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Disclogo1.svg Discrimination within sociology is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. Examples of categories on which discrimination can be seen include race and ethnicity, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, weight, disability, employment circumstances, age, and species.


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Black codes were laws enacted by states and towns of the United States in the 1800s to restrict the rights of free blacks. While these laws became popular in Southern States in the interim between the end of the Civil War and the start of Reconstruction, many such laws also existed in Northern ("free") states decades earlier.

Black codes should not be confused with Jim Crow laws which less blatantly prescribed discrimination by requiring separate public facilities for blacks and whites. Black codes specifically set forth onerous burdens on blacks in the states in which they had been enacted, nominally with the intent to deter "free" blacks from entering the state (in the Northern cases), or to prevent them from being able to abandon their previous slave-labor roles (in the Southern cases).

State laws banning the marriage of whites and blacks, so-called anti-miscegenation laws, existed in all the slave states and in several new free states as well. Many of these remained in effect until they were declared unconstitutional in 1967. Black codes incorporated into the state constitutions of Indiana and Illinois in the 1840s completely prohibited black immigration into those states.

After the Civil War, many Confederate states passed codes that singled out free blacks for sharp penalties for skipping work or for being unemployed, and stiff fines for otherwise acceptable public acts were enacted specifically towards or involving blacks.

These Black codes by Southern states after the Civil War garnered hostility in the North, who accused the South of trying to perpetuate the illegalized practice of slavery through onerous regulations. The dominance of Northern carpetbaggers in Southern politics brought many Southern black codes to an end in 1866.


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Newspaper headlines of Japanese Relocation - NARA - 195535.jpg

San Francisco Examiner headlines announce the upcoming "ouster" of "Japs" from California in 1942. The newspaper refers to the program of Japanese American internment undertaken by the United States during World War II.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan in 1941, the U.S. government led by President Franklin Roosevelt, under the authority granted by the Alien Enemies Act of 1798, issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the United States military to evacuate all persons of Japanese descent from the West Coast of the United States (specifically an area known as Military Area No. 1). Those Japanese so removed from this area were relocated to internment camps.

To a smaller extent, Italian Americans and German Americans were also interned during World War II. Likewise, in Canada, the War Measures Act was used to authorize a program of Japanese Canadian internment.

The Executive Order authorizing these internments in the U.S. would not be officially rescinded until 1976, although all actual internment ended in 1945.

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