Paul R. Lehman, The American #System of ethnic injustice slowly being revealed

June 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Africa, African American, American Bigotry, American history, blacks, Congress, Constitutional rights, democracy, Department of Justice, discrimination, discrimination lawsuit, Emancipation Proclamation, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, justice system, law enforcement agencies, liberty, police force, Prejudice, Puritans, race, Race in America, racism, skin color, skin complexion, Slavery, social justice system | Leave a comment
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Slices of reality are slowly being cut away from the apple of delusion that masquerades as American justice when we view the many videos showing how the law enforcement establishment denigrates the lives of African Americans. What we are witnessing via the videos is the system slowly being dismantled by virtue of its inability to maintain it’s creditability as a form of reality. The system was flawed when it was invented and put into motion by the founding fathers. For certain, the founding fathers knew that a lie could not last forever. Nevertheless, they believed that as long as they controlled society, there was little chance of the lie being discovered.  What is the lie that characterized the system?

American society was created by people with biased attitudes towards people of color, but especially Africans with dark or black skin complexion. The historian Gary B. Nash noted in his book, The Great Fear, that the English were familiar with people of skin complexions darker than their own because of years of trading in the Middle East as well as North Africa. However, when the fair-skinned English came into contact with dark-skinned Africans, they reacted negatively:

Unhappily, blackness was already a means of conveying some of the most ingrained values of English society. Black—and its opposite, white —were emotion-laden words. Black meant foul, dirty, wicked, malignant, and disgraceful. And of course it signified night—a time of fear and uncertainty. Black was a symbol signifying baseness, evil, and danger. Thus expressions filtered into English usage associating black with the worst in human nature: the black sheep in the family, a black mark against one’s name, a black day, a black look, to blackball or blackmail. White was all the opposites—chastity, virtue, beauty, and peace.  Women were married in white to symbolize purity and virginity. Day was light just like night was black. The angels were white; the devil was black. Thus Englishmen were conditioned to see ugliness and evil in black. In this sense their encounter with the black people of West Africa was prejudiced by the very symbols of color which had been woven into English language and culture over centuries (p 11).

The attitude described by Nash continues today to an appreciable extent because it was made part of the fabric of the European American psyche. Looking back through American history we learn that even though America made efforts to abolish slave trade in the 1770s, it was not until 1808 that Congress ended the trade. However, slavery did not end, and while slaves were controlled by their owners, the free African Americans were thought to represent problems. Nash noted that “After 1790 the free Negro, in both the North and the South, was subjected to increasing hostility, discrimination, and segregation. Once they had turned back abolitionist crusade of the revolutionary period white Americans became less concerned about the black slave than about black men who were not slaves.” Nash underscored where that new concern led:

Southern states began passing laws prescribing heavier penalties for black felons than white, stripping away the legal rights of free Negroes, taxing free black men more heavily than whites, banning the free Negro from the polls and from political office, and forcing him out of white churches where he had been free to go and in some cases encouraged to go while a slave (p 25).

The European American had exerted total control over the African/African American since slavery and the tool they used to justify that control was the invention of a white and black race. Any effort to free the African American would suggest that he was capable of living with European Americans on an equal basis; this proposition they would never concede because their entire belief system was based on black inferiority. Nash commented on the challenge to the European Americans’ need for control once the African Americans were freed: “…they found themselves at the brink of giving up a system of control and a sense of mastery which they had come to believe was natural and essential to the well-being of their society.”  He continued: “It was almost as if the logic by which the African had been held in chains had been shattered. To compensate, a new system of control must be devised so that the free Negro, who remained a Negro after all, could be dominated almost completely”(p25). So, ethnic bigotry, race, was introduced into the American psyche as normal and correct.

America has always been perceived by European Americans as their country. All the other people who are not Anglo-Saxons are here through the Anglo-Saxons’ generosity. Too often some Americans associate denigration of the African American with only the South, not so, said Ronald Takaki, author of “The Black, Child-Savage,” he noted that the negative” image of the Negro served a need shared by whites, North and South; it performed an identity function for white Americans during a period when they were groping for self-definition.” He continued:

It is significant to note the way that whites imagined the Negro in relation to themselves: the Negro was mentally inferior, naturally lazy, childlike, unwholesome, and given to vice. He was the antithesis of themselves and of what they valued: industriousness, intelligence, and moral restraint. These, of course, were values which whites associated with civilized society. (p 42)

What do these references to history and some European American attitudes have to do with the previously mentioned videos.   Simply this; that attitude is reflected in many of the actions of law enforcement today, regardless of the geographical location. So, we can recognize that behavior as part of a system. For over three hundred years officers have acted with impunity against African Americans. We also know that the law enforcement agents do not act independently, but under the auspices of an administration. The primary element that keeps this system operating is the false concept of races. Accepting the concept of races, invented by the founding fathers, ensures the continuation of ethnic conflicts. Fortunately, society is changing dramatically towards the devaluing of race.

The children and grandchildren of closet bigots were told the lie relative to democracy that life, liberty, freedom was for all people; that everyone should be respected and valued regardless who they were. So, now when these children and grandchildren see an injustice committed, they come to the aid of the victims, which is exactly what the bigots do not want to see. Many European Americans believe in a system of justice for all, not the one invented to control people of color. These European Americans did not learn that the system was to work only for them and that they are a part of it. So, now they want the American society they were told exist for all. The keepers of the system are fighting with everything they have to hold it in place, but it is too late; society continues to change.  With every video recording an injustice against African Americans and other people of color, another slice of the apple is removed and the reality slowly and painfully comes to the light.

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Paul R. Lehman, Changing America from a racist society will require time and patience.

September 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American Indian, American Racism, blacks, CNN, democracy, discrimination, Emancipation Proclamation, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, identity, immigration, justice, mixed-marriage, President Lincoln, Race in America, skin color, Slavery, The U.S. Constitution, whites | 1 Comment
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Turn on the television, the radio, or even the internet and we find the common use of the word race in a variety of ways. We have been told that racism is a belief that people of various biological races have different qualities and characteristics that make them inherently superior or inferior to others. In American we have what is known as white racism. That means people believe that a white race exists and that this race is superior to all others. This belief came into existence in America as early as the middle 1500s when the Spanish would hunt, capture, and sell Indians into slavery. The words racism and racist as well as a host of others are derived from the word race. In America of the 1600s the word race was meant to indicate social and economic status and not color because the slaves in America during this time and later were of various skin colors. Counted among the slaves were Indians, Europeans, and Africans.
The demand for slaves created a problem for the ruling Europeans who quickly embraced the importation of Africans to fill the labor gap. With the introduction of the African into the system of slavery, the ruling Europeans decided to create a buffer among the slaves by giving special privileges to the European or white slaves. We are told that “In 1705, masters were forbidden to ‘whip a Christian white servant naked.’ Nakedness was for brutes, the uncivil, and the non-Christian. That same year, all property—horses, cattle, and hogs’—was confiscated from slaves and sold by the church wardens for the benefit of poor whites.” This was done to create a bond between the wealthy whites and the poor whites as well as create a distinction among the slaves. We learn that “By means of such acts, social historian Edmond Morgan arguers, the tobacco planters and ruling elite of Virginia raised the legal status of lower—class white relative to that of Negroes and Indians, whether free, servant or slave.”(See America’s Race Problem: A Practical Guide to Understanding Race in America)
So, the element of color became a major factor in America’s system of slavery as well as society in general, because all the Africans living in America were not now nor had ever been slaves. Color and Christianity became the criteria for discriminating against people. The problem of free Africans and Indians living in society along side Europeans was a problem for the Europeans. Making a contrast based on the physical appearance of the African and Indian became the primary criteria for creating biases. American society decided to create two biological races, one black, and one white based primarily on color of skin. We wonder why they did not create a race for the Indians. The white race was made to be superior to the black race in every respect. In essence, this was the beginning of racism based on color. Because the ruling class of Europeans had the power and control to create such a fabrication as race it became accepted by society.
Regardless of the truth of a concept, according to scholars, if it is repeated constantly for the benefit of some people, they will after a while ignore the fact that the concept is a fabrication and accept it for fact or truth. That has become the case with the belief in two races, both supposedly biologically different with one being superior to the other. Because of the acceptance of such a belief America and Americans became a racist society.
Some two hundred years after the introduction of slavery in American, we can see how thoroughly the biased and false concept of two races had affected America. When we examine the words of President Abe Lincoln in 1862 as he spoke to a group of free men of color, we recognize the conviction of his belief in race by color: “You [African Americans] and we [European Americans] are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races.” The broader difference Lincoln speaks of is basically, color; other differences existed because the slaves and free African Americans were prevented from experiencing those things written in the” Declaration of Independence” the “Constitution” about rights, freedom and justice.
What makes race so confusing in America is that it was illogically conceived using color as the base for determining superiority and inferiority. How can a society base superiority or inferiority on color and at the same time have slaves and free men of the same color exhibiting totally different characteristics attributed to differences of the condition and status of each individual? Logic does not enter the thinking process when one has accepted as truth or fact that races based on color really exist. Nonetheless, President Lincoln firmly believed that the two races and should be separated because they could not live together in peace because of their color. Fortunately, Lincoln later changed his mind about the latter.
So, what is the point of this discussion? When we examine the past objectively, we can understand many of the things taking place today, and why they are taking place. When American came into being, it came as a society that believed in race by class and economics; later color was added to the mix. One thought dominated the general thinking, however, and that was the supremacy of the whites. In effect, America wanted to be known as a white society with different classes of whites. Other non-European ethnicities were not considered suited for citizenship, but were allowed to live here. For over four-hundred-years or more the most cherished beliefs among many Americans are their white identity and that America is a white country—their country. The concept of race has undergone new analysis and the results reveal that only one race of human being exists in spite of color. So, the theories and beliefs that were created to separate various human beings from each other because of color are being debunked.
Unfortunately, as a society we have not pulled away from our use of the word race and all its derivatives that keep us tethered to the biased past. So, we continue to use words like racist, racism, etc…as if they are valid and accurate. In America, an African American cannot be a racist, if we accept the definition of that word, because in America, African Americans have never had the power or control to create the concept of race superiority and maintain and promote it. He can certainly be biased and prejudiced because those feelings are purely related to the individual, not a group or so-called race. America has been a racist society for a long time, so some patience is required while change is taking place. Progress for some people is very hard.

Revisiting the March on Washington and the “I have a Dream” speech

August 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Posted in African American, Bigotry in America, blacks, Congress, desegregation, discrimination, Emancipation Proclamation, employment, Equal Opportunity, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, happiness, I have a dream, justice, March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Media and Race, minority, President, President Obama, voting rights act, whites | 2 Comments
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America this week recognized and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and the speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Much attention has been paid to the March and the speech. Unfortunately, most people do not know what either the March or the speech was about. They believe they know, but their responses to two questions will reveal the extent of their knowledge. The first question is how much progress has been made over these past 50 years? The second question is how would Dr. King react to the present day reality? The answers to these questions are not set in stone, but will vary depending on a variety of conditions relative to the responders—things like ethnicity, age, social status, education, politics etc.
In response to the first question regarding the progress made during the last 50 years, we must first set the perimeters relative to the March. The organizers proclaimed the objective of the March was to focus Washington of the problem of jobs and freedom for poor and working-class Americans in general, and African Americans specifically, since they were the ones most directly affected. The March was seen by many European Americans as a gathering of minority protesters, especially African Americans to try and get Washington to listen to their complaints; some thought of the March as a nuisance and waste of time.
Many of the African Americans saw the March as an opportunity for all people, especially minorities to show Washington that they were united in the desire for better jobs, wages and freedoms in general. They believed that power and strength would be reflected in the large number of March participants to the degree that Washington could not ignore them. So, after years of planning by the civil rights activists and other American citizens, the March envisioned by A. Phillip Randolph, and orchestrated by Bayard Rustin, took place.
Today, when society looks back 50 years to measure the progress made relative to jobs and freedom, the response must be not very much progress has been made. Poor and working-class Americans are still experiencing the same problems that Dr. King and other leaders outlined in the speeches. The average wage is actually lower than the medium wages 50 years ago when inflation is figured in the assessment. Many citizens are unemployed and must depend on the government for help. Many citizens must work two and three jobs just to try to meet some of their financial obligations. The cost of education and housing has put many Americans in precarious positions that threaten their ability to move forward. But the most important occurrence affecting the poor, the working class, and the ethnic population is the changes in the voting laws of a number of states. The changes made by states like Texas and North Carolina would result in disenfranchising many of the Americans by denying them the vote. So, the answer to the progress question reflects a lack of progress having been made since 1963 relative to jobs and minority freedoms.
The answer to the second question regarding how Dr. King would react to the present-day reality would be anger. He would be angry and disappointed for a number of reasons. Too many African Americans saw the March as a moment and not the beginning of a movement, so much time has been wasted in addressing the needs of the people and not creating solutions for those problems. Much more should have been accomplished regarding all aspects of American life. The people who knew Dr. King knew him to be a non-violent militant; he believed in direct non-violent confrontation. That is why the March on Washington was deliberately a peaceful march.
One major mistake made by the media, the African Americans and the European Americans who knew what the March and speech were all about, did not set the record straight regarding both. Many European Americans then as now think of the “I have a dream” speech as a statement of celebration, an expression of all the progress the African Americans had made to that point. So, the March was seen as a celebration of all the good things that had happened to that point. The problem with that thinking is that it was wrong. The March on Washington as well as Dr. King’s speech was elements of protest, not praise. The fact that African Americans and European Americans who had worked so hard to bring these phenomena together did not increase their efforts to have the problems of jobs and freedom resolved represent the disappointment.
Many Americans today still see the March and the speeches as evidence of progress because they continue to embrace the theme of “I have a dream.” They do not realize that the only reason Dr. King spoke of the dream was because he could not experience the reality, a reality that had been promised by America in its democratic creed of “Life, liberty, and freedom for all.” When we revisit the objectives of the March and speeches we realize that very little have changed regarding the expressions of liberty and freedoms for all because the concept and attitude of many American regarding America are still grounded in the idea of a “white America.” Too many Americans still see America as a “white” society and as long as they can wield the power to keep it that way, they will.
America has been changing since it began, but the changes have been so gradual that some people did not realize that changes were taking place. The eye-opening experience for many of these people was the election of Barack Obama as President. The anger, hatred, bias, frustration and violence directed towards President Obama are not, for all intent and purposes, for Obama personally. All these things are expressions of fear and losing that President Obama represents to their view of America. Many European Americans fear losing the power to create the perception of America and the privileges that has historically been associated with a “white” identity. Unfortunately, that perspective does not fit with the democratic philosophy that was set in motion at this country’s beginning. Unless and until America changes its founding creed, society will continue to move in a democratic direction regardless of the set-backs and slowness.

Black race and white race identity support and promote ethnic biases

July 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, blacks, Civil War, desegregation, DNA, Emancipation Proclamation, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, Hispanic whites, Human Genome, identity, minority, mixed-marriage, Race in America, skin color, Slavery, socioeconomics, U. S. Census, U.S. Supreme Court, whites | Leave a comment
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Many Americans do not know that society is experiencing growing pains. The pains come from the fact that the time has come for developmental changes that require a coming to grips with reality. What this coming to grips with reality means is facing the fact that the myths of a black race and white race are no longer important or necessary. However, the process facing the truth is not an easy one to experience; consider what a child goes through when he or she discovers the truth behind Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Those myths we can readily recognize as myths because as children we outgrow then at a relative early age. The myth of race is a different problem because many Americans do not know or accept the fact that races of man is a myth. Society has so conditioned the minds of so-called white Americans to a place of power, privilege and prestige that trying to undo the damage is like removing heat from fire. America is moving towards a society of diverse citizens where race will play little or no role in personal identity. Unfortunately, too many European Americans (whites) cannot bring themselves to let go of the white race identity.
Let us clear the air with respect to the concept of races, especially the so-called black race and white race. These two races were created by the ruling class of slave owners for economic expedience. Taking the cultural, geographical, and personal identities from the Africans was a means of depriving them of any self-value and self-worth. At the same time, the ruling class gave to those lesser individuals of fair skin the illusions of hope and superiority because they looked alike, and that they might one day also possess power and wealth. In reality, the concept of race was to create a separation and conflict between the poor Europeans and Africans which constantly drew attention away from the ruling class and their activities. As society progressed, and the gap between the workers and the rulers became greater, the rulers used the Africans as a buffer to protect them from poor Europeans. The only thing of value the ruling class gave to the poor Europeans was the gift of a white identity.
After the Civil War, African Americans were given rights and freedoms the same as the European Americans. However, those rights and freedoms were short lived because most states began immediately to create and pass laws that took away those rights and freedoms; the results of the states efforts were written in laws known as “The Black Codes.” These codes were different for each state, but the results were the same—deprive the African Americans of all rights and freedoms. These codes also proved beneficial in promoting the idea of superiority of the “white race” by stipulating restrictions against African Americans that any European American could enforce legally. The most important thing of value for the European American was still his identity as a member of the “white race.” For example, imagine two sharecroppers working for the same landowner, both men are poor and uneducated. The landowner would favor the European American because he was white, and the white sharecropper would feel and act superior to the African American simple because of his color.
The value of a white identity started to change in 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that separation was unequal. In subsequent years federal legislation began to eat away at what were once thought to be exclusive privileges for European Americans (whites). Today, a plethora of social activities and actions have challenged the once thought supremacy of European Americans; namely, the increase in ethnic minority populations, the increase in mixed ethnic marriages, the failure of the Census Bureau to define race so that the concept of race is on longer black and white, but blurred. The loss of the value of a white identity signaled by these changes in society has created fear, anger, frustration, and panic in some so-called white Americans. The problem for these people is finding a way to stop the changes from continuing, a problem they are beginning to realize is impossible to resolve. If America is to live up to its creed of liberty and justice for all,then the concept of race being black and white must be abandoned.
One of the contributing factors to the problem of race is the fact that too many Americans are ignorant, arrogant or stupid when it comes to understanding the fallacy of race. During the recent Martin and Zimmerman trial, many people raised the question of race, questioning whether race was involved. Let this next statement be perfectly clear, as long as European Americans identify themselves as white, everything they say and do comes from a biased ethnic (racial) perspective. For people to say they are black or white are a clear indication of the fact that they accept the concept of at least two races, one black and one white. Since science, technology, and even the Bible underscore the fact that all people belong to one race, the notion of more than one race must come from a lack of knowledge and understanding.
When a person identifies himself or herself as black or white, ethnic bias is embraced and promoted regardless of professions of colorblindness and justice. Many European Americans truly do not know how to identify themselves ethnically. Many refer to themselves as Caucasians, not realizing that Caucasians are not considered white or European. Caucasians did not exist until just prior to 1800. The name comes from the people who live near the Caucasus Mountains which are located in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea; they are considered to be of Iranian ancestry. The same ignorance can be associated with European Americans who identify themselves as Aryans, which is another way of spelling Iranians. The myth of an Aryan nation or race was started during Hitler’s time to help promote his idea of a super race. This race is supposedly directly related to the Caucasian race. So, even if the idea of Aryan and Caucasian races was plausible, they would not be considered today as white in America. The Supreme Court said so in 1923, Thind v. United States.
At some point in the future, biased Americans who retain their biases by holding on to their race by color concept will find themselves at a loss for an identity. Race serves to separate, and separation served as a base for bigotry. As the country becomes more ethnically diverse, the social value of individuals will not be based on a so-called race. One wonders why some European Americans with a large degree of social influence continue to refer to themselves as “white” unless they are ignorant of the fact that by doing so they place themselves on the side of ethnic bigotry. One cannot say he or she is white without the implication of race. Once the race is associated with the color, the element of bias comes into play whether he or she is a bigot or not. The only way to avoid this situation is to stop using race as black or white, which will, by the way, change the perspective of the self.

Angry white Guys forced to deal with the reality of a changing world

May 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Posted in African American, American Racism, Congress, Democrats, Emancipation Proclamation, equality, European American, GOP, justice, minority, nationofchnage.org, Prejudice, President, President Obama, presidential election, segregation, socioeconomics, the Republican Party, The Thirteenth Amendment, Theda Skocpol, U.S. Supreme Court, whites | Leave a comment
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The 2008 election of Barack Obama, an African American, as President of the United States was a monumental experience in America. His election was extremely significant because it represented a major acknowledgement in the progress of social change. That social change for many people represented progress towards America achieving a higher level of positive movement in the direction of its democratic principles. Not all Americans, however, viewed Obama’s election as progress or even as positive. Thomas Magstadt, in an article entitled “Angry White Guys: The Roots of Reactionary America,” in “NationofChange.org “discussed his reasons for the negative reactions of some “White Guys.” The reason for the anger, according to Magstadt, can be viewed as political anger.
In describing the anger of the European American guys, Magstadt first took a look at Charlie LeDuff’s book, Detroit, An American Autopsy, and made the statement that “It’s a powerful book that speaks volumes not only about Detroit but also about most big cities in America today—cities where petty crime, gang violence, drug addiction, prostitution, poverty, vandalism, filth, abandoned buildings, arson, and despair have been on the rise for decades.” LeDuff was angry because for him Detroit is a “city suffering from a chronic condition that has taken an ugly turn and become terminal.” Basically, we are told that LeDuff’s anger was “with leaders who don’t lead and politicians who make promises they don’t even try to keep.” He blamed both political parties for the problems. So, we recognize one level of anger.
Next, Magstadt shifted to a work by Theda Skocpol, Obama And America’s Political Future, which took a look at the Tea Party and its objective to move the county in a certain direction. Although she praised the party as committed, dedicated “and unstinting in their effort to move society in the direction they desire,” she noted that much of the Tea Party’s criticism of Obama “is unrealistic.” To this charge of criticism of Obama being unrealistic, Magstadt wrote that “If so, the main reason it’s unrealistic is that Obama has, quite simply, run into a brick wall erected by rightwing Republicans in the U.S. Congress. These Republicans–including the Tea Party Caucus—are nothing like traditional Republicans.” Magstadt contended that the “extreme right-wing Republicans in Congress are not taking their cues from the grass-roots Tea Party rank-and file but are in fact cynically using them, manipulating symbols and issues that move this mass of disenchanted gray hairs, embattled blue-collar workers, anxious job –seekers, financially stressed homeowners, and beleaguered taxpayers to accomplish other aims altogether.”
After some reflection, Magstadt noted “The question is not how they [Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Partiers] can believe the nonsense they spout. The question is, why are they so damn mad? What is the source of this seeming inexhaustible wellspring of anger?”He presented a number of theories that reflected politicians, and political issues from civil rights to global warming, health insurance and Obama. He talked about the changes in America during the 1960s and ‘70s and even Ronald Reagan of the 1980s. Then he stated: “Ask yourself who [during this time] stood to gain the most? Answer: the very people who in the past had always been the losers. And who stood to lose the most?”He came to the conclusion that we Americans were led to believe that the “…tectonic shift in American society in the 1960, and 70s was not simply about rich versus poor. It was not about ‘class warfare,’ and it still isn’t.” He goes on to tell us that the biggest losers are the “..white males who dominated the home, professions, business, banking, unions , politics, sports, entertainment, higher education, radio and television—well, just about everything worth dominating.”
Magstadt brought his discussion home when he said that things in America are not “fair or equal or just, but much different from the society of the 1950s.” In effect, the changes that have occurred and are still occurring are the cause of the anger:
The angry white guys who dominate the Republican Party in Congress represent all the angry white men in America who cannot accept what they’ve lost forever—namely the exclusive right to take all the best jobs, run everything, make all the decisions, and oh yes, keep everybody who doesn’t look, act, and talk the way they do out of the good old boys club. Even Augusta National and the Masters have finally bowed to the inevitable.”
We can certainly agree with Magstadt’s assessment of why some European American males are angry, but not on his timeline. The realization of the loss of power was felt by the ruling European American male in America after the Revolutionary War by extending the vote to the un-propertied males. Since each state established it own voting requirements the laws were not uniform. The actual loss of domination by the European American males was not the same as the fear of loss. The fear became a concern right after the Civil War and the passage of the 13th and 14 Amendments. The fear of the loss of dominance showed itself during the Reconstruction period in America when many law were created by the states that served to re-enslave the African Americans; social conventions kept the women from enjoying many freedoms. Sharing the rights and liberties of America with all Americans was not the concept of freedom many European American males possessed.
The fear began to change into anger in 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Change had come to their European American male dominated society that took away their power to segregate in public schools. Naturally, efforts were made by the losers to regain control of their schools, but the law prevailed. The changes in American society that Magstadt makes reference to in the 1960, and 70s had a devastating affect on the European American male; his dominance was not only being challenged, but also the loss of it was being threatened.
One of the major changes that affect the European American male that Magstadt did not focus on had to do with Obama’s election to the Presidency. As long as the biased European American male did not have to acknowledge his loss of dominance, he could still, to a degree, save face. However, when Obama was elected president, this loss became a reality. If he accepted Obama as President, then he could no longer claim superiority by color. So, regardless of the excuses used to denigrate Obama, his administration, his policies, his character, his leadership, etc…all these antics and more are simply expressions of the anger and fear of the European American males represented by the rightwing Republican Party, Tea Party, conservatives and other biased groups lamenting their great loss and the fact that all their efforts to regain their dominance are forever gone.
If Magstadt had known about this blog, he could have arrived at the point he makes regarding the angry white guys a few years earlier, but, better late than never. Nevertheless, we appreciate his efforts.

Paul R. Lehman, Understanding the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment

December 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Posted in African American, blacks, Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, equality, European American, fairness, President, the Republican Party, whites | 1 Comment
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When some people hear the words Emancipation Proclamation (EP) they generally think about it as the document President Lincoln issued to freed the slaves. Unfortunately, they would be incorrect; the EP did not free a single slave. So, why is it that people believe it did free the slaves? The reason for that belief probably has something to do with their schooling. Our society, in certain parts of the country, treats the EP as a special document relative to the freeing of the slaves. The document that should be celebrated more is the Thirteenth Amendment.

When the Ep was issued by President Lincoln in 1863, its primary purpose was not directed at freeing the slaves. Initially, Lincoln used the EP as a war measure in hopes of bringing the war to a close. He did not get the reactions from the EP that he expected, so he had to push for something more dramatic, the Thirteenth Amendment. Some of the problems associated with the EP were that it freed the slaves in only the states in rebellion. Since the states in rebelling had no reason to acknowledge or accept any proclamation from a President they did not recognize, it fell on deft ears. The only two entities that had cause to react to the proclamation were the government and the armed forces.

For the slaves in the rebellious states, the proclamation was cause for more concern than the problems visited by the war. Just what did this freedom mean? The slaves when freed had no home, no money, no security, the job, and no place to go. If they decided to leave their present residence and go to a state not in rebellion, the chances are the state they chose was a slave state. Hence, they would be subjected to slavery again. The proclamation did not provide any safeguards for the slaves that any state would accept or respect as valid. No procedures for making the transition from slave to free was created or provided for the slaves. So, what good was the EP to the slave?

Fortunately, President Lincoln realized that his proclamation had some problems that had to be addressed. For example, since the EP was a war measure, that meant it was temporary; it would expire when the war ended. The Confederate States would resume their form of slavery. That being the case, what would happen to the slaves that fled the South and joined the Union Army? What would happen to the slaves in the non-rebelling slave states? The answer he finally decided on was the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States and provided that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Had President Lincoln and other like-minded Congressmen not pushed through the passing on January 31, 1865 and subsequent ratifying of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 6, 1865, we can only wonder at the chaos that would have ensued at the war’s end. What, in effect, started out as a war measure actually triggered a human measure and helped to save the country. This amendment underscored the rights of African Americans to pursue the liberties that European Americans had been enjoying for years. In addition, because the Thirteenth Amendment is federal legislation, any effort  by states to deny citizens their rights could and would be challenged.

The Thirteenth Amendment, more than the EP, established the case for the African American’s humanity. Under the First  Article of the U.S. Constitution, the slave was defined as three/fifths a man or human, the rights granted via the Thirteenth Amendment elevated him to a full-fledged human being. Without the federal authority of the Thirteenth Amendment, the South could have continued its ways of life without further interruption.  Since we are a society of laws, we should not neglect the EP, but give more attention to the Thirteenth Amendment since it is a very important law.

For many Americans the idea of the Civil War being fought over slavery is incorrect; they see it as a war over different  lifestyles and cultures, economics and politics. Be that as it may, however, regardless of any or all of these reasons for the war, none can be divorced from the influence of slavery. As suggested earlier, President Lincoln had no thoughts of abolishing slavery. As a matter of fact, early in his presidency, he actually protected it with legislation. Fortunately, for African Americans, Lincoln’s concern for the casualties of the war brought about a change in his method for achieving his objective; and we were blessed to receive the EP and the Thirteenth Amendment.

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