History of Racism and the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

This was racism at its worst. The enslaved Africans and the native Indians began to get closer to each other, and started to share certain ethic traditions between themselves, and soon, they started to marry each other, especially because of the disproportionate number of African males to females. A number of red-black people began to emerge from these unions, and these people formed traditions of their own. However, slavery continued to flourish and all these people were technically termed slaves. Having decided to take maters into their own hands to protest against the indignities being perpetrated against them in the name of slavery, Africans, Cherokees or Native Americans, and also Irish workers put up small acts of resistance and revolutions. (Chronology on the History of Slavery 1619 to 1789)

In the year 1790, in the United States of America, a census revealed that about 19% of the entire population of the country, that is, about 757,000 people, was comprised of African slaves, out of which about 3% were free from the bonds of slavery. It was in 1790 that the slave uprising against slavery happened in Haiti, where both leaders as well as slaves were black. There were a number of 'free coloreds' who were either of African origin, or of French descent, being planters and traders for the most part. These people had finally stepped up to demand their rights as citizens, at par with 'whites'. In Paris, a declaration was passed to the effect that all freeborn coloreds would be able to enjoy full rights that was equal to the rights enjoyed by whites. Saint Domingue, where the revolt broke out, refused to publish the Declaration, and this resulted in a second rebellion. This was the start of the end of slavery, and there were revolts and rebellions elsewhere in the country to demand for equal rights and the abolition of the cruel racist practice of slavery. (Chronology on the History of Slavery 1790 to 1829)

The 1830 Census revealed that there were now about five 'free colored persons' in an average household of twenty-five people. The 'free Negroes' were of several classes themselves, and these were: those whose ancestors had never been slaves, those born of free parents or of free mothers, those who had succeeded in buying their own freedom, and successful runaways. However, evidence of freedom was supposed to be produced, and also had to post a bond of $1,000 to prove that he was a person of good character, and this had to be attested to by five whites. The famous quote by the Former President of America, Quincy Adams, when asked by a young French Magistrate whether slavery was a great plague for the United States, was that it was indeed the root of 'almost all the troubles of the present and the fears for the future'. It was not until 1862, however, that after mass uprisings and revolts, the President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln signed a Declaration that would end 'slavery' in the District of Columbia, and this Act brought to an end the 'national shame' of the despicable tradition of slavery and human bondage. (Chronology on the History of Slavery 1830 to the end)

Since it has been seen that racism is the belief in the superiority of one particular racial group over others, and a basic structure of society involves the enactment of all the basic rules and regulations that that society believes in, and these rules may advantage certain racial groups while at the same time disadvantaging certain others. (Race, Racism, and Society: An Interdisciplinary Strategic Initiative for Emory University) an example of the impact of racism on society can be seen in an example provided by authors Ricardo Ainslie and Kalina Brabeck in their treatise on Texas and the racial segregation in Texas in their journal article entitled "Race Murder and Community Trauma: psychoanalysis and Ethnography in exploring the Impact of the Killing of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas." (Ainslie; Brabeck, 115)

Ricardo Ainslie has in fact worked in three small Texas communities, and these communities revealed the extent to which racism had been causing conflicts among the people of that society. This was a community that had been almost entirely white before the Civil War, and was today, mostly inhabited by the minority community, the Latinos. The impact of racial segregation was being felt even in certain schools of the community, and most African-Americans were extremely unhappy with the educational system with relevance to minority communities, within their community. (Ainslie; Brabeck, 115)

In a similar manner, a study conducted by a number of researchers for the purpose of examining the issue of racial segregation on campus revealed that racism was still one of the most pressing problems being faced by the citizens of the U.S.A., even today, and this despite all the civil rights legislations that have been passed over the years on this very issue. No setting is immune to racism, including a college campus, and it is very evident from the starting point at 'admissions', then on the campus, in the syllabus, in sports and other interactions, and also in the student society as a whole. The specialized idea of hate crimes that has its basis in racial segregation is thought to have originated from racial issues, and although the targets and the severity of the crimes may vary, it is a fact that these crimes do exist even today, when the world is supposed to be fast progressing. (Allen, Annette M; Brackett, Kimberly P; Marcus, Ann; Mullins, Larry C; Pruett, Daniel W; Tang, 23)

Any attempts to curtail the perpetration of these crimes have not been met with success, like for example, the curtailment of inflammatory speeches and presentations in the year 1993. It was also found that though the majority of students on campus did have attitudes that were not compatible with modern racism, it was also revealed that the 'white' student's prejudices were in fact on the rise, while on campus. The tragic part was that most minorities were keenly aware of the discriminations that were being meted out to them, not only by their peers, but also by Lecturers and the rest of the staff of the colleges. (Allen, Annette M; Brackett, Kimberly P; Marcus, Ann; Mullins, Larry C; Pruett, Daniel W; Tang, 23)

Violence in Northern Ireland has in fact stemmed from the impact of racism and racist cultures and discrimination against the Irish for a great many years, and today, when Ireland is struggling to come to terms with the deep seated impact that the violence of the past few centuries may have left on the future generations, and the impact of the racism and violence on Irish society today, help is indeed needed for these traumatized people of the helpless nation. (Gallagher, 12)

Two Books have been written on the sexual abuse of Africans in American society today, entitled 'No Secrets, no lies, how Black families can heal from Sexual Abuse', by Robin D. Stone, and the other, 'Black Sexual Politics, African-Americans, gender and the New Racism', by Patricia Hill Collins Routledge. Both these books deal with how blacks have been trying to cope with numerous types of abuse meted out to them because of racist beliefs and racist behaviors. Both the books have one same theme, that of the silence that shrouds the family members of the victims of sexual abuse in the black community, and how this very silence leads to the development and build up of more and more gender and racist bias, and how this also leads to the phenomenon of heterosexism among Africans in America. (Jones, 5)

Robin Stone talks about the number of people who have had to suffer such assaults and abuse some time in their lives, and how they would have to inevitably face the truth of these assaults in order to begin healing their mind and body and spirit. Sexual abuse as such happens throughout human society, and it is only when there is a backdrop of racism against it that it becomes taboo to discuss it in public, and even within the black community. It has been noticed that even if such incidents were to be reported to the police, it would only tend to stoke the fires of racism and expose the families to those people like social workers and policemen and others who have been traditionally opposed as well as hostile to 'blacks' over the ages. Patricia Hall, on the other hand, talks about stereotyping and the toll that this phenomenon takes on the psyche of a black person, and how all the old racist tendencies as well as bigotries have only changed in form but not actually in impact that they have upon blacks and other minorities. (Jones, 5)

The stereotypes that she refers to are the over sexed and extremely strong black women as opposed to…

Sources Used in Document:


Ainslie, Ricardo; Brabeck, Kalina. Race Murder and Community Trauma: Psychoanalysis and Ethnography in Exploring the Impact of the Killing of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas. Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. Vol. 8; No: 1; 2003; pp: 114-116

Allen, Annette M; Brackett, Kimberly P; Marcus, Ann; Mullins, Larry C; Pruett, Daniel W; Tang, Zongli. Perceptions of Racism on Campus. College Student Journal. Vol. 37; No: 1; 2003; pp: 20-24

Bynon, Gai; Cleary, Felicity; Hamilton, Alex; Maller, Jerome; Melior, David; Watson, Lara. The Perception of Racism in ambiguous scenarios. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Vol. 27; No: 2; 2001; pp: 46-52

Chronology on the History of Slavery 1619 to 1789. Retrieved at http://www.innercity.org/holt/chron_1790_1829.html. Accessed on 28 June, 2005

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