Jim Crow Laws
American society was not always democratic and equal. There were times when people were mistreated because of their race. There were even laws which legalized such mistreatment and segregated races within American society. An example can be seen with Jim Crow laws, which established racial segregation. They have existed for almost a century representing a horrible idea that people had to be divided based on their skin color.
Jim Craw laws do not refer to any particular person. Sadly, they refer to the entire race. These laws existed from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until 1960s of the twentieth century. The term was created in the beginning of the twentieth century, and then it became widely used. Thanks to these laws, it was perfectly legal and acceptable to separate and segregate people depending on the race. This way, blacks were separated from whites. They took different buses, went to different schools, participated in different activities. The quality of goods blacks were getting was usually worse because whites were getting better things. They considered themselves superior to blacks. Basically, Jim Crow laws existed as a consequence of people’s unwillingness to end slavery fully. There were many whites reluctant to accept blacks as equal members of society. That is why Jim Crow laws were used in order to discriminate blacks. Although the slogan of that time “Separate but equal” tried to make it look like people in the United States did not feel inferior because of their race, it was not so. Blacks felt extremely mistreated because of the laws; thus, the statement concerning equality was not true (Nobles, 2014).
As it was mentioned before, Jim Crow laws were officially about separating races, but practically, they were about creating advantages to whites based on blacks being left out from these advantages. In South, Jim Crow laws had a much stronger influence on blacks comparing to the North where these laws were not practiced as often although there were examples of blacks being mistreated based on segregation. With years of development of the entire American society, it was possible to get rid of these laws and focus on building truly equal society where people felt no difference depending on race.
For example, in Florida, it was forbidden for whites to marry black and vice versa. If a black man lived with a white woman, both people had to be punished for disobeying the law (“Jim Crow Laws”, n.d.). Basically, Jim Crow laws in Florida prohibited any romantic relations between blacks and whites since they could not live together without getting married, and it was also illegal to get married. Hence, Jim Crow laws were reasons for people from different races not bonding with each other the way they could. Also, it was forbidden for black students to go to the same school with whites and vice versa. It had a negative effect on African Americans because their schools usually had poor financing, fewer books and teachers, and gave a worse quality of education comparing to schools for whites. People were also unable to communicate with representatives of other races, which had a negative influence on personality development. One may also state that school segregation was done in order for blacks to receive a worse education so that they would not be able to achieve as much as whites due to worse educational background.
In Georgia, on the other hand, there were very different segregation laws. They did not focus on education or marriages. They focused on service and rest aspects (“Separate is not equal”, n.d.). For example, it was forbidden to have a restaurant opened for both whites and blacks. Restaurants could serve either whites or blacks. Also, it was forbidden for blacks to play baseball near whites and vice versa. These laws affected blacks greatly. Firstly, because of the overall situation in the state, it was more difficult for them to find a place to eat and play. They felt inferior because they were forbidden to visit places whites could go to. Although whites were also forbidden many things when it came to interactions with blacks, they still had very many opportunities. After all, segregation rules did not target whites since their main focus included blacks.
One can say that Jim Crow laws existed in every American state and differed greatly depending on the territory. Some were focused on education, others – on relations or business. Nevertheless, the main idea about the laws always remained the same because despite the state, the laws were always targeting black people and taking many opportunities away from them. They could not visit many places or go to school where white children studied. This way, black children had to go to schools for blacks which could be far away from their homes and had fewer options they could offer to students. Hence, blacks were very disadvantaged during the era of Jim Crow laws because their actions were limited.
Jim Crow laws represent a period in American history when equality was just a shallow statement. Thankfully, American society was able to evolve and get rid of many stereotypes becoming equal the way it always should be. Nowadays, Jim Crow laws are being viewed as horrors of the past, and the modern society has to evolve in such a way as to never repeat anything similar to these laws.