Slavery in the US
Just a slave who looked at a white woman . . .
The propaganda machine tells us the US was a colony that had been founded on the principles of religious freedom and tolerance.
Just a slave who looked at a white woman . . . But in modern American history, slavery was very clearly connected to the American pursuit of economic, political and cultural supremacy.
Some of the very first ships arriving in the new land of America were carrying slaves for the local market, as early as the 1600s.
Current estimates are that at least 12 million Africans were kidnapped and transported to the US for the local and hemispheric slave markets. Some historians put the number at over 20 million.
The slave trade, and the right to own slaves, was so embedded in the American psyche that the US fought its civil war over the issue.
Slavery was abolished by the end of the 1860s, but for another 100 years there was a huge backlash against black people resulting in terrorism, hangings, and countless laws intended to prevent economic and political competition by blacks.
From the late 1800s, the White-Supremacist Ku Klux Klan in the US South was notorious for decades for dressing in white sheets, abducting blacks from their homes, and either hanging them or tying them to crosses and burning them alive.
The Klan is still active in the US today, marking 170 years of spreading white-supremacist terror in the Southern US.
Current estimates are that there are about 180 of these groups active today, with membership totalling about 8,000.
A current high-ranking US politician, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, was a Klan member – something he now says he regrets.
Treatment of Black Slaves was Inhuman
According to one historian, Blacks were, “hanged, burned, beaten, tortured, murdered, chopped up, whipped, by human butchers, who cut and mangle the slaves in a shocking manner on the most trifling occasions, and altogether treat them in every respect like brutes.”
They used to “drive nails into a hogshead so as to leave the point of the nail just protruding in the inside of the cask. They would then put a slave into the cask, nail the lid shut, and roll it down a very long and steep hill.”
The slave owners would flog them to death, until they were just one mass of blood and raw flesh, thinking nothing more of it than of a dog being killed.
The stories of the immense and heartless cruelty done by white Americans to their black slaves, would make you shrink in horror at the inhuman savagery of it all.
But Americans will insist that their country was founded on Christian values, on ‘freedom and human rights’, and US congresswoman Michele Bachman tells us breathlessly that black slavery wasn’t so bad because it gave children an opportunity to grow up in a “family environment”.
Such blindness is as typical as it is incomprehensible.
Things Didn’t Improve Much After Slavery was Abolished
Countless black men were either openly beaten to death or quietly murdered, for the crime of looking at a white woman. Often, it was the police who did the killing, and even the FBI mostly ignored the terrorism and lawlessness, preferring to find ‘communists’ instead.
Many thousands of black people were lynched in the US – murders committed publicly by the white community, usually because they accused blacks of “sexual madness and excess”. Often, just looking at a white woman was a reason to be killed.
Racial Segregation is Institutionalised in the US
Segregation laws were enforced in the US until the 1960s and 1970s, mandating separate and inferior treatment of blacks compared to those provided for 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.
It was only the bitterly-contested Civil Rights Act of 1964 that finally tried to prevent outright discrimination and segregation against black people – having to ride in the back of the bus, not being served in ‘white’ restaurants, forbidden to use public facilities, colored children unable to attend ‘white’ schools.
But even with this, America has always remained deeply racist, and blacks were routinely abused and murdered with little recourse to justice. In fact, the last public vigilante lynching of a black man occurred in the US in the 1970s – not so long ago.
And today, thirty years after the civil rights era, the United States still remains a residentially segregated society in which Blacks and Whites inhabit different neighborhoods of vastly different quality.
Racism in America is Alive and Well Today
Throughout its history, the US – and Americans – have always been alarmingly racist. The situation was worse in some parts of the nation than others, but that is neither excuse nor explanation.
Segregation, racial discrimination, and expressions of white supremacy were all in strong evidence, as were anti-black violence, including lynchings and race riots.
After the shooting in Arizona of a US politician, the the local sheriff said, “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. Pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”
In a Der Spiegel Editorial, on January 9, 2011, the newspaper wrote of:
“the inherent aggressiveness of the American political culture, an aggressiveness that is itself anchored in a public that’s fearful of change and hostile to opposing viewpoints. Americans are looking at themselves in a mirror distorted by hatred and fear.”
In one famous event, that of the damage to the city of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, US media showed photos of white people roaming through their devastated city, with captions like “homeless citizens looking for food and water”.
But an almost identical photo of blacks carried the caption “Blacks looting the shops in New Orleans”. So the whites were just looking for food, but the blacks were theives wanting to steal TV sets.
In the US today, salaries for whites are much higher than for blacks, and the percentage of assets owned by blacks is minuscule compared to the white population. Many other inequities are common, mostly based on race.
And today, the racism continues essentially unabated against the blacks. More than two-thirds of all people in US prisons are black or Hispanic, and yet they make up only a small part of the total population. It is difficult to avoid concluding these people are targeted.
Discrimination and racism against Asians
Many US immigration laws discriminated against the Asians – and still do – and at different points Chinese or other groups were banned from entering the US. For a long time, non-whites were prohibited from testifying in courts against whites, a prohibition the Americans graciously extended to the Chinese.
Access to United States citizenship was restricted by race, beginning with the Naturalization Act of 1790 which refused naturalization to “non-whites.” The situation has not improved all that much, though Americans are likely to protest this.
Obtaining a travel visa to the US is still extremely difficult for most Asians – and for all Chinese – on no sensible or justifiable basis. This is simply racism and American supremacy, coupled with the Americans’ tendency to give the finger to any nation unwilling to adopt its “universal values”. In other words, nations unwilling to be colonised and bullied by the US ‘national interest’.
Latin Americans didn’t fare much better. During The Great Depression, as many as one million persons of Mexican ancestry, most of whom were US citizens, were forcibly deported against their will.
Racism as a factor in US foreign policy
The Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 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.
It can easily be theorised 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.
Wealth creation and Health Care Inequality
Massive racial differentials in account of wealth remain in the United States: between whites and African Americans – the gap is a factor of ten or more. Blacks, Asians and Latinos earn smaller incomes and own little in the US compared to whites.
Readers will note the US statistics on infant mortality and longevity, where both are far more favorable for whites than for other peoples. This is racist. It isn’t the rich Jewish kids who are dying early – it’s the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and blacks. And they don’t matter. The white section of the population is ok.
There are major racial differences in access to, 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.”
Black babies are still nearly 2.5 times more likely than white babies to die before reaching their first birthday.
Inequalities in health care may also reflect a systemic bias in the way medical procedures and treatments are prescribed for different ethnic groups. The consistent and repeated findings that black Americans receive less health care than white Americans – particularly where this involves expensive new technology.
Another Country’s View of US Racism
Here is an interesting article from Al Jazeera, the Arab publication that has recently been co-opted by US interests and is normally favorable in its views of America. See the reference at page bottom.
“Like the US as a whole, the land is soaked with religiosity and racism, but unlike the rest of the country, the land has been soaking in them for about 400 years.
The result is that religion and racism are completely natural features in the landscape of public affairs, and to it notice would be like noticing the air you breath and the water you drink, and doing that is to stand outside of the normal patterns of political life.”
The Foundation of “Human Rights” in America
The newly established USA continued the policy of ruthless genocide that Columbus himself had begun, and that other European colonialists continued to perpetrate in his wake. Mass extermination was implemented to clear land for white settlers.
The Only Good Indian is a Dead Indian
But Obama seems to think it’s funny . . .
But Obama seems to think it’s funny . . . The genocide against American Natives was one of the most massive, and longest lasting genocidal campaigns in human history.
It started, like all genocides, with the oppressor treating the victims as sub-humans.
It continued until almost all Natives were wiped off the face of the earth, along with much of the language, culture and religion of hundreds of tribes.
By about 1900 the native population had been reduced to 2.5% of its original numbers and 98% of the aboriginal land base had been expropriated.
By this sustained policy of genocide, the Native population had been reduced from as many as 12 million, to a little over 200,000.
Some US governments offered large rewards for the scalps of dead indians. It was so lucrative that in many areas murdering Indians became a flourishing business – and one of the best-paying jobs in America.
The US Founding Fathers and the great presidents of the United States shared at least one common characteristic – they all believed in white supremacy and promoted the extinction of all native Indians – a concept which exists among the US Far Right today.
In the Words of the “Great” Presidents
“lay waste all the settlements around…that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed”. And don’t “listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected”. His troops would also skin the bodies of Natives “from the hips downward to make boot tops or leggings”.
Indian resistance must be met with “the hatchet. And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe… we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated .. we shall destroy all of them”.
This great American hero and Nobel peace prize winner said that America’s extermination of the Indians and the theft of their land “was ultimately beneficial as it was inevitable”. He said, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth”.
We Forget, and Then We Lie
Since being spoken by some of America’s favorite leaders and heros, these words have conveniently been forgotten by US historians who prefer to rewrite their own history.
Wikipedia disingenuously tells us the American natives today are ‘flourishing’ on their lands, but the truth is rather different.
Almost all native tribes have been destroyed, all culture lost, and the few remaining are living on isolated lands, some subsisting by hunting and fishing, some running gambling casinos, and many performing insulting tribal dances to entertain tourists.
Many are burned-out, desolated drunks, and Native Indians have the highest suicide rate of all peoples in the world today.
It is to the everlasting good fortune of Tibetans that America was never successful in its persistent CIA-inspired efforts to ‘free’ Tibet. If it had succeeded, Tibet today would be the same haunted graveyard as is much of America.
And How do Americans Feel About This?
Just as you would expect from people who believe they are racially and spiritually superior to everyone:
“I agree that previous generations of Americans committed atrocities against Native American populations. I do not believe, however, that the current generation bears any responsibility – or owes an apology for the sins of the past.”
“What bullshit. The Indians declared war on a technologically superior civilization – bad move.”