That does not mean those negative side effects do not exist and are not as prevalent today as they were hundreds of years ago. There can only be one solution to this problem of discriminatory practices and that is the adoption of one united American ethnic group. As a member of the British-American ethnic group, this author is privileged to belong to one of the oldest ethnic groups that colonized the United States. On May 14th, 2007 the author will be celebrating his family living in America for 400 years. In that, on May 1 4th, 1607, English settlers first landed at the site that would become Jamestown,
Virginia the first permanent English settlement in what would become the united States (wisped. Org, 2007). The early settlers were driven by a desire for a better life but were met with constant prejudice from the Native Americans already present in the area (wisped. Org, 2007). This prejudice began as a simple refusal to trade commodities or begin cordial relations but soon took the form of open hostility against the English settlers, culminating in the Massacre of 1622 in which over 400 English settlers lost their lives (wisped. G, 2007). Slowly and with ever increasing numbers, the English became the dominant force and soon began practicing that same prejudice upon the Native Americans which in turn culminated in the seizure of Native American land and their forced relocation to reservations (wisped. Org, 2007). This behavior was tolerated in the past but is considered completely inappropriate in today’s society. That being said, it is still as prevalent today as it was then, though it takes different more subtle forms now compared to the drastic scenarios from above.
While less drastic and overt they are just as damaging to inter-group relations as massacres or forced relocation. Examples of this new form of subtle prejudice would be discrimination in the form Of redlining, the practice of refusing to do business with perceived high- risk individuals usually associated With minority groups (adversity. Net, 2007). Another example would be institutional discrimination, where certain groups are categorized as not being fit to hold certain or high-ranking positions in society (wisped. Erg, 2007). Glass ceilings and Glass escalators are very animal to institutional discrimination in that limits are set for minority groups to advance where as members of the majority are advanced faster (wisped. Org, 2007). There are even forms of prejudice and discrimination set up to seem as if they were designed to alleviate overt prejudice and discrimination. This is called reverse discrimination, the practice of advancing minority groups at the expense of majority groups (wisped. Org, 2007).
A perfect example of reverse discrimination would be affirmative action, a practice that advances minorities over the majority In an attempt to address east discrimination. Without specifically identifying with any ethnic group this author can personally identify with the negative side effects of affirmative action, in that he has lost a scholarship to the University of Florida to a minority group member with an SAT score 300 points lower. This author has also been groundlessly stereotyped in the past for transgression made by his ethnic group.
This proves the prevalence of discrimination in society today by showing how One does not have to identify with a specific ethnic group to feel the effects of prejudice. Not identifying with any specific ethnic group and accepting the mainstream culture is, in this authors humble opinion, the solution to these 400 years of prejudice and discrimination. Only by no longer identifying with old nationalities and categories will we as a people survive and flourish.
These are not new thoughts rather a reiteration of former President Theodore Roosevelt thoughts first presented in 191 5, “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism…. The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin… Would be to permit it to become a angle of squabbling nationalities” (hokiest. Org, 2007, p. 1). It began with massacres and forced relocation, then changed to redlining and institutional discrimination but no matter the name discriminatory practices have been with us for centuries.
We must as a nation and as a people move past the hundreds of years of prejudice and discrimination of all ethnic groups and into a new era of a united American ethnic group. No longer should we continue to hold one another back and refer to our former nationalities but accept our present place in this world as our one and only title. If we wish to be truly free from prejudice and discrimination we must first free ourselves from this “tangle of squabbling nationalities.