If we turn back to the historical references, one of the predominant movements has been the history of racism in the U.S… By calling it a movement, the races who dominated and suffered got involved in a rage – struggling to a life and death situation. To understand history instead of mugging it up for the sake of scoring good grades is the new approach to education. In this blog, you get to travel back in time to a racist world when color, caste, and creed deplored the conditions of inferiors or rather made inferior. With the understanding of the history of racism, you’ll have a good hold of racial inequities and structural racism. Plus, you’ll get to know how these movements backed-up the black life matters protest.
To know more about another significant event in history, also read our blog:-
Definition of Racism
As per the Cambridge Dictionary, Racism is “the belief that their race influences people’s qualities and that the members of other races are not as good as the members of your own or the resulting unfair treatment of members of other races.” Discrimination based on color, caste, creed, race, language, and birthplace led to wars, slavery, and many protests. To make you more familiar with the term ‘ racism,’ let’s dive into the brief background of Racism in America.
Background of Racism
While tracing the background of Racism in America, it gets hard to make out, wherefrom the term racism came up. While contemporary scientists rejected race classification, the white Americans continued adopting it. As per an account by History T.V.,
“In August of 1619, a journal entry recorded that “20 and odd” Angolans, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrived in the British colony of Virginia and were then were bought by English colonists.”
-marking the beginning of racism. But, people were not aware of it until the major instances upraised in the 17th and 18th centuries. The black races from Africa came to American-Whiteland when the dominant races kidnapped them. Also, how they forced them into slavery in the American colonies for years to come. The fate of these bonded laborers got confined to working under the white men on the production of crops such as cotton and tobacco. The American sub-continent could have torn-apart during the civil war. But, the union victory freed about 4 Million enslaved people and ended slavery in America.
Events in the History of Slavery in America
Do you know slavery and racism go hand in hand? Here are a few historical events in the instances of Racism in America to showcase how racism and, in turn, slavery has always led to revolution.
Cotton and Tea Plantation
Back then, many of the businessmen grew rich on the slave trade and investments in Southern plantations. Though the Northern states in the U.S. abolished slavery between 1774 and 1804, its “peculiar institution” remained vital to the south. The tacit domestic trade of the enslaved farmers continued in the U.S… In over 50 years, the number reached 4 Million, with more than half living in the cotton-producing states of the south.
Most of the enslaved races had to work as bonded laborers in the tea and cotton plantations. To keep them ignorant, the plantation owners prohibited them from learning to read and write. Added to that, the marriages between enslaved men and women had no legal basis. Plus, they got their bodies chained and had to work like a bull towing the field all day long.
The history of racism was now taking the side of the oppressed – how? Since the number of slaves outnumbered the white men, there were constant threats of slave rebellions. If they collaborate, there nothing that can stop forging war and protest against the slaveholders. The most prominent slave rebellion that terrified them was the rebellion by Nat Turner. He was the only enslaved man who led the only effective and sustained slave rebellion in U.S. history (Source History T.V.).
The Southern States strengthened their slave codes to fear insurrections by slave rebellions. They prevented the free movement of the labors and forming alliances.
With time, the repressed Southern blacks realized that freedom is the power to choose our chains. From the 1830s to 1860s, the abolitionist movement started under the support of free blacks like Frederick Douglass. Even white ones like William Lloyd, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (writer of The Uncle Tom’s Cabin), extended support. With the freeing of slaves via underground Railroads and events like:-
, Slavery ended in 1865 after the 13th amendment.
Racism in America Today: Redefining the History of Racism
Now that you are well-equipped with what the history of racism and slavery has to offer about discrimination, it is possible to look at it today. Even years after the Racism in America quite ended with the abolition of slavery and other events, it is continuing even today. From the setting of fire by Nat Turner’s revolt in 1831 to the current Black Life Matters protest, the fight against racism has come a long way.
Election of 2008 in America
The election of 2008 in America, gave a new edge to the years of dominance by the white Americans from the White house. On 29th Jan 2009, the history of America took a 360 degree turn when Barack Obama became the first African-American president of the U.S.
Under his tenure, the young and black voted for the first time with a slogan. “#Yes, We Can’.
The Black Lives Matter Movement
With the digital uprisings, now the term ‘racism’ took a global network. In 2012, an incident took place in which George Zimmerman, a white man, killed Martin, a black boy aged 17. This incident led to the formation of a “Black Lives Matter Network” by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, three resistors. The prime aim of the network was to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
Unfortunately, a series of deaths continued of black Americans at the hands of police officers, who played racist in all terms. After the horrifying deaths of:-
- Eric Garner in New York City
- Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri
- Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio
- Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland
And the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota is quite saddening.
The George Floyd Protest
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is suffering from widespread deaths. In such hard times, a man named George Floyd lost his life too, though the virus named ‘racism’ killed him. The killing of Floyd took place in Minnesota as a cop named Chauvin kept his knee on the man’s neck for about 8 minutes. His brutal act choked him to death. His last sentence was so painful with a sound of, “I can’t breathe.” Post the incident, the #blacklivesmatter again got up on social media and through live protest. People started revolting against the racists who recess the black people in an educated society.
Both white and black Americans came to fore and showed solidarity in seeking justice for George Floyd. Many protestors set the police vehicles and shops on fire, and in turn, officers released tear gas to control them. After months of quarantine, people came to the roads, to redefine the history of Racism in America. These incidents help you understand how important it is to learn from history and apply it out of the text.
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