*** race relations in America

Race Relations in America

race in America
Figure 1.--These unidentified children were photographed in the early 20th century, probably about 1905. At the time this portrait was taken, most American Blacks still lived in the South. They were beginning their life in perhaps the most vicuiosly racist era of American history. All we know about these children for sure is their names, Helen, Earl, Everett, Doris, and Hermen. Unfortunately we do not have their last name. Note how much the little boy looks like Flip Wilson.

Race has been a major factor in American history. The importance an ramificaions of race are factors still not fully appreciated by many Americans. The overiding issue has been slavery. Slavery in America was limited to blacks, in part because theIndians proved impossible to enslave. There were Whites subjected to indentured servitude. It took the Civil War to end slavery, but the impact of slavery continue to affect America. America is a multi-ethnic society. A series of immigrant waves from Europe have left their imprint on the United States. The prominence of the Civil Rights Movement in America gave many the impression that racism was an American phenomenon. The Movement suceeded in ending state-sponsored rascism, but thelingering impact of racism continues. Blacks have been the largest ethnic minority in america. Vlacks have now been replaced by Hispanics as the largest minority. The immigration in the 19th and early 20th century was largely from Europe. This changes with new immigration laws in the 1960s. Immigration now occurs from all over the world and this is changing thecracial makep of the United States.


Race has been a major factor in American history. The importance an ramificaions of race are factors still not fully appreciated by many Americans.


The overiding issue has been slavery. Slavery in America was limited to blacks, in part because theIndians proved impossible to enslave. There were Whites subjected to indentured servitude. It took the Civil War to end slavery, but the impact of slavery continue to affect America. America is a multi-ethnic society. The European countries which conquered native American civilizations in the 16th century enslaved millions in Brazil and South America to work in mines and the tremendously profitable sugar plantations. The conditions were so brutal and European disesases so virlulent that native American populations were descimated. The Spanish and Portuguese turned to Africans. Millions of Africans were transported across the Atlantic and sold into slavery in the Americas. Slavery in earlier epochs had no racial connotations. With the growth of the African slave trade, slavery in the Western mind became associated with race as with the collapse of Native American populations, it was Africans who were enslaved in huge numbers. European Christian who would not have tolerated the enslavement of other Europeans found little objection to enslaving black Africans.

Freed Blacks

The Civil War was not fought because abolitionist sentiment dominated the American Republic, but President Lincoln turned abolition into a major goal of the War. The idea of black civil rights had even less support, but Republicans in Congress turned this into a reality with the the 14th and 15th Amendments. Terrorism persued by the Ku Klux Klan effectivly denied these rights to blacks in the southern states. Thus while blacks wee emancipated, many faced very restricted opportunities. Problems existed throughout the country, but were most severe in the southern states. There are relatively few photographic images of slaves. Daguerotypes were relatively expensive. The new CDV and cabinets cards were much less expensive, but only became available in the 1860s as the slaves were being liberated by the Civil War. Thus we have many more images of blacks in America after emancipation. These images provide fascinating insights into life for blacks in the period from Emancipation (1863-65) to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement after World War II.


A series of immigrant waves from Europe have left their imprint on the United States. Here race at first was not an important factor as most immigrants in the 19th and early 20th century came from Europe. An exception was Asian immigration from China and Japan. Immigration was severely resricted after Wirld War I, but immigration reform opened the immigrant pool to people all over the world. In addition, sizeable numbers of immigrants began to flow into America from Latin America.


Asian Americans, especially Chinese and Japanese- and Korean-Americans are mnost sucessful racial minority. In important measures, Asian Americans are the most successful U.S. demographic. They are the most highly educated and have higher median incomes than any other racial group. Notably, Asian Americans are 12 percebt of the professional workforce while making up less than 6 percent of the U.S. population. This achievement is particulsrly impressive given that the language barrier is signifiucanbt. Learning English fir most Asoan Americans is a signigicant barrier, hust as any Americanb trying to learn Asiann languages will well understand. One liberal study comoalins that Asian Anericans are a blind spot for many comapno=ies. "Because Asian Americans are not considered an underrepresented minority, they are given little priority or attention in diversity programs. We have found that in many companies throughout the country, Asian-related programs are geared toward cultural inclusion, not management diversity." [Gee and Peck] The principal issue with Asian Americans is the rekative failure of Asian Americans to reach management levels. This is seen as an indictment of corporate Americans. Notably, universities like Harvard have admission programs geraed to limit the selection of Asian Americans because on strictly academic merit they would male up a preceived too large a share bof admissiins and the iniversity are aiming at a more balanced racial makeup.

World War II

America entered the War as a still largely racist country. These racist ideas, unlike Germany and Japan, did not significantly affect its foreign policy. In fact, America found itself fighting a war against racism, although this was not entirely evident to most Americans including political leaders until after the War. NAZI anti-Semitism was well known, but not what the NAZIs were planning for the Slavs in the East. The South was still strictly seggregataed with black Americans denied civil rights and prevented from voting. America fought the War with a segregated military. (Ironically there were Jews in the German military.) The anti-Japanese prejudice of the time was often intense and sharply reflected in American war propaganda that is today very disturbing. There are lots of blatantly racist images of slanted, weaked eyes Japanese with over-sized glasses. Of course this was exacerbated by Pearl Harbor. Anti-German propaganda was not racist, of course, because so many Americans looked like Germans. Anti-Japanese racism was reflected in the disgraceful internment of Pacific-coast Japanese-Americans simply on grounds of their ethnicity. The internees included American citizens and not only Japanese nationals resident in America, as was the case for Italians and Germans. One interesting aspect is that with all this anti-Japanese feeling, is that racist attitudes toward Asian Americans declined sharply atter the War. Andcthis process continued even when the Korean War turned into a war with China. All kinds of restrictions on Asians as to citizenship, employment, university admission also disappeared. It is a phenomenon I do not fully understand, but have been meaning to address. The War in many ways also set in motion the Civil Rights movement that ended racial seggregation in the South. The virulence of racism and the social consequences exposed during the War was surely a factor in the American decesion to attack domestic racism after the War.

Civil Rights Movement

The prominence of the Civil Rights Movement in America gave many the impression that racism was an American phenomenon. The Movement suceeded in ending state-sponsored rascism, but thelingering impact of racism continues. The American Civil Rights Movement is one of the most momentous epics in the history of the American Republic. I date it from the Brown vs. Topeka Supreme Court deseggregation decission (1954) to the passage of the Voting Rights Act (1965), but of course the struggle began long before that and continues today. The hope of real freedom for the emancipated slaves after the Civil War was quashed by racist state governments after the withdrawl of Federal trops in the 1870s. The gains achieved by blacksere gradually eroded by racist Jim Crow legislation and extra legal terror fomented by the Klu Klux Klan. Lynchings and mob vilolence througout the South cowed blacks into submission and precented them from voting. The economic deprivation and terror caused a small numbers of blacks to migrate north and after World War I (1914-18) this migration increased significantly. The Supreme Court countenced segreagation in the Plessy vs. Fergusson decission (1898) and a system of racial apartaid enforced by law and the lynch rope ruled the American South until after World War II (1939-45). President Truman prepared the groundwork for the Civil Rights movement when he desseggregated the military (1948) and took other steps which led to the landmark Supreme Court Brown decission. Brown Although the Brown decission did not immediately desegragate Southern schools, it did help foster a decade of nonviolent protests and marches, often carried out by teenagers and youths. These ranged from the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott to the student-led sit-ins and Freedom Riders of the 1960s. These protests were finalized by a massive March on Washington (1963). The Civil Rights Act (1964) which provided a frange of legal protections including access to public accomodations. The Voting Rights Act (1965) was the capstone of the movement, guaranteeing access to the voting booth and in the process fundamentally changing America.


Blacks have been the largest ethnic minority in America. Blacks have now been replaced by Hispanics as the largest minority. The immigration in the 19th and early 20th century was largely from Europe. This changes with new immigration laws in the 1960s. Immigration now occurs from all over the world and this is changing thecracial makep of the United States.

Discussion of Race

President Obama's election as the first African American president was heralded as foreshadowing a new era of race relations in America. We note many liberal Americans and black Americans insisting on a honest discussion of race in America. What they usually mean by this is for white people to sit silent while liberals and blacks recount a steady litany of white racial bigotry. Now a generation ago this might well have been appropriate. There is absolutely no doubt that America has a history of racial oppression and bigotry beginning with some two centuries of slavery. But America has changed, perhaps not completely, but certainly there have been huge changes. And now what is needed is a real discussion. We have no problem with a discussion of past history and actually we think it is vital. But what is needed is an honest assessment of why large numbers of blacks have not entered the American main stream. And why very large numbers have are involved in violence and crime. The numbers are much larger than white Americans and significantly larger than Hispanic Americans. President Obama is correct when he criticizes White Americans for concern about blacks in public. He is failing in his responsibilities, however, when he avoids mentioning that black Americans have are engaged in very real high levels of violence and criminality. Or the consequences of the extraordinarily high level of unwed mothers in the African-American community. And this is not a consequence of slavery. The incidence of unwed mothers did not begin to rise to alarmingly high numbers until the 1950s. We see strong African-American families with the father present in the photographic record of the early-20th century. The extraordinary photography of William Bullard provides images of these families. And this was the high-point of post-slavery oppression. A good example. Notice that the same people who keep saying they want a national discussion on race are the same people who are intent on keeping these matters out of the discussion. And President Biden has continued this approach. He first ignored the rising crime rate and participated in the defund the police rhetoric. And when finally forced to admit the fact that American cities have become open air shooting galleries, wants to blame it all on guns, ignoring the fact that guns were available when crime rates were relatively low before the rise of the defund the police movement.

Conservative and Liberal Views on Race

President Obama ytold us that America needs a conversation on race. We think he is correct. But the kind of conversation he seems to be referring to is a one way conversation. Basically white people remaining silent while liberals lecture them on how racist gthey and the country is. Indivifduals who challenge this dynamic ar labeled as racist anfd their thoughts shit down. We note a perceptive assesment of race in America in a recent article in Atlantic. Now Atlantic is a stridently liberal magazine, but they do addresses alkl kinds of interesting subjects. We do not agree with many of the conclusions in the aricle, but it does provide some very insightful ideas about differences between Condervatives and liberals on race in America. The central thesis is the different perceptions of bigotry. Conservatibes tend to see bigotry and racism as a matter of intention. Thus a person is a bigot because they intentioinally tries to harm people. Liberals tend to define a bigot/racist in terns of impact. Intent is irelevant, it is the impact that is imporrtant regardless of intent. [Beinart] Actually we believe in both views. We do believe that intent is important. But we also believe that impact is also important and here is the basic divide. Liberals believe thar the race problem in America can be solved by resistribution. We nelieve that resistrubution solves nothing and is a temporarily palative that actually harms minorities because it does not get at the central problem. America has been successful as a country and the population prosperous because it has had a largely capitalist economy. Since the Civil Rights Movement which was vital in ending the major racial inequities in American society, liberal polici and priorities, despite the best intentions, have had a largely negtive impact on minorities. The Civil Rights Movemnt opened the way for many minorities individuals to begin to participate in the American dream. Tragically many have not participated in this new and hard-won opportunity. It is our opinion is that an important part of that failure was due to the very liberal policiues designed to assist minorities. Major liberal policie need to be scrutinized. -- Expanding welfare systems have had a deleterious impact on the black family. A huge rise in unwedmothers is one result. -- Attacks on the police have reversed the long term trenmd of falling crime rates in major cities, the so called NCLU effect. -- There appears a far greater coincern with the treatment of criminals than the victims of crime which is often minorities. -- Wealth ditribution policies have adversely affected the economy, limiting the job creation neded to lift minorities out of poverty. Major spending on illegal alienes, limits assistance programs for low income Americans. -- Mounting defecits on expanding social bnefits is undrrmining the fiscal stability of Federal and local governments and their ability to fund the welfare system, even Socil Security. -- Open border policie bring in large numbers of poorly educted immigrants who compete wuith existing minorities for unskilled jobs having the impact of holding down wages. -- Educational policies such as easing up on discipline as well as the decline of the black family have impaired the very acaademic achievement vital to obtain good jobs. We see more emphasis on fuunding teacher pensions than in educating minority kids. -- We note a huge liberal focus on high profile issues rather than the bread and butter issues that really affect people's lives. -- We see attacks on the achievement of the American nation, undermining the desore of minorities to aspire for success. -- We see charges of racism convining minoirities tht there is no reason to even attempt to betterthemselkvs.

Critical Race Theory

Racial ikmnequities certain exist. The question is what causes thise inequities. Critical race theory (CRT) is the view thst racism is not obkly the msjor csuse, but bitually the only imoortsnt vsude. CRT msintains that race itself is not biologically grounded, but rather a social construct. This aspect of CRT is based upon fact. But the proponents of CRT go a step further. They maintain that bitbis something imposed on non whites, especially African-Americans by whites. Historically this was largely the case. But in our modern world this is not entirely the case. Different racial/ethnic groups have destinctive cultural attributes and to varying desgrees they are unwilling to duscard those cultural attributes. Iterestingly here sonme of the same people endirsing CRT also complain about cultural genocide and cultural approriation. As with other aspects of CRT, proponents see racial minorities as pawns with little agency of their own. Thus taking the rather racist attituide that minorities are not as competent as others. CRT proponents most notavly contend that American law and politival annd economic institutions are inherently racist. CRT is most pronounced in America, but because racial inequities exist in other Western countries, the same assessmnent applies to many other countries as well. As a resut, CRT charges that white peoole use these institutions to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of colour. Racial/etnic inequality manifested jn social, economic, and legal differences are created by white people create to maintain white interests. And this is seen as the cause of poverty and criminality in many minority communities. Now racial disparities certainly exist there is nothing wroing innconsidering racial prejudice as a factor in those disparities. Considerung racidsm as fctor given Americ's history, clarly has to be considered. The probken with CRT is that the proponents not only want to consider racism/white privildge, .but actively seek to exclude any other area of inquiry labelinhg it racist. CRT teaches that whiteness is tanyamount to oppression and that its many manifestations (such as the nuckear family, objive rational thinking, and that hard work leads to success need to be rejected. CRT rejects the many of the most fundamental principles of the American nation. That we are all equal under tghe law with the same rughts abd resomsiubilities. And that we should have the same opportunuties tomprosper and pursue happines nbased on merit. CRT is essentially a Marxist attack on capitalism, the very systen that has given most Americans to enjoy comfortable lives. Lives that millions of foreignersof all races attemot to comed to America to enjoy.

Black Lives Matters

Of course black lives matter. All lives matter. Ans blaclmlives matter mo less or nmom morevthmn any otherr lives. The brutal truth is that the leaders of the Black Lives Matters Movement (BLM) do not believe that black lives matters. They only believe that some lives matters. The thousabnds of innocent African Americans being killed by mostly young black males in our inner city are of no interest to the BLM movenent. They are inconsequential to the Movement. The only African Americans that they care about are those killed by whites, especially white police officers. Now if BLM was honerst or competent, they would determine what the major causes of black deaths are. or if they want to ficus on shootinfs, who is doing the shooting. And the simple fact is that the vast majority of Afrucan Aneriucans being shot in America are bring shot by other African Americans, mostly young black males. The number of Afrucan Americans shot by the police are a very small faction of th numbers killed by other Adrican Amerucans -- and this is all police shootings not just unjustified shootings. The numbers killed by gun violence. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. They experience 10 times the gun homicides, 18 times the gun assault injuries, but less than 3 times the fatal police shootings of white Americans. [Everytown Research & Policy] Notice that gun homikcides and gun assault injiries are mostly the result of attacks by other blacks, but very few whites. The police shootings are miostly by white, but include some blacks and other minmorities and are a fractiom of the attacks by other blacks. The number of African Americans killed by the police avarage about 230 people (2017-2020) Statistica]. This is less than 3 percent of African Amrican hommicides--and rember this is all police xhootings, the vast mzajority of wghich were justifiable. Why would agroup who claims to be interested in blacl lives focus on 3 percent rather than 97 percent of the homicides. And even more importantly, since BLM has become prominnt, the total number of frican Anerican homicides haved increased with large spikes on criminl shootings in cities throughout the country. TheCDC reports that the leading cause of death between the ages of 2 and 44 is homicide for African-Americans. The leading cause of death for whites in the same age range is accident. According to the commission on COVID-19 and criminal justice out of an African-American population of over 41 million there were over 8,000 African-Americans killed by homicide in 2020. Out of a population over 205 million whites there were over 7,000 whites killed by homicide in 2020. According to this data, most homicides are intra race. African Americans kill each other at a higher percentage white than whites kill each other. Yet BLM just ignores this symamuc and focuses in police shootings-- statutically minor part of the carnage in tthe inner city. [Carter] One imoortant study group reports, "Our research shows the black homicide victimization rate is four times the national homicide victimization rate, and more than six times the homicide victimization rate for whites. More than 85 percent of black homicide victims are shot and killed with guns. These facts are both appalling and unacceptable. An important part of ending the gun violence epidemic is to reduce homicides in the African-American community." [Violence Policy Center] More than 85 percent of black homicide victims are shot and killed with guns. Notably since BLM has begun prominent with the shooting of Michael Brown in Fergusson, Missori, Agrican American homicides have actually increased fron the 6,100-6,600 (2010-14) to 7,100 (2015), 7,800 (2016 and 17). [Violence Policy Center]

Weaponizing Racism (2020)

The death of George Floyd at the hanfs of Minnealpolis police was the spark for an outbreaks of violence throughout American cities and attacks on the police along with riots and looting of stores. Quickly the media provided kistification for the viloence with terms like institutional racism, white privildge, and police killing of black men. American was convivted by the media with no real thoughtful analysis other than their deeply inbeded left wing ideology. Now there is no doubt that there is racial disparities in Americam life. The media just assumes that is ip so facto the result of America's racism. But one nbever sees the media air academia actually making that case. Let there be no mistake. Insstututional racism was a major factor in America life both nefire and after the slave eras. But this is 2020 and for than half a century liberals have dominated American political life and controlled almost all of America;s major cities wuth substantial Adruican-American or Hispamic populations. This in fact was especially true of Minneapolis one of the most liberal cities in America. Liberal lion Hubert Humphrey began his career as mayor of Minneapolis (1945). Thus Minneaplis has has a liberal city Government for over seven decades. Something the Mainstrream media never mentions because it is intent on blaming Republicans for polutical reasons, not liberal Democrats. Is it really possible that after seven decaedes of liberal control, that Minneapolis can be a hot bed of racism?. It mught also be charged that the Media and Academia are not really interesred in solving the problem, but we thank that is unfair. (Of course that is what Kiberaks say about Conservarives.) We are less inclined to classigy thise who dusagree with is as evil people. We think it is peimarily that their left-wing ideology is so onbedded that they they simply believe that they have the answer, blinding them to how seriously their policies have failed. And if so what are the chances that liberal policies and political control will be any more succesful in the next seven decades?


Beinart, Peter. "Conservatism without bigotry: Republicans must recon with their policies' raciual effects. Thta would be more likekly if liberals stopped carelesslhy crying racist," The Atlantic (December 1917), pp. 11- 14. Beirart provides many valuravle indsights about conservatibes and liberals in the nationl conversation over racism. But notice the subtext, it is conservtives that need to aware of the racial impact of their policies. Apparently he does not think that liberals needed to be comcened about the impact of their policies, presumably because the author thinks that liberal policies are invariable beneficial for minorities. We believe that this was certainly the case wih he Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s. Subsequent liberal policies are very differnt matter.

Carter, Jack. "Black community must stand up against gun violence. The Gainesville Sun (Sedotember 21, 2021).

Everytown Research & Policy. "Impact of gun violence on black Americans," (Assessed Secember 22, 2021).

Gee, Buck and Denise Peck. "Asian Americans are tghe least likely group in the U.S. to be promoted to managemebt," Haevard Business Review (May 31, 2018).

Statistica. "Numbrer of people shot to death by police in the Unuted States from 2017 to 2021, by race.". We have not included the 2012 dara because in was partiual year. We note that available data doers noyt ibnclude data for which the race of the individual was not avaialble. Th dta appears to be based on a detailed study conducted by Penn Medicine, one of the world’s leading academic medical centers.

Violence Policy Center. "Black homicide victimization," (accessed December 22, 2021).


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Created: 2:42 AM 12/16/2004
Last updated: 6:54 PM 12/24/2021