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Forms and Places of Power : How have African Americans achieved recognition?

Dissertation : Forms and Places of Power : How have African Americans achieved recognition?. Recherche parmi 296 000+ dissertations

Par   •  23 Mai 2018  •  Dissertation  •  607 Mots (3 Pages)  •  709 Vues

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        I am going to talk about the notion « Forms and places of power ». First I'd like to define the idea of « Forms and places of power ». Power is the ability to control others, events, or ressources ; to succeed in doing what you want to do in spite of obstacles, resistance, or opposition. Certain places can be associated with authority. A place of power can be a country or a state. In order to illustrate this notion, I've chosen to talk about the African-Americans and especially how they achieved recognition. I'll cover the two main aspects of their empowerment : passive resistance and active fighting.

        In the first place, African-Americans acted against segregation in a peaceful manner.

        In class we've seen a document called « Sit-ins ». It describes a type of non-violent protest technique : the principle is that Blacks just sit in some place where they are denied service without really doing anything against the rules. No violence, no real trespassing, no sudden gestures, no missteps. It then derived in other techniques : read-ins that happen in libraries and kneel-ins, of course in churches.

        Another way of showing your « disagreement » with the society is to in some way influence people's minds by acting on the cultural aspect of this given society. For example, Black people made songs that depicts the segregation. With my teacher, we've worked on « Mississippi Goddam », a song by Nina Simone, which highlights the contrast between the speed at which slaves were forced to do their chores and the fact that the government now wants them to slow down their thirst for equal civil rights. Kinda ironic actually. There is also the Hannah CRAFTS' autobiography (1855-1859) talking about her story as she was a slave and how she educated herself despite the racism.

        Then, bored and disappointed by the lack of real short-term perceptible results, some walk along the path of a more go-ahead behaviour.

        First of all, several Black activists played a major role in the « revolt » against the discrimination. Although he also advocated passive resistance to segregation, ML King engaged himself with his famous speech « I have a dream », wishing and hoping for a better, more equal future. In addition to this, we've studied the thinking of Malcolm X, a Muslim minister, advocate of Black separatism and Black nationalism. He was surely much more aggressive than King was. They were both leaders of the CRM.

        All these various engagements accompanied the change and the evolution of laws. The segregation was first favored by Jim Crow laws in the late 19th century. He legalized and formalized the separation between Blacks and Whites. People had to wait until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to then take the Jim Crow laws away. It put and end to all this discrimination, and was signed by President Johnson. He continued after his predecessor JF Kennedy, who had been assassinated.

        To conclude, many ways of protesting helped the breakthrough in getting rid of the Black/White separation. Now that the real discrimination and segregation don't exist anymore, there still subsists some sort of racism. But we could certainly say that Blacks have nowadays much more power than they had a century ago. For example, they now have access to presidency, with Obama elected in 2008.


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