African Americans and American Indians or Native Americans are two of the major subordinate groups in America today. They face many forms of oppression from the dominant group and have many things in common when it comes to this oppression.
I would like to focus on five specific types of oppression they face: stigmatization, segregation, ethnocentrism, prejudice, and discrimination.
African Americans are facing stigmatization far less these days, but if one looks back a half-century, they will find countless examples. Stigmatization can include the de-humanization, labeling, characterizing, and degrading of a group. During slavery, blacks were stigmatized into the happy and carefree characters Mammy and Sambo. This was done to show that slavery was good and blacks probably wouldn't be able to function in free society. When slaves were freed, blacks were painted as savages that could not be trusted to live normally. Caricatures of blacks with exaggerated features and portraits of the characters Sambo and Mammy still exist today.
For Native Americans, stigmatization is far worse. Countless sports teams have a Native American as their mascot, some having very derogatory names such as the Washington Redskins. "Indians" were also portrayed as evil in countless western movies and as ruthless savages in others. These stigmatizations make "Indians" seem more like fantasy characters than real people. Many people do not realize that these stigmatizations are very hurtful and detrimental to society.
Segregation, the separation of two or more groups based on physical characteristics, is another issue that still plagues African Americans and Native Americans. From the moment Europeans set foot on what is now America, they have been forcing "Indians" farther and farther west. The American government created reservations for the "Indians" so that they could have the valuable resources that they "needed". Treaties were signed and broken, and the "Indians" moved...
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