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Racial Conflict and Violence

In a society that constitutes white and black people, the topic of racism is inevitable. Racism is the discrimination suffered by a group or individuals for belonging to a specific ethnic inferior community. Over the years, blacks have faced racism against their white counterparts. In the book A Few Red Drops written by Claire Hartfield, there are several incidences where racial differences result in conflict and violence. This paper illustrates some of the incidences that prove that treating different races unequally may result in conflict and violence.

The first act of racism is clearly shown at the beginning of the book when a young black man, John Turner Harris and his friends were swimming at the beach of Lake Michigan (Hartfield, 2018). A white man was unhappy since the young men seemed to be swimming too near the beach’s white part. The man was very agitated because there was no official border separating the white part of the beach from the blacks. He started throwing stones at the young boys and ended up killing one of the young men. This was the beginning of all the conflict and violence in the book. The black people became so angry that they started riots all over Chicago (Hartfield, 2018). The white man threw stones mainly because the young men were blacks. If the young men could have been whites, the white man would not have thrown stones at them. Throwing stones at a person is violence since it can cause harm. In this case, one of the young men lost his life.

The author writes of how the white man who threw the stones was not arrested. However, black men who took in riots and demonstrations that followed the young man’s death at the beach were arrested. This proves that racism is evident. Murder, whether committed by a black or white person, is an offence (Hartfield, 2018). The black people also had the right to riot since one of them had been killed for an insignificant offence. The different parts of the beach were not under official laws, and the beach was public property, so it cannot be termed trespassing. The black men arrested for being involved in riots were not supposed to be arrested unless they caused harm.

Hartfield goes ahead to illustrate the history of black people in urban Chicago. Black people had faced racism and discrimination for years before. The Union Stock was responsible for ensuring that black people and other white immigrants got appropriate jobs. However, many politics took place in the union administration, causing racial tension as much as it tried to keep everything equal (Hartfield, 2018). The less fortunate people of the society were most affected. The differences between the black people and the white people had begun during this time. There is a possibility that the two races had stored their anger and passed it from generation to generation, later blowing up, leading to conflict and violence.

The book also talks about the journey the black people had to take from the South to the North. During the journey, black workers faced several challenges which still manifested themselves in urban Chicago. Among the challenges was housing (Hartfield, 2018). Most black workers could not afford lavish apartments for their families; hence they had to live in poor houses. Being poor and black is double trouble. This created much tension among the two races since white people have always felt more entitled than their white counterparts. Black people, since the migration, have always tried to find better lifestyles to avoid being discriminated against based on poverty other than race.

Following the incident at the beach, which led to the death of a young black man, Black people felt that the act was unfair and that someone had to pay. The blacks and the whites had had previous issues in their history, so violence was inevitable. Each race found the other guilty of the murder (Hartfield, 2018). The blacks argued that the young man was not wise enough to find out the difference in beach sides and that the violence was started by the white man who threw stones. The whites blamed the blacks for not staying at the part of the beach. The young man had, however, not even crossed to the white part of the beach. It is likely that the blacks felt tired of being discriminated against and wanted to avoid future deaths based on race discrimination. They, therefore, decided to have riots (Hartfield, 2018). There were also gang violence and mob demonstrations. Much political incapability made the situation worse.

The last chapters followed the progression of violence and its eventual end when the wave of extreme feelings subsided, and the harm was assessed. Multiple of the casualties of the rioters in Chicago were black, while only a few of the criminals who were convicted were white. Hartfield highlights this disparity in the justice process in Chicago after the rioting. Mainly ending allows the author to elaborate on the knowledge gained from the Chicago racial riots, which she feels is essential in today’s similarly turbulent moment in America (2018). Hartfield also finds both apparent injustices holding back part of America occupied by blacks and the ample power in black societies based the author, who cites the civil rights era accompanying these 1919 occurrences (2018).

In conclusion, the author showed that racism has always been a factor that can contribute to conflict and violence. The history of racism in urban Chicago was evident many years before the beach tragedy when black workers moved from the South to the North. It is also clear that governance’s political administrations impact the racial discrimination that occurs. Racism history has been passed on from generation to generation, causing conflict and violence in case blacks and whites have differences.


Hartfield, C. (2018). A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919. Clarion Books.


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