An Overview of Racism in The United States
Filed Under: Music & Film, US | Posted: 10/12/2007 at 1:10AM
Comments | Region: United States
The cold reality of "racism" in America is that the foundation of the country happened to be built on bloodshed, racism, and inequality. It’s just a dangerously continuous escalation of certain events and actions in history that’s causing the populace of the United States to be "racist." "Racism" as we call it has been in existance for several millenia. There are several factors that cause racism in this country. It goes several centuries back and continues on in today’s world.
One notable event was when the Pilgrims came to the United States. They wanted to escape from England to avoid persecution at the hands of the Evangelicals. During that time, the Evangelical Christians were in control of England during the 16th century where the Puritans whom were the Pilgrims were persecuted. Due to the persecution, the Pilgrims made a pilgrim to the colonies. However, upon arriving the Pilgrims forced their faith upon the Native Americans. Aside from forcing their faith, the Pilgrims brought all sorts of sicknesses and diseases with them along the voyage.
The Pilgrims developed an immunity to these ailments. However the Native Americans weren’t immune and weren’t able to develop the immunity. The Natives dropped like flies and the Pilgrims could claim that it’s punishment from God for not accepting him as their savior. Something severe like that is going to cause the Native Americans to hate Whites. There have been events and will be events that’s going to make it difficult to quash racism. However racism in American like other countries will never be destroyed. It’s a sad and cold part of reality.
There were a lot of devious and dispicable acts performed on the Native Americans for the last few centuries such as giving them all sorts of diseases, taking their land and homes, the genocides, and other acts that give Native Americans to be "racist" against Whites. This is one aspect of "racism" in America.
Another known series of events detailing racism is Civil War and the post-Civil War Reconstruction. Before and during the Civil War, Black slaves from Africa were used as slaves to work on the plantations and the homes of the plantation owners. That caused the Blacks to hate the Whites during that era. Plus the Union soldiers were racist as well.
It was depicted in the movie with Mathew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington called "Glory." The Black regiment were treated like crap though highly disciplined. They’re pay was lower than a White soldier’s and Blacks weren’t allowed to hold an officer’s rank. But Broderick’s character managed to find a loophole and instilled Freeman’s character as the company sergeant major. There was another Black regiment where the commander didn’t do much in disciplining the soldiers. In turn the soldiers were like "monkeys" causing all sorts of havoc on the plantations and the houses. It caused Whites to be racist against the Blacks.
What really caused Whites to be racist against Blacks was the post-Civil War Reconstruction. The South was financially damaged by the government. Financial damages play a big role in people being racist. They found an easy scapegoat, the Blacks. Blacks were given the right to vote before the start of the 20th century. In the South, there were various laws in place to restrict the freedoms of Blacks in order to keep White control. Hate groups such as the KKK were formed to oppress the blacks with beatings and killings.
During that time, the Irish though White were persecuted more than the Blacks were. Two of my history professors confirmed it. My world history professor said that when a dangerous job needs to be done, the plantation owner would hire an Irishman instead of using a slave. That way if the person gets killed on the job, plantation owner wouldn’t have to pay him. And getting a slave was an investment. Plantation owners weren’t going to endanger an "investment." My US history professor told us about this get together and discussed this book on slavery. A pretty contraversial book that he explained to the class. One thing was listed about how slaves were a commodity and an investment. Which coincided with what my world history professor said about Irishmen being hired to do the most dangerous jobs.
My US history professor said he was right and that the Irish were more persecuted than the Blacks were. Keep in mind this was all in the nineteenth century. After the Civil War, there was the expansion towards the West. Where they took lands from the Native Americans and the Spanish. Many Native Americans were killed or placed on reservations. That would cause resentment to the Whites. Blacks were still treated like garbage as well. Racism between Latinos, Blacks, Whites, and Native Americans were the most evident in the late 19th century.
Then the Chinese immigrated from China where they worked on the railroads. The Chinese too were persecuted mainly because they worked for lower wages. At the same time, Chinese weren’t allowed to own land either. That would cause Whites and Chinese to be racist against each other. Yes, the Chinese were crucial to the development of this country.
Racism even carried on into the start of the 20th century. We had World War I and World War II. The KKK were still present in the South. Most of the racism wouldn’t escalate until after World War II. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor with the United States declaring war, the Japanese-Americans were placed in concentration camps in Arizona out of fear by the United States Government. They were persecuted because of what the Japanese did. And most of them hadn’t even been to Japan before. The Japanese-Americans were very loyal to the United States. That’s another example on what fueled and fuels racism in America today.
Racism against Blacks was still present. And they were even drafted into the military to fight in both World Wars. The soldiers were treated like dirt. When they returned home, they still had to deal with the racism. In World War II, a special squadron of fighter pilots was formed with completely Black pilots. They were known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen were some of the best fighter pilots in World War II. In the movie "Hart’s War," the soldiers were cheering for this US fighter pilot that shot down was a Black pilot. There was still plenty of racism during World War II.
Two of the prisoners were Black pilots. Since there wasn’t enough room in the officer’s bunk, the two pilots along with Hart had to be housed up with the enlisted soldiers. There were plenty of racial tensions in the movie. With one of the pilots being wrongly accused for killing one soldier with a shiv planted underneath his bed. They were using the two black pilots as scapegoats to trick the Germans while they were digging an underground tunnel to destroy a munitions depot. It’s one example of what racism can drive people to do.
After World War II, therewas the Korean War. That caused people in American to be racist against Asians. From the Korean War, there was also the Vietnam War. There were still plenty of racial tensions amongst Blacks, Whites, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc. This went on especially during the Civil Rights Movement that took place at the same time as the Vietnam War. While there was a war brewing in Vietnam, there was an internal war brewing in America which was the war against racism at the same time.
There was the forced school integration in the South where the White protestors didn’t want Black students to be integrated into predominantly White schools. One notable group of people were the Little Rock Nine whom were nine Black students who were integrated into one of those schools. There have been plenty of docudramas based on the lives of those nine students.
Within the last two decades, racial tensions have sparked some very big news. Around 1991, there was the beating of Rodney King at the hands of four Los Angeles Police Officers. There were the Los Angeles Riots that had to be quashed by the National Guard. They’re prime examples on the difficulty on neutralizing racism in this country. With events like these going on, racism in this country is going to be around for a very long time.
Recently there was 9/11, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, and the War in Iraq that caused persecution amongst the Arab community in this country.
Today we have Neo-Nazi groups being racist against non-whites and non-Christians in which they despise Blacks and Jews the most.
There are people prejudice against Indians because a good number of US jobs to India. It’s going to cause people to be racist against Indians.
There’s Affirmative Action which I’m on the fence on. Whites are hurt the most by Affirmative Action. It’s going to cause them to be racist.
There’s the descendants of Black slaves that want financial reparations. That’s going to cause people to be racist.
There are also plenty of racial stereotypes in play in the form of comics, games, movies, and porn. One Asian pornstar named Kaiya Lynn explained in an interview how she’s sick and tired of being portrayed as the Asian stereotypes in various porno flicks. Keep in mind that games, movies, and comics provide a lot of intellectual value than most of the stuff on TV nowadays, you have stereotypes that fuel racism as a harsh counterbalance.
The United States is the great melting pot of cultures. There are plenty of places where people get along just fine. However there are plenty of other places that are just cesspools or racism. Again, another counterbalance. The American media tends to fuel racial tensions for higher ratings. Asides from the KKK, there have been a bunch of radical separatist groups formed of Blacks, Asians, Jewish, and others that are currently on the terrorist watch list.
Plus you have hate groups becoming mainstream. They adapted and assimilated into the mainstream. One example is the Neo Nazi music label known as Resistance Records. Resistance Records promotes hate music and is listed as one of the hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
What adds fuel to the fire is that there are other groups that hate each other. Blacks hating on other blacks, Asians hating on other Asians, etc.
In order to combat racism, we need to educate ourselves and each other more. Better education is the biggest thing we definitely need today in America. There are numerous events that will cause us to be racist to various people. However, everybody is going to have "racist" views. The first step to combatting racism is acknowledging our racist views and working to change those views. Ignorance is one of the factors that fuels racism and will continue fueling racism and hate.
The most dangerous people are the ones that just plain hate. There will always be people like that. However, we can do our part to crush racism as best we can.
Remember, we all bleed red. We may be different in skin color, appearance, and such, but we have the same aspirations, goals, etc. We want the best for ourselves and our children. Racism will always be around. But we should be there to fight it should it ever creep and try to consume us all.