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Introduction & Overt Racism | SOCY 305 – Week 1


Hello! My name is Jaelyn Pride and I am a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. My plans career wise include going into counseling psychology and I chose to take this course because I think a big part of learning about psychology and sociology is getting a good view of family dynamics, especially minority families such as African Americans because they can be so understudied. A little bit about myself personally is that I enjoy music and singing, being around my close family and friends, and reading and journaling.

Against All Odds 

  • There is a big difference between the black middle class and the white middle class historically, but also present today. Simply working hard hasn’t been enough for black Americans.
  • Around 40% of black children in the United States are considered poor. The unemployment rate for black Americans is doubled that of white Americans.
  • Although there are many successful black figures in politics, sports, and media, the black community as a whole still suffers as far as things like police brutality and unemployment.
  • There is a perception that there doesn’t seem to be many black Americans who are in the middle of the socioeconomic spectrum; many are either very poor and living in crime ridden areas, or very popular and wealthy celebrities.
  • White middle class Americans on average have about $113,000 in financial assets where as the average middle class black Americans have about $5,700, and about a third of African Americans have no financial assets.
  • In the 1900s, around 90% of African Americans lived in the southern United States mainly due to the aftermaths of slavery.
  • Although slavery ended, sharecropping was the most prevalent working position for African Americans which was still an unfair and dangerous job.
  • “The only effect of Negro education is to spoil a good field hand and make an insolent cook.” – James Vardaman
  • Many black Americans moved to the North to try to escape from the unjust conditions of the south, this was called the Great Migration and the largest internal migration in American history.
  • African Americans were often not allowed to have good jobs with a decent salary. Women often worked domestic jobs cooking and cleaning, while men worked in labor.

Overt Racism

  • Elijah Cummins’ grandfather who was very sick was denied help from a white doctor who dismissed him as just being a black man, ensuing that it wasn’t worth it to try to treat him and ultimately save his life.
  • The presence of the KKK in the south was prevalent in the early 1900s making African Americans fearful of just living their day-to-day lives.
  • The destruction of what was known as the “Black Wall Street” could be considered an overt form of racism.
  • Another form of overt racism included the riots and mobs that occurred in the 1940s when a black family would try to move into an apartment complex in white area.
  • The fact that many banks wouldn’t give African Americans loans to buy homes or even want to finance with them was being overtly racist.


What was known as “The Black Wall Street” in the early 1920s in Tulsa, Oklahoma was particularly interesting to me so I decided to look more into what lead to the destruction of it. The black wall street was a collection of various successful black owned businesses that started because of an oil boom in Oklahoma that increased the migration of black people to the area. Many white people had a large problem with this causing angry mobs and riots to break out and the destruction of the businesses. The mobs and riots were inspired by the enormous success of the business (many of which were doing better than some white businesses) and lead to being one of the worst riots targeted towards black people in America’s history. Here is the link to the article:

Image result for black wall street



What I mainly took from this film other than the disgust of how inhumane African Americans were treated post-slavery and into the civil rights era, was the fact that systematic racism is still having an effect on black families to this day. The fact that most middle class black families today do not have as many financial assets as middle class white families is evidence of many years of the unfair treatment and systematic racism of black people historically. I did however, enjoy learning about the stories of many of the families and how black people never stopped trying to persevere despite the institutionalized racism that was heavily occurring. I also, as a black woman myself, felt a great amount pride and respect for my people who went through so much and fought for a better future for black people today.

Systematic Racism

Systematic racism is a system of ideology that is instilled into society and usually law that prevents minorities from ever holding a prestigious or even fair, level playing field as the majority. It is racism that over time lessens the chances of minorities to be able to thrive and be successful in society. An example of this would be that many banks would not even want to finance with African Americans and give them the opportunity to become financially successful. Housing areas were also very limited as far as where black people were allowed to live, and the areas that they were permitted to live in were less than ideal. Systematic racism was also prevalent in the fact African Americans were disproportionately placed in jail compared to white people. Jim Crow laws did not allow for an over all equal social experience for black people as well as the education that many received was far less than their white counterparts.



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