History of Racism in America

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It is indisputable fact that racism and racial inequality still exist everywhere in the world today. They have always been dark sides of our society in which some people recognize that they are ugly and wrong, and try to improve them, while the others embrace that dark sides. In America, following the Civil War, numerous civil rights movements spanned over decades, with many anti-racist groups and organizations growing out of it. However, today racism and racial inequality remain alarmingly oppressive.

America’s systemic racism starts with slavery and the various slave codes-state or federal laws created that codified the inhumane practice of chattel slavery into law. Following the independency of the United States, southern plantation became a major proportion of the economy. It was labor-intensive industries and required a large amount of labors. So, numbers of Africans had been brought to the southern of America through slave trade. They were placed into harsh living conditions and enjoyed none of the rights of freedom. “Enslaved people were not allowed to defend themselves against violence from whites, nor did they have any legal standing in the courts.”

After the end of Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, a large number of slaves flooded the cities after liberating from the South. Most of them employed in factories as American industry was highly developing. Although the economic crisis in the early 20th century and led to a large number of unemployment, the need for the military industry in World War II quickly absorbed a large number of unemployed people. It was not until the arrival of the internet information revolution era in 1989, the demand for labor continued to decline. Meanwhile, the decline in the traditional labor-intensive industries in America such as automotive manufactures along with a large number of labor-intensive industries moved oversee, America was bound to precipitate a large number of surplus labors.

A large part of the unemployed population are the descendants of the black slaves, they were poor and at loose ends only to gathered on the street and smoked marijuana deadening themselves. In short, before none of the ancestors of African Americans voluntarily arrived in the North America continent. It was the African colonial whites who provoked African tribal wars, looted black slaves, and forcibly kidnapped them to the North American continent. Black people were placed in plantations by slavery and emancipated them to the factories. when the industry was upgraded, the capitalists abandoned them on the street and let them fend for themselves. This brutal history has laid the fundamental groundwork for future racism and racial inequality.

Racial inequality has been a long-standing problem in not only America but in mankind history. White supremacy is major cause of racial inequality. Between 1910-1970, under assumption of black interiority and white superiority, which proposed that indigenous people should be allowed to die out in order to establish a white Australian society without any other colored people and mixed races. As the fundamental connotation of “White Australia”, racial purity advocates that Australia is a white Australia, and must become the only purely white country outside Europe, and never allow other races to be in the nation.

Following the Immigration Restriction Act, the assimilation policy was implemented. It allowed the government forcibly removed indigenous children from their families, forced them to adopt white culture and taught them to reject their indigenous heritage and traditional languages. It is shaming to see that white society refused to accept indigenous people as equals, rejected foreign cultural influences, but emphasized on cultural closure-superstition of “pure” of its own culture. Most of indigenous children were forcibly removed from their parents until 1995 Australian government abolished the policy. Many people and families are still coming to terms with the trauma that this has caused.

Aunty Rhonda Collard, a member of the Stolen Generations. She was only three-year-old when she was taken from her family to become a mission child. Decades later when Australia Minister Kevin Rudd apologized to all indigenous Australians, she said: “The trauma still lives with us today and what you suffer as a child stays with you forever. The emotional wounds take forever to heal, but the apology was a stepping stone in my healing process….”. What would you do if one day the police came to your house and took your children away simply because of the color of your skin? Or imagine if one day you were taken away from your parents to live with strangers and told you that you had to learn everything differently than you were used to.

However, a new face of white supremacy arose in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. White supremacists marching and shouting out their rights- “white live matters” and “Blood and Soil” meaning that the blood must be racially pure, and land must belong to the racially pure. The movement caused one person dead and nineteen people injured. After achieving a long and impressive list of accomplishments on human history, white supremacists believe they are better than any races else because of their color of skin. They embrace hierarchy system in which it divides people into different levels of importance based on their skin colors. According to the system, white skin is considered to be aristocracy, and any others are sub-level races.

Under the control of authority, white race with highest level has all the privileges over other races. “These are groups who believe in ethno-nationalism and he supremacy of people who have a white European identity. While there are vestiges of the overt racism of the past, especially in terms of hatred for African Americans and Jews, a lot of rhetoric has shifted away from that outward portrayal.” Said by Landon Shroder, a former intelligence analyst, and now partner and political director of RVA Mag. Since the end of Civil War, white racists have lynched 5000 innocent blacks, including women and children.

In America, institutionalized racism in education is another root cause of racism and racial inequality. Following the World War II, the returning soldiers received help from GI Bill. Many American white families left the city center and moved to newly developed suburbs by the support of government-subsidized low-interest rate loans. However, it was difficult for blacks to move to the suburbs because banks were reluctant to lend money to them, and the whites in the suburbs were reluctant to have black neighbors as well. Although the segregation system has been abolished, ethic distribution is still a distinct separate system due to economics, housing prices and other reasons.

Whether in rural or urban areas, most blacks in America remain in poor areas. Furthermore, since public schools are funded by the state government, and the government allocates the funds based on the tax revenue. So, rich area gets more funds, more resources and better teachers, while the poor area gets less funds, less resources and low-quality teachers. Because this inequality limits the blacks get good education, as a result, they cannot find a good job but only committing crimes by stealing or robbing to make a living, which is a vicious circle that the people, society continue to be poor. This also explains why black people have the higher crime rate than the whites.

Nonetheless, the US criminal justice system also treats black people unequally. Black people are targeted at much higher rates for misdemeanor mostly drugs when whites use drugs about the same amount. For example, cocaine is very popular in whites, while crack-cocaine is a cheaper type of cocaine and it is more common in blacks. They are as dangerous as the same to the users. However, black offenders who use crack-cocaine receive longer sentences than whites who use cocaine. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the chance of a black male going to jail is 32% or one in three, which is much higher than 6% chance with a white male. Here is another example of racism in criminal justice system.

Brock Turner, a white male student at Stanford University released from jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in 2015. He supposed to be sentenced to 14 years, but he only got six-month sentence instead, because the judge was convinced that the offender was a Stanford talented student who with upper class family background so that should be an exception. While another similar case happened to a black male turned out completely different.

Brian Banks, a black high school football star who was once one of the most highly sought-after athletes was accused of rape by one of his female classmates. He was told by his lawyer that he will be sentenced to 40 years felon considering the size of his body and his black race. He ended up took a Plea Bargain for 5 years in prison even though he was innocent. Six years later, the woman confessed on Facebook that she fabricated her accusation. As we see here the US justice system wrongfully controls and decides who goes to prison by one’s race and his social background but ignores the actual fact. However, people who disagree such as Dylan Rodriguez, an assistant professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, argues in his book “Forced Passages”,

There is an excess of people in the US and elsewhere. These people are not productive, are not needed, are not wanted and are not really entitled to the same human rights as the productive ones. They must be controlled and dominated for safety of the productive. They must be intimidated into accepting their inferiority or they must be removed from the society of the productive.

I believe that human rights are the belief that everybody in the world should be treated equally and with dignity no matter what their races are. Equal does not mean that we all the same. Each of us is different in our special way therefore we should treat others the same way as we’d like to be treated with respect and dignity. Hopefully, in near future, our citizens of color can enjoy the same rights and opportunities that whites enjoy, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream would ring the true “ America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’….I have a dream one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Cite this paper

History of Racism in America. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/history-of-racism-in-america/

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