Anti-Racism In America Term Paper

Length: 8 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Race Type: Term Paper Paper: #28687664 Related Topics: Jim Crow Laws, Racism, Central America, Latin America
Excerpt from Term Paper :

The fact that so many people believed that dependency of any kind was a serious threat to the development of the nation did develop into anti-racist sentiment as race seemed to be the defining character, in soc many situations of the labor force being utilized. One can definitely see this in the development of the early republican party, even though many call the rhetoric demonstrative of the dramatics that were needed by the party to set it apart from former parties the intended goal of the party, was to make steps toward destroying the system of economics that forced dependence, i.e. slavery. The unprecedented success of the early republican party, having developed only two presidential candidates the second being Lincoln, goes to show that the voice of eradicating dependence had a strong social precedence and was in many ways anti-racist in nature. Some dismiss these early ideas as demonstrative of economic gain, rather than altruistic eradication of racism, because they were guised in economic rhetoric, but in truth the idea of innate inferiority was loosing grace with the American people, "...racism's function as a bulwark of the status quo made questioning it difficult. Yet the literature does convey the feeling that racism's very absurdity was important in evoking the objection to it." (Aptheker xv)

History of Anti-Racism

Though anti-racism goes back farther, the period of the American Revolution proved to be the time when the nation took a look back at racism and decided that it was demonstratively anti-Revolutionary as its ideals continued ideals that were inherently abhorrent in the empirical system.

In the generation after the American Revolution, with the rapid decline of indentured servitude and apprenticeship, the disappearance of journeymen residing in their employers' homes, and the identification of paid domestic service as an occupation for blacks and white females, the contrast between free and slave labor grew ever sharper. The growing availability of wage earners, the sense that servitude of any kind was incompatible with revolutionary ideology, and the actions of servants and apprentices themselves (many of whom took advantage of the turmoil of the Revolution to abscond from their masters), hastened the decline of the halfway houses between slavery and freedom. (Foner, xiii)

Though this period may have marked the beginning of the "official" anti-racist movement and some would say the beginning of the civil rights movement it would take many years to convey these broad ideals into a structure that could seriously fight racism at its core.

During the Revolutionary era Americans suddenly came to question not only the rightness of slavery but also to realize for the first time that they had a racial problem on their hands, that the institution which their ideology condemned was founded on perceptions of physiological differences which they thought they could do little or nothing about. (Winthrop xi)

The core being the intrinsic beliefs that the "other" race is inherently inferior, as a product of genetics, rather than the superiority of the white race, or decisions made in fear to maintain the control the white race had over the "other."

Anti-Racism Movements Influence

Though many will call back to the words and writings of the post-revoltuiion and the early republican movement as the seeds of anti-racism the organizations that developed in an attempt to challenge the stop gap laws that created segregation, attempting above all to keep the peace began much later. The two organizations that were most influential in the fight against racism, though there were many more, where the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

February 12, 1909, the NAACP was born, on the one hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birthday. The choice of the date was no accident. The popular literature of the period still displayed a strong interest in Lincoln's


If you cannot fight the system, fight within the system to force its change.

Thought here were many other movements afforded the anti-racist movement, the actions taken by those who went to the streets also mark a change in the manner in which the social fabric changed to allow for the demonstration that segregation was no longer needed, but also demonstrative of a common goal, of not only blacks but also many whites. The organization that began this social project was the SNCC.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was remarkable in that it was essentially an organization of organizers. The vast majority of the staff worked in the South, where, beginning in 1960, they led the sit-in movement, spearheaded voter registration projects, and organized Black communities at the grass-root level. Some SNCC field secretaries established offices in the North and West to raise funds and to generate publicity and political support. Many of these offices themselves became centers of community organization and political activity. ("Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project" ix)

The works of these two organizations, were significant, but most significant in that they effectively brought to the people, and even those on the margins of segregation and racism the idea that something definitely needed to change and that the old standards that separated and disenfranchised blacks and others were antiquated and socially destructive.

Struggles and Controversies:

The value of change has been seen to some degree, but the pervasive fact that for some to succeed others must fail, or at least be subject to the successful, as is a part of the capitalist ethic the seeds of racism are still evident in the culture today. The difference, one would like to think is that the evidence of racism today is a direct result of the left over ideals of legislating attempts to resolve or at least hedge off conflict. It is hard to say that the vocal few that constitute the extreme sentiments of racism have much real political or social pull in the U.S. At this time, but the sentiment that the controversies over race will likely continue is also a clear rational thought.

The prevailing ideas about keeping immigrants out of the U.S. As well as other substantial indicators of social depravity, on the part of the marginalized populations are still very much a part of the culture.

The pervasive quality of racist thought and practice throughout the history of the United States is clear, but it has never been without substantial challenge. Consider these observations by two keen English visitors in the pre-Civil War years. In the closing years of the 1820s, Basil Hall wrote concerning the South: "Generally speaking, though by no means always, I found the most sensible planters of opinion, that there was not naturally and essentially any intellectual difference between the races." 1 Some dozen years later, in 1840, James S. Buckingham found himself at what he called a cotton factory near Athens, Georgia. He wrote: There is no difficulty among them [the workers] on account of color, the white girls working in the same room and at the same loom with the black girls, and boys of each color, as well as men and women, working together without apparent repugnance or objection." 2 Similarly challenging dominant conceptions is this comment by Carl Bridenbaugh: "The only blacksmith near Staunton [Virginia] in 1753 was a free Negro who had come with a Scottish wife from Lancaster and who understood and read German very well." 3

Aptheker 15)

What is clear is that anti-racism has a strong historical precedence in America and will likely continue to fight the good fight to try to create an egalitarian society. It is also true that vestiges of true racism will continue to steep themselves into reality as will the increasingly exceptional view that true racism is an acceptable social belief. It is clear that the road to egalitarianism is still being trod upon today and challenges in both camps will likely continue for a very long time. Pointing to the heated issue of the working poor and the fact that so many are of the "other" races is clearly demonstrative of continued social strife and personal challenges.

Zawicki 186) Two other points that make this clear are the demonstratively disproportionate number of minorities that are incarcerated and receive stronger sentences and arguable worse treatment

Hames-Garc'a 3) as well as the disproportionate number of minorities who serve in the armed forces.

King 86) the results of many years of true racism have to some extent been contended with but the vestiges of the sociology of racism are yet to be eradicated, ore even agreed upon as problematic.

Works Cited

Aptheker, Herbert. Anti-Racism in U.S. History: The First Two Hundred Years. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993.

Barnes, Catherine a. Journey from Jim Crow: The…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Aptheker, Herbert. Anti-Racism in U.S. History: The First Two Hundred Years. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993.

Barnes, Catherine a. Journey from Jim Crow: The Desegregation of Southern Transit. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

Foner, Eric. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Gillette, Howard. "The Most Segregated City in America": City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920-1980." Journal of Southern History 72.4 (2006): 975.

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