An area of contention in America with regards to racial relationships is the idea of white privilege. The notion that certain people within a society have unwritten societal benefits due to the color of their skin seems unbelievable to some. I want to figure out exactly what white privilege is and if this privilege is universally applicable to all whites in America. I want to know why so many White Americans deny this idea. Can it be explained, or reasoned in a way that makes sense to even the most ardent critics?
In the essay, “A Genealogy of Modern Racism”, the author Dr. Cornel West discusses racism in depth, while conveying why whites feel this sense of superiority. We learn through his discussion that whites have been forced to treat black harshly due to the knowledge that was given to them about the aesthetics of beauty and civility. This knowledge that was bestowed on the whites in the modern West, taught them that they were superior to all races tat did not emulate the norms of whites. According to Dr. West the very idea that blacks were even human beings is a concept that was a “relatively new discovery of the modern West”, and that equality of beauty, culture, and intellect in blacks remains problematic and controversial in intellectual circles
In his 1972 novel Mumbo Jumbo Reed writes about an epidemic of black culture-or Jes Grew- seeping into the American mainstream like the black plaque. He suggests that white culture is the true form of civilization “Don 't you understand, if this Jes Grew becomes pandemic, it will mean the end of Civilization as We Know It?"(Reed chapter two). He argues that the two cultures are completely different, with white culture being the face of normality. Reed suggests that blacks show contempt even for their own race when they have become more successful- or more “white” cultured. Reed wrote stories that were playful, relevant, thought provoking and left readers yearning for more.
Love also mentions the racial ideologies rooted in white supremacy that gave expansionists a grand rational for empire . White Supremacy became an imperative piece of the imperial project. They believed the conviction that people of European descent were inherently different from those and more superior to those of Native Americans, Mexicans, African Americans, Asian, and even certain European groups (the new immigrants from southern and eastern regions) . The United States would only seize states that were predominately white to rein their power for white supremacy. Race was often the motive force for the U.S. Imperialism.
Here, Grant portrays the general perspective towards immigrants, as nativists considered them to be a threat to the superiority and purity of the United States. Grant describes them as being physically and mentally deteriorated, in order to convey how the inferior immigrants would impede the American civilization socially, morally, and politically. Reverend Josiah Strong further elaborates on the negative impacts of immigration when he states, “…immigration not only furnishes the greater portion of our criminals, it is also seriously affecting the morals of the native population. It is disease and not health which is contagious. Most foreigners bring with them continental ideas of the Sabbat, and the result is sadly manifest in all our cities…debauching [corrupting] popular morals is the liquor traffic, and this is chiefly carried on by the foreigners…”
Prior to the passage of the amendments, the African American slaves were discriminated against because of their race because the white men believed that they were superior to them due to the idea of Social Darwinism. In this policy, the white men thought that they were more evolved than the African Americans. The discrimination continued after the ratification in the institution of Jim Crow laws (legalized with Plessy v Ferguson) in the south which advocated for separate but “equal” treatment for the freedmen. The freedmen also were faced with racial violence through the actions of the newly formed Ku Klux Klan who tried to further their racist goals through intimidation. Racial discrimination did not end following the ratification of the new
Race, as defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is a group of people or class unified by shared interests, habits, and or characteristics. In history, the term ‘race’ carries a powerfully negative connotation that is linked back, and played a key role in, to the discrimination and oppression of specific groups of people such as the African and Native Americans by White society. In the late 19th century, white supremacists believed themselves to be above other ‘races’ in the sense that their society was more advanced and ultimately superior. Their belief in superiority of race would further lead to detrimental treatment of African and Native
Racism is a cultural bias pertaining to the belief that there is a distinct human race and that one race is superior to another. Developed by Europeans to justify their enslavement of the ‘Others’, they have maintained racial tendencies and attempts to dehumanize colored people as ‘savage’ and uncivilized to support their inflicted maltreatment of them. Racism is real. Though many strides have been made in efforts to exact the devastation imposed on colored peoples’ dignity and rights to liberty, communal relations remain stained. Just as we live in a world where even visas have varying values, discrimination has become an undeniable reality – hindrances to playful world traveling.
2. I believe that racism is a system that is based off a combination of racial prejudice and social power. This system operates for the advantages of Whites and disadvantages for the people of color. Examples would be White privileges, which include Whites having better jobs, housings, and education than to the people of color. In society, racial prejudices are constantly formed into our minds because of stereotypes and omissions that spread throughout our culture.
The Cruelty of Racism Racism is the belief that one race possesses inherent traits that make that particular race superior to other races. In 1900s, black people were treated cruelly, and even got killed because of racism. They were considered inferior to the white race. People used to judge each other based on their skin color, and race. The society used to turn a blind eye to the racial problems.
Alexander arguments were about equality. As stated in the book, “The backlash against the gains of African Americans in the Reconstruction Era was swift and serve. As African Americans obtained political power and began the long march toward greater social and economic equality, whites reacted with panic and outrage” (30). Many whites didn’t appreciate that African American were gaining power. I believe that racism is a very cruel and brutal topic.
Nativist sentiment pushed many to violate the rights of blacks. The defeat of the confederates in the South was not only devastating to the landscape and people, but also to the morals of the people. Carpetbaggers and scalawags served as “living reminders of military defeat” ("America 's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War"). This inspired “racial prejudice as well as more measured criticisms of Reconstruction policies,” as well as the Southern states “depriv[ing] blacks of their rights to vote” in violent ways ("America 's Reconstruction: People and Politics After the Civil War"). The ideals of Social Darwinism also gave white men another possible justification for their treatment, providing a reason for them to believe that blacks were poor and desolate because they didn’t work hard enough.
However, there was a different resistance against the Radical Republicans, primarily from the white Southern Democrats. In truth, secret groups such as the Ku Klux Klan "were formed to terrorize the blacks and drive the carpetbaggers out.” White Southerners hated radicalism; for this reason, they didn 't like Republican beliefs. As a result they were forced, in the direction of the Democratic Party.
Though the Japanese and African American experiences would be wildly different, their treatment by the general public would be generally the same. Having to live in fear of violence and high racial tensions would be very typical and, unfortunately, expected. Both the groups were widely discriminated against on almost equal levels as both attracted the majority of hate from White America. African Americans attracted it due to the age old racism that came from the slavery era in America, and Japanese Americans attracted it due to “…[Japan] bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, rumors spread, fueled by race prejudice, of a plot among Japanese-Americans to sabotage the war effort” (Foner). Black Americans had suffered for centuries at the hands of White America, and their lifestyle was outlined as a “’… terror era shaped the geography, politics, economics, and social characteristics of being black in America during the 20th century,’ Mr. Stevenson said...”
According to David Goldberg 's “All Lives Matter” Disregards Race-Based Inequality," blacks in the United States aren’t supposed to completely belong. They are denied decent employment and education, being animalized, criminalized and killed daily. Goldberg makes a crucial point saying, “Black people have represented the country in the highest of ways while being maligned in the most malicious of ways.” He couldn’t be more right. Blacks are athletic, vocally talented, even superior enough to be president of the United States.