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Race Relations Essay Research Paper In a

Race Relations Essay Research Paper In a

Race Relations Essay, Research Paper

In a country dedicated to promoting the concept of free and eternal equally among the cultures from within and around the world. A country that sets forth policies and supports organizations dedicated to protecting people of every race and securing a future where race is no longer an issue, concern or judgement. A country that retains the mission of peacekeeping and fighting for justice to benefit ourselves and our future generations. A country of diversity and a country with a somewhat masked society, scattered throughout the country in various groups with the same compassion for this country, but with different ideologies as to our social concepts and model of diversity. Racist ideologies are found more common in our society than we believe them to be, and anti-racial organizations across Canada are fighting to eliminate this social threat and retain the peace and free will that we so eagerly promote to the world. Although the progress in retaining a more liberal and equal road in race relations throughout Canada has improved, the issue of racism is still threatening millions of people everyday.

The Masked History

Racism is a social behaviour and a social attitude, where members of one race are seen as superior to members of all others. On account of this “supremacy”, racists justify various forms of abuse perpetuated against members of the designated “inferior” races.

Throughout history, racism was used to justify the severe exploitation of certain races. In case of Spanish exploitation of peoples of America, the rationale was that “the Indians… were not human in the same sense (as the Spanish) and that there was no need to accord to them the same treatment as to one’s fellow human beings.” (Britannica). Similar justification was used in the exploitation of African slaves in Canada and the United States during the 19th century.

Racism was often used to achieve practical purposes. It was used to justify the severe exploitation of non-white people, especially Africans, from late 15th to late 19th centuries. Racism itself wasn’t the reason for the institution of slavery; profit was considered the main reason (Williams).

In Capitalism & Slavery. Eric E. Williams details the history of profit slavery and the unjustified treatment of other minority groups. Racial propaganda on supporting segregation and hate crimes by supremacist groups were the main concern of the 20th century where groups like the Ku Klux Klan occupied a small transition of power in the southern United States which affected the northern U.S. and Canada.

Today, although the threat of racial slavery in Canada has diminished, we are still effected by the luring racial acts of slurs, hate crimes, and segregation movements by individuals and supremacy groups that are still masked within our society. Groups supporting neo-nazism and white pride as well as a small growing number of other racial groups promoting their ethnic pride and the abolishment of other races (CRRF). A large fraction of these groups retain a hidden stance in society but the threat of their presence in society is still large as they are embedding the racial policies into our economic society through businesses and trades.

Identifying The Facts

Canada s booming economy is not translating into equitable access to employment for Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities who still face polite racism when job hunting. (Kunz). In a study released January 9th, 2001, Dr. Kunz sets forth the results proclaiming that the fear of racial bias and prejudice are still very much so present in our everyday society. Racism is a hidden thing in the workplace, and subtle discrimination includes being passed over for promotion and senior positions often held mainly by white Canadians. (Kunz). A disturbing revelation in the study is that even with post-secondary education, job opportunities may still be out of reach for Aboriginal peoples and that Aboriginal youth lagged far behind in their rates of university completion compared to all other groups (Kunz). Dr. Kunz adds that: Clearly the talents of Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities are being under-utilized or wasted as a result of systemic discrimination. This is not good for the productivity of the Canadian economy and the cohesion of our society. These results brought forth the bi-sectional agreement as to the reasoning behind why these problems exist and whether the level of social discrimination against Aboriginals and minority groups is as bad as Dr. Kunz explains it to be. Many people tend to disregard social claims like this and believe that racial discrimination is not as bad as its perceived to be. This disregard of fact is usually retained by most of the public because they have somewhat adapted to the level of racial slurs to which they hear in their everyday lives.

Realizing The Problem

When asked about the concern of racism in our society, many people shrug off the issue without admitting the realization that racial discrimination is present in our society and even noticeable in the spe

ech of people walking on the street or when discussing a non-relative issue. C mon, your not turning Paki on me are you? ; why is that Indian working here, government not giving him enough beer money. ; Damn Chinks, can t they build anything right. These are only some of the negative misconceptions that are heard everyday from people living in our society. Many of these same people do not realize the message that they are issuing to our children and others when they make these misconceptions and prejudice remarks.

People commonly believe that because the level of hate crime is lower in Canada than in other parts of the world than there is no problem, but the problem is always ignited by the common racial slurs which over time become the moral perception of people because of their continuing confrontations with them. Throughout the country many anti-racial organizations such as the Canadian Race Relations Foundation are discovering these trends of misconceptions and discriminatory behaviour and are working hard to eliminate the current problem as well as its potential to increase through our children.

Canadian Race Relations Foundation

In 1988, the Government of Canada and the National Association of Japanese Canadians signed the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. The Agreement acknowledged that the treatment of Japanese Canadians during and after World War II was unjust and violated principles of human rights. Under the terms of the agreement, the federal government also promised to create a Canadian Race Relations Foundation, which would “foster racial harmony and cross-cultural understanding and help to eliminate racism.” (CRRF)

The federal government proclaimed the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Act into law on October 28, 1996 and the Foundation officially opened its doors in November 1997. The Foundation s office is located in the City of Toronto but it operates nationally to deal with issues of racism and the correct roads in which to solve the growing concerns of racial discrimination and prejudice.

The Foundation is operated by the terms of their Mission Statement which states: The Canadian Race Relations Foundation aims to help bring about a more harmonious Canada that acknowledges its racist past, recognizes the pervasiveness of racism today, and is committed to creating a future in which all Canadians are treated equitably and fairly. (CRRF)

The Foundation serves its mission, goals and objectives through their Sponsorship Program for Initiatives Against Racism which was created to promote the objectives to increase the understanding of racism and discrimination in Canada; to expose the causes and manifestations of racism; to inform the general public of the facts about groups affected by racism and discrimination; and to highlight the contributions of groups affected by racism and discrimination, notably Aboriginals and racial minorities. (CRRF)

In Canada, there are many different organizations and foundations dedicated to promoting the awareness of racial discrimination and racial prejudice like the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. They strive to rehabilitate the immoral racial concepts that are spurred from groups whose base their patriotism solely on ethnic origin. These foundations speak and address that in Canada, there still is racial movement groups dedicated to promoting the rise of their own race and the abolishment of all other races.

The illustration of living in a society of freely tolerated discrimination and prejudice remarks where we are known by our neighbouring countries and the world as peacekeepers and a multicultural country is skewed and abstract. Even though today racism is generally an officially unwanted occurrence, it is still present within many world countries. It is especially strong in multi-racial societies, such as Canada and the United States. The concept of living in a racial and multicultural society, when judging its moral values are seen as unjustified and unrealistic but the presence of discrimination and prejudice in our society exists and although its presence does not largely affect us personally in our small community, this aging social justice issue still threatens millions of people throughout Canada everyday in their home communities and in their workplaces. No person deserves to live a life threatened because somebody does not like the colour of their skin and justice will only prevail when the topic of racism is no longer an issue when hiring a person, meeting new people, and walking down any street in any community. Unfortunately that day will be long coming.

Canadian Race Relations Foundations – Toronto (CRRF)

Encyclopaedia Britannica – Volume Five (Britannica)

Copyright 1988 by Britannica – Toronto, New York, London

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FREE Modern Day Race Relations and Essay

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Modern Day Race Relations and Stereotypes: Three Kings

Ever so often, a movie is made showing just how ignorant our society can be when dealing with race relations. Rarely, however, do we as a society view a movie that does so and makes an effort, even if on a subconscious level, to show that these thoughts and relations that are so imprinted on our brains can prove us all to be foolish for having a one-track thought process. A film such as Three Kings (1999) may in fact give us a new outlook on how we think and work with the opposite races, or perhaps in a time of questioning one's place in the world, a more accurate outlook on how society really works, instead of the conventional stereotypes that the media produces itself.

Three Kings incorporates Blacks and Whites in a joint effort to suppress the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the Gulf War. One may notice the typical Middle-Eastern stereotypes in this film, in addition to the problems amongst the Black and White soldiers shown early on in the movie. These stereotypes shall be explored and explained in regard to how they actually affect the viewer, and society as a whole. This film, although obviously opaque on the surface, is more transparent if it is examined properly. Over the course of this essay, these stereotypes shall be identified, and explained in relation to the media, and to society itself.

The textual analysis of the proposed film will be made possible by viewing Three Kings on videocassette, and making specific notes about the key situations in the film. In addition to my direct criticism, Roger Ebert's 1999 review of the film, and The Representation of Arabs in U.S. Electronic Media shall be used as resources. The conclusion of this paper should effectively find that the normal stereotypes in movies are not always the Hollywood standard. In fact, Three Kings is anything but normal.

Directed by David O. Russell, Three Kings was theatrically release

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Race Relations In The New World Essay

Race Relations in the New World

The British colonies in North America were not societies that valued or expected equality. They conquered Native American land without any payment for it and they used African Americans as slaves. By the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century the standard norm for the British included vicious warfare with the Native Americans and enslavement of the African Americans. These practices became the standard norm as a result of carelessness and perhaps fear of change on the part of the British.

Early British settlements in North America established first contact between the British and the Native Americans. Almost twenty years after the mysterious disappearance of the colonists who settled at Roanoke the British settled In the Chesapeake Bay area in the early 17th century. They called it Jamestown in honor of their king James I. Shortly after settling in Jamestown a group of about two hundred Native Americans attacked the British because the British were trying to exploit Native American labor and wealth. The British saw nothing wrong with holding a peaceful social state but at the same time using Native Americans as a cheap form of labor. Although the Native Americans had supplied the British with food and other vital necessities tensions still persisted. The British and the Native Americans interacted very often in trade surroundings but the failure of each group to understand and accept the other group’s culture prevented any lasting cooperation between the two groups. Simple misunderstandings during a trade agreement could turn into violent confrontations as a result of the large difference in culture and beliefs. In March 1622 one Native American by the name of Opechancanough planned a surprise attack on Jamestown. Intending to wipe out the whole colony his plan was only partially successful as a result of British retaliation which killed more Native Americans than they did British. After retaliation by the British the Native Americans mounted their last major act of armed resistance. This failed due to British awareness preparedness and superiority over the Native Americans. After peace was restored the Native American population in the Chesapeake Bay area was down from eight thousand to two thousand.

Later conflict between the Native Americans and the British occurred in 1676 when an English planter named Nathaniel Bacon organized an unauthorized force in Virginia to drive the Native Americans farther west. Bacon and his followers were frustrated that all the best tobacco land had already been taken by the wealthy and decided to drive the Indians west and settle on that land. Bacon’s army consisted of other angry Virginian planters who wanted more land so they could grow more tobacco. When the British sent an army to stop Bacon he reversed his aim and instead went after Jamestown. The sudden death of Bacon while trying to escape an attack from the British army put an end to one of America’s first violent protest movements. One result of this rebellion was that it strengthened the elite group of the wealthy planters and government officials. They also realized that indentured servants would not be a reliable source of labor and that they needed enslaved people to work for them. They needed human beings who would never have a chance at freedom own land or protest the government. Bacon’s rebellion also severed British relations with the Native Americans.

The conflict between the British and the Native Americans broke into open hostility and as a result King Philip’s War. King Philip’s War began around 1675 in the New England area. The two groups had hoped trade would ease the tensions but in the 1670’s the peace came to an end. The English continued to destroy forests put up fences and create pastures for their cattle. This threatened the livelihood of the Native Americans who lived by hunting game gathering plants for food and growing crops. This meant that Native Americans needed almost twenty times the amount of land per person as the English needed. Minor disagreements over land disputes between a Native American leader Metacom (known as King Philip to the settlers) and the people of Plymouth began the war. These minor disputes lead to larger ones and war inevitably broke out. The war started out as a disaster for both sides. Each side was losing just as many people as they were killing and the war was turning into a war of attrition. The English soon gained the upper hand and the large number of English settlers began to pay off. The end of the war came with the death of Metacom. Once he was dead the English cut his head off and sent it to Plymouth Colony where it was displayed for decades. Aftereffects of this war were both economic as well as political. The region of New England did not surpass its prewar income per person for more than 140 years. Politically the aftereffects in part lead to the American Revolution due to stresses and strains obtained by the amount of interaction between the colonies and Britain.

The relations between the Europeans and the Africans on the other hand were extremely one-sided. Slavery came about because the colonists needed a more controllable source of labor. Indentured servants wouldn’t work because the owners needed a race that would have no chance of being allowed freedom and understood that. Africans were used to being slaves so when they were first brought over by slave traders they did not expect to ever be free. Slavery eventually developed into a much more widespread practice. No longer were certain slave traders bringing slaves across the Atlantic Ocean but slaves were now being shipped across in large numbers.

The Europeans traded with the West Indies and the Americas which formed a sort of triangle. The Middle Passage was the part of the triangular trade between Africa and the Americas where slaves were transported to the West Indies and on to North America in exchange for American goods such as tobacco. Although conditions varied from colony to colony for African Americans conditions were consistently brutal.

The African Americans who lived in South Carolina and Georgia labored under particularly brutal conditions. These slaves primarily cultivated rice and indigo because conditions in the low country were especially good for that. Slaves in North Carolina faced similar conditions as the slaves in Virginia and Maryland because it was more suited for tobacco farming. Slaves in these colonies not only worked in the fields but were also assigned other household tasks. Slaves in New England and the Middle Colonies had more freedom in choosing their occupations than did the slaves of the Southern Colonies.

The lives and work of African Americans although a minority by a large amount reflected the region’s mixed economy and its varied ways of life. The slaves in these colonies north of Maryland had a considerable amount more of freedom in choosing their occupation than the slaves of the southern colonies did. This lead to the slaves pushing the slave owners more and more until the slave owners became so threatened that they began to pass strict laws regulating the amount of freedom that these slaves had.

In the late 1600’s several laws were passed by the colonies controlling the activities of the African Americans. The African Americans were becoming too aggressive and this worried the colonists. The government passed strict laws that would help keep slaves under control and keep the colonists feeling a little safer. Harsh punishments were performed on African Americans who did not follow these rules and regulations as a way to enforce the laws. Many of these laws were soon applied to free African Americans as well as Native Americans. The combination of such laws and the harsh conditions led to violent revolts.

Slave revolts emerged all throughout the colonies but New York had the worst of these revolts. As a result of harsh conditions slaves began to resist forcefully. Rebellions occurred there in 1708 1712 and 1741. After the rebellion of 1741 thirteen slaves were burned alive as punishment for revolting. This also served as a warning to other slaves not to revolt.

Slavery became a part of the new kind of society that emerged in North America which was built on relationships between ordinary people as well as inequality and the superiority of the British. These race relations also led in part to larger wars such as the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. The British not only treated the Native Americans unfairly by taking over their land and waging war on them but they also treated African Americans with inequality by treating them as a piece of property rather than as human beings. The enslavement of African Americans and constant war with the Native Americans became such a routine practice that it just evolved into the standard norm of that time period.

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Реферат - Race Relations Essay Research Paper Mondale - Иностранный язык

Race Relations Essay, Research Paper

Mondale’s sly question drew a roar of approval from an audience of black

ministers, small-town mayors and businessmen. Officially, they were meeting

to discuss issues such as education, jobs, black voting rights and voter

registration. But the gathering turned into a pep rally for a black presidential

candidate, with Jackson, 41, at the top of the ticket. His speeches were

interrupted by chants of “Run, Jesse, run.” Delegates sported buttons with

Jackson’s face and the I AM SOMEBODY tag line he coined and made

famous. “If not now, when?” demanded Mayor Richard Hatcher of Gary,

Ind. in a luncheon address. “If not Jesse Jackson, who?”

Publicly, both black and white Democratic leaders applaud the idea of a

black presidential candidate and most acknowledge that Jackson is the most

popular draw. “A Jackson candidacy would be fabulous,” says California

Congressman Tony Coelho, chairman of the Democratic congressional

campaign committee. “It’s a big plus.” Privately, however, many Democrats,

including black politicians, are ambivalent at best. “I can’t see any benefit to

be derived from a black candidacy,” says Georgia State Senator Julian

Bond. “If I could, I’d be persuaded.”

Though not even Jackson expects a black bid in 1984 to lead to the Oval

Office, it makes a certain amount of tactical sense. Blacks have been

trooping to voting booths in growing numbers, making them a potent factor

in the choice of the next President. The new clout was manifest in the recent

wins of Harold Washington in the Chicago mayoral race and W. Wilson

Goode in the Philadelphia Democratic mayoral primary. These heady

successes have spurred blacks, who vote Democratic 9 to 1 and routinely

represent from 20% to 25% of the Democratic bloc in national elections, to

demand more say. “Blacks have voted for whites ever since we struggled

and got the right to vote,” Jackson told PUSH delegates. “If we can take the

Democratic dagger out of our backs in ‘83, we can stop Republican arrows

The claims is more than hollow rhetoric. If a black candidacy in the

primaries motivates a large number of the South’s more than 2 million

unregistered blacks to get on the rolls, it could affect a close election. The

Joint Center for Political Studies, a black think tank, estimates that the

number of unregistered voting-age blacks in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana,

North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Mississippi is

greater than Reagan’s total margin of victory in 1980.

The idea of a black candidacy surfaced formally last winter, when the “black

leadership family,” a loosely knit coalition of black politicians, civil rights

leaders and academics toyed with the notion of forcing the Democratic

Party to allot funds for black voter registration. Soon thereafter, Jackson, a

member of the group, started his own registration drive, calling it the

Southern Crusade. Speaking in his characteristic evangelist’s cadence as he

moved around the country, Jackson would thunder to rapt audiences:

“There’s a freedom train a comin’. But you’ve got to be registered to ride.”

Jackson’s candidacy began to gather momentum. A July New York Times

– CBS News poll placed him an impressive third in the lineup for the

Democratic nomination, behind Mondale and Ohio Senator John Glenn.

As his popularity has grown, Jackson has taken pains to court Democratic

leaders, reassuring them that his power will be used for benign purposes. He

has assured Democratic National Committee Chairman Charles Manatt that

he will not inadvertently aid Reagan by mounting an independent general

election bid. “He is very careful, very cautious, very moderate in tone,” says

an aide to Presidential Candidate Gary Hart. “He’s trying to counter the

notion that he’s crazy.” Many black party pros, however, worry that a black

candidacy could backfire, siphoning off votes from a liberal such as

Mondale and leaving Glenn, a moderate, as the party nominee. “Blacks

shouldn’t just settle on any Democraft,” comments Mickey Leland, a black

Texas Congressman. “They should back someone who cares about their

Officially, Mondale aides say the effect of a Jackson push at this point is

“unknowable,” although polls show Jackson shaving 4% or 5% from

Mondale’s share of the vote. Privately, Mondale strategists have met with

Jackson and his aides to outline problems of finance and organization. They

have stressed that Democratic Party rules such as the “threshold”

requirement which says that a candidate must win at least 20% of the vote in

a primary or caucus to gain any delegates, will make it tough for Jackson to

win more than 150 to 200 of the Democratic Covention’s nearly 4,000

delegates. That fact seems unlikely to influence Jackson or his supporters.

“If he could win a few primaries and lock up a couple of hundred delegates,”

says George E. Johnson, President of Chicago-based Johnson Products

Co. Inc. “we [blacks] could go into the convention with some power.”

But many black elected officials and civil rights leaders consider Jackson a

media performer who is short on follow through. In June the black

leadership family endorsed the concept of a black candidacy but did not

name Jackson. Because of Jackson’s grass-roots popularity, however, few

prominent black leaders oppose him openly, though many do privately. “I

just don’t trust him. He’s like a loose cannon,” confessed one black Southern

official. “He’s never finished anything he’s started.”

Jackson appears unbowed by the criticism. “I think jealousy is a factor

sometimes,” he said. Indeed, the epigram-spouting Jackson is so accessible

and eager to supply a colorful comment that many collective black

successes are wrongfully attributed only to him. Jackson is widely credited

with the surge of black voter registration and turnout in Chicago, for

example, although the drive was far from a one-man or even a

one-organization effort. His current registration crusade has received wide

attention, although it is only part of a larger campaign that includes the Urban

League, the N.A.A.C.P. and other civil rights organizations. “I am a catalyst

for change,” says Jackson. “People invite me to interpret an issue and draw

A ’60s civil rights activist and disciple of the late Rev. Martin Luther King

Jr. Jackson founded Operation PUSH, a black self-help group based in

Chicago, in 1971. He has never held elected political office. “He has certain

qualities that would make him a good candidate,” says James Compton,

president of the Chicago Urban League, “but my own preference would be

for a professional politician.” Jackson also has a reputation as a sloppy

money manager. Last month an unflattering interim federal audit of

PUSH-EXCEL, a motivational program for high school students, surfaced

in Chicago, raising questions about the program’s use of $ 1.7 million in

Nonetheless, Jackson is sounding more and more like a serious candidate.

His keynote address to PUSH delegates paid only token attention to civil

rights concerns and contained lengthy sections on economic and foreign

policy. In traditional campaign-rally style, his wife Jacqueline, usually absent

from his appearances, was in the audience at Atlanta. “I’m reluctant to run,”

Jackson says. “But I’m convinced somebody ought to go.” Critical to the

decision, which he says he will make in September: the congealing of his

“rainbow coalition” of blacks, Hispanics, women, peace activists and

environmentalists. But with an exploratory committee, headed by Mayor

Hatcher, established and a “draft” committee of black ministers set to deliver

a million-signature petition to Jackson by late August, his hat is already

sailing toward the ring. Says New York Congressman Charles Rangel: “He’s

a Baptist minister, and Baptist ministers get callings.

Реферат: Race Relations In The US Essay Research

Race Relations In The U.S. Essay, Research Paper

I’ve discovered the real roots of America these past few days

and decided that writing about it was better than killing an innocent

victim to soothe the hostility I feel towards my heritage. I picked up

a pen because it was safer than a gun. This was a valuable lesson I’ve

learned from my forefathers, who did both. Others in my country react

on instinct and choose not to deliberate the issue as I have. If they

are black, they are imprisoned or dead. As The People vs. Simpson

storms through its ninth month, the United States awaits the landmark

decision that will determine justice. O.J. Simpson would not have had

a chance in 1857. Racial segregation, discrimination, and degradation

are no accidents in this nation’s history. The loud tribal beat

of pounding rap rhythm is no coincidence. They stem logically from the

legacy the Founding Fathers bestowed upon contemporary America with

regard to the treatment of African-Americans, particularly the black

slave woman. This tragedy has left the country with a weak moral

The Founding Fathers, in their conception of a more perfect

union, drafted ideas that communicated the oppression they felt as

slaves of Mother England. Ironically, nowhere in any of their

documents did they address the issue of racial slavery. The

Declaration of Independence from England was adopted as the country’s

most fundamental constitutional document. It was the definitive

statement for the American policy of government, of the necessary

conditions for the exercise of political power, and of the sovereignty

of the people who establish the government. John Hancock, president of

the Continental Congress and slave trader, described it as “the Ground

& Foundation of a future government.” James Madison, Father of the

Constitution and slave owner, called it “the fundamental Act of Union

of these States.” “All men are created equal,” and endowed by the

Creator with the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the

pursuit of Happiness.” They either meant that all men were created

equal, that every man was entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of

happiness, or they did not mean it at all.

The Declaration of Independence was a white man’s document

that its author rarely applied to his own or any other slave. Thomas

Jefferson suspected blacks were inferior. These suspicions, together

with his prophecy that free blacks could not harmoniously co-exist

with white men for centuries to come, are believed to be the primary

reasons for his contradictory actions toward the issue of slavery. At

the end of the eighteenth century, Jefferson fought the infamous Alien

& Sedition Acts, which limited civil liberties. As president, he

opposed the Federalist court, conspiracies to divide the union, and

the economic plans of Alexander Hamilton. Throughout his life, Thomas

Jefferson, hypocrite, slave holder, pondered the conflict between

American freedom and American slavery. He bought and sold slaves; he

advertised for fugitives; he ordered disciplinary lashes with a horse

whip. Jefferson understood that he and his fellow slave holders

benefited financially and culturally from the sweat of their black

laborers. One could say he regarded slavery as a necessary evil. In

1787, he wrote the Northwest Ordinance which banned slavery in

territory acquired from Great Britain following the American

Revolution. However, later as a retired politician and ex-president,

Jefferson refused to free his own slaves, counseled young white

Virginia slave holders against voluntary emancipation of theirs, and

even favored the expansion of slavery into the western territories. To

Jefferson, Americans had to be free to worship as they desired. They

also deserved to be free from an overreaching government. To

Jefferson, Americans should also be free to possess slaves.

In neither of the Continental Congresses nor in the

Declaration of Independence did the Founding Fathers take an

unequivocal stand against black slavery. Obviously, human bondage and

human dignity were not as important to them as their own political

and economic independence. It was not an admirable way to start a new

nation. The Constitution created white privilege while consolidating

black bondage. It didn’t matter that more than 5,000 blacks had joined

in the fight for independence only to discover real freedom didn’t

apply to them. Having achieved their own independence, the patriots

exhibited no great concern to extend the blessings of liberty to those

Americans with black skin. Black people were thought of as inferior

beings, animals. “You can manage ordinary niggers by lickin’ em and by

given’ em a taste of hot iron once in a while when they’re extra

ugly,” one uncouth white owner was heard to say at a slave auction

shortly before the Civil War. “But if a nigger ever sets himself up

against me, I can’t never have any patience with him. I just get my

pistol and shoot him right down; and that’s the best way.” Certainly

the formal doctrines of the country didn’t apply to animals.

If the “animals” were excluded from the rights of the people,

then naturally it followed that they didn’t deserve justice. Dred

Scott vs. Sanford stands as one of the most important cases in the

history of the United States Supreme Court. Most of the literature

deals with the controversial final decision, rendered on March 6,

1857, by Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney. “Once free always free”

became maybe once free but now back to work, nigger. This case was a

prime example of how even the American judicial system failed when

faced with volatile and substantive racial issues. Dred Scott was

declared to be still a slave for several reasons. 1) Although blacks

could be citizens of a given state, they could not be and were not

citizens of the United States with the right to sue in the federal

courts. In other words, “animals” couldn’t sue a fellow countryman. 2)

Aside from not having the right to sue in the first place, Scott was

still a slave because he never had been free to begin with. Owning

slaves was protected by the Constitution at the time, and Congress

exceeded its authority when it passed legislation forbidding or

abolishing slavery in the territories. The Missouri Compromise was

such an exercise of unconstitutional authority and was accordingly

declared invalid. So, “animals” were the white man’s property by

authority of the doctrines passed down by the Founding Fathers. 3)

Whatever status the slave may have had while he was in a free state or

territory, if he voluntarily returned to a slave state, his status

there depended upon the law of that slave state as interpreted by its

own courts. In Scott’s case, since the Missouri high court had

declared him to be still a slave, that was the status and law which

the Supreme Court of the United States would accept and recognize. In

other words, in the middle of the nineteenth century, “animals” better

just keep their mouth shut and work if they knew what was good for

What was good for them was making the master rich. The good

Reverend Jesse H. Turner of Virginia shifted from a Richmond pulpit to

a nearby plantation and explained his prosperity by saying “I keep no

breeding woman nor brood mare. If I want a Negro I buy him already

raised to my hand, and if I want a horse or a mule I buy him also…I

think it cheaper to buy than to raise. At my house, therefore, there

are no noisy groups of mischievous young Negroes to feed, nor are

there any flocks of young horses to maintain.” (Farmers’ Register X,

129. March, 1842) Whether it were cheaper to “breed” or to buy slaves

depended upon the market price at the time. Slave children were a

by-product that could hardly be controlled and whose cost had no

relation to market price. Often a woman for sale was described as a

“good breeder”. New-born “pickaninnies” had a value purely because at

some day their labor would presumably yield more than the cost of

their keep. The sex of the child was generally irrelevant as most

slave women did the same labor as men. Slave women cut down trees and

hauled the logs in leather straps attached to their shoulders. They

plowed using mule and ox teams. They dug ditches, spread manure, and

piled coarse fodder with their bare hands. They built and cleaned

Southern roads, helped construct Southern railroads, and, of course,

they picked cotton. In short, slave women were used as badly as men,

and were treated by Southern whites as if they were anything but

self-respecting women. From the black women who were even partially

literate, hundreds of letters exist telling of the atrocities

inflicted by “massa.” Both physical and sexual assaults on black women

were common at the turn of the century.

Nothing I have read captures the true devastation to the

spirit of the black woman during the eighteenth and nineteenth

centuries like Toni Morrison’s “Beloved.” Sethe, the main character,

is the iron-willed, iron-eyed survivor of slavery at Sweet Home, where

one white youth held her down while another sucked out her breast milk

and lashed her with cowhide while her husband helplessly watched. Once

her owner discovers the location she and her children have escaped to,

she takes them to the back-yard barn to murder them and forever keep

them free from the unbearable life of slavery. She is discovered after

killing her infant daughter and taken to jail. In a heart-wrenching

passage, we learn that her reason for committing the infanticide was

“that anybody white could take your whole self for anything that came

to mind. Not just work, kill, or maim you, but dirty you. Dirty you so

bad you forgot who you were and couldn’t think it up…Whites might

dirty her all right, but not her best thing, her beautiful, magical

best thing…She might have to work the slaughterhouse yard, but not

her daughter. And no one, nobody on this earth, would list her

daughter’s characteristics on the animal side of the paper. No. Oh

The whole question of how to love in an inhuman system which

breeds children like horses results in inhumane choices. This theme,

Morrison carries throughout the novel. For women like Ella whose

“puberty was spent in a house where she was shared by father and son,

whom she called the lowest yet.’ It was the lowest yet’ who gave her a

disgust for sex and against whom she measured all atrocities,”(256)

nature mercifully quenches the life from the “white hairy thing,” the

freakish offspring from this monstrous childhood assault. For

Morrison’s women, sexuality is the reward and burden of their gender.

The unlikelihood that any female slave could survive sexual abuse,

lashing, thirst, hunger, and childbirth, yet continue to form milk to

suckle is Morrison’s comment on Sethe’s determination, and a tribute

to the countless black women who were victimized by the evil of the

That the white man committed evil there is no question. The

letters of the past reveal countless lives that were ruined or ended

because of racial slavery. Our forefathers had no virtues when it

required compassion for African-Americans. One cannot speak of

morality in terms of active or passive–there simply was no morality

concerning slavery. We as a people today must exist in a country that

was handed-down, literally, by hypocrites. For over two hundred years,

the leaders of our country eagerly allowed the oppression for which

they established the country to escape. How can we as descendants of

those people view the past and honestly feel a sense of morality for

To deal with our past realistically, it is necessary to view

the early leaders in their own terms: as frail, fallible human beings.

We could have admired them for many things: their courage and bravery

in the military struggle against Britain; their creativity in forging

a new government; and their service to a cause that captured the

imagination of people around the world. However, it is impossible to

admire the hypocritical Founding Fathers of this nation for betraying

the very ideals to which they gave lip service. It is impossible to

admire our early leaders for speaking eloquently at one moment for the

brotherhood of man and in the next moment denying it to the black

brothers and sisters who fought by their side and bled for their

profit. It is forever impossible to admire the thousands of white

settlers of America in light of the degrading treatment of the human

spirit, for considering “the labor of a breeding woman as no object,

and that a child raised every two years is of more profit than the

crop of the best laboring man.” (Jefferson, Thomas. “The American

Nation.” p. 352) The concern here is not for the harm that the Fathers

did to the cause which they claimed to serve as for the harm that

their moral legacy has left for every generation of their progeny.

Didn’t they realize the effect their actions would have on the growing

nation? Didn’t they know the black slave would not behave like a well

trained dog forever? After reading the facts, one can only speculate

that, no, neither did they realize nor did they care about the

misfortune of the black race. They were profiting from the degradation

of a whole race of people, and that was the driving force behind the

cracking whip. Having created a flawed revolutionary doctrine and a

Constitution that did not bestow the blessings of liberty to its

posterity, the stage was set for every succeeding generation of

Americans to apologize, compromise and criticize the principles of

liberty that were supposed to be the foundation of our system of

government and our way of life. Abraham Lincoln, the celebrated

president who “honorably” put an end to black slavery in America,

shared his true motives in a letter addressed to Horace Greeley on

August 22, 1862: “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest

way under the Constitution…If there be those who would not save the

Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not

agree with them… What I do about slavery and the colored race I do

because I believe it helps to save this Union.”

I now relate with the anger in the voices of many contemporary

rap artists. I now see why certain black men look at white men with

anger in their eyes. I now understand why I was punched in the face by

an unknown black youth one day a few years ago as I walked out of a

Safeway supermarket. His one comment to me as he ran off was, “Sorry,

man. I just hate white people.” So do I, my brother. Now, so do I.

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and the Civil War.” New York, NY: The New York Press, 1992.

Catton, Bruce. “The Dread Scott Case.” Quarrels That Have Shaped The

Constitution. Ed. Garraty, John A. New York, NY: Harper & Row,

Publishers, Inc. 1964.

Cooper, David. “Slavery Violates Human Rights” Slavery–Opposing

Viewpoints. Ed. Dudley, William. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc.

Franklin, John Hope. “Slavery Left America Divided.” Slavery–Opposing

Viewpoints. Ed. Dudley, William. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press Inc.

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College Publishers, 1995.

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William San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc. 1992.

Morrison, Toni. “Beloved.” New York, NY: Penguin Books USA Inc. 1987

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Little, Brown and Company, 1963.

Sewall, Samuel. “Slavery is Immoral.” Slavery–Opposing Viewpoints. Ed

Dudley, William San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc. 1992.

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