel behind the racialization process of the American society. This was segregation by the law which made the American people become racial and view the other races especially the Blacks as inferior. The national, local or state laws imposed racism separation on ethnic grounds and they were extensively used before and after the First World War (Hiraldo 56). After the passing of the De jure segregation in South America, laws were formulated and approved by former confederates called “the black codes”. These laws have had a long history in shaping the American racism. The rights that were passed did particularly point at blacks and segregated them from the whites. These codes did vary from one state to another but the underlining aspects were on ownership of property and working for the whites. For instance, the US Supreme Court in 1857 did make a declaration that the blacks could never be American citizens (Hamilton et al. 6). In Mississippi, blacks were not allowed to rent properties in cities and towns and those who failed to sign white labor contracts would be certain of cruel penalties.

By the time America involved in the WWI, the southern part of the US had become a totally segregated community. In this regard, each public space including hospitals, churches, water fountains, train and even schools were divided into those of blacks and whites (Hiraldo 56). Racial and ethnic segregation had strongly taken their roots to astonishing irrational levels. The blacks attempted to protest against the discriminatory segregator laws but they were shut down and their dreams scrambled. Organizations such as Ku Klux Klan (KKK), formed in 1865 were directed towards protecting the US rights and furthered the racial interests of the American people through intimidating and creating violence to the blacks. At the time of reconstruction, these organizations; the knights of white Camellia and the KKK did kill many blacks who owned land, community leaders, politicians and the whites who supported racial equality. These inhumane acts were done to prohibit the blacks from participating and voting in public lives. Besides, the lynching of the blacks sadly became the order of the day. This was a terrorist attack that threatened and controlled the blacks. More than 2000 blacks were mob lynched in South America in a period of six years since 1884. According to critical racist theorist, De Jure Segregation laws hold the blame for the formation and continued the aspect of racism on the American soil. These laws worked towards building hatred and discrimination between the blacks and the whites.


Dating back to the origins of American racism, slavery, spatial segregation, and racial politics together with De jure segregation have made America to become a racialized society. The factors have worked towards shaping racism in America and continued the racialization process. Racism is still alive despite many efforts having been directed towards eradicating the menace. A critical racist theorist will indicate that the racism ailment does not only continue to destroy the human race and make people ill but also form the basis for violence and terrorist attacks that devastate the US economy. Even though the slavery is over, there is still a long walk to total racial freedom in America.

Works Cited

Doane, Ashley. "What Is Racism? Racial Discourse And Racial Politics". Critical Sociology, vol 32, no. 2, 2006, pp. 255-274. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1163/156916306777835303.

Hamilton, Charles V. et al. "Racial Formation In The United States". Political Science Quarterly, vol 103, no. 1, 1988, p. 158. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.2307/2151151.

Hiraldo Payne. The Role of Critical Race Theory in Higher Education. The Vermont Connection. 2010

Nightingale Carl. Spatial Segregation and Neighborhoods. American History: Oxford Research Encyclopedias. 2015.

Margery Austin Turner, Rob Santos, Diane K. Levy, Doug Wissoker, Claudia Aranda and Rob Pitingolo. Housing Discrimination against Racial And Ethnic Minorities. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2013.

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