How the Other Half Lives and Race Riot

It's Not as Simple as Black and White

In the early twentieth century, the wealthy elite used social darwinism to justify their manipulation of the workforce. The elite essentially thought they rightfully deserved their wealth and saw no reason to assist the working man. This is clearly demonstrate by the wealthy elite of New York in Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives, and those of Chicago in William Tuttle’s Race Riot. With a drastic increase in immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe in New York, and the Great Migration of Post Civil-War slaves to Chicago, both cities became fairly overpopulated. In result, both groups were seen as a social and economic burden by the original ...

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migrants, and instead saw them as an economic opportunity. This socio economic imbalance led to racial tension, housing and employment shortages, and ultimately the Chicago Race Riot of 1919.

As demonstrated in Riis’ How the Other Half Lives, the New York elite took complete advantage of the immigrant workforce, and had no qualms in doing so. Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” was an example of social darwinism within society in which if one was deserving of wealth, it would naturally find them. These ideals essentially justified mass manipulation of the work force, causing “the half on top [to care] little for the struggles, and less for the fate of those who were underneath, so long as it was able to hold them there and keep its own seat.” The wealthy showed little to no sympathy for the impoverished because it was thought to be their own fault for being poor. Riis describes the living conditions for the immigrants as “Crazy old buildings, crowded rear ...

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white unions and black strikebreakers was only a mild precursor of the violent racial crisis that would explode.”(114) This turmoil would turn into the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. Even if a black worker were an “expert... it is next to impossible for him to secure membership in a union in Chicago.” (114). Additional precursors for the race riots were due to the unfair treatments of blacks in housing, policing, and employment which would lead to extremely violent turmoil. Big Bill Thompson, the city's police chief was extremely oppressive and discriminatory towards blacks. To the blacks had “come to view” the police as essentially a “representative of white hostility”(33). ...

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How the Other Half Lives and Race Riot. (2019, October 27). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from
"How the Other Half Lives and Race Riot.", 27 Oct. 2019. Web. 29 May. 2020. <>
"How the Other Half Lives and Race Riot." October 27, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2020.
"How the Other Half Lives and Race Riot." October 27, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2020.
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Added: 10/27/2019 04:18:27 PM
Submitted By: dguek23
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1360
Pages: 5

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