Tags: African American, bigotry, black, Confronting Myths, current-events, discrimination, DNA, Donald Trump, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, European Americans, Obama and American Bigotry, Prejudice, Presidential election, race, skin color, skin complexion, white
Much of the trouble today is being caused by changes in our society and the world that people do not understand or appreciate. Many people are concerned and worried about the new president-elect Trump and what effect his presidency will have on society. The people to be most disappointed relative to Trump’s election and his presidency will be his base supporters. They will be disappointed because Trump will not be able to deliver on the promises he made during his campaign. Politicians make promises based on things they think their followers want to hear knowing that those many of those promises will never be fulfilled. The supporters of many politicians suffer from innocence, ignorance or biases that prevent them from seeing the unrealities of the claims and promises made by their candidate. Once reality sets in, the people will see where they were misled into believing things they wanted to happen were just not possible.
The theme of Trump’s campaign was “Make American Great again,” which in code language is “make America white again.” The phrase and its sentiments have been used time and time again to garner support from the European Americans who believe that they have been left behind by the government in favor of immigrants, women, LGBT, and people of color. They still, however, enjoy the privileges that come with being European American (white) but are in fear of losing them. So, when Trump said that he wanted to make America great again, his followers knew what he meant and felt encouraged that the social changes that had taken place would not threaten their privilege and control. Regardless of what the candidate promised one thing that cannot be stopped is change. Trump supporters called for change, but what they really wanted was no change except to go back to reclaim some of the advantages they believed they lost to immigrants, women, and people of color.
So, what exactly are many European Americans afraid of losing that would cause them to disregard their sense of integrity, character, decency, values, and standards by electing someone who reflects none of these traits? The answer can be found in the social conditioning experienced by Americans since the days of the founding fathers and their inventing and instituting the system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority. In other words, they invented the concept of a black and white race with the white race deemed superior to all non-white races for the purpose of controlling them. Dr. Robin DiAnglo commented on this experience: “This systemic and institutional control allows those of us who are white in North America to live in a social environment that protects and insulates us from race-based stress.” She continued by noting that “We have organized society to reproduce and reinforce our racial interests and perspectives. Further, we are centered in all matter deemed normal, universal, benign, neutral and good.”With the rapid changes taking place in America, the control presently in the hands of European Americans is under constant threat of change, and is, in fact undergoing change.
The social conditioning European Americans receive in society includes little if any reference to race; therefore, they are never stressful regarding race. Society has told them that they are the representatives of the human race; they are the normal people. All other people belong to a separate race. For example, when stories are reported in the media, usually, the only reference to ethnicity occurs when the subject or subjects of the story are not European American (white). If the story concerns European Americans, ethnicity (race) is never mentioned because society must assume that the subjects are European Americans and no ethnicity (race) is required.
Another feature in American society that conditions the European Americans, as well as the rest of America to the European Americans sense of normalcy can be observed in any pharmacy or department store. All one needs to do is to ask for stockings in a nude or natural color and look closely at the color. The color will match the skin complexion of European Americans. The same scenario exists with cosmetics as well as with bandages and Band-Aids; their color approximates the European Americans’ complexion.
European Americans being able to see themselves as normal or without race or ethnic identity is constantly reinforced by and through society. They are also conditioned to see themselves as superior to all other so-called races. Both the elements of normalcy and superiority comes with a large degree of a suspension of disbelief when one realizes that people of color, according to the sciences, were the first of the Homo sapiens to appear on the planet, and in Africa. So the normal color for a human being would be non-white, not white. Also, the concept of superiority seems questionable in light of the fact that when any person of color procreate with a European American (white), the off spring generally manifest physical characteristics of the parent of color. That would suggest that the superior genes reside within the people of color. In addition, eighty percent of the world’s population reflects people of color; that number alone would suggest that the longevity of European Americans (whites) is limited. All those things make little difference when we read that our DNA show we are all from the same family of man and a specific or distinct race cannot be discerned from DNA.
The invention and instituting of the system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority was based on a false concept of race. The fact that the system has been able to sustain itself for so long is due to the control that European Americans have had on society. Now that the system is falling apart due to changes constantly occurring in society, the fear of losing that control and all it represents was possibly at the heart the presidential election. Regardless of who is president, changes will continue to destroy the system of bigotry. The challenge for the European Americans today is replacing the concept of being white and superior with one of being simply a member of the family of mankind without reference to preferences and skin color.
Paul R. Lehman, President Obama signed a bill eliminating the word Negro that signals change in identitiesAugust 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm | Posted in African American, American history, American Indian, American Racism, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, discrimination, DNA, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, Hispanic whites, identity, immigration, law, minority, Non-Hispanic white, President Obama, public education, Race in America, skin color, skin complexion, Slavery, U. S. Census, U.S. Supreme Court, white supremacy, whites | 1 Comment
Tags: American History, ancestral identity, black, cultural identity, current-events, ethnicity, European Americans, Hispanics, Kamala Kelkar, minorities, Negro, Obama and American Bigotry, PBS NEWSHOUR, President Obama, race, Republicans, skin color, skin complexion, slavery, white
When Africans were brought to this country and enslaved, one of the first things taken from them was their identity. Taking away their identity was important because it represented the history of who they were and that they were valued. Although each enslaved African would be given a slave name, they would all be commonly called black or negro because of their skin color. The African identity was taken away from the enslaved, but the slave sellers and owners knew who they were, what they did (farmer, fisherman, craftsman, etc…) and where they were from because their selling price would be influenced by that information.
An example of the value of the African’s identity was underscored in a 1764 poem by James Grainger, “The Sugar Cane.” This poem was constructed using four parts called books; the fourth book, “On the Genius of Africa,” shows the value of a slaver knowing the identity of the African captives: “Negroes when bought should be young and strong. The Congo-Negroes are fitter for the house and trades, than for the field. The Gold-Coast, but especially the Papaw-Negroes, make the best field-Negroes: but even these, if advanced in years, should not be purchased.” This information focuses on males, for females the advice is when looking for a sound Negro: “Where the men do nothing but hunt, fish or fight, all the field drudgery is left to the women: these are to be preferred to their husbands.” The reference continues for males: “The Minnahs make good tradesmen, but addicted to suicide. The Mundingoes, in particular, subject to worms; and the Congas, to dropsical disorders.”(The Making of the Negro in Early American Literature, Paul R. Lehman, 2nd edition, Fountainhead Press, 2006, P. 38)
For enslaved Africans in America, their identity was taken away so their history and value would be tied to American slavery. If the only identity an enslaved person had was that of being American black or Negro (both terms mean the same) then they did not exist except in the system of slavery. The only personal identity they had linked them to their owner, as in the reference—John Smith’s Negro, “Tom.” During the early 1700’s,the term for slave went from Negro and black to simply “slave” due to the common coupling of the two phrase “black slave” or “Negro slave.” However, many of the enslaved were still Europeans and American Indians, but the majority of the enslaved was African/ African American.
Once the government instituted the system of white supremacy and black inferiority, race by color became an important part of personal identity in American society. Americans were no longer able to identity with a particular ethnic or culture group. Kamala Kelkar, (PBS NEWSHOUR, 5/22/2016), noted that “In 1790, the U.S. Census counted people by lumping them into one of three categories—slaves, free white females and males, or all other free persons.”The most important identity an American could have or want to have was white. The most damning identity one could have was that of either slave or Negro.
Immigration to American from around the world, but especially Eastern and Southern Europe brought many changes to the invented concept of race. Although most European immigrants were not referred to as white, they all were willing to give-up their cultural identity to be called white. For people of color, the term Negro was used regardless of their place of birth outside of the U.S. As recently as 2010, the Census form still included the term Negro or black, but the list for other people of color had expanded. Kelkar explained that “The Department of Energy Act has for decades described “minorities” as, “Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or as a Spanish-speaking individual of Spanish descent.”Because of the system of white supremacy and black inferiority, people of color were identified as “minorities.”
For over two-hundred years the words race and ethnicity were generally undefined and used indiscriminately to the confusion of all, especially the U.S. Census. As recent as 2010, Americans in a number of categories were told on the Census form to identify themselves as white, if they could not find an identity that suited them. This group included mixed-ethnic individuals such as Asian Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics. In effect, the concept of race by color had reached a point of meaninglessness. The problem was that the terms race was interpreted as pertaining to multiple biological groups of human beings or ethnic groups. The fact is that only one race of human beings exists—Homo sapiens. Ethnicity or ethnic groups pertains to the variety of cultural groups within the human race.
Every human being on the planet Earth has two identities—one ancestral or ethnic, one cultural. The ancestral or ethnic identity is represented by a person’s biological parents; the cultural is the identity the individual selects. For example, an Asian American has Asian as an ancestral identity, and American as the cultural which he or she embraces. The terms Negro and black do not allow for either identity nor does the terms white and Caucasian. Fortunately, things are about to change.
President Barack Obama just recently signed H.R. 4238 “which amends two federal acts from the 70’s that define “minorities” with terms that are now insensitive or outdated.” In addition, the bill was sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY, with 74 Democratic co-sponsors and two Republican ones;” it passed with 380 votes. The two words removed from the books are Negro and Oriental. According to Kelkar “The new bill changes the language to, ‘Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American or Alaska Native.’”
The changes in identity were inevitable because race by color was an invention based on false assumptions and beliefs. Black or Negro and white or Caucasian were never biological categories of the human race but were put in place because of the government’s control. No one ever came to America with only the identity of black, Negro, or Caucasian or white; they always had an ancestral and cultural identity. Once in America, however, the Europeans recognized the value of being identified as white and so the abandoned their ancestral and cultural identity for white. People of color coming to America realized the stigma associated with being call Negro or black and usually decided to retain their ancestral and cultural identity. Now the people of color who were previously called Negro can be specific in their ancestral and cultural identity—African American. For whites and Caucasians, no official changes have been made although the term European Americans was used on occasion by the Supreme Court, but they always had the freedom to identify themselves using their ancestral identity such as Irish, Italian, Polish, German, etc. In any event, the fact is that identity-based on race by color is rapidly being deconstructed.
Tags: African Americans, American History, black, Brigette Gaberiel, Caucasians, English, ethnic americans, ethnicity, European Americans, lesser whites, Pilgrims, political correctness, Prejudice, skin color, white
The following statement provided an opportunity to make clear some common misinformation:
We must come together as a nation. We must throw political correctness in the garbage where it belongs and start speaking the truth! I am sick and tired of everybody walking around being so offended. We need to start offending people. I am sick and tired of “I am an African-American, I am an Italian-American, I am a Lebanese-American”. We are nothing but Americans!” –Brigette Gabriel, Watchmen on the Wall Conference 2015-http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Gabriel_Brigitte
On the surface the statement above reads like someone is deeply concerned about the bigotry and insensitivity relative to ethnic Americans. However, on closer scrutiny we discover the opposite intent of what is said because of the apparently vague generalities. Let us be specific in our concerns. Who are the “we” in the first sentence and why are “we” not together? The next sentence does nothing to identify or to make clear the “we” questions, but states that political correctness must be thrown into the garbage. Why? In addition, the truth must start to be spoken. What truth? Before we go further in our discussion we realize that the above statements reads like bumper stickers of the past: “America, Love it, or Leave it!” Like the bumper sticker, society does not know who is making the statement and to whom. To most Americans, that bumper sticker statement would be totally Un-American, because in our democratic form of government, when we do not like something that is unreasonable, we work to change it, not run from it.
Gabriel’s reference to political correctness sounds more like a “dog whistle” than a legitimate complaint about something of significance. Most instances of political correctness seek to make more accurate and pertinent some expression or practice. An example of political correctness involves changing the label “Garbage Man” to “ Sanitation Worker” and in so doing remove the denigrating reference to garbage and the gender designation of man. Why would anyone be against that kind of correctness? For certain some of the changes or suggested changes can appear hyperbolic and unreasonable, but to discount all political correctness would be fool-hardy. How does one distinguish “the truth” in political correctness without examining the objective in making the change and then checking for its validity and accuracy? Again, the question must be asked: Whose truth?
The next sentence contains sentiments of Gabriel being “sick and tired” of other people walking around being offended. She has every right to feel whatever she is capable of feeling, but that freedom does not include making other people conform to her feelings. She has no control of the feelings of other people, but if so concerned about why they feel offended, might inquire of them. Maybe they are justified in feeling offended. Her statement reflects a degree of arrogance when she describes her dislike of other people’s expressions of offence as if they are supposed to please her.
Gabriel’s next statement sounds dictatorial and aggressive towards people who offend her and the “We” she has yet to define. What would be the objective in deliberately offending people? Americans have 1st Amendment rights that are protected by the Constitution, so if their expressions and/or behavior does no physical or mental harm to anyone, then they can continue exercising their right, whether Gabriel like it or not. The suggestion of wanting to offend someone for some unknown reasons or for using political correctness seems un-American and un-democratic.
In her next sentence, Gabriel expresses again her feelings of “sick and tired” of what she apparently considers political correctness: “I am an African-American, I am an Italian-American, I am a Lebanese-American”. This statement shows a total lack of or acceptance of American history in that Gabriel does not understand the difference between ethnic identity and cultural identity and how it has played out in America since before the Mayflower. Although the pilgrims brought their prejudices with the to America, those prejudices were not based on ethnicity, but skin color—red for Indians, black for Africans, and white for Europeans. Not until the founding fathers invented two races—one black, one white, did the need for identity become important.
The ruling Anglo-Saxon class of early Americans wanted to control society in order to protect themselves and their possessions, so they invented two races base on skin color followed with what they promoted as natural characteristics. For the white race the concept of total supremacy over all non-white people was offered as a God-given right. For Africans/African Americans the concept was one of inferiority in every respect, especially, intelligence. These two concepts were two sides of the same coin; one does not exist without the other. Everything was fine for a while because all the social, political, religious, legal and educational institutions were controlled by the Anglo-Saxons.
In the early 1920’s the ruling class realized that too many lesser whites were immigrating to America, so they slowed European immigration down in some regards, and put a stop to it relative to people of color—see Johnson-Reed bill. The lesser whites—including Irish, Italians, Slavs, Poles, Jews, Germans and others were placed under the rubric of Caucasian, a term coined just prior to 1800. This term Caucasian became identified with white and elevated the lesser whites relative to privilege, and prestige. The significance of this elevation for the lesser whites, which is important to Gabriel’s complaint, is that the European immigrants who could change their identity from its ethnic origin to white, did so. Being white was more important and valuable than being Italian-American. Unfortunately, the shift from ethnic identity to white did nothing positive for African Americans; it, in fact, produced more bigots who identified with their new social group.
All Americans have two identities, one ethnic, and one cultural. The ethnic identity is based on ancestry and geography and cannot be changed. Our cultural identity is of our own choosing. For example, if a female child is born to French parents in France, then both her identities will be French. However, if as an adult she decides to move to England, and become an English citizen, then her cultural identity changes to English. She becomes a French-English citizen or just English. The case with African Americans is different because the African captives who were enslaved in America had their identities taken away from them and replaced with terms like Negro, black, colored etc. So, the term African American is not an example of political correctness, but a re-establishment of both former and current identities.
European Americans or whites can select the time and place to use their ethnic identity; for many, they only know white or Caucasian. Control of African Americans and some lesser Americans is still in effect today because race still has social value. We would welcome the day when all Americans can truthfully say that we are all Americans and be politically correct.
Tags: African American, African Americans, America, america's race problem, black, black skin color, Chief Justice John Roberts, cultural identity, current-events, discrimination, ethnic identity, ethnicity, European Americans, identity, Marian Wright-Edelman, race, Race in America, skin color, slavery, white
Without realizing it, many educators and people of influence are supporting and promoting the separation and discrimination of people by race and color. The way it is being done is through the use of race by color, i.e., black race and white race. Let us take a close look at these phenomena called race by color and see what problems and challenges it continues to place of humanity, especially in America. The word race initially did not contain an element of color when it was used by the Angles and Saxons to distinguish themselves from the Brits. To the people then, the word race carried a sense of a biological difference among nations. Today, we know “What is false in this dogma is the belief that a nation is a race, a group sharing a common biological descent. Equating nation with race defies the most elementary knowledge of history. From time immemorial, Europe and America have been playgrounds of miscegenation” (Jacques Barzan, From Dawn to Decadence, 1500 to the Present).
Race by color became important in America when Africans became the primary source of slaves. Creating two races, one black and one white served to strengthen the power, prestige and control of majority society. The Europeans/European Americans were identified as white; meaning that all the positive attributes of human beings would be posited in them. For the African/African Americans, the reverse was alleged to be true. This illusion of race would and could work because the enslavers held all power over the slaves, and to a large degree, society. The power did not reside only in the skin color, but how the skin complexion was valued in society. For example, under the belief system of race by color, only a so-called white man and a so-called white woman could produce a so-called white child. In effect, no other man or woman on the planet could do that. All people of color (who were less valued in society than the so-called white) could never produce a so-called white child. Any and all off springs of European men would take the identity of the mother. In an effort to prevent European servant women from marrying African men, the state of Maryland created and passed the first miscegenation law in 1661. The slave industry even created a system whereby the degree of whiteness could be measured in Africans and other slaves of color which increased their market value—mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, etc.
The illusion of human and social value associated with the skin color is still very much a part of American society today, and because of that, America can make only limited social progress. Part of the problem comes from many Americans who are unwilling to recognize the fact that race is an illusion and want to hold on to their color as an identity. The problem with holding on to race by color is that it cannot be defined except on a very limited basis, and then it falls apart. People who identify themselves as black may not in fact have a black skin color, so what does black mean in those situations? Some people will suggest that black means African American. Well, black and African American are not the same or interchangeable. Black does not distinguish a personal identity based on color, culture, ethnicity, or geography—the only relevance black has is to a black race that was created during slavery with all negative contexts. The same thing can be said of European Americans who call themselves white, except the contexts are positive.
When the young Civil Rights workers of the ‘60s reacted to the phrase “white power” with “Black power,” they were able to change to the sentiment of blackness from negative to positive, but only in the African American community. The white or European American community did not have to change a thing regarding color. So, today when word, black or white, is used with reference to a person’s identity, it serves to support and promote so-called racial separation and all the things that accompany it. Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, was correct when “In a 2007 case, he wrote: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”That is, when we stop using race as if it is accurate and valid, we can get to the real problems of justice and fairness. Getting rid of race does not mean getting rid of ethnic or cultural differences, but it means changing the focus from our differences to our commonalities.
In a recent article, “The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America,” Marian Wright-Edelman wrote that:
“Everybody in the classroom and teaching children today — when for the first time White students will no longer be the majority in our nation’s public schools — needs to be culturally sensitive and culturally trained. This is true for all child-serving institutions. We need to watch out for the subtle as well as the overt ways in which we treat non-White and White children and those who are poor differently. And we need much more diversity in children’s literature so that White, Black, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and all children can be exposed to the rich mosaic of America’s melting pot to help them see themselves and what they can be.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marian-wright-edelman/the-emotional-toll-of-gro_b_5738420.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share
The primary point that this blog makes is the very point that is missed in the above article—people, especially children, do not want to be treated differently; they want to be treated fairly and justly, regardless of their ethnic and/or cultural identity. We know that the metaphor of the melting pot nation was never realized and the proof is seen in the misrepresentation of African Americans in many of the social categories of unemployment, ineffective education, and incarceration rates. We certainly need to respect ethnic, cultural, and geographical differences where necessary, but we do not need to burden our children with false identities such as black and white. If a child is the product of a mixed ethnic couple, identifying with either the mother or father would not be fair to the parents or the child. In that case, let the parents decide the cultural identify of the child, but not mixed-race or black and white. Ethnically or culturally mixed children simply want to be children, no more, no less. Race as a social identity has outlived its usefulness to society.
Tags: A HISTORY EUROPE, African American History, African Americans, America, American Education, Anglo-Saxon, biological races, black, Caucasian, caucasian race, Christopher Morley, Confronting Myths, current-events, ethnicity, European Americans, Hispanics, Irish, Jesus, Jews, Megyn Kelly, Obama and American Bigotry, Poles, Prejudice, race, Race in America, Russian, Santa Claus, white, WHITENESS OF A DIFFERENT COLOR
Christopher Morley once said that “If you have to keep reminding yourself of a thing, perhaps it isn’t so.” That particular scenario seems to be the case with America and its attachment to the conception and perception of race. For far too many years, many people have been trying to prove the existence of race by color and/or geography to no avail. They have gone to enormous lengths to try and prove their assumptions to the point of creating official sounding terms to underscore their belief, trusting that no one will recognize the fallacy behind the initial assumption. In America, many people still believe that such a thing as multiple biological races exist in spite of the over-whelming evidence to the contrary. Some Americans, like Morley’s suggested needs to remind themselves why they see themselves as black, white or other. Maybe it is because it isn’t so.
The American system of education failed to provide accurate information to the students concerning the myth of race. Many Americans grew-up believing that only three major races existed—one black, one white, one miscellaneous. In essence, the people who came to America as our founding fathers were, for the most part, Anglo-Saxons. They held the beliefs that they were superior to all other men because they were the model God used to make the rest of mankind, and next, they believed that God had given American specifically to them. The concept of race they employed early on was based on color, and that worked for many years because they controlled society. However, in the early 1800’s things began to change when the Anglo-Saxons began to realize that the new immigrants did not measure up to their expectations. They did not see whiteness as a sign of racial identity.
Matthew Frye Jacobson in his book, WHITENESS OF A DIFFERENT COLOR, told about the European immigration problem from 1840 to 1924 and how it caused “a fracturing of whiteness into a hierarchy of plural and scientifically determined white races.” These new immigrants were considered to be not as good as the old Anglo-Saxons. Since the old Anglo-Saxon leaders could not accept these new immigrant whites as true whites, a new racial category was made for them “and granted the scientific stamp of authenticity as the unitary Caucasian race—an earlier era’s Celts, Slavs, Hebrews, Iberics, and Saracens, among others….”
The nation’s concern with immigrants being “white people” led to the creation of the Johnson-Reed Act, (1924) an immigration policy that placed emphasis on so-called race. The policy created an opening for the not-so-white to join the club through assimilation “(the process by which the Irish, Russian, Jews, Poles, and Greeks became Americans)” and “racial alchemy (the process by which Celts, Hebrews, Slavs and Mediterraneans became Caucasians). “ In addition, “The European immigrants’ experience was decisively shaped by their entering an arena where Europeanness –that is to say, whiteness– was among the most important possession one could lay claim to.” Ironically, Herbert Fisher, author of A HISTORY EUROPE (1925), commented that “Purity of race does not exist. Europe is a continent of energetic mongrels.”
The challenges of immigrant identity can be found in American history if one looks carefully enough; the concern with the concept of white races diminished greatly after 1925. The emphasis on the concept of there being three races, although a fallacy, did not decrease, but actually increased because the country experienced growing pains through civil right movements that called attention to the principles of democracy concerning the rights and privileges of all Americans being abused and ignored. America is still left with the conundrum of the myth of race.
After many years of study and research America as well as the world knows that only one race of human being exist. Yet, as a society, America has failed to debunk the myth of race which does a disservice to us and our youth. How can we expect our youth to accept the findings of DNA scientists who say we are all one family of human beings, or anthropologists who have mapped the origin of the human race and its peopling of the earth, if we still hold on firmly to the myth of a black race, white race, and a Mongoloid race? On one hand we tell ourselves and our children that all people are alike and that we should not discriminate against one another. Then, one the other hand, we talk about ourselves and others as being biologically different when we identify ourselves as black, or white or other. Ambiguity rules the day. Just what do we want our children to learn?
To add to the ignorance and stupidly relative to the conception and perception of race by color, just recently(12/12/13), a Fox News show host, Megyn Kelly, responded to a statement made by an African American about the possibility of Santa Claus being black. Kelly responded that “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa”(POLITICO.COM). If anyone knows about the myth of Santa Claus, they know that the real life man, St. Nicholas, was a monk from Turkey and that Jesus was born to a Jewish family in the Middle East. Neither man would be considered white in America; they might have passed as Caucasians to someone who subscribes to that line of thought.
By the way, people who define themselves as Caucasians should know that their so-called race did not exist prior to the 1800s:
The concept of a Caucasian race or Varietas Caucasia was developed around 1800 by Johann Blumenbach, a German scientist and classical anthropologist. Blumenbach named it after the Caucasian people (from the Southern Caucasus region), whom he considered to be the archetype for the grouping. He based his classification of the Caucasian race primarily on craniology [the size and shape of the head].(America’s Race Matters)
As a society, we know that the concept of multiple biological races is a myth; yet, many people hold on to the concept as though their very lives depended on it. And some might say that it does if their belief in their skin complexion makes them different from the rest of humankind. Eventually, our society will make it to that place where intelligence will dictate the measure of a person’s identity and character, not some out-dated myth that plays to our lowest elements of ignorance and prejudice. As Morley said, if we have to keep reminding ourselves of the thing, “maybe it isn’t so.”
Tags: 13th amendment to the constitution, African American youths, African Americans, American Education, black, current-events, discrimination, ethnicity, European Americans, involuntary servitude, politics, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, reconstruction after the civil war, slave masters, slavery, Southern States, the Black codes, valuing people
We read or hear on almost a daily basis, accounts of the shooting death of a young African American. We have experienced this sort of news so frequently that it almost seems routine. Of course, we know that death of young people is never routine. The public, in general, seem to accept the news as something of little importance. Why? Maybe the reason for a seemingly lack of interest by the public is based on learning and past experiences. What seems to be the case relative to the shooting and deaths of young African Americans is a public that does not see value in African American lives; this lack of value for African American lives is part of the legacy of American history beginning with Reconstruction after the Civil War.
Once the Civil War was over, the former slave masters and people in the slave business were no longer concerned with the value of former slaves; they were now free. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution stated 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.” So, once freed, the African American did not carry the same value to society that the slave carried. Under the laws of the states, especially in the South, the concern and focus was not on the value of the African Americans, but on the avenues of approach needed to recapture their labor as cheaply as possible. In essence, laws were created to exploit the newly freed African Americans for whatever purpose the European American society felt necessary.
The laws created by many of the Southern states to control the African Americans came to be known as “The Black Codes.” These laws tried to recapture the powers of the slave masters that were loss as a result of the Civil War. The first set of these laws came from the state of Mississippi. History tells us that “the first such law was enacted on November 22, 1865. It directed civil officers to hire orphaned African Americans and forbade the orphans to leave their place of employment for any reason. Orphans were typically compensated with a free place to live, free meals, and some type of nominal wage.” In addition, we learn that “other white employers were prohibited from offering any enticement to blacks “employed” by someone else.”
Mississippi passed other laws that restricted the movement of African Americans; some laws even required them to carry papers to provide information of their employment. The objective was to recreate the master-slave relationship, but with the protection of the state laws. History shows that “Within a few months after Mississippi passed its first such law, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina followed suit by enacting similar laws of their own.” The Congress recognized what these Southern states were doing and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This Act did little to change the attitude of the European Americans and the social value of the African Americans until the first half of the twentieth century.
In America, the laws passed by the Federal government did not change the mind-set of many Americans concerning the value of the African American. As late as 1970, Peter Loewenberg, in an article, “The Psychology of Racism,” made the comment that “In the unconscious of the bigot the black represents his own repressed instincts which he fears and hates and which are forbidden by his conscience as it struggles to conform to the values professed by society.” Loewenberg continued by stating that “This is why the black man becomes the personification of sexuality’ lewdness, laziness, dirtiness, and unbridled hostility. He is the symbol of voluptuousness and the immediate gratification of pleasure.” Loewenberg referred to the experience encountered by biased European Americans as a form of projection. He added that “These feelings are easily associated with low status or tabooed groups such as Negroes. Blacks are pictured in the unconscious imagery of the white majority as dark and odorous, aggressive, libidinal, and threatening.”
Many of the changes that have occurred in American society towards valuing all human beings since 1964 have been on the shoulders of the African Americans. One of the major changes by African Americans to see themselves differently from how European Americans viewed them was to change the connotation of black from negative to positive. The cultural references of the late 60s and 70s reinforced the positive value of being a black in America with phrases like “Black and Proud, or “Black and Beautiful,” as well as a host of others. Nevertheless, the changes that affected the African American population did not place any stress or feelings of commitment of change with the European American community.
We have a tendency to forget that the public schools were desegregated, not integrated. So, the curriculum did not change to include the many positive contributions of African Americans in building our great society. The history taught was the same as before Brown v. Topeka, the only difference was African Americans were allowed in the classrooms. The norm for the European Americans did not change simply because the laws did. If nothing happens to change the way Americans look at each other, then the same old negative stereotype that has been associated with ethnic Americans will still be in place. Education has done little to change the way European Americans view African Americans as well as other ethic Americans. That has to change if we are ever to value one another.
When Barack Obama became President of the United States, many Americans seemed to have lost their sense of respect for the office of the president because it was occupied by an African American. The negative attitude of not valuing non-European ethnic Americans continues today because we as a society have not worked hard enough to eliminate the ignorance associated with race, ethnicity, and diversity. Through ignorance and bigotry many Americans have failed to recognize the truth of who we are as human beings and to value each other. Laws cannot change attitudes, but people working together can effect change. Chances are that when we start viewing each person as a valued member of society, we will start treating them differently. Whether we like it or not, America is changing into a more ethnically diverse society, and the sooner we realize that we cannot go back to the 1800s, and accept the reality of our diversity, the sooner the madness of hatred and bigotry can start to decrease. We, as a society cannot afford the luxury of sitting back waiting for others to make the first move towards creating a better society where young Africans Americans are not shot everyday; its time we act.
Tags: African Americans, anglo saxons, Asian American, bigotry, black, caucasian race, Confronting Myths, Crevecoeur, current-events, ethnic prejudice, ethnicity, European Americans, Harry Laughlin, middle 1700s, Miss America, Miss America Contest, Nina Davuluri, politics, population of america, Prejudice, Race in America, society, white
What does an American look like? If we were to go back to the 1840s in America, we might find some people who believed that the “real population” of America was of “Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Teutons, Slavs and a few other races. This description would be misleading because the Celts, Teutons, and Slavs were not accepted as “the real population” and were depicted not as racially distinct “but as consanguine ‘whites.’” Many Americans who today consider themselves white were not viewed as such until around the 1920 and after. The reason for all the fuss was that the Anglo-Saxons believed themselves the model of the human race. Some Americas were so consumed with the concept of America being a nation of white people and for white people with the Anglo-Saxons being the supreme white people that they were instrumental in getting laws passed to restrict the immigration of non-white people.
Harry Laughlin was one of the most active individuals in influencing the American eugenics policy. He was especially effective in obtaining compulsory sterilization legislation. He was once described him as “among the most racist and anti-Semitic of early twentieth-century eugenicists.” In 1934, he advised the Special committee on Immigration and Alien Insane “That no immigrant be admitted, whether by quota or otherwise, who is not—First, a member of the white race’; and that, for the purposes of immigration law, ‘a white person be defined as one all of whose ancestors were member of the white or Caucasian race.’” So, regardless of America telling the world that it was a nation open to all people with each citizen’s right guaranteed, we find the hypocrisy and prejudice apparent in who could qualify as a citizen or even who could be admitted to this country based on a created concept of race.
America has always been a country built on ethnic diversity and as early as the middle 1700s an observer of American society, Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur, wrote “What, then, is the American, this new man? He is neither an European nor the descendant of an European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country.” He continued by underscoring his point concerning American diversity, “I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now wives of different nations.” He defines an American by stating that “He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraces, the government he obeys and the new rank he holds.” We should have no doubt about America being a diverse nation with no one group holding claim to the nation’s identity.
Unfortunately, when the concept of race was created and instituted in society, it was done so by people who identified themselves as Anglo-Saxons. Bringing their old prejudice with them from England, they assumed their group to be superior to all others. Their beliefs were contrary to the creed of their new nation since slavery was also instituted as an acceptable social feature. If hypocrisy was a joke, we would forever be laughing because rather than using diversity as a strength to unify the country, it was used in a contrary way. Instead of society working towards unifying the country, efforts were made to ensure class differences while not admitting to a class structure. The statement about “what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” seems appropriate to the conundrum in which America finds itself today relative to diversity. Society puts on the mask of unity to hide the face of bigotry and prejudice because it still has not come to grips with the fallacy of multiple biological races.
So, what ignited this discussion on American ethnic hypocrisy? We began with the question of “what does an American look like?” The reason for the question was based on the reactions of some citizens to the selection of Nina Davuluri as Miss America 2014. Miss Davuluri is an Asian American and what should have been received as evidence of a nation growing in acceptance of its creed accepting our diversity as a strength, turned into a display of bigotry and prejudice. To make matters worse, her platform for the contest was called, “Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency.” The runner-up for the title was also Asian American.
As a society, we need to start being more accountable for educating those who have no idea of what American democracy means. Those people who made disparaging remarks concerning the ethnicity of the new Miss America showed their ignorance of American history as well as a prejudice that is based on that ignorance. People who still want to hold on to the idea that America is a white country owned and controlled by white people need to be informed that the concept is false, an illusion. At one time in our history the concept was promoted because the people with money and power as well as the government had the ability to control the concept. Today, we know beyond a doubt the truth of mankind being of one race. We need to spread the word to those who still embrace the illusion.
The judges in the Miss America contest did a number of services for the country in choosing Miss Davuluri as the new Miss America for 2014. First, by choosing an Asian America they showed America and the World that the standard of beauty is no longer that of the European American. For years, no ethnic American was allowed to enter the contest. The second service they rendered was to show America and the world that America is indeed a nation of ethnic diversity and just what Americans look like. The process is slow, but each day brings us closer to the realization of the American creed that speaks to all people being created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights. Many young American girls who watched the contest can rest easily now knowing that Miss America can and does look just like her.
Tags: African Americans, america's race problem, black, black and white race, current-events, European Americans, human race, human-rights, politics, President Lincoln, race, Race in America, religion, slavery, society, white, white America
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.
Tags: African Americans, black, Confronting Myths, European Americans, human races, immigration, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, pursuit of happiness, race, racial identity, Theodore Lothrop Stoddard, Thomas A. Guglielmo, U.S. Census Bureau, white, White on Arrival
Ask some European Americans their race and they will generally answer white or Caucasian. Ask them if they know that the entire concept of multiple human races like black and white, brown and red, is simply a creation of society. The response will vary depending on the quantity and quality of information the responders possess. The concept continues to undergo its changing nature because as a social construct, a concrete definition is not possible except as the term relates to science. Let us look at the term white as it connotes to a so-called racial identity.
Many people believe that a so-called white identity is constant, consistent, and uniform with respect to its application. The word white is generally considered an adjective and used to modify a noun. So, for example, when someone identifies his race as white, he actually means white race. Without the noun race, white would simply be an adjective referring to a color that is used to masquerade as a noun. When the word white is used to denote a so-called race, its use also underscores the acceptance of the concept of multiple races, a concept we know is false. Nevertheless, many people believe the concept to be true and in the past have written many volumes to try and validate their opinions.
Many European Americans do not think of themselves as belonging to a particular race, just the human race. They often view people who do not look like them as belonging to a race different from theirs. European Americans have been led to believe that they are the model used for the creation of human beings, so people other than them belong to a race. Today, Americans hear the term “race card” being used and usually think of African Americans trying to gain an unfair advantage by using that term. In reality, European Americans play their “race card” every day. America was supposedly created as a democracy where all people, regardless of their differences could experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We know from our history that that experience was denied to many people, especially people of color. We also know that being white was not an identity that fit all people who looked white, but being white provided power and privilege from the very beginning.
When someone identifies himself as white, one might ask the question: with what white race Nordic, Mediterranean or Alpine? These are three races of whites that some scholars and intellectuals such as Theodore Lothrop Stoddard created to explain the differences among the white races. Although the subject is not generally discussed today, the concept of a white race was not fixed on one homogeneous group of people who all looked alike. Prejudice existed and was exhibited by those European Americans who identified their ancestry as Anglo –Saxon, and thought their Nordic race superior to all others. According to Thomas A. Guglielmo, author of White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945, new immigrants would create a problem because they were not of a superior breed: “IQ tests that the U.S. army administered to soldiers during World War I, as well as other intelligence studies, reached the same conclusion: Nordics, or ‘old’ Americans, were vastly superior in intellectual endowment to all other race.”
Who were these immigrants and why were they considered inferior to the Nordics? We are told that “These European races were condemned for their putative degeneracy, mongrelized nature, and general physical, moral, and mental inadequacies.”Never the less, they were labeled as “free whites” for purposes of immigration in 1790. These free whites were Celts, Slavs, Hebrews, Iberics, Latins to names a few and were later joined by the Anglo-Saxons and became known as white/Caucasians. (Caucasians is a term created shortly before the 1800, and used to identify people of Iranian decent). Still the stigma of superiority and inferiority continued among the so-called white races. Guglielmo informs us that “The term ‘Caucasian race’ has ceased to have any meaning except where it is used, in the United States, to contrast white populations with Negroes or Indians or in the Old World with Mongols.”In other words, the term lacks any specificity regarding race or racial value.
He further states that “It is, however, a convenient term to include the three European subspecies [Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean] when considered as divisions of one of the primary branches or species of mankind.” The only reason to use any of these branches would be to discriminate one against another. In effect, race is not based on color, but also includes geography, culture, scores on IQ exams, and a number of other considerations.
We know that today in America certain groups of European Americans are not treated with the same level of respect some other groups receive. For example, some European Americans are called “Trailer Park Trash,” or simply “Poor White Trash.” Other names like “Red Neck,” “Cracker,” or “Peckerwood” are not the inventions of other ethnic groups, but were created by European Americans to describe and distance themselves from people who looked like them, but were not accepted as equals.
We have mentioned a number of times the problems created by the Census Bureau regarding the use of the terms race, black and white without the benefit of definitions. The results of the 2010 census revealed an increase in the white population because people of various ethnicities were given the option of identifying themselves according to their ethnic group or just picking white. Many selected white which in turn created confusion for the Census Bureau. We can recognize the growing uselessness of the terms black and white as far as a so-called racial identity is concerned, but at the same time, we can witness the efforts of many Americans to disrupt any movement to encourage this change.
The changes relative to diversity in American society today are inevitable because of our growing population of people of color. The value of placing a color before the word race is rapidly diminishing because the emphasis on the values of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all Americans are taking precedence over ethnic identies