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Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Lumbee Problem - 759 words
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The first reading was the preface and the fourth chapter from the book, "The Lumbee Problem: The Making of an American Indian People", entitled, "What are they trying to do now?" In this reading, the author, Karen I. Blu, examines the political history of the Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina and goes into detail about her findings during her visit there between 1967 and 1968. Blu argues that the political history of the Lumbee Indians was greatly affected by the relationships between them and non-Indians as well as each other's perceptions of one another. The fourth chapter focuses on the Black-Indian coalition that was formed during this time and the details surrounding its emergence, objectives, and achievements. Blu noted that the three specific aims of the coalition were: "(1) the registration of non-White voters, (2) the election of non-Whites to county offices, and (3) the active participation of non-Whites in the county Democratic Party organization." The coalition was successful in their first two goals as the registration of non-White voters increased noticeably in 1968 and one man supported by the coalition was elected.
However, these successes were eclipsed by the facts that the registration of White voters also increased and the elected candidate that was supported by the coalition was a man who was also solidly supported by Whites. Despite these slight failures, the coalition succeeded in getting non-Whites to actively participate in the county Democratic Party organization when they gained control over new precincts. The most interesting aspect of the argument presented in this reading covers the dynamics of the relationship between Blacks and Indians (as a result of the coalition) and the impact it had on the Indians' identity, which shifted from "not Black" to "non-White." Clearly, there was a split between Blacks and Indians in the coalition and Blu stressed that this split resulted in a "changing emphasis in the concept of Indianness for Indians" due to their difference on issues raised in the coalition. She points out that unity for Blacks meant brotherhood and meant "against the Whites who threaten to split 'us'" for Indians. In addition, Indians believed leaders were concerned with personal gain over community welfare while Blacks exhibited more confidence in their leaders. Blu ends the chapter by explaining that Blacks and Indians worked politely together within the coalition and that although the Blacks had slight feelings that the Indians weren't so polite, they knew their intentions weren't bad. The second reading, "America's My Home," is a collection of interviews with young Blacks from Georgia
The reading focuses on three particular men: Roger W., Phillip J., and James N. The three men all comment on the questions presented covering topics such as where and how they grew up, poverty, integration and segregation, unity, racial tensions and relations in America, and religion. Roger is ten years older than both Phillip and James, so he offers a different view. Roger is optimistic that relationships between Blacks and Whites will get better in the following years. He explains that most of the "bitterness" about Georgia's past is among the youth because they grew up during the "white backlash." This idea is seen throughout his interview. He is careful whom he blames for certain problems and seems calm as he expresses his hardly biased view on racial tensions.
Phillip J., however, is rallied behind the "cause" as evidenced by his involvement as a leader of a black student group at the University of Georgia-Athens. The interviewer notes that Phillip's experiences with Whites have obviously not been good. Phillip is more pessimistic than Roger about the future of race relations in America. It seems as though most of his answers blame Black oppression on Whites and their lack of active efforts. He is obviously involved in Black civil rights and is eager to express his views and ideas on the topic.
James N. is also a student at the University of Georgia-Athens, but he has a different attitude than Phillip. He has specific ideas about the situations of the time, but doesn't necessarily assign blame to Blacks or Whites. The most interesting aspect of his interview was his justification for his view that American society is a racist society and will continue to be, for a while. He explains that "black people haven't learned to accept white people, and white people haven't learned to accept black people, not for what they truly are." I think that this is an amazing realization on his part and is one that, although he is not actively involved in black rights, is very intelligent and informed.
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