Thursday, 4 February 2016

Reagan vs. Race

Reagan held his presidency throughout much of the 1980's therefore it is only fair that he should be discussed in relation to his influence on race and minority groups throughout the decade. In general President Reagan never said he would support and help minority groups and instead stated that his presidency would give indirect benefits to such minorities. Due to this Reagan never supported minorities and financial aid was significantly reduced meaning that the eighties was a very difficult time for many minority peoples.

Native Americans
Native Americans at this time were still suffering from severe discrimination and were still frantically fighting the government for land which they felt had been unjustly taken from them. Reagan did little for their cause and was set on cutting federal spending given to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, this left many Natives homeless and in severe poverty. The land disputes of the eighties often led to the government stripping the people of even more land instead of granting them what they were duely owed. In 1980 however a Supreme Court ruling over the United States vs. Sioux Nation of Indians ruled that in fact the United States had illegally seized land and owed the Sioux nation over half a billions dollars worth of reparations. Finally, one beneficial aspect that even stands today from the Reagan presidency is that he wrote in he Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, allowing gambling on Native American land, thus boosting the economies of many tribes.

African Americans
Discrimination towards black Americans was still rife within 1980's America. Civil rights had been passed only 15 years ago at this point and many WASP's still didn't appreciate the black population. Reagan refused to fund any civil rights campaigns and instead argued that his boosting the economy would in turn support these campaigns. Reaganomics however completely failed in supporting minorities and the lower classes and instead left many people, particularly African Americans impoverished. This did not stop the progression of black people into lower level politics, by the late eighties many African Americans were mayors, on education boards and other lower level yet still influential positions. In 1989 this all changed, when President George Bush took office he valued African Americans and appointed a number of minorities into higher governmental positions. Just as this progress into government happened, a progression into culture erupted as well. Such people as Michael Jackson, Queen Latifah, Magic Johnson and Jesse Jackson all began their influence on culture that even today still resonates.


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