Posted by Zia H. Shah MD - Twitter: @ZiahShah1
The more you read about racism and its history and now the laws against it, the more you will see parallels with the new form of discrimination: Islamophobia. The following Wikipedia article is being republished under a new heading as food for thought.
Psychological phenomena leading to racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia are very similar. Both forms of discrimination arise from a varying mixture of the following: ignorance, narcissism, xenophobia, stereotyping and last but not the least paranoia.
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Racism in the United States has been a major issue since the colonial era and the slave era. Legally sanctioned racism imposed a heavy burden on Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans. European Americans (particularly Anglo Americans) were privileged by law in matters of literacy, immigration, voting rights, citizenship, land acquisition, and criminal procedure over periods of time extending from the 17th century to the 1960s. Many non-Protestant European immigrant groups, particularly American Jews, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, as well as other immigrants from elsewhere, suffered xenophobic exclusion and other forms of discrimination in American society.
Major racially structured institutions included slavery, Indian Wars, Native American reservations, segregation, residential schools (for Native Americans), and internment camps. Formal racial discrimination was largely banned in the mid-20th century, and came to be perceived as socially unacceptable and/or morally repugnant as well, yet racial politics remain a major phenomenon. Historical racism continues to be reflected in socio-economic inequality, and has taken on more modern, indirect forms of expression, most prevalently symbolic racism. Racial stratification continues to occur in employment, housing, education, lending, and government.
Many people in the U.S. continue to have some prejudices against other races. In the view of the US Human Rights Network, a network of scores of US civil rights and human rights organizations, “Discrimination permeates all aspects of life in the United States, and extends to all communities of color.” Discrimination against African Americans, Latin Americans, and Muslims is widely acknowledged. Members of every major American ethnic minority have perceived racism in their dealings with other minority groups.
Native Americans, who have lived on the North American continent for at least 20,000 years, had an enormously complex impact on American history and racial relations. During the colonial and independent periods, a long series of conflicts were waged, with the primary objective of obtaining resources of Native Americans. Through wars, massacres, forced displacement (such as in the Trail of Tears), and the imposition of treaties, land was taken and numerous hardships imposed. In 1540, the first racial strife was with Spaniard Hernando de Soto‘s expedition who enslaved and murdered in many New World communities. In the early 18th century, the English had enslaved nearly 800 Choctaws. After the creation of the United States, the idea of Indian removal gained momentum. However, some Native Americans chose or were allowed to remain and avoided removal whereafter they were subjected to racist institutions in their ancestral homeland. The Choctaws in Mississippi described their situation in 1849, “we have had our habitations torn down and burned, our fences destroyed, cattle turned into our fields and we ourselves have been scourged, manacled, fettered and otherwise personally abused, until by such treatment some of our best men have died.” Joseph B. Cobb, who moved to Mississippi from Georgia, described Choctaws as having “no nobility or virtue at all,” and in some respect he found blacks, especially native Africans, more interesting and admirable, the red man’s superior in every way. The Choctaw and Chickasaw, the tribes he knew best, were beneath contempt, that is, even worse than black slaves.
Ideological expansionist justification (Manifest Destiny) included stereotyped perceptions of all Native Americans as “merciless Indian savages” (as described in the United States Declaration of Independence) despite successful American efforts at civilization as proven with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw. An egregious attempt occurred with the California gold rush, the first two years of which saw the deaths of thousands of Native Americans. Under Mexican rule in California, Indians were subjected to de facto enslavement under a system of peonage by the white elite. While in 1850, California formally entered the Union as a free state, with respect to the issue of slavery, the practice of Indian indentured servitude was not outlawed by the California Legislature until 1863.
Military and civil resistance by Native Americans has been a constant feature of American history. So too have a variety of debates around issues of sovereignty, the upholding of treaty provisions, and the civil rights of Native Americans under U.S. law.
Once their territories were incorporated into the United States, surviving Native Americans were denied equality before the law and often treated as wards of the state.
Many Native Americans were relegated to reservations—constituting just 4% of U.S. territory—and the treaties signed with them violated. Tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives were forced to attend a residential school system which sought to reeducate them in white settler American values, culture and economy, to “kill the Indian, save the man.”
Further dispossession of various kinds continues into the present, although these current dispossessions, especially in terms of land, rarely make major news headlines in the country (e.g., the Lenape people’s recent fiscal troubles and subsequent land grab by the State of New Jersey), and sometimes even fail to make it to headlines in the localities in which they occur. Through concessions for industries such as oil, mining and timber and through division of land from the Allotment Act forward, these concessions have raised problems of consent, exploitation of low royalty rates, environmental injustice, and gross mismanagement of funds held in trust, resulting in the loss of $10–40 billion.
George Washington and Henry Knox believed that Native Americans were equals but that their society was inferior. The government appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins, to live among the Native Americans and to teach them, through example and instruction, how to live like whites. Washington formulated a policy to encourage the “civilizing” process. Washington had a six-point plan for civilization which included:
1. impartial justice toward Native Americans
2. regulated buying of Native American lands
3. promotion of commerce
4. promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society
5. presidential authority to give presents
6. punishing those who violated Native American rights.
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans. Prior to the passage of the act, nearly two-thirds of Native Americans were already U.S. citizens. The earliest recorded date of Native Americans becoming U.S. citizens was in 1831 when the Mississippi Choctaw became citizens after the United States Legislature ratified the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Under article XIV of that treaty, any Choctaw who elected not to move to Native American Territory could become an American citizen when he registered and if he stayed on designated lands for five years after treaty ratification. Citizenship could also be obtained by:
1. Treaty Provision (as with the Mississippi Choctaw)
2. Allotment under the Act of February 8, 1887
3. Issuance of Patent in Fee Simple
4. Adopting Habits of Civilized Life
5. Minor Children
6. Citizenship by Birth
7. Becoming Soldiers and Sailors in the U.S. Armed Forces
9. Special Act of Congress.
|“||Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all noncitizen Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided, That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Native American to tribal or other property.||”|
|—-Indian Citizenship Act of 1924|
While formal equality has been legally granted, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders remain among the most economically disadvantaged groups in the country, and according to National mental health studies, American Indians as a group tend to suffer from high levels of alcoholism, depression and suicide.
Perhaps the most prominent and notable form of American racism (other than imperialism against Native Americans) began with the institution of slavery, during which Africans were enslaved and treated as property. Prior to the institution of slavery, early African and non-white immigrants to the Colonies had been regarded with equal status, serving as sharecroppers alongside whites. After the institution of slavery the status of Africans was stigmatized, and this stigma was the basis for the more virulent anti-African racism that persisted until the present. African Americans were treated like second-class citizens. They were denied defense-industry jobs, and when the US entered World War II, they could only serve in segregated units.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2009)|
In colonial America, before slavery became completely based on racial lines, thousands of African slaves served European colonists, alongside other Europeans serving a term of indentured servitude. In some cases for African slaves, a term of service meant freedom and a land grant afterward, but these were rarely awarded, and few former slaves became landowners this way. In a precursor to the American Revolution, Nathaniel Bacon led a revolt in 1676 against the Governor of Virginia and the system of exploitation he represented: exploitation of poorer colonists by the increasingly wealthy landowners where poorer people, regardless of skin color, fought side by side. However, Bacon died, probably of dysentery; hundreds of participants in the revolt were lured to disarm by a promised amnesty; and the revolt lost steam.
Slaves were primarily used for agricultural labor, notably in the production of cotton and tobacco. Black slavery in the Northeast was common until the early 19th century, when many Northeastern states abolished slavery. Slaves were used as a labor force in agricultural production, shipyards, docks, and as domestic servants. In both regions, only the wealthiest Americans owned slaves. In contrast, poor whites recognized that slavery devalued their own labor. The social rift along color lines soon became ingrained in every aspect of colonial American culture. Approximately one Southern family in four held slaves prior to war. According to the 1860 U.S. census, there were about 385,000 slaveowners out of approximately 1.5 million white families.
In the early part of the 19th century, a variety of organizations were established advocating the movement of black people from the United States to locations where they would enjoy greater freedom; some endorsed colonization, while others advocated emigration. During the 1820s and 1830s the American Colonization Society (A.C.S.) was the primary vehicle for proposals to return black Americans to greater freedom and equality in Africa, and in 1821 the A.C.S. established the colony of Liberia, assisting thousands of former African-American slaves and free black people (with legislated limits) to move there from the United States. The colonization effort resulted from a mixture of motives with its founder Henry Clay stating; “unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country. It was desirable, therefore, as it respected them, and the residue of the population of the country, to drain them off”.
Although the Constitution had banned the importation of new African slaves in 1808, and in 1820 slave trade was equated with piracy, punishable by death, the practice of chattel slavery still existed for the next half century. All slaves in only the areas of the Confederate States of America that were not under direct control of the United States government were declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued on January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. It should be noted that the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to areas loyal to, or controlled by, the Union, thus the document only freed slaves where the Union still had not regained the legitimacy to do so. Slavery was not actually abolished in the United States until the passage of the 13th Amendment which was declared ratified on December 6, 1865.
About 4 million black slaves were freed in 1865. Ninety-five percent of blacks lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North. Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the civil war, including 6% in the North and an extraordinary 18% in the South. Despite this, post-emancipation America was not free from racism; discriminatory practices continued in the United States with the existence of Jim Crow laws, educational disparities and widespread criminal acts against people of color.
The new century saw a hardening of institutionalized racism and legal discrimination against citizens of African descent in the United States. Although technically able to vote, poll taxes, acts of terror (often perpetuated by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, founded in the Reconstruction South), and discriminatory laws such as grandfather clauses kept black Americans disenfranchised particularly in the South but also nationwide following the Hayes election at the end of the Reconstruction era in 1877. In response to de jure racism, protest and lobbyist groups emerged, most notably, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1909.
This time period is sometimes referred to as the nadir of American race relations because racism in the United States was worse during this time than at any period before or since. Segregation, racial discrimination, and expressions of white supremacy all increased. So did anti-black violence, including lynchings and race riots.
In addition, racism which had been viewed primarily as a problem in the Southern states, burst onto the national consciousness following the Great Migration, the relocation of millions of African Americans from their roots in the Southern states to the industrial centers of the North after World War I, particularly in cities such as Boston, Chicago, and New York (Harlem). In northern cities, racial tensions exploded, most violently in Chicago, and lynchings–mob-directed hangings, usually racially motivated—increased dramatically in the 1920s. As a member of the Princeton chapter of the NAACP, Albert Einstein corresponded with W. E. B. Du Bois, and in 1946 Einstein called racism America’s “worst disease”.
While substantial gains were made in the succeeding decades through middle class advancement and public employment, black poverty and lack of education deepened in the context of de-industrialization. Prejudice, discrimination, and institutional racism (see below) continued to affect African Americans.
From 1981 to 1997, the United States Department of Agriculture discriminated against tens of thousands of African American farmers, denying loans provided to white farmers in similar circumstances. The discrimination was the subject of the Pigford v. Glickman lawsuit brought by members of the National Black Farmers Association, which resulted in two settlement agreements of $1.25 billion in 1999 and of $1.15 billion in 2009.
Many cite the 2008 United States presidential election as a step forward in race relations: White Americans played a role in electing Barack Obama, the country’s first black president. In fact, Obama received a greater percentage of the white vote (43%), than did the previous Democratic candidate, John Kerry (41%). Racial divisions persisted throughout the election; wide margins of Black voters gave Obama an edge during the presidential primary, where 8 out of 10 African-Americans voted for him in the primaries, and an MSNBC poll showed that race was a key factor in whether a candidate was perceived as being ready for office. In South Carolina, for instance,”Whites were far likelier to name Clinton than Obama as being most qualified to be commander in chief, likeliest to unite the country and most apt to capture the White House in November. Blacks named Obama over Clinton by even stronger margins — two- and three-to one — in all three areas.”.
In February 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, four young African-American college students entered a Woolworth store and sat down at the counter but were refused service. The men had learned about non-violent protest in college, and continued to sit peacefully as whites tormented them at the counter, pouring ketchup on their heads and burning them with cigarettes. After this, many sit-ins took place to non-violently protest against racism and inequality. Sit-ins continued throughout the South and spread to other areas. Eventually, after many sit-ins and other non-violent protests, including marches and boycotts, places began to agree to desegregate.[broken citation]
In the Pacific States, racism was primarily directed against the resident Asian immigrants. Several immigration laws discriminated against the Asians, and at different points the ethnic Chinese or other groups were banned from entering the United States. Nonwhites were prohibited from testifying against whites, a prohibition extended to the Chinese by People v. Hall. The Chinese were often subject to harder labor on the First Transcontinental Railroad and often performed the more dangerous tasks such as using dynamite to make pathways through the mountains. The San Francisco Vigilance Movement, although ostensibly a response to crime and corruption, also systematically victimized Irish immigrants, and later this was transformed into mob violence against Chinese immigrants.. Anti-Chinese sentiment was also rife in early Los Angeles, culminating in a notorious 1871 riot in which a mob attacked Chinese residents.
In the ensuing inquests and trials, all the perpetrators either were acquitted, or received only light punishments for lesser offenses, because the testimony of Chinese witnesses was either completely inadmissible, or else considered less credible than that of others. Legal discrimination of Asian minorities was furthered with the passages of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned the entrance of virtually all ethnic Chinese immigrants into the United States until 1943.
During World War II, the United States created internment camps for Japanese American citizens in fear that they would be used as spies for the Japanese. Currently implemented immigration laws are still largely plagued with national origin-based quotas that are unfavorable to Asian countries due to large populations and historically low U.S. immigration rates
Americans of Latin American ancestry (often categorized as “Hispanic“) come from a wide variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Latinos are not all distinguishable as a racial minority.
After the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), the U.S. annexed much of the current Southwestern region from Mexico. Mexicans residing in that territory found themselves subject to discrimination. It is estimated that at least 597 Mexicans were lynched between 1848 and 1928 (this is a conservative estimate due to lack of records in many reported lynchings). Mexicans were lynched at a rate of 27.4 per 100,000 of population between 1880 and 1930. This statistic is second only to that of the African American community during that period, which suffered an average of 37.1 per 100,000 population. Between 1848 to 1879, Mexicans were lynched at an unprecedented rate of 473 per 100,000 of population.
During The Great Depression, the U.S. government sponsored a Mexican Repatriation program which was intended to encourage Mexican immigrants to voluntarily return to Mexico, however, many were forcibly removed against their will. In total, up to one million persons of Mexican ancestry were deported, approximately 60 percent of those individuals were actually U.S. citizens.
The Zoot Suit Riots were vivid incidents of racial violence against Latinos (e.g. Mexican-Americans) in Los Angeles in 1943. Naval servicemen stationed in a Latino neighborhood conflicted with youth in the dense neighborhood. Frequent confrontations between small groups and individuals had intensified into several days of non-stop rioting. Large mobs of servicemen would enter civilian quarters looking to attack Mexican American youths, some of whom were wearing zoot suits, a distinctive exaggerated fashion popular among that group. The disturbances continued unchecked, and even assisted, by the local police for several days before base commanders declared downtown Los Angeles and Mexican American neighborhoods off-limits to servicemen.
Many public institutions, businesses, and homeowners associations had official policies to exclude Mexican Americans. School children of Mexican American descent were subject to racial segregation in the public school system. In many counties, Mexican Americans were excluded from serving as jurors in court cases, especially in those that involved a Mexican American defendant. In many areas across the Southwest, they lived in separate residential areas, due to laws and real estate company policies.
During the 1960s, Mexican American youth rallied behind civil rights causes and launched the Chicano Movement.
Antisemitism has also played a role in America. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Ashkenazi Jews were escaping the pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe. They boarded boats from ports on the Baltic Sea and in Northern Germany, and largely arrived at Ellis Island, New York.
It is thought by Leo Rosten, in his book, ‘The Joys of Yiddish‘, that as soon as they left the boat, they were subject to racism from the port immigration authorities. The derogatory term ‘kike‘ was adopted when referring to Jews (because they often could not write so they may have signed their immigration papers with circles – or kikel in Yiddish).
From the 1910s, the Southern Jewish communities were attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, who objected to Jewish immigration, and often used ‘The Jewish Banker’ in their propaganda. In 1915, Texas-born, New York Jew Leo Frank was lynched by the newly re-formed Klan, after being convicted of rape and sentenced to death (his punishment was commuted to life imprisonment).
The events in Nazi Germany also attracted attention from America. Jewish lobbying for intervention in Europe drew opposition from the isolationists, amongst whom was Father Charles Coughlin, a well known radio priest, who was known to be critical of Jews, believing that they were leading America into the war. He preached in weekly, overtly anti-Semitic sermons and, from 1936, began publication of a newspaper, Social Justice, in which he printed anti-Semitic accusations such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
A number of Jewish organizations, Christian organizations, Muslim organizations, and academics consider the Nation of Islam to be anti-Semitic. Specifically, they claim that the Nation of Islam has engaged in revisionist and antisemitic interpretations of the Holocaust and exaggerates the role of Jews in the African slave trade. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) alleges that NOI Health Minister, Abdul Alim Muhammad, has accused Jewish doctors of injecting blacks with the AIDS virus, an allegation that Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad has denied.
People of Middle East and South Asian descent historically occupied an ambiguous racial status in the United States. Middle East, and South Asian immigrants were among those who sued in the late 19th and early 20th century to determine whether they were “white” immigrants as required by naturalization law. By 1923, courts had vindicated a “common-knowledge” standard, concluding that “scientific evidence”, including the notion of a “Caucasian race” including Arabs and many South Asians, was incoherent. Legal scholar John Tehranian argues that in reality this was a “performance-based” standard, relating to religious practices, education, intermarriage and a community’s role in the United States. Recent studies have found that while official parameters encompass Arabs as part of the White American racial category, many Arab Americans from places other than the Levant feel they are not white and are not perceived as white by American society.”
Racism against Arab Americans and racialized Islamophobia against Muslims has risen concomitantly with tensions between the American government and the Islamic world. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, discrimination and racialized violence has markedly increased against Arab Americans and many other religious and cultural groups. Scholars, including Sunaina Maira and Evelyn Alsultany, argue that in the post-September 11 climate, Muslim Americans have been racialized within American society, although the markers of this racialization are cultural, political, and religious rather than phenotypic.
Middle Easterners in particular were demonized which led to hatred towards Arabs and Iranians living in the United States and elsewhere in the western world. There have been attacks against Arabs not only on the basis of their religion (Islam), but also on the basis of their ethnicity; numerous Christian Arabs have been attacked based on their appearances. In addition, non-Arab peoples (Iranians, Assyrians, Yezidis, Kurds) who are mistaken for Arabs because of perceived “similarities in appearance” have been collateral victims of anti-Arabism.
Iranian people (who constitute a different ethnicity than Arabs), as well as South Asians of different ethnic/religious backgrounds (Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs) have been stereotyped as “Arabs”. The case of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh who was murdered at a Phoenix gas station by a white supremacist for “looking like an Arab terrorist” (because of the turban that is a requirement of Sikhism), as well as that of Hindus being attacked for “being Muslims” have achieved prominence and criticism following the September 11 attacks.
Those of Middle Eastern descent who are in the United States military face racism from fellow soldiers. Army Spc Zachari Klawonn endured numerous instances of racism during his enlistment at Fort Hood, Texas. During his basic training he was made to put cloth around his head and play the role a terrorist. His fellow soldiers had to take him down to the ground and draw guns on him. He was also called things such as “raghead”, “sand monkey”, and “Zachari bin Laden”.”
The November 1979 Iranian hostage crisis of the U.S. embassy in Tehran precipitated a wave of anti-Iranian sentiment in the United States, directed both against the new Islamic regime and Iranian nationals and immigrants. Even though such sentiments gradually declined after the release of the hostages at the start of 1981, they sometimes flare up. In response, some Iranian immigrants to the U.S. have distanced themselves from their nationality and instead identify primarily on the basis of their ethnic or religious affiliations.
Since the 1980s and especially since the 1990s Hollywood’s depiction of Iranians has gradually shown signs of vilifying Iranians. Hollywood network productions such as 24, John Doe, On Wings of Eagles (1986), Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper (1981), and JAG almost regularly host Persian speaking villains in their storylines. On May 9, 1997, CBS aired an episode of JAG in which several Hamas terrorists take a Washington hospital under siege. According to the film, they spoke in fluent “Persian”, not “Arabic”.
Various non-Jewish European-American immigrant groups have been subject to discrimination either on the basis of their immigrant status (known as “Nativism“) or on the basis of their ethnicities (country of origin).
In the 19th century, this was particularly true of anti-Irish prejudice, which was partly anti-Catholic sentiment, partly anti-Irish as an ethnicity. This was especially true for Irish Catholics who immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-19th century; the large number of Irish (both Catholic and Protestant) who settled in America in the 18th century had largely (but not entirely) escaped such discimination and eventually blended into the American white population.
The 20th century saw racism against immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe (notably Italian-Americans and Polish Americans), partly from anti-Catholic sentiment (as against Irish-Americans), and partly from Nordicism, which considered Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans inferior – see Nordicism in the USA.
|“||Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides.||”|
|—Future US president Calvin Coolidge, 1921.|
Nordicism led to the reduction in Southern European and Eastern European immigrants in the National Origins Formula of the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924, whose goal was to maintain the status quo distribution of ethnicity by limiting immigration in proportion to existing populations. This reduced the inflow from the average prior to 1921 of 176,983 from Northern and Western Europe, and 685,531 for other countries, principally Southern and Eastern Europe, to a 1924 level of 140,999 for Northern and Western Europe, and 21,847 for other countries, principally Southern and Eastern Europe (from a 1:3.9 ratio to a 6.4:1 ratio).
There was also racism against German-Americans and Italian-Americans due to these being enemy countries in World War I (Germany) and World War II (Germany and Italy). This resulted in a sharp decrease in German-American ethnic identity and a sharp decrease in the use of German in the United States following WWI, which had hitherto been significant, and to German American internment and Italian American internment during WWII; see also World War I anti-German sentiment.
Specific European-American ethnicities significantly diminished as a political issue in the 1930s, being replaced by a bi-racialism of Black/White, as described and predicted by Lothrop Stoddard, due to numerous causes. The National Origins Formula significantly reduced inflows of non-Nordic ethnicities; the Great Migration (of African-Americans out of the South) displaced anti-White immigrant racism with anti-Black racism; and the Great Depression brought economic concerns to the fore.
Anti-Catholic sentiment remained evident in the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, who nevertheless went on to become the US’s first Catholic (and indeed non-Protestant) president.
In the 1960s and 1970s, ethnic jokes most notably Jew Jokes and Polish Jokes were popular, but are considered offensive to people of Irish, Italian, Polish, Jewish and other White ethnic descent.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s early 1990s many immigrants came to the United States from Eastern Europe. A new type of racism which is based on the former Cold War stereotypes began to target white people from the former Soviet states. There are many jokes refer to a communist past, corruption, alcohol consumption, prostitution, and unemployment. Some people began to use words like Eurotrash, mafia, cracker, commie, Borat, and Russki when refer to Russians, Ukranians, Belarusians, or Balcans: Serbs, Albanians and others. During the Olympic Games in Vancouver NBC’s commenter Mike Milbury used the term ‘Eurotrash’ to describe Russian hockey team. A ska band from Boston called Dropkicks Murphy’s wrote a song called “Eurotrash” which promotes violence against Europeans and European culture. Jokes about Russian mail brides, Eastern European prostitutes, and fashion models became popular among young people in the United States.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
||This article or section appears to contradict itself. Please see the talk page for more information. (May 2011)|
In addition to racism against European immigrants on the basis of their immigrant status or country of origin, there has also been racism against European Americans on the basis of their ethnicity, regardless of country of origin. A general anti-white slur is “cracker“.
Some policies adopted as affirmative action, such as racial quotas or gender quotas for collegiate admission, have been criticized as a form of “reverse discrimination“. Affirmative action is sometimes called “reverse racism” by its opponents; some sociologists argue that the term “racism” can only be applied to structured systems of racial supremacy, and that opponents would more correctly call affirmative action “reverse discrimination.”
In Hawai‘i, there is an alleged tradition dating at least to the 1950s of the last day of school called “Kill Haole Day“, “Haole” originally referring to foreigners, and more generally to white people. There is a custom, reported in Cleveland, Ohio in 2003, of May Day (May 1) being “Beat Up a White Kid Day.”
Certain subgroups of White Americans, while not identifying as separate races (often identifying as having “American ethnicity“), have distinct heritages and experience discrimination and low socio-economic status as an ethnicity.
The status of poor rural whites has often been compared to that of blacks, being also seen as suffering from slavery (because unable to compete with the free labor of slaves). Such descriptions date to the 19th century, as is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and poor rural whites continue to lag on numerous socio-economic indicators (health, income, and the like) – see social and economic stratification in Appalachia.
One series of unprovoked crimes that specifically targeted White Americans is the Zebra murders that occurred in San Francisco between 1973 and 1974. The Zebra murders were carried out by a group known as Death Angels (a radical splinter group of the Nation of Islam) that intended to kill whites to spread terror and earn favor and status within their sect.
Another series of crimes that specifically targeted whites is the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks which planned to kill six whites a day for 30 days, and resulted in 10 deaths and 3 critical injuries. One of the snipers Lee Boyd Malvo testified that John Allen Muhammad was driven by hatred of America because of its “slavery, hypocrisy and foreign policy” and his belief that “the white man is the devil.”
In the popular imagination, racism is particularly associated with the American South, with its legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. However, all regions of the United States have exhibited racism in various forms and at various times. For example, the Great Migration of African Americans (1910–1930) from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West, led to increased Black/White contact, racism, and segregation in the destinations.
The Pacific and Western states were often portrayed to those on the East Coast as more liberal in terms of race relations in the 1960s and 1970s, but California legally allowed racial segregation of public facilities until the 1950s and other forms of racism were felt there as well.
Over the winter spanning 1929 and 1930, anti-Filipino racism exploded in the Central Coast area surrounding Watsonville over labor tensions and general xenophobia. Filipino farm workers were terrorized for “taking jobs from whites,” and for mixing with white women; in California, and many states, Filipinos were barred from marrying White Americans (a group which included Hispanic Americans). Violence was directed towards Filipinos, some resulting in deaths, and a Filipino establishment was even dynamited. A race war broke out in the Bay Area, with roving gangs of whites pulling Filipinos from their homes and dwellings, until the violence subsided. As a result of the riots, California’s attitude changed towards importing cheaper Asian labor, ironically moving towards utilizing cheaper Mexican labor instead.
A variety of laws were enacted to prevent African American migration to the Pacific Northwest. While slavery was criminalized in the Oregon Territory in 1844, a so-called “lash law” subjected blacks found guilty of violating the law to whippings—no less than 20 and no more than 39 strokes of the lash—every six months “until he or she shall quit the territory.” An exclusion law, barring African Americans from entering the territory was passed in 1847, repealed in 1854, and added to the new Oregon state constitution in 1857. While African Americans have been present at some level since 1805, the demographic reverberations of these laws remain today.
The earliest decades of expansionist United States foreign policy making was often accompanied by racialist ideological justifications. While pursuing a series of expansionist wars (see “Racism against Native Americans” above), American leaders embraced an ideology of white racial supremacy. George Washington predicted at the end of the U.S. Revolutionary War, “The gradual extension of our settlements will as certainly cause the savage, as the wolf, to retire; both being beasts of prey, tho’ they differ in shape.” The successful slave revolution in Haiti alarmed the United States leadership, and the country refused diplomatic recognition for decades. The United States conquest of Florida and the Seminole Wars were fought in part to confront the danger of “mingled hordes of lawless Indians and negroes,” in the words of President John Quincy Adams.
Early 20th-century President Theodore Roosevelt declared, “The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages” and openly spoke of cementing the rule of “dominant world races.” In line with the concepts of the “Manifest Destiny” of white Anglo-Americans to conquer lands inhabited by “inferior” races of Native Americans and Mexicans, and the “White Man’s Burden” of Europeans’ obligation to introduce civilization to the “primitive” people of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, American foreign policy in the early 20th century had racial overtones of a “superior” race destined to rule the world.
Critics such as Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky have suggested that racism has played a significant role in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and its treatment of the Arabs. Various critics have suggested that racism along with strategic and financial interests motivated the Bush Administration to attack Iraq even though the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction nor had any ties to Al Qaida. On the other hand, some scholars believe that the United States has softened racial restrictions based on foreign policy concerns. For example, Congress eliminated racial bars on Asian immigration during World War II and the Vietnam War to recognize American allies. When the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education, the government argued that the Supreme Court should rule against racial segregation to counter Communist propaganda and improve America’s image overseas.
The “War on Drugs“, a term coined by President Nixon, was a law enforcement effort by US presidents starting from Nixon to oppose the sale, distribution and usage of illegal drugs. This term as well as the effects of this war, has become controversial for the way it has hurt Black people, racial minorities and poor people in the US. A big part of this effort has involved in the arresting of Americans (over 13 million) mostly of color.
One of every nine black families has a close relative in prison over aggressive arrests done by US law enforcement. Even though usage of illegal drugs are roughly the same along racial lines, the Drug Policy Alliance Network shows that blacks constitute 13 percent of drug users, but are 38 percent of people arrested for drug offenses, and 59 percent of those convicted. The Human Rights Watch supported this claim as well, stating that of blacks convicted of drug crimes 71% are incarcerated, compared with 63% of convicted whites. US laws have a much higher penalty for possession and distribution of crack cocaine, a frequently used drug among African Americans and this affects the Black community as well.
Minority racism is sometimes considered controversial because of theories of power in society. Some theories of racism insist that racism can only exist in the context of social power to impose it upon others.
There has been ongoing violence between African American and Mexican American gangs, particularly in Southern California. There have been reports of racially motivated attacks against Mexican Americans who have moved into neighborhoods occupied mostly by African Americans, and vice versa. According to gang experts and law enforcement agents, a longstanding race war between the Mexican Mafia and the Black Guerilla Family, a rival African American prison gang, has generated such intense racial hatred among Mexican Mafia leaders, or shot callers, that they have issued a “green light” on all blacks. This amounts to a standing authorization for Latino gang members to prove their mettle by terrorizing or even murdering any blacks sighted in a neighborhood claimed by a gang loyal to the Mexican Mafia.[dead link] There have been several significant riots in California prisons where Mexican American inmates and African Americans have targeted each other particularly, based on racial reasons.
The rapid growth in African immigrants has come into conflict with American blacks. Interaction and cooperation between African immigrants and black Americans are, ironically, debatable. One can argue that racial discrimination and cooperation is not ordinarily based on color of skin but more on shared common, cultural experiences, and beliefs.
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The U.S. has long had experienced conflict and reconciliation between ethnic minority groups.
Historians point out after a period of conflict, ethnic and racial groups can band together in solidarity. For example, the competing Irish-American and Italian-American groups once held animosity against each other in the early 20th century, would later merge and also with Polish-Americans, German-Americans and French-Canadians in the U.S. because of the commonality as “ethnics” and Roman Catholics in a primarily Protestant Anglo America by the 1940s and ’50s. The modern American consciousness on race will consider descendants of European ethnic groups assimilated to become part of the larger “White American” group.
In the 1960s & ’70s, African-American and Puerto Rican political activism banded together to battle the common problems of racial discrimination, poverty and underpresentation in many urban areas across the US like in New York City. Also to note there was substantial intermarriage between the newly-arrived Indian American, later came the Filipino and Hispanic communities in California under similar working conditions and shared cultural values in the 1920s (see Punjabi Mexican American).
The current-day social melange of “minorities” and “people of color” echoes the previous experience of European ethnic groups’ sense of “otherness” about 2 or 3 generations ago.
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This racist postcard from the 1900s shows the casual denigration of black women. It states “I know you’re not particular to a fault / Though I’m not sure you’ll never be sued for assault / You’re so fond of women that even a wench / Attracts your gross fancy despite her strong stench”
Popular culture (songs, theater) for European American audiences in the 19th century created and perpetuated negative stereotypes of African Americans. One key symbol of racism against African Americans was the use of blackface. Directly related to this was the institution of minstrelsy. Other stereotypes of African Americans included the fat, dark-skinned “mammy” and the irrational, hypersexual male “buck”.
Other stereotypes include the portrayal of East Asians as very small people with huge front teeth; the portrayal of Native Americans as dangerous savages; the portrayal of Australians as blonde rednecks who do nothing but ride kangaroos and cook food on the barbie; and the portrayal of Frenchmen who wear berets and striped shirts, smoke, love watching Jerry Lewis and give up too easily.
Increasing numbers of African-American activists have asserted that rap music videos utilize African-American performers commonly enacting tropes of scantily clothed women and men as thugs or pimps. Church organized groups have protested outside the residence of Phillipe Dauman (Upper East Side (New York, NY)) (president and chief executive officer of Viacom) and the residence of Debra L. Lee (Northwest Washington DC) (chairman and chief executive of Black Entertainment Television, a unit of Viacom). Rev. Donald Coates, leader of a protest organization formed around the issue of the videos, “Enough is Enough!” said, “In the wake of the Imus affair, I began to think that the African-American community must be consistent in its outrage.” The Clifton, Maryland minister has also said, “Why are these corporations making these images normative and mainstream?” … “I can talk about this in the church until I am blue in the face, but we need to take it outside.” The NAACP and the National Congress of Black Women also have called for the reform of images on videos and on television. Julian Bond said that in a segregated society, people get their impressions of other groups from what they see in videos and what they hear in music.
In a similar vein, activists protested against the BET show, Hot Ghetto Mess, which satirizes the culture of working-class African-Americans. The protests resulted in the change of the television show name to We Got to Do Better.
In September, 2007 Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois initiated a Congressional hearing on African-American images in the media, “From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images.”
The Jim Crow Laws were state and local laws enacted in the Southern and border states of the United States and enforced between 1876 and 1965. They mandated “separate but equal” status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were almost always inferior to those provided to white Americans. The most important laws required that public schools, public places and public transportation, like trains and buses, have separate facilities for whites and blacks. (These Jim Crow Laws were separate from the 1800-66 Black Codes, which had restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans.) State-sponsored school segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act; none were in effect at the end of the 1960s.
Segregation continued even after the demise of the Jim Crow laws. Data on house prices and attitudes toward integration from suggest that in the mid-20th century, segregation was a product of collective actions taken by whites to exclude blacks from their neighborhoods. Segregation also took the form of redlining, the practice of denying or increasing the cost of services, such as banking, insurance, access to jobs, access to health care, or even supermarkets to residents in certain, often racially determined, areas. Although in the United States informal discrimination and segregation have always existed, the practice called “redlining” began with the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The practice was fought first through passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (which prevents redlining when the criteria for redlining are based on race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, or ethnic origin), and later through the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which requires banks to apply the same lending criteria in all communities. Although redlining is illegal some argue that it continues to exist in other forms.
Black-White segregation is declining fairly consistently for most metropolitan areas and cities. Despite these pervasive patterns, many changes for individual areas are small. Thirty years after the civil rights era, the United States remains a residentially segregated society in which Blacks and Whites inhabit different neighborhoods of vastly different quality.
Some researchers suggest that racial segregation may lead to disparities in health and mortality. Thomas LaVeist (1989; 1993) tested the hypothesis that segregation would aid in explaining race differences in infant mortality rates across cities. Analyzing 176 large and midsized cities, LaVeist found support for the hypothesis. Since LaVeist’s studies, segregation has received increased attention as a determinant of race disparities in mortality. Studies have shown that mortality rates for male and female African Americans are lower in areas with lower levels of residential segregation. Mortality for male and female Whites was not associated in either direction with residential segregation.
Researchers Sharon A. Jackson, Roger T. Anderson, Norman J. Johnson and Paul D. Sorlie found that, after adjustment for family income, mortality risk increased with increasing minority residential segregation among Blacks aged 25 to 44 years and non-Blacks aged 45 to 64 years. In most age/race/gender groups, the highest and lowest mortality risks occurred in the highest and lowest categories of residential segregation, respectively. These results suggest that minority residential segregation may influence mortality risk and underscore the traditional emphasis on the social underpinnings of disease and death. Rates of heart disease among African Americans are associated with the segregation patterns in the neighborhoods where they live (Fang et al. 1998). Stephanie A. Bond Huie writes that neighborhoods affect health and mortality outcomes primarily in an indirect fashion through environmental factors such as smoking, diet, exercise, stress, and access to health insurance and medical providers. Moreover, segregation strongly influences premature mortality in the US.
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Institutional racism is the theory that aspects of the structure, pervasive attitudes, and established institutions of society disadvantage some racial groups, although not by an overtly discriminatory mechanism. There are several factors that play into institutional racism, including but not limited to: accumulated wealth/benefits from racial groups that have benefited from past discrimination, educational and occupational disadvantages faced by non-native English speakers in the United States, ingrained stereotypical images that still remain in the society (e.g. black men are likely to be criminals).
Access to United States citizenship was restricted by race, beginning with the Naturalization Act of 1790 which refused naturalization to “non-whites.” Many in the modern United States forget the institutionalized prejudice against white followers of Roman Catholicism who immigrated from countries such as Ireland, Germany, Italy and France. Other efforts include the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the 1924 National Origins Act. The Immigration Act of 1924 was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s. While officially prohibited, U.S. officials continue to differentially apply laws on illegal immigration depending on national origin (essentially declining to enforce immigration laws against citizens of rich countries who overstay their visas) and personal economy (differentially awarding visas to foreign nationals based on bank accounts, properties and so on).
Massive racial differentials in account of wealth remain in the United States: between whites and African Americans, the gap is a factor of twenty. An analyst of the phenomenon, Thomas Shapiro, professor of law and social policy at Brandeis University argues, “The wealth gap is not just a story of merit and achievement, it’s also a story of the historical legacy of race in the United States.” Differentials applied to the Social Security Act (which excluded agricultural workers, a sector that then included most black workers), rewards to military officers, and the educational benefits offered returning soldiers after World War II. Pre-existing disparities in wealth are exacerbated by tax policies that reward investment over waged income, subsidize mortgages, and subsidize private sector developers. However, according to the US Census, the highest percentage of citizens in America living below the poverty line are white Americans, and not African Americans.
Before removal and “under white influence”, some Southern Native American tribes owned African American slaves. The Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw were known to have had slaves. However, unlike white slaveholders, they encouraged the young black slaves to attend the schools opened for the Indian children. The children they had with black women and men were raised in practical equality with their full blooded offspring.”  Unlike the United States before Emancipation, African Americans (and European Americans) were allowed to become citizens of their respective Native American nations; however, it was rare for African Americans to become citizens of Native American nations. For example, a small number of “Free People of Color” lived in many Native American nations as Cherokee, Choctaw, or Creek citizens. There were also African-American slave owners.
In the US racial differences in health and quality of life often persist even at equivalent socioeconomics levels. Individual and institutional discrimination, along with the stigma of inferiority, can adversely affect health. Residence in poor neighborhoods, racial bias in medical care, the stress of experiences of discrimination and the acceptance of the societal stigma of inferiority can have deleterious consequences for health. Using The Schedule of Racist Events (SRE), an 18-item self-report inventory that assesses the frequency of racist discrimination. Hope Landrine and Elizabeth A. Klonoff found that racist discrimination is rampant in the lives of African Americans and is strongly related to psychiatric symptoms. A study on racist events in the lives of African American women found that lifetime experiences of racism were positively related to lifetime history of both physical disease and frequency of recent common colds. These relationships were largely unaccounted for by other variables. Demographic variables such as income and education were not related to experiences of racism. The results suggest that racism can be detrimental to African American’s well being. The physiological stress caused by racism has been documented in studies by Claude Steele, Joshua Aronson, and Steven Spencer on what they term “stereotype threat.” Kennedy et al. found that both measures of collective disrespect were strongly correlated with black mortality (r = 0.53 to 0.56), as well as with white mortality (r = 0.48 to 0.54). These data suggest that racism, measured as an ecologic characteristic, is associated with higher mortality in both blacks and whites.
They are major racial differences in access to health care and in the quality of health care provided. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that: “over 886,000 deaths could have been prevented from 1991 to 2000 if African Americans had received the same care as whites.” The key differences they cited were lack of insurance, inadequate insurance, poor service, and reluctance to seek care. A history of government-sponsored experimentation, such as the notorious Tuskegee Syphilis Study has left a legacy of African American distrust of the medical system.
Inequalities in health care may also reflect a systemic bias in the way medical procedures and treatments are prescribed for different ethnic groups. Raj Bhopal writes that the history of racism in science and medicine shows that people and institutions behave according to the ethos of their times and warns of dangers to avoid in the future. Nancy Krieger contended that much modern research supported the assumptions needed to justify racism. Racism she writes underlies unexplained inequities in health care, including treatment for heart disease, renal failure, bladder cancer, and pneumonia. Raj Bhopal writes that these inequalities have been documented in numerous studies. The consistent and repeated findings that black Americans receive less health care than white Americans—particularly where this involves expensive new technology.
Affirmative action is a policy or program intended to promote access to education or employment for minority groups and women. Motivation for affirmative action policies is to redress the effects of past discrimination and to encourage public institutions such as universities, hospitals, and police forces to be more representative of the population.
Affirmative action programs may include targeted recruitment efforts, preferential treatment given to applicants from historically disadvantaged groups, and in some cases the use of quotas. Most American universities and some employers practice affirmative action.
Some opponents of affirmative action view the greater access by women and minority groups to be at the expense of groups considered dominant (typically white men). This view is typically associated with symbolic racism, a modern, indirect form of racism that values equality of opportunity but sees these minority groups as receiving more than they deserve and violating traditional White merit norms.  In their view, these policies demonstrate an overt preference for applicants from particular backgrounds over better-qualified (or equally-qualified) candidates from other backgrounds. Some opponents of affirmative action believe the only consideration in choosing between applicants should be merit. Some also criticize affirmative action because they believe it perpetuates racial division instead of minimizing the importance of race in American society.
Supporters of affirmative action believe that the perceived injustice to the dominant group is not supported by facts. They point to statistics that suggest that affirmative action has not resulted in fewer opportunities for white people. For example, white enrollment in universities has increased along with minority enrollment. In 1973, 30% of white high school graduates attended universities; in 1993, after widespread implementation of affirmative action policies, that number had risen to 42%. Some supporters of affirmative action point out that, even in the absence of affirmative action, college admissions rarely are purely merit-based: athletes, musicians, and legacy students (children of alumni) have always been given preferential treatment. For example, Harvard University admits 35-40% of legacy applicants, and a rejected white applicant is more likely to have been displaced by a legacy student than by one who benefited from affirmative action.
Most hate crimes in the United States target victims on the basis of race or ethnicity (for Federal purposes, crimes targeting Hispanics based on that identity are considered based on ethnicity). Leading forms of bias cited in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, based on law enforcement agency filings are: anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-white, anti-homosexual, and anti-Hispanic bias in that order in both 2004 and 2005. There are more hate crimes against whites than against Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and multiracial groups – a statistically expected trend given that there far more whites than other ethnic groups put together. By contrast, the National Criminal Victimization Survey, finds that per capita rates of hate crime victimization varied little by race or ethnicity, and the differences are not statistically significant.
The New Century Foundation, a white nationalist organization founded by Jared Taylor, argues that blacks are more likely than whites to commit hate crimes, and that FBI figures inflate the number of hate crimes committed by whites by counting Hispanics as “white”. Other analysts are sharply critical of the NCF’s findings, referring to the criminological mainstream view that “Racial and ethnic data must be treated with caution. Existing research on crime has generally shown that racial or ethnic identity is not predictive of criminal behavior with data which has been controlled for social and economic factors.” NCF’s methodology and statistics are further sharply criticized as flawed and deceptive by anti-racist activists Tim Wise and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The first post-Jim Crow era hate crime to make sensational media attention was the beating death of Vincent Chin, an Asian American of Chinese descent in 1982. He was attacked by a mob of white assailants who were recently laid off from a Detroit area auto factory job and blamed the Japanese for their individual unemployment. Chin was not of Japanese descent, but the assailants testified at the criminal court case that he “looked like a Jap”, an ethnic slur used to describe Japanese and other Asians, and that they were angry enough to beat him to death. They served no jail time and were acquitted of all charges.
Supremacist, separatist, racist, and hate groups still operate in the United States. The Ku Klux Klan, the National Alliance, National Socialist Movement (United States), New Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam, United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, Aryan Nations, League of the South, Voz de Aztlán, Nation of Yahweh, the Jewish Defense League, and the White Order of Thule are among the institutions most commonly identified in this way.
Organizations known for anti-racist and civil rights activism are the NAACP (National Association of the Advancement of Colored People), the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center), the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Council of La Raza representing Latinos, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the National Italian American Foundation, the Japan Society of America, and the National Congress of American Indians among others.. There are also many individual and grassroots websites and movements that are against racism, such as: Islamophobia-watch.com, AgainstRacism.Info and numerous others across the World Wide Web. They aim to expose the racism and discrimination in its many forms in order to combat them.
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The goal was not to relax lending restrictions but rather to get banks to apply the same criteria in the inner-city as in the suburbs.