The US Supreme Court Case: Separate But Equal Equality

Better Essays
Separate but equal is a common phrase heard throughout history based on the discrimination against African Americans at that time. This ideology of segregation was especially enforced by the U.S. Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The case starts with Homer Plessy’s decision to sit on the white only side on the railroads even though he is a person of color. Plessy ended up being arrested for his refusal of sitting on the seats for African Americans since it is a Louisiana law to use facilities designed for one’s race. To defend himself, Plessy argues that segregation of people is a violation of his freedom. Judge John Ferguson upheld the trial, and the court ruled against Plessy since the segregation of color did not violate …show more content…
The state laws implement the distinction between races in the community. For example, transportation had its distinct seating arrangements for two races. Whites were able to sit in one spot while African Americans were allowed to sit in another. Some people believed in the authenticity of the separate but equal doctrine. According to Justice Brown, the law did not “stamp the colored race with a badge of inferiority and any suggestion is because the colored race chooses to place that construction on it” (Brown). In reality, separating the community does not equal equality. The Plessy v. Ferguson case demonstrates the worth of African Americans in the community. African Americans are seen as inferior to the dominant group of Caucasians. This view of separate but equal isolates people of color from the main part of the population. By placing races in designated sections, society is detaching blacks from the community. Splitting up the races will not bring whites and blacks together to an ideal society of equality. Social constructions are being created from the dividing line of whites and blacks, which results in the oppression of colored …show more content…
Ferguson case. The trial’s outcome identified people of color as second hand citizens with respect to racial segregation. In contrast with the equality proposition that people of power preached, the separate but equal doctrine discriminates against blacks. Dividing races into designated areas is the opposite of equality. Even though the court deemed the separation of races as an equal position for everyone, people of color were not treated equally. A prime example is the accommodations accessible for black people. Public facilities available for African Americans were substandard compared to the spaces that Caucasian had access to. African Americans are secluded from society, and they have little power to fight with. People will not be able live on an even level when one part of society holds a systematic advantage over the other. A major factor of the discrimination against people of color is the assumptions Caucasians already have about them. By whites separating themselves from blacks, they are showing their disinterest in getting to know each other. As a result, Caucasians have limited information on people of different races from their own. This is the root of problem. According to Tatum (2013), “stereotypes, omissions, and distortions all contribute to the development of prejudice” (65). Since white people are less exposed to the black culture from the segregation placed, Caucasians

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    These Black equality movements are a misnomer. Steele is right. Blacks are fighting in a time of White guilt –not White oppression. The Black equality movements are not looking for equality but more so. Affirmative Action promotes this goal of more than equality by giving benefits to minorities in a time where America is relatively ethnicity agnostic.…

    • 1359 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Chesnutt highlights different state laws that constitute what it means to be black, and which privileges black people are restricted from. These laws seem to end up contradicting themselves, leaving a hypocritical rule for citizens to abide by. For example, in South Carolina, reputation, prior privileges, and blood mixture are taken into account in deciding whether someone is colored or white. This statement in its very essence implies that at their core, white people are better than black people not just because of their color but because of their behavior. This blinded ideology inhibits racial inequality and discrimination towards people of non-white races.…

    • 1954 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Cooper proposes a “disrespectability complex” instead. In Cooper’s words, this would be a construct which “disses and dismisses respectability by acting as an act of defiance to social conformity.” This form of acting would be a more effective action for African Americans since it would not force people to assign value to people who are more or less respectable in the eyes of white people. The very act of saying that someone is or is not respectable binds them under the constructs that white society has invoked, thus ensuring that true equality and respect can never be reached since African Americans will always be compared to whites, especially as lesser counterparts. By proposing this mindset, Cooper proposes that African Americans go all out in their disrespectability, so much so that they would be considered ratchet. Ratchet, as Cooper defines it, is similar to being ghetto in that a negatively perceived social norm for African Americans is reached.…

    • 1012 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Hmong Embroidery History

    • 1600 Words
    • 7 Pages

    By no means, do I argue the treatment of Hmong people is the same for the treatment of Blacks. But, I do see the similarities in the separate race categories and how they use class status to create a segregation among people of the same race. From Our Kind of People, Black elites want to be completely separate and distinguishable from the lower-middle class and poor blacks, creating “class distinction within the black world” (Graham, 1999:3). Often this can be seen within the Hmong society as well, the well-off Hmong families disregard any concern they may have for their fellow Hmong people. Yet, they want their children to be proud of being Hmong or Black, to know their heritage and that it’s a part of them, (Graham, 1999: 183).…

    • 1600 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He says that he is not prejudice against blacks with darker complexions but he considers the mixed blood blacks to be unique. The beginning of Chestnutt’s story exemplifies what Dubois wrote. The “elite” African Americans in Chesnutt’s story wanted to be as close to white as possible so that they could assimilate into the white society. This is how many thought during this time and shows that they were not fully socially aware of their African American origins and they did not accept it. This ties into what Dubois wrote because they did not truly see themselves for who they truly were, they thought they have to be loser to white skinned to excel and be accepted.…

    • 707 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Dubois explains the social inequality between African-Americans and white Americans by describing his concept of double consciousness. The difficulty of African-American men have with understanding themselves has to do with seeing themselves from their own and from the white perspective; this outside perspective shown predominantly in media and books. Further, while the inclination to assimilate is strong, they also contend with the strength of having a community solely of one identity. African-Americans dealt with degradation for neither being nor behaving white, while they were also prevented from desegregated. The decision between fighting for integration and equality or to remain segregated and attempt to live without the scorn of white people is inherently challenging.…

    • 948 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Urban Poverty And Racism

    • 749 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In addition, she uses Wilson theory that the “black middle class neighborhood also falls behind their white “counterparts” in terms of employment. Middle class African Americans who live in neighborhoods that are “conductive to employment” and do not lack education or experience continue to face barriers in the labor market” (Trotter et al. 2010:188). Gibson argument becomes weak when pertaining to segregation because it seems she is arguing that it’s not structural; however, her research as presented that it is structural. However, the argument also leds to an understanding that space and social outcome is not correlated when it comes to blacks and whites discrimination will still…

    • 749 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Segregation prevented minorities from gaining the equal rights they deserved and thus, it was important for them to achieve justice through Brown. In the end, the court declared segregation “a denial of the equal protection of the laws” and thus majority rule was shot down (190). The court’s interpretation of the constitution enabled minorities to achieve justice, which proved that majority rule does not always become overbearing. When minorities are protected by limits on majority rule, it benefits the majority by keeping harmony in society. Thus, the court ruling demonstrated that the people are still sovereign even though their legislation was invalid.…

    • 1346 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This goes for all sides; blacks should not be seen as a violent race; whites as bigots; natives as alcoholics; etc. Initially, Clemente had a positive message about people being treated equally despite race, but overall it transpired into a racist message that was aimed negatively towards…

    • 808 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    To be a light-skinned black during this time period was admitting to not having a race to claim for one’s own. The benefits from this allow a much more open view on what it was to be different from the norm to current day struggles. The isolation that occurs when a black is too light to be black but too black to be white, allows for a unique third racial identity to occur where neither side claims the child. This existence breaks the traditional binary system of the south and allows for the confusion on who is black and who is white during this time…

    • 1114 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays