The Historical Effects of Racism in the South
Racism refers to the belief that all members of a particular race have capabilities that are particular to that race. This definition is applicable in categorizing races as superior or inferior to other races. It has been a major issue in South Carolina for several years. All through history, the issue of racism has led to the development of varied meanings. Racism just like other types of oppression is not just a personal ideology that depends on racial prejudice, but it is a system that entails institutional practices and policies and cultural practices as well as actions of a specific individual. As a result, racism is very disadvantageous to the oppressed in the society. This involves access to social, cultural, and economic resources. This paper will explore the history of racism in the south and the effects of racism on the minorities. Therefore, the review will provide an explanation of the various categories of racism that exist in the field of history.
In South Carolina, the whites had control over most resources especially education and jobs. This enabled them to be racists towards the blacks. The majority of the whites do not consider themselves racists, but there are varied categories of racism. Firstly, we have active racism; this is a type of racism that entails intentional actions of racial discrimination. Presently, the most popular type of racism is passive. Examples of this type of racism is allowing exclusionary recruiting processes to take place, and preventing challenging race-associated issues. There are three major types of racism and they include the following: individual, cultural, and institutional racism (Collier 111).
It entails the actions of individual white’s actions against actions by individual blacks and actions of the entire white community alongside the black community; this kind of racism has been experienced by Africans Americans for several years. Likewise, studies indicate that racism builds on the negative perceptions of prejudice. Prejudice is defined as negative or positive perceptions, feelings, or judgments about an individual that emanates from beliefs held by a specific culture. Jones (12) also highlighted that individual racism has a close alignment with race prejudice. History shows that president Abraham Lincoln is a good example of an individual racist in the mid-1800s when he said:
“Am not in a favor of bringing political and social equality for the black and white races; Additionally, I would like to say that there is a physical difference between black and white races, which I believe the two races will never have political and social equality. Because they cannot live together, there must be a superior and inferior race and I am of the view that the White race take up the inferior position.” (Jones 12)
Both works indicate that there was containment of African Americans depending on race an indication that African Americans were denied social equality and justice, particularly in the south. It is observed that individual racism exists when an individual or group subordinate that group or individual. There are several examples of individual racism that exist from the development of the African slave trade to date. Examples include the following; damage of property for instance church bombings (Alexander 126).
Just like other categories of racism, institutional racism has a long history. This is a kind of racism experienced when normal and accepted patterns of the institutions of a society have the effect of subordinating people or upholding in place the outcome of a previous practice of now prohibited clear racism. Some people consider institutional racism to be unintentional because to attain the results, the individuals taking part are supposed not to consider race, but they are supposed to adhere to usual routines of their work as the operating procedures requires them to do so. Presently, institutional racism is used to provide an explanation why minorities continue to live under poverty, do not get proper medical health care, and do not get opportunities relative to equal treatment and fair employment. Research further indicates that they are individual’s racists who contribute to racist institutions so that they can attain the objectives of the racists through manipulating the institutions. Hence, institutions are formed by men and their racist ideas will come up, especially if the institution is categorized among public institutions (Wheeler 99).
It refers to the societal customs and beliefs that make products of white culture be superior to the black culture. Generally, cultural racism shows the spreading out of perceptions about privileges, attitudes, and status that should be afforded to varied racial/ethnic groups. Cultural racism exists in South Carolina because whites consider themselves superior to the blacks. On a similar note, cultural racism entails elements of both institutional and individual racism. Racism of this type can be said to be institutional and individual expression of how a cultural heritage is superior to another race. Additionally, this kind of racism dates back to the Expansion era of Europe that started in the fifteenth century. The presently used term is ethnocentrism that is closely related to cultural racism. Ethnocentrism refers to one prevailing culture that is considered to be superior because of their culture. The Europeans considered themselves to other people they encountered. The European historians have written their work while trying to undermine African Americans contributions to civilization especially individuals from Africa. African scholars challenged European historians that Africans did not contribute anything to civilization. This kind of ideology is the one that contributed to cultural racism. White European law, philosophy, politics, music, and religion are said to be the best globally. To solve the problem of cultural racism, Africans Americans now understand their African culture and heritage (Wheeler 99).
History of Racism in the South
In South Carolina, the main factor contributing to the interrelationships between black/white relationships can be found in the history of racism. The conception of having racial discrimination started with slave trade, which was against the conception of philosophers and religion. The only way to justify was to categorize individuals into different races and ties made Africans to be categorized as an inferior race. On a similar note, studies indicate that racism was as a result of slavery. When Europeans went to Africa to buy and do business with Africans, the majority of them were prisoners of war from different tribal leaders. Most Africans were well treated especially African women. To the Muslims who were putting up in Africa in the seventh and eight centuries A.D, they were well treated because they were seen as a manifestation of wealth. Another example that indicate that there was no existence of racism until the introduction of African slave trade can be explained by the twenty Africans who were sold by the Dutch in Virginia in 1619. Originally, these Africans were not slaves but they were considered indentured servants between 1624 and 1625. The indentured servants used to work under agreement for a period of seven years (Simon 70).
By 1951, the contract of the majority of the indentured servants had expired, African servants were free as Whites and this enabled the indentured servants to possess property, bear arms, testify against the Whites in courts, and own slaves and servants. Consequently, the necessity for labor increased as the colony grows. As a result, the institution of racism and slavery started. In 1661, Jamestown implemented a law that required all Africans together with their offspring’s to become slaves for life (Simon 68).
Consequently, history shows that the Englishmen were responsible for racist ideas with regard to people of color especially Africans. As a result, racism became part of the United States culture. According to Robert Smith, racism in America is part of the popular historical experience and therefore part of their culture. Historically, Europeans Americans were accountable for the start of slave trade in the fifteenth century depending on the premise that biologically, Africans were inferior to Europeans. Furthermore, the reasons that Europeans Americans gave for the enslavement and exploitation of people of color was based on the idea of developing Christianity (Simon 68).
This ideology acted as the key mechanism used to give explanation for the capitalistic actions of Europeans Americans. This kind of thinking served as the basis for the development of stereotypical behavior toward minorities. A stereotype can be defined as a negative or positive belief held by people of a specific group about the features of people. For instance, Europeans Americans developed a stereotype that Africans and other people of color were considered savages, heathens, or individuals that were similar to apes of America. Hence, Europeans asserted that it was their duty to save Africans by controlling them, which was attained with enslaving Africans. This ideological origin of Africans and other individuals of color are basically called white man’s burden (Jones 20).
On a similar note, Winthrop, studied the development of the attitudes that the white’s had towards blacks from the sixteenth century to what the United States is as per now. Africans were considered to be savages, defective, and African men were said to be libidinous. The Europeans were of the view that the color of Africans was because of God’s curse. It can therefore be concluded that religion played a vital role in European American rationalization for enslaving citizens of color. According to Smith, the development of racism was the universalistic ethos that Christians had over non-Christians ((Wiener and James 64).
In spite of the gains made by African Americans during the civil rights era, racism was still prevalent, but it was assumed in varied forms. Practicing racism presently is undesirable and brutal acts are said to be acceptable for instance, lynching and disenfranchising. Additionally, there are effects for committing such acts. White Americans hold that African Americans have similar chances as whites when it comes to employment, education and housing. The majority of the whites assume that affirmative action consider the playing field to have a relationship to the African Americans. Conversely, there are some African Americans who believe that affirmative action is a type of discrimination. As a result, whites were not given opportunities in favor of less prepared African Americans. Some of the Whites are of the view that African Americans should aim at improving as a race and if they fail to achieve, they should not put blame on anybody (Wiener and James 65).
African Americans were denied several opportunities just because they were black. He also raised a question as to whether white Americans owe black Americans any chance as claimed by Africans Americans. He later on responded that white Americans did not owe them anything. Levin argued that for the previous forty years, large sums of money produced by European Americans were used to fail African American communities. According to Levin, white Americans were responsible for the enslavement of Africans. He maintained that there is proof to show that discrimination and segregation did not enable African Americans to get similar educational opportunities or skills needed by whites. Studies further indicate that there is proof to show that African Americans remain behind whites in economic and social status for various years because their ancestors have been slaves for years. He further states that there is no proof to show that the whites are accountable for the troubles of blacks (Wiener and James 66).
On the other hand, written literature indicates that the whites are the major cause of troubles experienced by black Americans. On the same note, the philosophies on race are reinforced in the available research that particularly handles the interrelationship between black and whites in Edgefield and Horry counties in South Carolina. Burton compared the variations and similarities between the whites and African American southern values. He also argued that these were ties that brought both blacks and whites together in cooperation and charity, and oppression and exploitation. Burton further did an investigation on the lifestyle of African Americans and how they survived. He gave an example on what was taking place in the Edgefield County in South Carolina; he said that employment opportunities available to African Americans were gang and land labor systems (Wiener and James 66).
Furthermore, tenant farming and sharecropping were among the few chances that were given to African Americans. Burton further gave a presentation on the degree of racial violence in Edgefield County during the nineteenth century. Even though historians argue that whatever was taking place in Edgefield was also taking place in other areas, South Carolina also contributed to the large number of murderers that took place. This clearly indicates how African Americans were discriminated from slavery to the untimely decades of the twentieth century. For instance, he gave comprehensive information on the “Hamburg Massacre” which resulted in the deaths of the majority of African Americans and damage of the black’s community of Hamburg. Racial discrimination in the South was highly experienced in the 1890s (Wiener and James 67).
The rural Southern Negro had a feeling that it was the onset of slavery again. Individuals like Benjamin Tillman highly contributed to the disenfranchisement of African Americans in South Carolina. Tillman was a Governor and State Senator in 1890 and 1894 respectively. He had commanding powers and when Reconstruction came to an end; he was a leader who terrorized African Americans through killing. Some scholars are of the view that Tillman is accountable for the uprising of the white’s disenfranchisement and supremacy of blacks in South Carolina in 1890s. Several scholars stated that Tillman was to be blamed for promoting inequality between Americans and African Americans in South Carolina and other states in the South that copied similar principles like Jim Crow (Drago 190).
Social and Emotional feeling among the minorities
The African-Americans were not happy with the treatment they received from the Whites. Racism was highly applied in schools and parents of Africans Americans were unhappy. For instance, in 1968, an African American student was admitted in Conway high school. He was the best in class and the white teacher reprimanded him that he had not performed well. Further research carried out at Whitemore school, the white teacher’s action did not only show that he was bias towards African Americans, but indicated that there was no difference between white schools and African-American schools, this is because the white teacher did not recognize the highest score as the best. As a result, African American parents discouraged their children from joining white schools (Drago 190). According to African-American parents, it was stressful for their children to attend white schools. The majority of the parents who took their children to African American schools were threatened to lose their homes and jobs. Even though some schools were integrated because of the Free Choice Plan, the plan was considered an unproductive method of encouraging integration (Drago 191). After the ruling, attempt to bring about total integration were pioneered by Singleton and other African American leaders in South Carolina. According to research, African Americans score low grades compared to the whites and scores are closely related with social outcomes. Furthermore, with regard to intelligence quotient of African Americans, Levin argued that it is not the environment, but genetics that affects the intelligence quotient (Chafe 77).
A part from laws, there were some unwritten social prospect. For instance, a black man was not expected to shake hands with a white man and he was not supposed to have an eye contact with a white woman because he would be blamed of unsuitable sexual advances. When a black wanted to address a white, he was expected to use words like Mr. or sir. The Jim Crow laws prohibited blacks from taking part in public elections. Local authorities were charging poll taxes that the majority of the blacks could not afford. Furthermore, blacks were also required to take reading and writing tests while whites were not required to do so. Most of them did not pass the tests because they lacked formal education. This led to the introduction of white primary in the southern states. Blacks were excluded from primaries and this made them to have limited influence in the South. A part from the social and legal restrictions, white supremacists used terrorism to hinder blacks from voting (Wilson 111).
In South Carolina, the African-Americans highly valued their religious tradition. Religion played two key purposes during slavery; firstly, it enabled them to tolerate hardships of racism and enslavement. Secondly, religion gave them political, social, and emotional support. Even though moral support was provided, the church under the leadership of African-American leaders played a significant role in offering opportunities for slaves to get some education. Consequently, most of them would not have the chance for educations were it not for the African-American church (Wilson 113).
Africans Americans were highly discriminated when they started occupying the white’s neighborhoods and some of them were also violently attacked. Even though present housing audits indicate that discrimination is still in existence in the housing market, the housing legislation has reduced. Furthermore, African American who is middle income earners have relocated from areas that suffered from acute poverty to more preferable neighborhoods (Wilson 113).
Emotional Effects of Racism in South Carolina
Blacks in the South were not happy during the economic crisis because it negatively affected their lifestyles. Furthermore, blacks were also frustrated when they realized that president Roosevelt was not committed towards ending Jim Crow policies. An individual who experience racism is most likely to develop depression and negative attitudes. As a result, these moods have a negative effect on peer relationships. Racism in South Carolina made blacks to have a poor relationship with the whites. The effects of racism highly affected peer relationships of children of whites and blacks at school. For instance, white parents did not want their children to study with African- American children because they had a feeling that these children will make them score low grades. Additionally, black children were discriminated by white children in schools. Another example is when white children did not want to be taught by a black teacher. All these reactions are because of the stereotypes that individuals have towards a particular community (Brondolo 355).
Based on the fact that the majority of the minority member groups are exposed to racism, they are most likely to have friends who are also exposed to racism. The African-American attitudes of individual’s ability for prejudice are shaped quickly, usually depends on less than just an observation. As a result, it is vital to provide education to both the minority and majority groups. This will enable them to understand how the unconscious perceptions are shaped by cultural experiences. It may be of great significance to provide education about the ways in which variations in sociocultural history can change into variations in the attitudes and implications of social exchange. Presently, the rate of racism in South Carolina has reduced because of the implemented laws that curb racism and discrimination. Research further indicated that stereotype threats prevent performance. There have been successful attempts to lessens stereotype threats and hence improve the academic performance of the students. Without an attempt that deals with cultural and institutional racism, it will be challenging for people in South Carolina to get peer support (Brondolo 357).
Regardless of the complexity of the problem of racism, present proof indicates that there are some encouraging trends. For instance, business made has made some great changes in the level to which they describe Black Americans when it comes to influence and power. New attempts to recognize the function of stereotype threat offer guidance for particular interventions that can enable individuals from the majority group to develop cooperative relationships. Other policies have also contributed to the improvement of the lives of blacks in the South. For instance, the Federal Housing Policy led to the development of black ghettos (Brondolo 358).
Limited Education Systems
In 1945, there was a lot of discrimination and racism in education and housing. In South Carolina, the African Americans putting up in this place stayed in poorest areas with bad facilities. Studies also indicate that they used to do poorly paid jobs that only enabled them to purchase basic facilities. The poorly financed schools were also found in areas with Africans Americans. Individuals in the south had a perception that if Africans Americans received better education, they would take up their positions in the society. They also believed that the majority of the African Americans were not intelligent to get education and had a feeling that they would be dangerous if educated. The outcome of this was much associated to acute poverty among African Americans- without better education nobody would recognize then in the south (Jones 45).
As a result, Africans Americans were offered poor education because of their poor lifestyle. There was no equal education provided in the south. For instance, one could hardly find a black college that provided a course that would enable one attains a PhD. There were only two colleges offering medical courses. Other courses that could only be studied in one of the colleges include; engineering, architecture, and law. South Carolina highly concentrated on white schools than black schools. South Carolina also spent a lot on transporting white children than African American children. Consequently, white children were in a position to attend best schools because they were transported and the cost was met by the state. On the other hand, African American children have access to schools that are found within their residential area because the state could not cater for their transport expenses. Additionally, the value of property in white schools was six times more than in black schools (Historylearningsite.co.uk. 1).
The majority of the individuals in South Carolina did not support integration of public schools because they believed that this would reduce the level of academics and make white students to be ranked below the national average. White people did not want to interact with white students because they would they would contract diseases from them. The whites were of the view that African Americans were violent and this was a stereotype that they had since the start of slavery (Historylearningsite.co.uk. 1).
Effects of Racism on the Social Life of Minorities in South Carolina
In 1865, President Andrew Johnson ordered that all lands that were under federal control to be taken back to former White owners. This was aimed at ensuring that blacks go back to their prewar status of being slaves. The majority of African Americans were removed from the lands they had earlier on been theirs. They did not have any other alternative other than working as laborers on white-owned plantations. Furthermore, the constitution of South Carolina did denied African Americans the right to vote, and it maintained racial credentials for legislature. This constitution made the implementation of the Black Codes in South Carolina mandatory. These laws were aimed at recapturing the powers that the whites had over black Americans, thus refuting them political and social equity. For instance, the Black Codes authorized the following;
- There was no individual of color allowed to move and put up in South Carolina, unless it is within the first after arriving in this state.
- Servants would not be allowed to absent from the premises without getting permission from the master.
- Servants must help their masters in defending their own people, property, or premises.
- No black American would be allowed to be a mechanic, artisan, or shopkeeper unless he had a license from the judge of the district court.
The constitution of 1868 was different from the initial documents because it was given to the state for approval. It was on a sad note that this approach was not accepted by both internal and external events. Internally, white South Carolinians were did not support the issue of blacks to vote, holding office or being equal before the law (Jones 45).
By 1873, the whole nation had sunk into a harsh economic depression. This angered the majority of the southerners, and it made the northern public to draw back from construction. As a result, the reconstruction came to an end in the South. The Republicans did not present a candidate for governor in 1878. Furthermore, the Southern states enacted laws that denied African-Americans the right to vote. By 1894, the law required that probable voters who were registering for the first time give comprehensive personal information, as well as affidavits from two citizens who would state who would confirm that indeed the applicant has good character. The constitution of South Carolina of 1895 disqualified some voters on claims that blacks were anticipated to commit crimes. The 1895 constitution also promoted segregation. Article 2, Section 7 of the constitution stated that “different schools will be provided for children of both colored and white races, and no child of a particular race would be allowed to attend school provided for children of a different race.” Additionally, this article barred interracial marriage between a Negro and an individual with one-eighth of Negro blood. The legislature of Hampton also removed laws that gave benefits to the blacks. There was also removal of funds for asylum and state hospital. The law that was initially used to provide funds for public education was removed, abolishing public education. The law further gave planters the mandate to hold indebted laborers until they settle their debts (Chafe 31).
The state of Black America
Studies indicate that black American still remains behind than the white Americans in various aspects. During the 1990s when America experienced an economic boom, the poverty rates among the blacks reduced by approximately 23%. However, this did not play a major role in bridging the economic inequality gap that separates whites from blacks. Research further indicates that the rates of unemployment among blacks are twice the unemployment rates for whites. Since 2001, when the United States was experiencing an economic recession, there was an increase in the rates of unemployment among blacks between 10 and 11%. Another effect of recession was that a reduction in the rates of unemployment that were experienced during an economic boom was reversed (Wilson 113).
Lack of Job Opportunities
Africans Americans were the last to be recruited during economic boom. This implies that they are the first people to lose their jobs during an economic recession. During 2002, black Americans lost 39,000 jobs in manufacturing and construction. According to the New York 2013, there was an increase in the rates of unemployment among blacks than in any other similar period since 1970s. It also indicated that the blacks were badly hit than the whites. The unequal effects of layoffs of African Americans during recession show how racism is rampant in South Carolina. The Wall street journal indicated that between 1990 and1991, a large number of key corporations reduced jobs for the blacks at a higher rate than for the white workers (Chafe 27).
Furthermore, Africans Americans also face a major problem of accessing health care. Studies indicate that approximately 23% of African Americans have no health coverage. Lack of health insurance and increased rates of poverty mean that blacks pass on when they are 6 years younger than their white’s counterparts. A similar analysis has played a vital role in producing AIDS epidemic among African Americans. With reference to the criminal justice system, blacks represent 13% of the population but represents 50% of the population that is in the prison. The black youngsters are handled with no sympathy in the South. According to a report provided by the Department of justice in the United States, black youth are treated harshly as compared to their white peers. Studies further indicate that black drugs offenders are 48 times most likely to be imprisoned than the white youths. The kind of racism that takes place in public schools is supposed to have been cleared by the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. It is ironically that the South Carolina is the most segregated. The key reason that explains why blacks are highly segregated is lack of representation. History has it that there are only four blacks in the senate, and presently there is none. The racial injustice that exists in the United States systematically points out the nature of racism that exists. The level of racial inequality is not just because of lack of tolerance or ignorance. The greatest evidence of this is not just the prevailing conditions presently, but the deteriorating conditions that Africans Americans go through. If the main cause of racism was prejudice, then economic differences between races should have come to an end in 1960s (Chafe 31).
Even though discrimination against blacks was the key reason for the implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African Americans have faced various challenges in their attempt to get a nondiscriminatory and fair treatment at their workplaces. Overdependence on false stereotypes limit the capability of African Americans getting equal treatment when it comes to recruiting, assessment, promotions, and in other areas for instance employment. Individual who come from other national or racial origin groups also face the same discrimination faced by African Americans. Even though some progress for women has been taking place, work still continue to perform jobs believed to be for men, and almost all women are less paid than men. Women are also challenged when it comes to promoting them to high level management jobs because of the subconscious and conscious gender bias. Women are also sexually harassed at their work place in spite of the employer awareness that it is his responsibility to take a corrective measure (Chafe 33).
Women of color for instance, black women face discrimination because they face both sex and racial barriers. Even though the federal and state laws were enacted to prevent discrimination according to age in employment, older employees are assessed based on negative and false stereotypes, and suffer a lot when it comes to layoff of workers. Older African Americans who lose their jobs find it challenging to secure another job opportunity, and they are forced to take up jobs with a low pay and more responsibilities. Federal laws prevent employers from denying individuals jobs because of their disability, but false assumptions about the inability of disabled people to perform duties. Additionally, the majority of the employers do not take up the responsibility of offering reasonable accommodation to the disabled and this seriously has a negative effect of limiting their likelihood of securing jobs. Workplace fairness can only take place if there is a renewed commitment to the increasing prevention of unlawful and unfair employment discrimination. Attaining this objective is mandatory if the American workplace is interested in showing equal opportunity and fairness (Bass and Scott 23).
There is need for more research to be done in South Carolina concerning racism. A report of 2005 by the Southern Poverty Center indicated that South Carolina comprised of many hate groups as compared to any other state. Furthermore, many of the hate groups were being supported by political leaders in South Carolina. Racism has continued to be a key problem in South Carolina because most of them are not willing to change. As a result discrimination and overt racism continue to be the key concerns for African Americans. There is a need for the issue of covert racism to be handled, specifically if African Americans are to be respected and have similar opportunities like the whites (Bass and Scott 24).
In conclusion, the varied levels of racism contribute to barriers in the development of physical and social wellbeing. Interracial relationships are vital for access to social and economic resources in the U.S. It is contrary because racism at various levels prevents the creation of good relationships. Cultural racism promotes depictions of social interrelationships presented in the media, affecting the level to which people of varied ethnic groups are considered to make desirable choices for interactions as friends, colleagues, or neighbors. Institutional racism in the kind of residential segregation restricts chances for the kinds of contacts that can disconfirm ethnic injustices or develop social skills that are required for one to interact with individuals from other ethnic groups. It is a high time that individuals get to know that stereotypes create conflicts that hinder upholding good interrelationships. Interrelationships with individuals putting up in the same environment act as a context for creation of health behaviors and social competencies. All these interrelationships are affected by racism. Institutional racism has negative impacts because it will make it difficult for children to make friends and socialize. Interpersonal racism may also have an effect of underrating individuals from a different community. This clearly shows that individuals experiencing racism cannot be in a position to support peer interrelationships. Institutional racism, in the type of housing racial segregation may serve as a hindrance to the creation of pro-social competencies. Several attempts have also been made to improve the education system for the blacks in South Carolina. For instance, more schools for Black Americans were constructed during the white supremacy. South Carolina spent approximately on third what they had spent on whites in improving education for black children.
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