African Americans, Jews, people of the Islamic state, Native Americans. A list of only a few cultural groups who are faced with offensive acts and comments on a daily basis. It is an everyday struggle for those who have different ethnicity or come from cultural backgrounds. In other words, there has been bias happening from the start of history, to today’s society. When it comes to the word “racism,” it is not limited to the historically difficult race relations in the United States between Caucasian and African American peoples. it does not mean just white vs. black people, even though that may be the first thought to come to mind. Racism is the prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
Throughout history, racism has been prevalent and always will be.To Begin, in the 1500s, an event called the Middle Passage was begun, which was a part of the Triangular Trade. This trade involved shipping manufactured goods, weapons, and liquor to West Africa in exchange for slaves. The second leg of the trade was the crossing from Africa to the Americas, which was ships transferring ‘cargo’ of slaves. Then, for the third leg of trade, the produce of the slaves were sent back to Britain. These people were forced from their countries to work on sugar and cotton plantations for European slave traders. In the ships, the men were packed below the deck. They were perceived as dangerous because they were young, muscular, and knew they had the ability to turn on their captor. To avoid that, the slaves were put in pairs using either iron legs or shackles as if they were prisoners (Port Cities, Bristol).
The conditions of the ships and ways the slaves were treated were appalling. With the lack of capacity and ventilation there were many deaths due to sickness and disease. Moreover, with the change in law, The Dolben Act of 1788 regulated the legal amount of slaves on the ship at once which was 295. The before amount allowed was 609. The voyage would regularly last up to six to eight weeks, but if there were to be bad weather it could delay it to be 13 weeks (Port Cities, Bristol). There are very few autobiographies from the enslaved Africans who experienced the ship conditions and the trip from their homelands. Due to the lack of knowledge on how to write, they were unable to detail their journeys. Though, a well known African man named Olaudah Equiano who was a writer and a slave of the Middle Passage, had told his story through the autobiography he wrote, titled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, that was published in 1789.
The point of Olaudah’s story was to acknowledge slave treatment, distinctly during the Middle Passage.In comparison to the Middle Passage, the later major event to occur in history caused by the hatred towards another race was the Holocaust. As most people know, the Holocaust was a horrific episode where thousands of Jews were gassed, tortured, burned, and worked to death from 1933-1945, led by German dictator, Adolf Hitler (History Hit). The Jewish living state included starvation, dehydration, harsh weather conditions, lack of sanitation, and health aid. It is known that Hitler was inimical to their religion. Although, even when a Jew had switched to Christianity, they would still be sent to the camps due to their bloodline (Anne Frank House). The two events compare because they both involve abhorrent mistreat towards people who are or look different. In 1944 from April 7, 1994 – July 1994, there was an event called the Rwandan Genocide, an incident that has rarely been publicly discussed. This genocide is important because the Hutu race took out as many as 800,000 of the Tutsi ethnic group. This went on in the African country, Rwanda. The main cause was due to the tension between the two races.
Rwanda was one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with 85% being the Hutus and the rest were the Tutsis, along with a small group named the Twa (HISTORY). According to National Post, it is said that the Hutu and Tutsi groups no longer exist, though Rwandan schools still experience paranoia about future violence that could occur. A second genocide to discuss would be the Cambodian Genocide. Beginning on April 17, 1975 to January 7, 1979, the Khmer Rouge had taken over of the Cambodian government. They intended on making it into a communist agrarian utopia. To sum up, they were emptying cities and evacuating to labor camps where they experienced starvation and abuse. The monks, rich, and any other who is educated were tortured and killed. In estimate, there were between 1.7 to 2 million Cambodians killed during the four year period, with almost no comment from the international community.
As a matter of fact, not only was there slavery of African Americans, but in the 1880’s segregation had came into place. From the 18th century to the 19th, the blacks were separated from whites by law and treated with great disrespect. The segregated laws were made in the Northern and Southern states. Not only were they separated by bathrooms, schools, prisons, transportation, etc. but there was also lynching that was involved. Lynching is the killing someone, particularly by hanging, for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial. The first state to put laws into place was Oklahoma, in 1915 (HISTORY). In today’s society, racism is still existent. In recent news, a black man was racially profiled by an officer. The cop showed up the the man’s house, claiming he had a warrant from Louisiana.
In the video his wife had been recording, the man was repeatedly telling the cop that he has the wrong person and he does not live in Louisiana. As it goes on, the officer continues to keep a hold of the man’s arm. He soon had his partner show a picture that did not match up with the man but the cop asked “does that not look like you?”. There are plenty of black men who have problems similar to this because stereotypes. In 2017, police killed an estimate of 1,147 people, 25% were black (Mapping Police Violence). It is understood that not all blacks are innocent, but the majority are falsely accused. Along with black people having stereotypes, people from the Islamic states battle it just as much. They are considered “terrorists” by many because of the terrorist attack of 9/11, led by Osama Bin Laden. There even has been public places banning their women from hijabs. It has recently been said that in China, there are are secret internment camps where the abducted Uighur people were sent to. Many people are unaware of these camps and they are being compared to the Holocaust concentration camps. In addition, with Trump’s idea of building a wall and blocking the Mexican border, there has been plenty of inhumane acts towards the people of Mexico.
Children are torn from their parents and put into cages is if they were dogs. “These aren’t people, these are animals” says our president, Donald Trump. In conclusion, our world is filled with racism. Everyone deals with it, even white people. It is heartbreaking to hear the inhuman acts towards other people just because of their skin, or backgrounds. It is hard to vary who “has it worse”. It is important to treat everyone with respect instead of physical or mental abuse. People are not born racist, but because of our ancestors’ unchangeable history, it is something that we will always have to live with. Racism will never be extinct and it is hard to see it getting any better for the future.
- ”How does Olaudah Equiano’s “The Interesting Narrative … – eNotes.com.” https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-equianos-slave-narrative-purpose-writing-and-290261. Accessed 10 May. 2019.
- ”Rwandan Genocide – HISTORY.” 14 Oct. 2009, https://www.history.com/topics/africa/rwandan-genocide. Accessed 10 May. 2019.
- ”The Middle Passage | The Atlantic crossing | From Africa to America ….” http://discoveringbristol.org.uk/slavery/routes/from-africa-to-america/atlantic-crossing/middle-passage/. Accessed 10 May. 2019.
- “When Did the Holocaust Start? Key Dates and Timeline | History Hit.” https://www.historyhit.com/when-did-the-holocaust-start-key-dates-and-timeline/. Accessed 10 May. 2019.
- “Why did Hitler hate the Jews? | Anne Frank House.” https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/go-in-depth/why-did-hitler-hate-jews/. Accessed 10 May. 2019.
- “The Cambodian Genocide – United to End Genocide.” http://endgenocide.org/learn/past-genocides/the-cambodian-genocide/. Accessed 12 May. 2019.