(Loewen 143) Racism can be defined as "any set of beliefs, which classifies humanity into distinct collectives, defined in terms of natural and/or cultural attributes, and ranks these attributes in a hierarchy of superiority and inferiority" (Blum 5). It can be directly linked to the past and still, centuries later, serves as a painful reminder that race continues to be one of the "sharpest and deepest divisions in American life" (Loewen 138). What were the causes of racism? How did it develop historically? In order to answer those complex questions, I plan to examine the conditions of America's history from colonialism to present day society.
In Racial Formation, the two authors Michael Omi and Howard Winant develop the foundations for understanding the implications of race. Both authors delve into how the construction of racial relations has permeated into society, been contested, and changed over time. Omi and Winant attempt to display the oppressive actions in social structures, as well as the ideas and meanings that form their theory of race and racism. These theories are demonstrated in the brutal reality of Douglass’ life as a slave in My Bondage and My Freedom. Douglass recounts his efforts to educate himself, and ultimately, his resolve to escape to freedom.
Analysis of White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro by Winthrop D. Jordan Winthrop D. Jordan author of White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro 1550-1812, expresses two main arguments in explaining why Slavery became an institution. He also focuses attention on the initial discovery of Africans by English. How theories on why Africans had darker complexions and on the peculiarly savage behavior they exhibited. Through out the first two chapters Jordan supports his opinions, with both facts and assumptions. Jordan goes to great length in explaining how the English and early colonialist over centuries stripped the humanity from a people in order to enslave them and justify their actions in doing so.
Race is a social construct that has influence all aspects of the American world view and life. The idea of race was constructed in America to justify slavery of Africans, stealing from and killing Native Americans, and prejudice against immigrants. Boas was took a stand on this subject that was not in line with mainstream perceptions on the subject. Another differing view was Du Bois who had some similarities in view and differences from Boas. Even with their legacies showing that race is not a biological reality, the power and impact of race can still be felt today, even though it is seen as a social construct by anthropologists.
Their first encounter with the New World and these new peoples, created the opening ideas of inequality. These new people were called indigenous people and alien like. Europeans began to question if these people were really human and had the same intellectual capacity as Europeans did. “Alternative ideas about the origins and identities of indigenous peoples also began to appear early in the 16th century... ... middle of paper ... ...to the foundation of American Society. We continue to support and maintain these social norms through deliberated and non deliberated ways, forced servitude and the advancement of racial legislation fostered racism in the United States.
Through the analysis of The Marrow of Tradition readers can recognize and understand the connection of race and class as both a type of supremacy and as an approach of confrontation on a domestic level during the twentieth century for African Americans. Many of the issues of the color line are a direct derivative of colonialism in the colonies. On one hand through the idea of the problem of the color line DuBois calls our attention to the uncultured imbalances of authority, capital, opportunity and access between whites and African Americans. It also nurtures Du Bois’ right to argue that the oppressed, of necessity, will rise up in confrontation. Certainly, he anticipated wars of emancipation like the riots in Wilmington more aggressive than the imperialist wars of conquest (which in a way is a direct imitation of the time of colonialism).
Racism has been practiced throughout human history and is still used as a way to justify unequal treatment and enslavement of many groups of people. Racism provides the reasons for denying access to social status and cultural capital; and promotes segregation to lower classes by maintaining the idea that other people are less equal. Secondly, how do we identify a different race? Edward Said, a post-colonial theorist, posits that the idea of Other and Otherness permeates our society and it supports a racist approach to “differences.” Those who are identified as Other by their differences from the upper classes or non-Others can be marginalized and suppressed in societies class systems (Dillon 2010). Apartheid in South Africa and slavery in the United States give us real life examples of extreme marginalization (Dillon 2010).
It can be traced all the way back to the process of enslavement of African Americans. Proslavery colonists’ strategy to get support and justify making Africans slaves was by stating that they were of a different race, inferior, and conceptualizes that they were built for slavery (Smedley 1). In addition to this, proslavery colonists used race to enforce social separation, endogenous mating, and unequal social status (Smedley 2). Although slavery has ended, the alleged form of social identity, race, has since begotten racism which takes many forms and helps determine who has political power, privileges, and wealth. Racism has its own unique definition aside from race, but it is still rooted from it.
In the late 1830s and 1840s a number of “scientific and systematic writings on race emerged, primarily a reaction to abolitionist assaults on slavery.” (Wilson, 1996 p.75) It was these scientific findings that supported the social construct of race ideology, which was used to rationalize slavery, and formed the bases of racial discrimination that has shaped America’s culture. There is no doubt that slavery was controversial but what about the concept of race and “black inferiority.” One aspect of the North’s suppo... ... middle of paper ... ...ists held the same racist views that the black “race” was inferior to whites. Thus even with freedom, blacks were guaranteed to face a life filled with discrimination and prejudice. “Race science may well be the most lasting and devastating legacy of the North’s involvement in slavery.” (Farrow, et al. p. xxviii) Works Cited: Du Bois, W.E.B.
During slavery, black people had been politically and economically dependent upon white people. That dependence classified group of people according to their social standings. To maintain social and economic positions, sexual regulations were established as politics to control and discipline racial subjects. In Ehlers, Nadine. 2011 “Onerous passions: colonial anti-miscegenation rhetoric and the history of sexuality.”Patterns of Prejudice 45(4):319-340, the author argues that race, gender, sex, racial identity and sexuality are inextricably linked through various discursive operations.