How White Supremacy Became Apart Of American Culture

Unidentified Imperial Klazik of the Ku Klux Klan

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White supremacy is an ideology asserting the inherent superiority of white people over nonwhite individuals. This deeply flawed belief system has its roots in pseudo-scientific racism, which historically justified atrocities such as slavery, imperialism, colonialism, and genocide. Today, white supremacist ideologies persist, perpetuating the myth of white racial superiority.


Education system

In the United States, historians believe the influence of white supremacy began with the education system. Research conducted by Donald Yacovone at the Monroe C. Gutman Library examined over 3,000 U.S. history textbooks dating from the 1800s to the 1980s. Yacovone discovered that many of these textbooks either omitted or downplayed the atrocities of the slave trade and other events where marginalized groups were oppressed.

For instance, in one textbook titled “Exploring the New World,” the antislavery movement was conspicuously absent. Instead, the authors justified the use of slaves to pick cotton by asking, “Who else would do the work?” Eli Whitney, known for inventing the cotton gin, was portrayed not for his significant impact on slavery but rather for his concept of interchangeable parts, which facilitated industrialization, according to Yacovone.

Per Learning For Justice, Historian Carter G. Woodson highlighted this dreadful fact in 1933, criticizing the education system for marginalizing Black students. Woodson noted that African American students were taught to admire European cultures while being taught to despise their own African heritage.

For example, he noted that the Classics Curriculum, which is based on the studies of Latin, German, and French, frequently centers on positioning Europe as the pinnacle of human achievement. Despite ancient Rome’s geographical reach into Africa and the Middle East, textbooks often depict ancient Romans as exclusively white. Even ancient Greco-Roman artifacts, originally painted in vibrant colors, are commonly presented as white marble in educational materials.

Throughout education, curricula emphasize the superiority of knowledge originating from ancient Greece and Rome. In mathematics classes, for instance, figures like Euclid and Pythagoras receive substantial attention, while contributions from civilizations such as Babylonia, Egypt, and Arab-Islamic cultures are frequently overlooked. This educational bias perpetuates a narrative that reinforces Eurocentric perspectives and diminishes the diverse intellectual and cultural achievements of non-European societies.


Legal and Institutional Frameworks

Over the years, white supremacy has been entrenched through racist policies. As the American colonies evolved into an independent nation, the ideology of white supremacy became embedded in its legal and institutional frameworks. The U.S. Constitution, while professing ideals of liberty and equality, simultaneously enshrined the dehumanization of African Americans through the Three-Fifths Compromise and other provisions that perpetuated slavery and denied rights to non-white individuals.

Even after the abolition of slavery, legal segregation and discrimination persisted under the Jim Crow laws and the Black Codes. Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enacted in the Southern and border states of the United States after Reconstruction, beginning in the late 19th century and continuing into the mid-20th century. These laws enforced racial segregation in public facilities, transportation, schools, and other aspects of daily life, effectively institutionalizing racial discrimination and white supremacy.

The Black Codes were laws enacted in the Southern states immediately after the Civil War, during Reconstruction. These laws were designed to restrict the freedoms and rights of African Americans and to ensure a stable and subservient labor force. Black Codes varied by state but typically restricted African Americans’ ability to own land, conduct business, freely move about, and seek employment. They also limited their rights to testify against whites in court and vote.

White supremacy also found expression in cultural and social institutions. Literature, art, and popular culture often depicted non-white people as inferior or threatening to white dominance. The portrayal of Native Americans as savages, African Americans as, lazy, subservient or dangerous, and Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners reinforced stereotypes and justified discriminatory practices.


Contemporary Challenges and Resistance

Today, while overt manifestations of white supremacy may not be as openly endorsed, its legacy continues to shape American society. Structural inequalities in areas such as education, employment, healthcare, and criminal justice persist, disproportionately affecting people of color. Incidents of police brutality, hate crimes, and the resurgence of white nationalist movements underscore the ongoing struggle against racial prejudice and inequality.

Efforts to dismantle white supremacy include advocacy for racial justice, reforms in policing and criminal justice, equitable access to education and healthcare, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of society. Organizations, activists, and communities continue to challenge systemic racism and work towards creating a more just and equitable future for all Americans.


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The post How White Supremacy Became Apart Of American Culture appeared first on NewsOne.

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