Racism in America
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by Frank Shortt
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Since the beginning of time, as soon as one man began to look a little different than another man, there has been a form of racism, leading to abuses of one kind or another.
One guy didn't like how another guy offered an offering to his God, so he killed him. Another guy didn't like how his people were being treated by another race, so he killed one and buried him in the sand. All through history races have taken advantage of other races because they felt they were too weak, too strong, or maybe they didn't like how they parted their hair. Greed has often been the cause of racial strife.
The first recorded racism in America was when the Native Americans were trying to protect their territory. They were called savages, scalpers, redskins, gut-eaters, hatchet packers, bow benders, etc. When a native people's source of food was diminished, they had to resort to scraping the guts of the Bison in order to survive. This is not a very pretty picture. I call a man a gentleman who would try to protect his home and family, not a savage!
During the colonial period in America, African tribes were taking advantage of other less fortunate tribes and selling them to 'Slavers' who hauled them to South Atlantic islands to be traded to American plantation owners, (both North and South) somewhat how we would trade for an automobile today. As the slave population grew in America, races other than the African race, began calling them derogatory names such as; Nigger, (a bastardization of Negro), Niggah, (variation of N. word pronounced wrongly) Coons, Uncle Tom, Jigaboos, etc. Thankfully, most African Americans have risen above caring about these demeaning names and consider anyone who uses them as being very ignorant. Not only have unprincipled whites been prejudiced against Blacks, but other races have also been bigoted toward them. It seems that men who stoop to a low degree think they need someone to look down upon to justify their own position in society.
When the Chinese first came to America in larger numbers during the Gold rush they were mistreated, demeaned, and used as objects of derision. Their dress was different and their customs were different. Today there are approximately 3.79 million Chinese in America. It is alleged that in the early 1800's there were approximately 325 known Chinese in America. They had come as sailors who jumped ship or as merchants. Their survival became hazardous as unscrupulous men began using them according to their whims. They were referred to as Chinks, Chopsticks, Railers, (during the building of the railroads across America) Pan faces, etc. During the California Gold Rush, some Chinese became well-to-do as business owners, such as, restauranteurs, shop owners, and owners of laundries. Through their patience, they have become upstanding citizens of America involved in all phases of American life.
The Irish faced much prejudice, racism and discrimination after their immigration to the United States. They were often poor, uneducated, less skilled, and considered disruptive. They were also mostly Catholics in a land of Protestant dominance. They were referred to as Micks, Muckers, Potato Heads, Drunks, and Bog Jumpers. Through hard work, perseverance, and patience, the Irish have gained a place of prominence in America. When they first arrived, they were forced into near slavery, some more-so than others and placed into indentured service for the highest bidder. They were prejudiced against by all the established races of people when they arrived in America. These seemingly established people were afraid their jobs would be taken away by the new immigrants.
The first Jews allegedly arrived in New Amsterdam (New York) in 1654. They could not serve in the military but were required to pay a tax because of their non-military status by Peter Stuyvesant, the governor. They could not build a synagogue so all their services had to be conducted at home. The first Jews in America were called Sephardic as they had fled from the Catholic dominated countries of Spain and Portugal. Early Jews were referred to as Heebs, Kikes, Yids, Hymies, etc. The Jewish population in America has become, through much hard work, very productive and successful businessmen. Thanks to the efforts of men who supported the State of Israel, it too has become a thriving country in its own rite. Of course, other races and religions have been looked down upon by some Jewish people. As stated before, someone always seems to need someone else that they can look down upon.
Other races who have been looked down upon as they arrived in America were Italians (known as Dagoes, Spaghetti Twisters, etc.) Poles (called Polacks, Meatheads, etc.), Japanese (called Japs, Nips, etc.), those of Mexican descent, (called Wetbacks, Chili Chokers, Fence Hoppers, etc.), and last, but not least, the Portuguese, (referred to as Ports, Portugees, etc.) Nonetheless, we are all human beings, we all have to eat, sleep, drink water, go to the bathroom, work, and be what our Creator made us to be. As an old Proverb asks, "can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?" Please forgive the use of these derogatory titles, but they were used to make a strong point!
As you can see, we are a mixed-race society who, when we look down upon anyone, we just might be looking down upon a relative. DNA has shown that no matter how blond, red, dark, or brown our hair may be, we have been found to be of multiple ethnic backgrounds. For many reasons our original status has been changed through the years. I will use myself as an example: I am of English, Irish, Native American, and who knows what else in ethnicity. The Shortt'/Short families in Buchanan County Virginia, due to a couple of bad apples, were looked upon as bad seed up until the late 1950's. Children were even scared by their parents by saying, "Old Man Shortt will get you if you don't behave." My dad's children were persecuted in school just because we held the name Shortt/Short. Other children would say, "There goes one of those old Shortts." We also suffered because our father chose to worship with whomever he chose to worship with, be he black, white, red, brown, or even purple. Dad raised his ten children to be tolerant of all races of people. Our family is now a very multi-race conglomeration. If all parents would raise their children to respect all others, who maybe look a little different or act a little different, how much better would this society be?
Racism in America is brought on, in a large part, by our governments; federal, state, and local, singling out certain groups and making them look extraordinary for political purposes! This causes jealousy from other groups who feel left out. This could be alleviated by naming streets, roads, buildings, monuments, etc. with generic names to avoid offending anyone! What is wrong with First Street, A Avenue, Forest Boulevard, etc.?
Racism is also fueled by certain far left or far right media groups that play upon the emotions of diverse groups by pitting them against other groups. It is a known fact that every form of mankind who have emigrated to the U.S.A. have been persecuted by those who were already here. This was done because of fear of losing jobs to newcomers, fear of losing places to live, and usually out of just plain jealousy! I cannot think of any one group that has not been shown racism as they came to the U.S.A. to try and have a better life!
Ah, the pain and suffering that could have been eliminated had we truly been the "Land of the Free!"