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Essay: Minorities in America

April 11, 2016
Plain English Version
The first American flag, with 13 stars for the thirteen colonies. First flown in 1777.

The first American flag, with 13 stars for the thirteen colonies. First flown in 1777.

Minorities in America are, for the most part, black, Hispanic, and Asian. Most of the blacks were born in America. Their roots are African, but they have been in this country for generations. Most of the Hispanics come from Mexico and South America. They arrived over the last fifty years. They often keep ties to their home countries. And most of the Asians come from China, India, and Pakistan. They also arrived over the last fifty years.

The minorities differ from one another. The first blacks arrived in this country as slaves. The Civil War ended slavery. It did not end the memory of slavery in the minds of the ensuing generations. Nor did it end distinctions based on the color of people. Until the middle of the twentieth century, black people faced restrictions by many laws.

Mexico abuts the United States. The Southwestern part of this country emerged from a Spanish background. That is why crossing the border between Mexico and the U.S. has a different meaning than, say, crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  The migration of Hispanics seeking a better life only requires a long walk or driving a car.

Asians saw America as a land of opportunity. It was worth their while to cross oceans to take part in an economy that welcomed their skills. As old societies, it was not a new idea for them to roam the world.

The first settlers wrested the land from its native inhabitants. White people of European background then designed America. In the beginning, it was people from England and the Netherlands. Our form of government is their invention.

It became clear that the land mass in front of them was huge. Immigrants were essential. Many Germans arrived. Polish, Irish, Italian, and Jews from Europe followed.

It is human nature to resist change. From the first settlers to today’s refugees, it has always been a struggle to join the nation.  America’s ways of welcoming are daunting. But America has been absorbing people for 250 years. It is an essential component of who we are.

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