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GMAT RC - Civil War ceased in 1865

After four years of bloody fighting, the Civil War ceased in 1865 with the hope that the end of slavery would mark the beginning of equality and racial harmony. Consequently, three constitutional amendments were passed; starting with the 13th Amendment to end slavery, followed by one to give African Americans unfettered citizenship, and the final one to give African American males the right to vote. Nearly 100 years later, United States was still deeply divided. Racial Segregation was the norm, buttressed by various Jim Crow laws - named after the anonymous African American male. It ensured that all public facilities and state services were separated into "white" and "colored" spheres, with one sphere naturally enjoying an advantage over the other. White politicians passed laws that made voter registration more inaccessible to blacks and the number of African American voters nosedived drastically. Equal economic opportunities were denied to people of color. But what may have been the tipping point was unbridled aggression and violence - by the police, individuals and extremist groups like the now infamous Ku Klux Klan. From 1910 to 1970, nearly seven million African Americans left the South in the 'Great Migration.'

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had fought since 1909 to end discrimination with peaceful tools such as lawsuits, education, and political lobbying. Those efforts didn’t have any visible effect until the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954) case that overturned the facile "separate but equal" doctrine. One by one schools slowly implemented the ruling. What the law decreed the state could not implement and schools remained segregated. On December 1, 1955, the situation took a turn for the better, or for the worse, depending on one's point of view. Rosa Parks refused to get up from her seat on a public bus for a white passenger. She was arrested, but her adamancy kicked off the civil disobedience movement. Martin Luther King Jr took up the baton and used his immense oratorical skills to promote the nonviolent tactics used by Mahatma Gandhi. A plethora of disobedience incidents culminated in the 200,000-strong August march in Washington, leading up to the historic “I have a dream" speech. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed segregation and racial discrimination was soon passed.

Did Barack Obama’s reelection on 7th November 2012 finally mark the rise of the new America? The first re-election can be dismissed as an anti-incumbency vote against Bush. But when an African American President stood on the victory step for the second time, it must surely count as recognition of the fact that all the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement headed by Martin Luther King have borne fruit. Perhaps!

In 1984, 73% of whites aged 65 and above earned incomes from assets, compared to 31% of blacks and 38% of Hispanics. In 1998, the figures were 69%, 26% and 33%. The 2009 median wealth of white households was $113,149, Hispanic households at $6,325 and that of black households at $5,677.  Arguably, the biggest indicator of whether Americans have grown beyond race has been the recent statement by Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. These are people who pay no income tax." Is it covert racism, or an insensitive gaffe?

1) The primary purpose of the passage is to


a) Provide historical context of the African American Civil Right movement

b) Suggest that racism has become irrelevant in modern America

c) Provide  historical context and measures taken by NAACP to fight racism

d) Show that equality is yet to be attained.

e) Provide evidence that African Americans are still segregated in the society

2) The author quotes Mitt Romney to hint that

a) Racism still exists in America

b) People are evading tax by supporting Obama

c) Income inequalities exist in American society especially among minorities

d) The insensitive remark cost Mitt Romney the 2012 election

e) The assumption made by Mitt Romney was wrong

3) According to the passage, which organization or event was first responsible for bringing equality among US citizens?

a) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

b) Great Migration

c) Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Case

d) Civil Rights Movement

e) Passing  the 13th Amendment

4) Which of the following describes the relation between the last paragraph and the passage as a whole?

a) It cites recent events to make a conclusion

b) It poses a question and hints at a negative observation

c) It makes a general observation

d) It provides statement to support arguments mentioned in the preceding paragraphs

e) It cites recent events to explain a phenomenon

5) The attitude of the author towards Obama’s reelection is one of

a) Respectful Skepticism

b) Explicit Support

c) Implicit Support

d) Marked Suspicion

e) Opposition

Answers

1)  The primary purpose of the passage is to:

a) Provide historical context of the African American Civil Right movement

Although the author provides historical context in paragraph 2, the primary purpose is not the same.

b) Suggest that racism has become irrelevant in modern America

Quite the contrary. Author hints that racism is not entirely uprooted.

c) Provide  historical context and measures taken by NAACP to fight racism

The author mentions the tools used by NAACP to fight racism, but the primary purpose of the passage is not the same.

d) Show that equality is yet to be attained.

Quite close to the primary purpose of the passage.

Shortlist D

e)  Provide evidence that African Americans are still segregated in the society The author talks about segregation in paragraph 2 but it is not the primary purpose

With options a-e, d looks like the only answer choice that makes sense.

2) The author quotes Mitt Romney to hint that

The Quote: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. These are people who pay no income tax."

a) Racism still exists in America

There is a hint that Author quotes Mitt Romney to highlight that racism still exists. It is evident with the open-ended question just below the quote.

Is it covert racism, or an insensitive gaffe?

Shortlist A


b) People are evading tax by supporting Obama

Last part of the quote mentions that the people who are supporting Obama might expect to get tax breaks. But the purpose of the quote is not to highlight tax exemptions.

c) Income inequalities exist in American society especially among minorities

Although the statement is true with the evidence provided - “In 1998 the figures were 69%, 26% and 33%. The 2009 median wealth of white households was $113,149, Hispanic households at $6,325 and that of black households at $5,677”, the purpose of quoting Mitt Romney is not to highlight income inequalities.

d) The insensitive remark cost Mitt Romney the 2012 election

There are no suggestions for the same

e) The assumption made by Mitt Romney was wrong

Author does not clearly provide any conclusions as to whether the assumptions made by Mitt Romney are wrong.

With options a-e, a looks like the only answer choice that makes sense.

3) According to the passage, which organization or event was first responsible for bringing equality among US citizens?

a) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Although NAAP played a big role in highlighting the inequality prevalent in American Society since 1909, there is no clear evidence to suggest that NAAP was the first organization to bring equality among US Citizens.

b) Great Migration

It was the result of the civil war and did not play any role in bringing equality among American citizens.

c) Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Case

This was a historic ruling that overturned the facile "separate but equal" doctrine. Even though the pace of implementing this law was slow, the ruling was one of the landmark cases that paved the way towards equality for African Americans.

Shortlist C!

d) Civil Rights Movement

Although Civil Rights Movement was the major event that led to equality in American society, it was not the first event.

e) Passing  the 13th Amendment

Passing the 13th Amendment ended Slavery but it did not lead to equality in the society.

4) Which of the following describes the relation between the last paragraph and the passage as a whole?

a) It cites recent events to make a conclusion

Not true.

b) It poses a question and hints at a negative observation

The passage ends with an open-ended question and asks whether racism has been completely wiped out.

Shortlist B.

c) It makes a general observation

The last paragraph talks about Income Disparity and racism. But cannot be termed as a general observation.

d) It provides statement to support arguments mentioned in the preceding paragraphs

The preceding paragraphs provides historical context hence not true.

e) It cites recent events to explain a phenomenon

Although the passage quotes Mitt Romney (a recent event), it does not serve the role of explaining a phenomenon.

With options a-e, b is the correct answer.

5) The attitude of the author towards Obama’s reelection is one of:

a) Respectful Skepticism

Question: Did Barack Obama’s reelection on 7th November 2012 finally mark the rise of the new America?

Statement: But when an African American President stood on the victory step for the second time, it must surely count as recognition of the fact that all the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement headed by Martin Luther King have borne fruit.

And ending the 3rd paragraph with Perhaps! suggests that although the author respects the reelection, he still has skepticism.

Shortlist A

b) Explicit Support

Paragraph 3 does not show explicit support

c) Implicit Support

There is a hint of implicit Support

Shortlist C

d)  Marked Suspicion

Although there is suspicion in the author’s mind, it is not marked.

e)  Opposition

The author supports Obama’s reelection

From statements A and C, A covers all the statements that the Author has made in paragraph 3.

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