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History of Concepts of Racism

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Published: Wed, 20 Sep 2017

MaKayla Chandler

Views of Racism

Have you ever looked at a coin and observe the words “E Pluribus Unum?” This phrase translated means “Out of Many, One” When the United States of America was established, this phrase suggested that out of many states shall emerge a single unified nation . Over the years, this phrase has been nothing more than words. America once prided itself on being the melting pot uniting many people, races, religions, and cultures. We were supposed to bind together to form a unified nation; however the concept of the melting pot is nothing more than a forgotten idea. Retired U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski summed up her thoughts of the melting pot when she said, “America is not a melting pot. It is a sizzling cauldron (Mikulski). Racism is still alive and breeding its infestations on the American people. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, the country that promises freedom of choices. As stated in the National Anthem, America is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” America is the country where dreams can come true. If America has emerged as a single people and nation, why does racism still exist in the twentieth century?

In history, racism has always been an issue around the world and still is a big issue today. The term “racism” was created by the Communist Party as propaganda as they took over Russia and the surround European nations. According the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the meaning of racism is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. In simpler terms, it is a belief that a certain race believes they are the dominant race and should have better rights than another race. Racial discrimination is experienced across a wide spectrum of cultures, ethnic groups, and race. It happens passively when people exclude other people socially or have different views and experiences. In its most serious manifestation, racial discrimination is observed in the behaviors and activities of people that embody hate, abuse, violence and even death. This is evident in the beating and rumored death of John Smith. This event catapulted the 1967 Newark riots which sparked one of the deadliest civil disturbances of the 1960s. These riots accorded most major cities and over 100 deaths were reported. Many inner city neighborhoods in these cities were destroyed. Cory Booker, who was the second African-American to be elected to the Senate was quoted saying, “You have to understand the Newark Riots – a lot of people understand that the pain was the initial explosion of anger and alienation, but after that, the response, sending the National Guard troops – a lot of violence was carried out and perpetrated by those who were allegedly coming here to protect residents.” (Booker)

As part of the U.S. history, racism dates back to the17th century with the Europeans arrival in North America. Due to the idea to conquer this new land, came racism against Native Americans. The Europeans believed that the Native Americans were savages who needed to be civilized through Christianity and European culture. “My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength. That those tribes cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear. (Andrew Jackson).

 During the same century arrived the slaves. They were thought of as being uncivilized and where prosecuted by violence. Even though slavery was outlawed, racism continued to grow and filtered its hatred toward the African-Americans. “I have a strong feeling of repugnance when I think of the Negro being made our political equal. And I would be glad if they could be colonized, sent to heaven, or got rid of in any decent way.” (James Garfield)

The issue of racism in the United States continues to be a heated topic even now. Many people believe that the white people have more privileges or are treated better than any other race. In his autobiography, Malcolm X writes, “It’s like the Negro in America seeing the white man win all the time. He’s a professional gambler; he has all the cards and the odds stacked on his side, and he has always dealt to our people from the bottom of the deck.” (Malcolm X) It is viewed

Many riots and protests have happened because of this topic of racism and unequal rights. There has been a rise of protest when president Trump was elected into office. Many people have blamed Trump for causing a rise in racism, do to his campaigns on the topic of immigrants and racial comments. For example a Latino woman say, “Donald Trump’s hate speech against Latinos seems to be emboldening white Americans’ racism.”(Vasquez). Many people believe that whites cannot or will never experience racism, “It’s literally impossible to be racist to a white person.”(Krishnan), says Manisha Krishnan who is a writer. Is there revers racism? There are other races that believe they are more superior to the white race, so sure there is reverse racism, maybe whites do not face it as much or recognized but there is, especially in other countries. Racism is a topic that still hasn’t been resolved, Joe Holt, a Contributor says “This country has a long and relatively ignored history of racial discrimination.” (Holt).

The topic of racism must be addressed and dealt with. No human being should ever feel like they are not equal or less important than another human being. The American views and prejudice on race, culture, or ethnic groups needs to be demised. An anti-racism activist and educator on the psychology of racism, Jane Elliott said, “There is no such thing as multiple races, there is only one race and that is the human race.”(Elliott). Racism comes in different forms, like unequal rights, pay, service, or respect. No one should not be judged or treated differently by the color of their skin, culture, or their beliefs. Humans need to look beyond the trivial aspects of racism and treat people as they want to be treated.


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