Racial issues in America are not uncommon to the American population and the rest of the world. African Americans have a history of painful events with the narratives of their subjugation and inhumane treatment at the hands of the White Americans. Moreover, the White Americans normalized the racial prejudices through propaganda literature and spreading hate for the Black minority group in the social avenues of the White dominant group. In this context, the institutionalized practices of marginalizing the African American community cannot be overlooked. Their civil liberties were denied by the state, administration, and the legal justice system in the United States of America. This essay analyzes the social prejudices prevalent in America concerning African Americans. Likewise, it discusses White supremacist control and its legitimization by denying them healthcare facilities, tarnishing their social reception through mass media, and spreading racial hate as a normalized practice.
In lieu of multiple agendas and policies, the legal and humanitarian rights of the African Americans were denied by the White Americans. The latter considered them both morally and racially superior over the other. Similarly, due to the lust for power and resources present in the African colonies, the Americans viewed it as a massive opportunity to utilize it for trade. As a result, the White Americans earned huge capitals by unlawfully controlling the lands of the black people and further pushed them into slavery. They were overworked and underpaid which was against humanity. In the same manner, this illegitimate control was institutionalized under the slogans of Manifest Destiny and the enforcement of Jim Crow laws. Likewise, a huge population of Black citizens was taken as slaves and thousands of children were born into slavery. President Lincoln abolished slavery through Emancipation Proclamation but the racial stigmas were so strong and rigid that the racist White population rejected such bills and continued violating the rights of the already repressed minority group. Similarly, the Jim Crow laws encouraged the racial segregation of the Black population from various public spheres and educational institutions that were meant for both the communities. For many centuries, they were not given the right to speak for their legal rights and they continued to be dominated by the racial policies of the American state. This situation resulted in mobilizing the Black community and their struggle for getting their civil liberal rights.
Healthcare facilities are one of the most fundamental rights of every citizen and the state takes extra measures in safeguarding these rights. However, during the twentieth century in America, a white doctor named George Gey took cells from the cervix of a Black woman named Henrietta Lacks. This was a clear violation of both his profession and the human values, the doctor used these cells for commercial practices. In the same manner, these cells were taken from the bodies of Black females without their knowledge and permission. These cells were further engineered to generate a lot of commercial income (Race and Health Care — An American Dilemma?). The poor Black lady’s health deteriorated and she remained a cripple throughout her life. Besides, this incident signifies the inhumane treatment of African Americans and their oppression as a normalized practice in America. Moreover, medical science in America has a history of inhumane medical treatment and experiments done on Blacks. Under the White supremacist agenda, Black lives do not matter and due to racial hatred, they are received miserably in society. Moreover, medical experimentation violates the basic human rights of the Black people and presents it to the world as a great scientific discovery. It also points to the centuries-old practice of conducting experiments on the Black population. Quite on the contrary, African Americans could not protect themselves from these uninformed activities and they were not given the right to protest. The Henrietta Lacks case is one of many examples of the racially biased medical practices prevalent in America.
Mass media is a powerful and common media to spread hate propaganda among the population. The representation of black people through a mass medium has always been problematic. Likewise, African Americans are generally portrayed as criminals, rapists, and uncivilized beings in both the news and the movies. Due to this ideological framing of the Black identity in the popular culture, the dominant group glorifies their actions and the white race as a civilized race. This generalized and colonial representation of the minority group allows the White Americans to manipulate the cognitive abilities of both the local and global audiences. In the same manner, this representation also exercises itself as a soft power tactic in the digital age (Race, Multiculturalism, and the Media). Such representation promotes racial profiling and on the other hand, makes the black population believe about their expected roles in a multiethnic society. For instance, in the twentieth century, White comedians would paint their faces Black to use Black identity as a caricature. This practice allowed them to disrespect the legacy of Black history and various contextual references. This practice triggered anxiety among African Americans and promoted anti-racial and hate sentiments in the White dominant group. Likewise, their comic representation normalizes racial stereotypes in American society. For the longest period, White actors performed the roles of Black characters and they were either shown as villains or misfits. In contemporary times, the Black representation has improved and Black characters are played by Non-White actors (Race Relations in a New Age). However, they are still struggling for their narrative that allows the social groups to represent their culture in its truest form in front of the global audience.
The mass hate towards the Black people harbored the xenophobic ideology in the White population and due to this prolonged issue, racism was normalized in America. The political leadership would enjoy a strong vote bank by evoking racist ideologies. In America, systematic inequality further pushed the African Americans and when they tried to seek justice from the legal systems, it always sided with the White Americans (Racialized Politics: The Debate about Racism in America). The cultural significance of Black communal values allowed them to seek solace in each other’s company and they mobilized themselves for the decades-long struggle to regain their civil rights. Blacks became successful in getting their civil rights, however, the White society, in general, was plagued with racist ideas. In the same manner, they had always Othered the Black community and their sense of racial superiority never let them deviate from violent practices (Racism on the Internet: Young People of Color React). Despite the economic growth, the social sphere deteriorated in the United States of America. The African Americans were continued to be racially profiled in the colonial pattern. For instance, Black people were prohibited from buying property in the residential areas, designated for the white localities. Moreover, the minorities could not use public spaces and most importantly, educational institutes specifically built for the White citizens. This racial superiority, on one side, corrupted the White community both ethically and morally. On the other hand, it created social unrest among the Black population and they remained aloof to their legal rights for many centuries.
The institutionalized racial practices allowed the White Americans to subvert the fundamental rights of equality, justice, philanthropy, and social well-being of the African Americans. The dominant majority group did not accept this difference as a mere variance of facial color. However, they exercised their illegal and hegemonic control based on this sole difference. Similarly, the Black population was denied healthcare facilities and their bodies were used for medical experimentation. In the same manner, their identity and cultural heritage were tarnished by the White comedians and their control over the mass media. All these factors gave way to anti-racial hate sentiments in America.
“Racism on the Internet: Young People of Color React | The Brink | Boston University.” Accessed December 17, 2019. http://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/internet-racism/.
“Race Relations in a New Age.” Accessed December 17, 2019. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/04/race-relations.
“Racialized Politics: The Debate about Racism in America - Google Books.” Accessed December 17, 2019. https://books.google.com.pk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zoHbVRqlRiIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=racism+and+institutions+in+america&ots=ISE9TB9VgD&sig=i67HsIlUZAz_Rzum2755z5mdxcY&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=racism%20and%20institutions%20in%20america&f=false.
“Race and Health Care — An American Dilemma? | NEJM.” Accessed December 17, 2019. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199609123351110.
“Race, Multiculturalism, and the Media: From Mass to Class Communication, 2nd Ed. - PsycNET.” Accessed December 17, 2019. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1995-98693-000.
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