“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who favour freedom yet deprecate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many water”. This statement by Frederick Douglas by in 1857 brings to the fore the psychological and social aspects that challenged Americans of African descent. There was a social cry for the liberation of the blacks from social inequities such as slavery, prejudice, lack of freedom and discrimination. They therefore had to be prepared to pay the price for the fight for their liberation and a refined leadership had to arise (Thompson, 2000). Fredrick Douglas, a firm believer in the equality of all people whether black, white, female, native American or recent immigrant, the colour of the skin of an individual has no role in the determination of the intellectual genius. He understood that a key way African- Americans could improve their socio-economic status was through education and for this reason he advocated for the segregation of school for both whites and blacks. Inequality, being a major aspect in the interest of Black Americans, Douglas lends support to the sense that all things are equal and to need to improve the next generation. This vice should therefore be eradicated through the adaptation of conscious and deliberate efforts of individuals. Whites should not consider themselves as superior and treat blacks differently as slaves or outcasts. There are several personal and political consequences of contemporary representation of race and ethnicity. White supremacist culture for example may lead to discrimination and psychological trauma.
According to Hooks (1992), the turn around the practice of racism confuses all principles of morality and renders the practice of them impossible. Therefore, equality should be encouraged. She mentions her personal experience revealing the torture the black Americans endure in the hands of whites. She observes torture as a veteran tool of American power in the examination of the racial gender and sexuality. Hooks talks of personal and political consequences of contemporary representation of race and ethnicity within a culture that exhibited white supremacy. The experience of blackness in the different parts of the Diaspora has not been very pleasing considering the social and psychological degradation, discrimination and hatred Blacks go through under the rule of whites. Researches have ultimately shown that racism will lead to lack of self esteem and confidence. This means that a stand must be taken to deal with this social vice.
Rogers (1993), says that western cultures and civilizations have been moulded in one way or the other by ancient African civilizations. In all his works, one thing come out clearly; his strong opposition to racism and formation of various classes and social groupings of people along certain preconceived lines. He reveals that man is not merely a possibility of recapture or negation. He continues to say that consciousness is a process of transcendence and therefore this transcendence should not be haunted by problems of love and understanding. “Black skin, white mask” by Frantz Fanon (1994), is an in depth analysis of the effects of colonization subjugation on the human psyche. It is a personal account of Fanon's experience of being a man, an intellectual at that, with a French education rejected in France by the white French people because skin color. Fanon's psychology is the product of the domination which arises in oppressive colonial situations. That is consciousness was not of essence but a factor arising from political and social situations. His consciousness was not purely black but extended to colonized people of any racial category. He is an advocate of resistance and revolution especially with relation to violence and racism. Fanon's mission was shattered by the gaze of racism which was mostly concerned with the issue of decolonization and psychopathology of colonization; his works have inspired anti- colonial liberation movement for more than four decades. He talks of the abuse of the people of which he belonged by the French army, this includes the many accusations of harassment and sexual misconduct that arose. This illustrates that racism reinforces a feeling of alienation and disgust to the victim.
Racism can hinder an individual from meeting his or her set goals in life because of the continuous discrimination. Irrespective of the personal potential in each and every person, racism does not give a chance for the betterment of the society. Gilroy (2004) explores relationships among races, classes and nations as they have evolved over the past twenty years. He demonstrated the enormous complexity of racial politics in England today and he highlights racist attitude that transcend both the left and right sides of the political divide. He challenges current sociological approaches to racism as well as the anthrocentric bias of British cultural studies. Gilroy effectively demonstrates that cultural traditions are not state but develop, grow and indeed mutate as they influence and are influenced by the other changing traditions around them. He uses psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical theory to explain the feelings of dependency and inadequacy of black people in a white world and as a result of racism, inferiority complex may develop in the minds of the discriminated, hence they may try to appropriate and imitate the cultural code of the whites. Eventually, this can lead to lack of a cultural identification and loss of pride. Maria (1802) promoted interracial marriages as a solution to racial inequality, suffrage and land reforms for freed people and to advance black rights. She became a pivotal force in the reconstruction effort and continued to work for social equality for African Americans. She lectured on the immense brutality and immortality of racism. She was a sensitive woman who greatly resented the frequent abuses of her conditions as a black American yet she managed to learn how to read and conspire successfully for freedom. She also fought segregation as well as slavery.
Due to the heavy impacts of racism and ethnicity, governments, authorities and societies should form laws and constitutions that protect the rights of every individual whether a black or a white. Building the society is much easier if racism is eradicated and everybody treated equally. Cruelty such as blacks not being allowed to own property should be stopped. Fredrick Douglas further points that because one is colored, he or she can accomplish anything. Strive earnestly to add knowledge, so as long one does not remain in ignorance. Rogers (1993) highlights that there is a modern day racist disposition that hints at the inferiority of black people and he thus fought against the ignorance that fuels racism. Rogers used was a major advocate for the abolition of stereotypes of white supremacy and black inferiority. This was his life long devotion; a quest to prove that no scientific evidence or otherwise could prove that any given race was supreme. He encouraged African to be proud of their ancestry. Therefore it should be everyone's responsibility to better the lives of African Americans all over the world.
Despite racism and ethnicity being such a vice in the society various ways can be used in eradicating it. This includes national and international enlightenment on the impacts of racism. Treating people depending on their skin color, positions they hold in the society and class drag economic developments as well. Scholars like Rogers J.A further illustrated despite the fact that racial boundaries have been erected by man, all people belong to a large family. He was responsible for bringing many facets of contributions black history to light such as black heritage, origin of racial disparity and the concept of race. He used vindications to illustrate the unity of humanity as one people. Racial divisions should be examined discussed and then abolished if causing harm to humanity. Ignorance fuels racism, therefore people should be enlightened on the impact of discrimination racism and degradation and thus give room for equality. Equality is a positive state that embraces societies and therefore relies on dispensation of justice to self and others despite their skin color. It implies consideration of oneself but not as the expense of others.
The ratio of African Americans to white students was about one to fifty respectively in the 1850's expenditures on education and reflected a ration of about one to one thousand eight hundred (Milwaukee, 2008). This means that the facilities and instruction for African American children were vastly inferior to that of their white counter parts. In such case the constitution could be used as an instrument in the fight against racism. Many abolitionists have argued that racism should end and that African American should be allowed to engage in the fight for their freedom .They have encouraged liberation from racism and inequality of all people. Fredrick Douglas further pointed out that without demands, power can concede nothing. This therefore implies that the Black Americans ought to fight for their rights and liberate themselves from racism and inequality. One of the abolitionist movements was composed of thousands of people who devoted significant portion of their lives to ending oppression and discrimination of blacks, abolition, equal rights, colonization, educational opportunities and racial pride and unity. Black self determination and independence from whites is important in regaining racial pride and confidence. Discussions and more research on ethnicity can provide hints in promoting equality, suffrage and racial pride for freed people. There are nations, classes and races in every society as they have evolved over the past years and this demonstrates the enormous complexity of races. However, this should not bring out issues of stereotypes concerning any particular race. People are largely a family without racial boundaries hence there should be unity of humanity.
Values and ethnical issues should be judged in accordance with the conceived ultimate goal and purpose of human life. The value of human life being higher than that of other species, no one deserves to be considered inferior. Much scientific advancement, coupled with mounting population and related pressures, have raised moral dilemmas that revolve finally around the question of the ultimate worth of life of a black. Individual freedom of choice, flexibility, and diversity may be inferred I regard to personal values as long as those subject values are not in overt conflict. Man, whether black or white continue to occupy a top position of prime importance, and priorities for most of the higher qualities of human civilization would be preserved. Man would, however, in any system based in scientific realism, probably lose some of his former unique, absolute status as the one measure of all things. Human society would no longer be justified in destroying or down grading fellow men for its own interest. Today's conditions call for long-term, perspective in which this world is conceived to be more than merely a way station which this world is conceived to be more than merely a way station to something better beyond.
In connection with the relatively and goal-dependency of values, it should be remembered that nothing has meaning in and of itself. A thing or concept is perceived and gets meaning and value in terms of something beyond or different from itself. Jumping ahead from these points, we find that it is assumptions concerning blacks. Ethnicity, social classes and racism can be reduced by constructing some frame of references for values that could logically and rightly be accepted and respected by all countries, cultures, governments and by mankind in general, as the final supreme standard when it comes to judging ethnical priorities, resolving value conflicts, and as a guideline for human judgment generally and internationally decision making in particular Human values, in addition to their commonly recognized significance from a personal, religious or philosophic stand point can also be viewed objectively as universal determinant in all human decision making. All decision boil down to a choice among alternatives of what is most valued, for whatever reasons and are determined by the particular value system that prevails. It is clear that a person's or society's values directly and constantly shape its action and decisions. In short what an individual, or a society, values determines very largely what it does. The community needs a whole new system of social value guidelines if civilization to survive “new ethics for survival”, as Maria Stewarts puts it that would act to preserve our world instead of destroying it. This would imply a commitment to progress and improvement towards greater complexity, diversity and improvement in the quality and dimension of life and life experience.
In conclusion, it is important for mankind to embrace each other irrespective of their backgrounds. Stereotypes do nothing to enhance any relationship, so must be done away with. By so doing, a more harmonious and prosperous society will arise and pave way for a more in sync generation in times to come .
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FANON, F. C. (1991). Wretch of Earth. Louisiana: Pelican Books. GILROY, P. (2004). There Aint no Black in the Union Jack. London: Hutchinson. HOOKS, B. (1991). Breaking Bread. MA, Boston: South End Press. HOOKS, B. (1992). Black Looks. London: Turnaround Publishers. JACKINS, H. (1997). The List. Seattle, WA: Rational islands publishers LYDIA, M. (1802). Native American Life. Last retrieved from the World Wide Web on 1st March, 2008 at www.womenshistory.about.com/od/childlydiamaria/a/lydiamariachild.htm ROGERS, J. A. (1993). 100 Amazing facts About the Negro. San Francisco: First African Arabian Press.
THOMPSON V. B. (2000). African of the Diaspora: The evolution of African. New Jersey: Africa New Press.