In the middle of the 19th century, an idea took hold in America that special virtues of the American people and their institutions were destined to expand across the continent under divine direction, and to accomplish this wonderful task, Native people were systematically swept aside to make room for white European immigrants. The unspoken “special virtues” of the American people were that they were white Christians destined to reform, re-educate, and dominate Native Americans that was not unique to America, and world history bears out that the alleged superiority of the white race resulted in a concerted effort to subjugate darker races in every country on Earth. The idea that dark-skin is tantamount to inferiority still plagues America, and it is the driving force behind efforts by conservatives to disenfranchise minorities in America regardless they are African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, or of Middle Eastern descent. The election of the first African American President exposed the white superiority mindset among many Americans, and it emboldened conservatives to re-assert their belief the white race is destined to dominate what they consider inferior peoples.
President Obama’s speech and reaction to the racial implications in the Trayvon Martin killing brought up some very prescient points about how many white people view African Americans with suspicion based solely on their skin color. It is an issue that was prominent during the British Empire’s conquest over foreign lands, and led to near extermination of Tazmanian and Australian aboriginal people that Europeans emigrating to America perpetuated, and British and Germans reiterated in Africa in the early 20th century. According to “racial science,” dark-skinned people were genetically inferior to the white race, and their worth was measured by how easily they could be “Christianized” and “subdued” as a compliant workforce for white overlords. Crucial to the Aryan mindset was convincing European populations that dark-skinned people were, by virtue of genetics, prone to laziness, lawlessness, and a clear threat to the white race because they multiplied faster than whites.
There are Republicans who openly warn the so-called “divine dominion” over America their “European” (read white) ancestors championed is at risk, and it fuels racial bigotry and hate from conservatives convinced white people are destined to dominate America. In his book, State of Emergency, Pat Buchanan wrote that “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built.” The idea that European descendants’ divine destiny to control America fuels racial bigotry toward all minorities in America, and it is more rampant among the population than the public is inclined to believe. Recently, at the MLB all-star game, American citizen Marc Anthony, of Puerto Rican descent, sang “God Bless America” that invoked rage and racial slurs by white Americans who were furious a “Mexican sang god bless America at the national pastime.” The white supremacy mindset plaguing America makes no special distinction between African Americans, Mexican Americans, or Asian Americans, because their problem is with non-white Americans.
The racial profiling law Arizona passed specifically targeted Hispanics, and some of the recent comments flowing from Republicans at the blasphemous idea of immigration reform have as their basis the idea America was destined by god to be a white nation. Of all the reasons conservatives have devised to rid the country of Hispanics, an immigration analysis from the Heritage Foundation revealed the white supremacist mindset in existence for hundreds of years is still prevalent among conservatives. Jason Richwine proposed that African Americans and Hispanics are genetically incapable of intelligence, and he warned of deep-set differentials between races he claims “are the result of a genetic component to differences in IQ.” He asserted that “no one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.” The same mindset was the driving force behind Eugenics the Nazis used to exterminate what they considered inferior people, and interestingly they used American racial scientist’s conclusions and recommendations in their attempt to exterminate Jews.
President Obama brought up one very good point during his Trayvon speech that demonstrates the institutionalized racism in America. He asked if Trayvon Martin had been armed, would he have been protected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, and the NRA answered with silence by never claiming that if Martin had a gun, he could have stopped a bad guy who stalked and confronted him. States with Stand Your Ground laws do not afford people of color the same protections as their white counterparts, and it is doubtless because they are regarded as inferior, suspicious, and naturally up to no good.
When the President said it was important to recognize that the African American community looked at the Trayvon Martin killing and subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman through experiences and history that doesn’t go away, the converse is also true. Many in the white community have century’s worth of indoctrination that people of color are dangerous, lazy, and inferior, and it extends far beyond African Americans. There is a tendency among many white Americans to distrust any person of color whether they are Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or African Americans and it is evident in the way they refer to minorities in everyday conversations. One can hardly avoid a hearing a friend, co-worker, or neighbor refer to another American by their racial makeup whether it is disparaging or not, and its basis is in white superiority over “the other.”
For the past two-and-a-half years since Republicans took power in states and Congress, there has been a sustained assault on people of color to deprive them of their constitutional rights. The assaults on President Obama are racially motivated whether it is mocking his heritage or questioning the legitimacy of his academic achievements, because in the white supremacist’s mind, it is impossible that a dark-skinned man had the intelligence to graduate from an Ivy League University, much less lead the most powerful nation on Earth. The President is right that Americans have “to do some soul-searching,” and mentioned convening a conversation on race, but he acknowledged that “folks are locked into the positions they already have,” and the one position that is impossible to overcome, or talk about, is the centuries-long notion that people of color are inferior to the white race.
President Obama said “things are getting better and each successive generation seems to be making progress when it comes to race, but it doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated,” and it will never be eliminated until politicians start calling out blatant racism. There are woefully too few politicians willing to condemn racism, and with the predominance of Republicans in states and Congress sponsoring, supporting, and voting for race-based legislation, there are myriad opportunities to cite Republicans’ racial-biases. It leads one to wonder just how far-reaching centuries of indoctrination that people of color are genetically inferior permeates the population, and it is unfortunate to admit, but George Zimmerman is likely an average white supremacist who just happened to carry a gun.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.