THE ROLE OF RACISM: THE 20th CENTURY UNITED STATES
In the simplest form, racism is an ideology which seperates people according to their beliefs, cultural backgrounds ,skin colours and race. It is thought that racial discrimination is a kind of frame of mind it will always be because of the fact that there are many dissimilarities between the societies.
When racial discrimination is thought, the question which should come to the mind is that “Where does it originate?”. First, it is considered that it has started in 15th century and came up to middle of 19th century. The reason for slavery can be seen as unfair cheap labor system and colonialism so, racism is a consequence of African slavery. According to this idea, slaves had to work and live for their owners without a claim, therefore, they were seen as a second class people so that they were not allowed to adapt to daily life an deven come side by side with white people in public places. In the mid- 19th century somethings had began to change. Abraham Lincoln became a president of the United States and as he promised, slavery was abolished in 1861. However, society began to crack with this law according to society , slavery was important thanks to the economic recovery and dynamic workforce. but it failed to prevent the sounds into society and the civil war have began. As a result of this distressing war, casualities had reached hundreds of thousands and people, who were under the influence of the war, started a sort of resistance against the Afro- Americans. Thus, a number of organizations were established, notably KKK(Ku Klux Klan). The main purpose of Ku Klux Klan was not to ensure the equality of “black” and “white” by using violence and being dark nationalist. They were a group who
defend the White supremacy. They aimed African Americans who showed any respect against white people. However the main point is that black people were beaten or tortured even if they didnt do anything to the white people. So we can clearly see that they had very hard times in the past and its effect is still in progress as second class citizens.
Another perspective about racial discrimination which is done against Afro- Americans is as Richard Fraser (1953) emphasizes, it is all about superior consideration.
The slaves were in an inferior position economically. Gradually, white slaveowning society constructed a wall of color: that it was not the mode of slave production which was to be despised, but the slave: that the reason the black skin was the mark of the slave was that it was first the mark of human inferiority. In this manner the class problem of slavery became complicated and confused by the color question. The slaves, besides being an exploited social class, became, in the perverted thinking of the dominant society, an inferior race as well. (The Negro Struggle and the Proletarian Revolution, para. 9).
As it is mentioned in the quotation, to seperate, to use people as slaves because of only their skin colour is a destructive mentality that is created by white race and this situation was a result of capitalism and cheap labor system, unfortunately.
The only reason for the occurrence of racism is not only capitalism and cheap labor system also Afro-Americans who live in the United States has been harmed excessively by the government, some racist groups and various communal events. Racism against African Americans which is constantly growing and damaging people even cannot be resolved today because of the events in 20th century.
Some may argue that white superior race is beneficial in the United States. According to supporters, whiteness in the United States can bring purity and the ideology of nationalism. Therefore, order can be obtained in the society. Especially, during the middle of the 20th century, white supremacy started to has known as Christian action against Afro-Americans so that movement supported by WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) community. In Anglo-Saxons’ opinion, creating an Aryan race is really necesarry because Aryan races are seen as a symbol of pure, high welfare level, developed society. Gerstle (1937, as cited in J. Michael Butler, 2002) suggests there were opportunities which is maximized in the civil nationalism society as political ,social and economic equalities for privileged citizens. It is concidered by radical white nationalists that white supremacy should exist in the society because of the fact that they are chosen by God, so they had enough power and rights in order to do anything they want, in any different branches.
However, these ideas cannot go further than being a claim because having more power and rights in the society is not fair and plausible. It is clear that white nationalism result in extension the gap between Afro-Americans and white native Americans who live in the United States. According to proponents of integration, creating equal rights is a kind of requirement to live together in peace in society due to the fact that human beings are created with non-negotiable rights.