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America Has Never Been Equal

Updated on January 16, 2018

The Race of Life is not equal

Slavery's Hangover

The video above illustrates what this blog is about. America was not equal when she was born, and it may be the cause of her death. It's simple. America was born from racism and exploitation. She suffers from a hangover from her past. The only thing that can change her is a complete makeover.

We built our infrastructure on a foundation of race. The first African slaves brought to these shores came in 1619. The Dutch captured them from a Spanish vessel and sold them in New England. Those slaves were not chattel property. They served as servants or indentured slaves for seven years.

It was not until the 1700s when racial attitudes changed and slavery became about race. Francois Bernier came up with his classification systems for humans. The Colonists created certain laws that made it difficult to be a black person:

  • A Virginia court sentenced John Punch to slavery.
  • Elizabeth Key Grinstead won her freedom in 1656. Her English father baptized her in The Church of England.
  • In 1662 The Virginia House of Burgess changed that. They passed a law with the doctrine of partus. It said that any child born in the colony would follow the status of its mother.
    • This changed a tenet of English Common Law, where a child followed the status of their father.
    • Slaveholders often raped their slaves. This helped them hide the mixed-race children. And removed their responsibility to acknowledge, support, or free the children.
  • In 1667, they changed the law about baptism.
  • In 1668, they said a master could beat his slave.
  • In 1669, they said it was NOT against the law for a master to kill his slave.

In the early 1800s, the inferiority of blacks was a universal belief. Carl Linnaeus came up with stereotypical descriptions of races that exist today.

  • Americanus (Native Americans):
    • reddish,
    • choleric,
    • and erect;
    • hair black…
    • wide nostrils…
    • obstinate, merry, free…
    • regulated by customs.
  • Asiaticus
    • melancholy,
    • stiff;
    • hair black,
    • dark eyes…
    • severe, haughty, avaricious…
    • ruled by opinions.
  • Africanus
    • black, phlegmatic…
    • hair black, frizzled…
    • nose flat;
    • lips tumid;
    • women without shame,
    • they lactate profusely;
    • crafty, indolent, negligent…
    • governed by caprice.”
  • Europeaeus
    • white,
    • sanguine,
    • muscular…
    • eyes blue, gentle…
    • inventive…
    • governed by laws.”

This entrenched slavery and racism in America. After the Civil War, blacks prospered. Congress passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the constitution. They also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Blacks voted. Many bought the property of their former slave owners. They used public facilities. Many owned businesses and some built towns that exist today.

It did not take long for whites opponents of progress to destroy those gains. Systemic racism and fear created by laws and violence stopped much of that progress. Laws created the system of Jim Crow in South. Between Hate groups like the KKK made sure that racial lines stayed in place. From 1882-1968 whites lynched 3,446 blacks. That was 73% of people lynched. Whites lynched 1,297 white people, most for helping blacks.

Before 1965 race riots were whites running through black neighborhoods destroying stuff. The cause could have been anything. Most started from an accusation of a black man accosting a white woman. From 1908 to 1919 the riots escalated. Historians call 1919 the Red Summer because of the number of riots and deaths.

This led to the integration of the military. After WWII, baseball and other institutions followed. This was the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. That was just over 50 years ago.

So, it vexes me when I hear people say, "Blacks have been here as long as everyone else. Why have they not advanced."

That is like a school principal taking a student in the 1st grade and keeping them there for 10 years. At the beginning of the junior year, that child becomes a junior and has to do the work of other juniors. It is insane. That is the attitude of many racist in America though. It is another layer of racism. It is also why we cannot have a conversation about race.

Systemic racism kept blacks from living the American Dream for over almost 500 years. Now, racism expects blacks to be on equal footing with whites and immigrants who had a huge head start. The only way to change this is for the country to change. We need to acknowledge our past and deal with the consequences it has caused in our present.

America has never been equal. It suffers from a slavery hangover. It is time to acknowledge this and talk about it.

© 2018 Bruce Bean


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    • habueld profile image

      Bruce Bean 3 months ago from Riverside, CA

      “Let them know the heart of the poor slave—learn his secret thoughts—thoughts he dare not utter in the hearing of the white man; let them sit by him in the silent” “watches of the night—converse with him in trustful confidence, of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and they will find that ninety-nine out of every hundred are intelligent enough to understand their situation, and to cherish in their bosoms the love of freedom, as passionately as themselves.”—Solomon Northup

    • habueld profile image

      Bruce Bean 3 months ago from Riverside, CA

      And as for your ideas on Slavery, let me paraphrase Solomon Northup. He had a good master. A preacher. However he said, he never met one slave, despite a kind master, who would not trade slavery for their freedom. NOT ONE.

      So, the idea that owning people like cattle can be humane is insane. There was nothing humane about it. Those slavers who felt bad about slavery freed their slaves. They didn’t prepare them for freedom.

    • habueld profile image

      Bruce Bean 3 months ago from Riverside, CA

      What were you reading or did you read? Whoever said blacks “couldn’t do the work of others”. The blog says they weren’t allowed to. Most of the women in my family, as a child, could have been characters from “The Help”. That’s the only job they could have. There is a difference between not being allowed to do something, and not having the capability to do it. Your idea that this somehow hurts black people is both offensive and short-sighted. The whole idea behind this post is to get past this idea that this country has equal footing. It doesn’t and never has.

      Maybe you should have your black friends read this because you speaking for them is also offensive.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 months ago from the short journey

      Oh dear. Please consider the disservice and harm this post does to black people today.

      America's slave days were a dreadfully sad time in her history but not all slave owners treated their slaves brutally. Some slave owners actually worked to help slaves improve their lives and prepare them for the freedom that would inevitably come. These broke the law to secretly teach blacks to read, for instance. Stereotyping Southern white people of that day is just as wrong as stereotyping black people was back then.

      As well, it is important to get facts right when addressing issues. All that is wrong with the way this post is presented can't be covered here but the KKK and its supporters were far from a majority of the southern white population in the mid 1900s. They actively terrorized white people who spoke up for black people. This insightful post is helpful in understanding some of the other side of the story:

      My black friends would find it incredibly offensive to read that blacks have not advanced because they are unable to do the work that other races do. Black people are doing amazing work in all areas of life in America today. There is no field in which black people have not excelled. Some of those people come from the poorest, most desperate backgrounds, some were born into well-to-do families. To say that blacks cannot do well for any reason is to deny the truth of what they are doing.

      It's not America that's unequal, it is life that is not equal. Blacks in Africa captured and sold their fellow countrymen and women and children to people from other countries who wanted to buy them. Blacks in parts of Africa continue to enslave people. Many blacks in Africa would give a great deal to have the opportunities that blacks in America have today. Many have come here and proven that they could and they would find a way to do great things with such an opportunity.

      The book "Please Stop Helping Us" from J. L. Riley could help you consider a different perspective on this topic but there is one true answer to racism and that is the grace of Jesus the Christ. May His peace be multiplied to you according to His Word.