Discrimination in the 20th century

The 20th century was a century of major changes. Scientific and technological discoveries that forever changed the world took during this time. Centuries old philosophies and practices fell down and gave way to new schools of thought. What had been was no more. Social norms evolved with time. Change is nonetheless prevalent in society’s view of discrimination throughout the century. The century begins with a society in which discrimination is the standard way of treating those who are different, but ends with a society that condemns discrimination. It’s possible to understand the shift in views by exploring the literature and historical events that document and describe the struggles and hardships endured by victims of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Even though by the end of the 20th century many of the preexisting discriminatory practices have been abolished, some forms of discrimination still remain present in the 21st century. Now with an even faster changing connected world it’s possible to foresee a future in which new forms of discrimination may emerge.

Discrimination in the 20th Century

1901-01-26 07:17:29

Train Dreams

The novella Train Dreams written by Denis Johnson tells the story of Robert Grainer a strong spirited man who becomes victim to the unforgiving world he is living in. The story is set in the early 1900s. The events that unfold in Robert’s life give the reader a glimpse to a time when the social standards with which people lived by where much different than today. It seems as if discrimination in the form of racism and sexism was not extraneous to the people of the day. It was the normal thing to do. In one instance, Robert is involved in the racially provoked tormenting of a Chinese immigrant worker. Even though sexism is not presented explicitly, to the reader it quickly becomes apparent the unimportant role women appear to have during this time. The stories depicted in Johnson’s novella seem to revolve around men and their activities. Aside from the tragic death of Grainer’s wife, women a rarely considered.

1901-01-26 07:17:29

Train Dreams

The novella Train Dreams written by Denis Johnson tells the story of Robert Grainer a strong spirited man who becomes victim to the unforgiving world he is living in. The story is set in the early 1900s. The events that unfold in Robert’s life give the reader a glimpse to a time when the social standards with which people lived by where much different than today. It seems as if discrimination in the form of racism and sexism was not extraneous to the people of the day. It was the normal thing to do. In one instance, Robert is involved in the racially provoked tormenting of a Chinese immigrant worker. Even though sexism is not presented explicitly, to the reader it quickly becomes apparent the unimportant role women appear to have during this time. The stories depicted in Johnson’s novella seem to revolve around men and their activities. Aside from the tragic death of Grainer’s wife, women a rarely considered.

1901-10-01 13:11:08

Role of Women in Early 20th Century

Women were expected to raise children and maintain the household. They did not have much say in what was going around them. Most states prohibited women from voting.

1901-10-01 13:11:08

Role of Women in Early 20th Century

Women were expected to raise children and maintain the household. They did not have much say in what was going around them. Most states prohibited women from voting.

1902-12-12 02:22:59

Rice vs Meat

Labor leader Samuel Gompers publishes “Meat vs Rice”, a paper in which he argues that the Chinese people where responsible for dragging down the standard of living for Americans. He suggested that the over consumption of rice by the Chinese was causing the increase in price of the meat Americans wanted to consume. This added fuel to the already existing anti-Chinese sentiment and ultimately led to an increase in support of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1902-12-12 02:22:59

Rice vs Meat

Labor leader Samuel Gompers publishes “Meat vs Rice”, a paper in which he argues that the Chinese people where responsible for dragging down the standard of living for Americans. He suggested that the over consumption of rice by the Chinese was causing the increase in price of the meat Americans wanted to consume. This added fuel to the already existing anti-Chinese sentiment and ultimately led to an increase in support of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1914-07-28 10:15:38

The Women of WWI

When World War I started many women began to work on the same jobs their husbands and fathers had been working on. After the men left for military service, women became mechanics, police officers, and any other trade that required human labor. This gave women a taste of what their true potential could be. They could do the same things the men could. After the men returned from war, the majority of the women went back to their traditional lives serving the household.

1914-07-28 10:15:38

The Women of WWI

When World War I started many women began to work on the same jobs their husbands and fathers had been working on. After the men left for military service, women became mechanics, police officers, and any other trade that required human labor. This gave women a taste of what their true potential could be. They could do the same things the men could. After the men returned from war, the majority of the women went back to their traditional lives serving the household.

1915-04-01 00:00:00

Ku Klux Klan (2nd Klan)

Also known as the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan is one of the biggest far-right organizations in the United States. The group advocates white supremacy, white nationalism and anti-immigration behaviors. Although originally formed during the Civil War, the KKK's second Klan was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1915, and reached a peak of six million members by the 1920s. Lynching of African Americans by Klan members was a frequent act of discrimination in the South. Most of the members involved in the crimes were never prosecuted.

1915-04-01 00:00:00

Ku Klux Klan (2nd Klan)

Also known as the KKK, the Ku Klux Klan is one of the biggest far-right organizations in the United States. The group advocates white supremacy, white nationalism and anti-immigration behaviors. Although originally formed during the Civil War, the KKK's second Klan was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1915, and reached a peak of six million members by the 1920s. Lynching of African Americans by Klan members was a frequent act of discrimination in the South. Most of the members involved in the crimes were never prosecuted.

1917-02-01 21:51:33

Women Social Activism I

After the empowering experience WWI had provoked, the first wave of women social movements began to emerge in the late 1910s. In 1917 Margaret Sanger publishes her periodical “The Birth Control Review” which promotes methods of contraception. This was Margaret’s form of protest against the existing laws that made it illegal for women to have access to birth control methods. Margaret and the other women who wrote in the monthly periodical sought to give women the right to choose when to have a child. Another movement that started in the late 1910s is the women’s suffrage movement. The movement was led by the National Women’s Party. The party conducted marches and protests to petition the right to vote for women. Many women were arrested and jailed in the process, but in June 4, 1919 the Senate passed the 19th amendment to the Constitution which made it illegal for states to restrict voting based on sex.

1917-02-01 21:51:33

Women Social Activism I

After the empowering experience WWI had provoked, the first wave of women social movements began to emerge in the late 1910s. In 1917 Margaret Sanger publishes her periodical “The Birth Control Review” which promotes methods of contraception. This was Margaret’s form of protest against the existing laws that made it illegal for women to have access to birth control methods. Margaret and the other women who wrote in the monthly periodical sought to give women the right to choose when to have a child. Another movement that started in the late 1910s is the women’s suffrage movement. The movement was led by the National Women’s Party. The party conducted marches and protests to petition the right to vote for women. Many women were arrested and jailed in the process, but in June 4, 1919 the Senate passed the 19th amendment to the Constitution which made it illegal for states to restrict voting based on sex.

1924-12-19 00:00:00

The Society for Human Rights

The first ever gay rights organization in America is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. It received a charter from the state of Illinois and later published the first American publication for homosexuals. It only lasts for a couple of months before the organization is disbanded due to political pressure. Although it lasted for a short period of time, this organization showed that there was a growing gay community and they wanted to be able to live their lives normally, without discrimination from others or the governmaent.

1924-12-19 00:00:00

The Society for Human Rights

The first ever gay rights organization in America is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. It received a charter from the state of Illinois and later published the first American publication for homosexuals. It only lasts for a couple of months before the organization is disbanded due to political pressure. Although it lasted for a short period of time, this organization showed that there was a growing gay community and they wanted to be able to live their lives normally, without discrimination from others or the governmaent.

1931-07-03 15:35:32

Discrimination of Married Woman Teachers

In 1931 Hallie James, a single music teacher living in Marshall County West Virginia, had been working for several years at the county elementary school. After a few months of being appointed music teacher of the school, James decides to get married. The school board was not content and dismissed James from her duties on the basis that married woman where not allowed to teach in Marshall County schools. James sues the school for wages and eventually the case ends up in the Virginia Supreme Court. The court rules the practice unlawful, but this only prevented schools from firing married schools. It did not prevent schools from not hiring married woman. Many schools implemented a strict policy for hiring teachers that aimed to prevent the hiring of married women.

1931-07-03 15:35:32

Discrimination of Married Woman Teachers

In 1931 Hallie James, a single music teacher living in Marshall County West Virginia, had been working for several years at the county elementary school. After a few months of being appointed music teacher of the school, James decides to get married. The school board was not content and dismissed James from her duties on the basis that married woman where not allowed to teach in Marshall County schools. James sues the school for wages and eventually the case ends up in the Virginia Supreme Court. The court rules the practice unlawful, but this only prevented schools from firing married schools. It did not prevent schools from not hiring married woman. Many schools implemented a strict policy for hiring teachers that aimed to prevent the hiring of married women.

1939-09-01 23:10:59

The Women of WWII

Just like the 1910s saw an increase of women in the workforce during the Great War, the 1940s and WWII gave women an opportunity to expand their possibilities. Many women obtained non traditional jobs to help in the war effort. Meanwhile, the population of woman serving in the military increased drastically during the war. Nevertheless, discrimination of women in the military was evident when many who had enlisted served as secretaries and nurses. Not a single woman held a combat position during the war.

1939-09-01 23:10:59

The Women of WWII

Just like the 1910s saw an increase of women in the workforce during the Great War, the 1940s and WWII gave women an opportunity to expand their possibilities. Many women obtained non traditional jobs to help in the war effort. Meanwhile, the population of woman serving in the military increased drastically during the war. Nevertheless, discrimination of women in the military was evident when many who had enlisted served as secretaries and nurses. Not a single woman held a combat position during the war.

1940-04-20 22:20:48

NAACP Growth

Membership in the NAACP grew from 50,000 to 450,000 between 1940 and 1946. They worked to overturn the clause “Separate but Equal” throughout the life if the association. The NAACP was fairly successful in their efforts all around, protesting and doing many forms of action against discrimination from freedom rides to sit ins.

1940-04-20 22:20:48

NAACP Growth

Membership in the NAACP grew from 50,000 to 450,000 between 1940 and 1946. They worked to overturn the clause “Separate but Equal” throughout the life if the association. The NAACP was fairly successful in their efforts all around, protesting and doing many forms of action against discrimination from freedom rides to sit ins.

1941-05-27 19:01:53

"Double V" Campaign

In 1941, the “Double V” campaign was started with the slogan, “Double Victory, at Home-Abroad.” This campaign started in a newspaper, and strived to support African Americans in WWII abroad, and fight against discrimination at home. African Americans questioned themselves with things like, “Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?", and “Would it be demanding too much to demand full citizenship rights in exchange for the sacrificing of my life."

1941-05-27 19:01:53

"Double V" Campaign

In 1941, the “Double V” campaign was started with the slogan, “Double Victory, at Home-Abroad.” This campaign started in a newspaper, and strived to support African Americans in WWII abroad, and fight against discrimination at home. African Americans questioned themselves with things like, “Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?", and “Would it be demanding too much to demand full citizenship rights in exchange for the sacrificing of my life."

1943-12-01 00:00:00

Magnuson Act

Segregation by law against the Chinese started to decrease in 1943 with the introduction of the Magnuson Act which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act. At this time, Chinese nationals already residing in the United States would become naturalized citizens. However, in many states, Chinese people were not allowed to marry whites until 1967, when the Supreme Court ruled that such anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.

1943-12-01 00:00:00

Magnuson Act

Segregation by law against the Chinese started to decrease in 1943 with the introduction of the Magnuson Act which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act. At this time, Chinese nationals already residing in the United States would become naturalized citizens. However, in many states, Chinese people were not allowed to marry whites until 1967, when the Supreme Court ruled that such anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.

1948-01-06 17:27:03

Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil in a Blue Dress is set in 1948 Los Angeles. Easy, a World War II veteran, comes back to a world still segregated by skin color. The contrast between black and white is a fairly common occurrence. Easy describes that the "the worst kind of racism" was to be treated like an equal when clearly he was not. As an African American, Easy deals with many obstacles including police brutality, white politicians, and rich whites who attempt to use him as a pawn.

1948-01-06 17:27:03

Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil in a Blue Dress is set in 1948 Los Angeles. Easy, a World War II veteran, comes back to a world still segregated by skin color. The contrast between black and white is a fairly common occurrence. Easy describes that the "the worst kind of racism" was to be treated like an equal when clearly he was not. As an African American, Easy deals with many obstacles including police brutality, white politicians, and rich whites who attempt to use him as a pawn.

1948-04-09 22:23:19

Executive Order 9981

In 1948, president Truman signed an executive order stating, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” and thus desegregated the armed forces, making all races equal.

1948-04-09 22:23:19

Executive Order 9981

In 1948, president Truman signed an executive order stating, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” and thus desegregated the armed forces, making all races equal.

1950-01-07 07:17:29

Educated Women of the 50's

After World War II, the percentage of middle class woman with a post secondary education increases rapidly. Nevertheless, many decide to maintain their stay at home life style. The contemporary media of the day exploits this trend and short films undervaluing women's education appear on the television.

1950-01-07 07:17:29

Educated Women of the 50's

After World War II, the percentage of middle class woman with a post secondary education increases rapidly. Nevertheless, many decide to maintain their stay at home life style. The contemporary media of the day exploits this trend and short films undervaluing women's education appear on the television.

1950-11-11 00:00:00

Mattachine Society in LA

The Mattachine Society is founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay and a few friends. It's the first American national gay rights organization to publicly denounce homosexual discrimination. Their main purpose was to assimilate homosexuals to society and peacefully change the public's perspective on the homosexual society. They were mostly a passive group.

1950-11-11 00:00:00

Mattachine Society in LA

The Mattachine Society is founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay and a few friends. It's the first American national gay rights organization to publicly denounce homosexual discrimination. Their main purpose was to assimilate homosexuals to society and peacefully change the public's perspective on the homosexual society. They were mostly a passive group.

1952-04-01 00:00:00

Homosexuality a mental disorder

The American Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a mental disorder. Some medical professionals of the day become outraged at the categorization because of the lack in empirical and scientific data supporting the claim. Even Sigmund Freud opposed the idea that homosexuality was an illness. However, this newly added fact added fuel to the homophobia existing in the 50’s, creating new ideas that homosexuals should be cured of their illness and that it was quite simply not normal to be gay.

1952-04-01 00:00:00

Homosexuality a mental disorder

The American Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a mental disorder. Some medical professionals of the day become outraged at the categorization because of the lack in empirical and scientific data supporting the claim. Even Sigmund Freud opposed the idea that homosexuality was an illness. However, this newly added fact added fuel to the homophobia existing in the 50’s, creating new ideas that homosexuals should be cured of their illness and that it was quite simply not normal to be gay.

1955-09-21 00:00:00

Daughters of Bilitis

The Daughters of Bilitis is founded in September 1955. It was a lesbian civil and political rights organization, based in San Francisco. The organization offered lesbians an alternative to bars and clubs in order to socialize freely. This is in response to the frequent raids by police on lesbian bars. Later, as their numbers grew, their main focus was to make lesbian women comfortable with the idea of being lesbian by educating them in their rights and history. Also as a parallel to the Mattachine Society, they were a passive group that wanted to integrate lesbianism to society.

1955-09-21 00:00:00

Daughters of Bilitis

The Daughters of Bilitis is founded in September 1955. It was a lesbian civil and political rights organization, based in San Francisco. The organization offered lesbians an alternative to bars and clubs in order to socialize freely. This is in response to the frequent raids by police on lesbian bars. Later, as their numbers grew, their main focus was to make lesbian women comfortable with the idea of being lesbian by educating them in their rights and history. Also as a parallel to the Mattachine Society, they were a passive group that wanted to integrate lesbianism to society.

1956-01-27 14:13:09

Brown vs. Board of Education

In 1954, the Supreme Court rules in favor of Brown in Brown vs. Board of Education, and thus declared that the segregation of public schools is unconstitutional. This court case, in conjunction with Plessy vs. Ferguson are considered to be the largest advances against the discrimination of African Americans since the Emancipation Proclamation.

1956-01-27 14:13:09

Brown vs. Board of Education

In 1954, the Supreme Court rules in favor of Brown in Brown vs. Board of Education, and thus declared that the segregation of public schools is unconstitutional. This court case, in conjunction with Plessy vs. Ferguson are considered to be the largest advances against the discrimination of African Americans since the Emancipation Proclamation.

1956-10-23 21:42:22

Howl

The film Howl explores the 1957 trial that arose after the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl poem book. The film suggests that aside from causing controversy on the dispute over self expression, the poems also serve to open up the American public to homosexuality and sexuality in general. The film features graphic depictions of the interpretation given to Ginsberg’s poems. Ginsberg took that first step when he decided to write openly about his homosexuality in his poems that would eventually lead to the open national debates about homosexuality in the 21st century.

1956-10-23 21:42:22

Howl

The film Howl explores the 1957 trial that arose after the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl poem book. The film suggests that aside from causing controversy on the dispute over self expression, the poems also serve to open up the American public to homosexuality and sexuality in general. The film features graphic depictions of the interpretation given to Ginsberg’s poems. Ginsberg took that first step when he decided to write openly about his homosexuality in his poems that would eventually lead to the open national debates about homosexuality in the 21st century.

1960-03-05 03:11:30

Mad Men

Mad Men presents a distinctive perspective of how women were viewed in the 1960s. Discrimination against women is extremely frank in the first episode. Most of the leading woman characters are secretaries. Some of them go on the pill to sleep with their bosses. Mad Men suggests that the 1960s was a time when gender clearly determined your role. When Don Draper meets with a woman client who questions him, he responds "I won't let a woman talk to me this way". A sort of subordination of women is portrayed as the standard of the day.

1960-03-05 03:11:30

Mad Men

Mad Men presents a distinctive perspective of how women were viewed in the 1960s. Discrimination against women is extremely frank in the first episode. Most of the leading woman characters are secretaries. Some of them go on the pill to sleep with their bosses. Mad Men suggests that the 1960s was a time when gender clearly determined your role. When Don Draper meets with a woman client who questions him, he responds "I won't let a woman talk to me this way". A sort of subordination of women is portrayed as the standard of the day.

1962-04-11 08:26:28

First State to decriminalize homosexuality

Illinois becomes the first state to lift the laws that made homosexuality a crime. Though it seems that this was a big step in the acceptance of homosexuals in American society, this ban was highly ignored by police and the people themselves, and there were still many hate crimes that occurred that wouldn’t be investigated thoroughly by officials due to the existing negative thoughts about homosexuality. What’s more is that it still was the only state to be slightly less aggressive towards gays, and there were still 49 other states that had laws against homosexual behavior, including Wyoming in which “Brokeback Mountain” takes place.

1962-04-11 08:26:28

First State to decriminalize homosexuality

Illinois becomes the first state to lift the laws that made homosexuality a crime. Though it seems that this was a big step in the acceptance of homosexuals in American society, this ban was highly ignored by police and the people themselves, and there were still many hate crimes that occurred that wouldn’t be investigated thoroughly by officials due to the existing negative thoughts about homosexuality. What’s more is that it still was the only state to be slightly less aggressive towards gays, and there were still 49 other states that had laws against homosexual behavior, including Wyoming in which “Brokeback Mountain” takes place.

1963-01-16 08:26:28

Brokeback Mountain

The story of Brokeback Mountain starts off in 1963 Wyoming, where there were no gay rights, and it was considered to be morally incorrect. Annie Proulx shows a very real image of how homosexuals live during the 1960’s. The fact that the characters Jack and Ennis both deny themselves that they are homosexual even after they have sexual intercourse shows just how much people were against the idea of homosexuality. For them, they deny themselves mostly out of fear from how society would view them and how some even killed people just for being gay. Both Jack and Ennis were even married to women and lived a heterosexual life, which is what they showed publicly, leaving their relationship in secrecy. Brokeback Mountain is actually published in The New Yorker on October 13, 1997.

1963-01-16 08:26:28

Brokeback Mountain

The story of Brokeback Mountain starts off in 1963 Wyoming, where there were no gay rights, and it was considered to be morally incorrect. Annie Proulx shows a very real image of how homosexuals live during the 1960’s. The fact that the characters Jack and Ennis both deny themselves that they are homosexual even after they have sexual intercourse shows just how much people were against the idea of homosexuality. For them, they deny themselves mostly out of fear from how society would view them and how some even killed people just for being gay. Both Jack and Ennis were even married to women and lived a heterosexual life, which is what they showed publicly, leaving their relationship in secrecy. Brokeback Mountain is actually published in The New Yorker on October 13, 1997.

1963-08-28 07:17:29

I Have A Dream

African American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr delivered one of the most famous speeches of all time. This speech is considered the pinnacle of the civil rights movement.

1963-08-28 07:17:29

I Have A Dream

African American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr delivered one of the most famous speeches of all time. This speech is considered the pinnacle of the civil rights movement.

1963-12-01 12:12:39

Recruitment by Advertising Agencies

Woman had been working in the advertisement industry for decades prior to the 1960s. Companies like M.C. Weil Agency and J. Walter Thompson had been recruiting women since their formation. In 1963 JWT published a booklet titled "Advertising: A Career For Women" to bring more women into the industry. The booklet was intended as a recruitment guide, but it also demonstrated the stereotypical ideas of the time. The packet contained phrases like "And by all means—don't snub typing! Ask your friends already in the business world ... you'll be impressed with how many of them used their typing ability as a 'toe' in the door." Suggesting that secretary positions are where women belonged. This advice was not printed in the men’s version of the guide. The booklet also used different figures of speech for the men’s version compared to the women's version. The women's version contained sayings like "your cup of tea" while the men's version used terms like "lone wolf" to describe the different jobs being offered.

1963-12-01 12:12:39

Recruitment by Advertising Agencies

Woman had been working in the advertisement industry for decades prior to the 1960s. Companies like M.C. Weil Agency and J. Walter Thompson had been recruiting women since their formation. In 1963 JWT published a booklet titled "Advertising: A Career For Women" to bring more women into the industry. The booklet was intended as a recruitment guide, but it also demonstrated the stereotypical ideas of the time. The packet contained phrases like "And by all means—don't snub typing! Ask your friends already in the business world ... you'll be impressed with how many of them used their typing ability as a 'toe' in the door." Suggesting that secretary positions are where women belonged. This advice was not printed in the men’s version of the guide. The booklet also used different figures of speech for the men’s version compared to the women's version. The women's version contained sayings like "your cup of tea" while the men's version used terms like "lone wolf" to describe the different jobs being offered.

Discrimination in the 20th century

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