The Black and White of Racism


Rather than appreciated for all they have accomplished and contributed in making America the land of individual freedom and opportunity, "white people" are, at times, the victims of the worse type of racism.


By some, they are grouped and racially stereotyped based on skin tone alone. The extremely diverse nature of all the people with light skin is ignored. They are criticized for their success and achievements with accusations of exploitation and abuse of other groups without any consideration of their individual backgrounds.


While there is actually no such thing scientifically as a “White Race” or “White Person”, these diverse peoples are categorized and generalized as "White" for racist purposes. Following is a summary of some of the aspects of the book, “The Black and White of Racism, written to present this side of the racial issue.


1. The book looks at the effect of culture rather than race regarding how people from Africa were accepted and assimilated into colonial America. The African culture was somewhat primitive and very different than the more advanced European culture brought to the shores of the "new land". Naturally, the Europeans felt that America would be a better country by adapting Western Civilization culture rather than that of the Africans. This “Clash of Cultures” put the Africans at a cultural disadvantage and caused the Europeans to ostracize them socially. This was not racism. This was culturalism.  The cultural differences were far too extreme to make assimilation quick or easy.


For the people today with African heritage, the effects of the "Clash of Cultures" still linger in some measure. Mistaken as racism, efforts to correct the still existing cultural divide always fail due to a misunderstanding of the problem.


The term "Culturalism" is used to denote a theory that all societies try to create a cohesive cultural identification for mutual benefit and survival and naturally oppose multiculturalism. For America it has been expressed as the “Cultural Melting Pot" effect  where all diverse cultures are put aside in order to cohere together as unified American citizens based on the founding principles or our nation. This is known as the “American Culture.”


The book seeks to better identify and resolve these differences.


2. The book points out that “a fate worse than slavery” was likely had the Africans not been sold in their homeland during the slave trade years. Millions of Africans died at the hands of their fellow African captors before they made it to the African coast to be sold, by their African captors, to the slave traders.


For example, following are some facts that support the point:


The history of Slavery in early America through the Civil War has been presented to the American people of today in a deceptive manner. White Slaves and Black Slave Owners and the extent of African participation in the slave trade has been excluded from most text books, as well as, historical museums and presentations.


Facts, such as the historical record that African tribes stalked other tribes to capture and kidnap more than 20 million other Africans in their own homeland to sell as slaves, is little known. "Historians estimate that ten million of these abducted Africans never made it to the slave ships. Most died on the march to the sea—still chained, yoked, and shackled by their African captors.


The survivors were either purchased by European slave dealers or instantly beheaded by the African traders insight of the [slave ship] captains if they could not be sold."  Under these conditions, the Africans that finally made it to the slave ships lived, and today their decedents, most often, do not seem to feel that they would be better off back in Africa. Few today choose to return.


These quotes are from Sheldon Stern who "taught African American History at the college level for a decade before becoming historian at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum (1977-1999) –where he designed the museums first civil rights exhibit. Mr. Stern is an American with African heritage."


Mr. Stern noted: “Failure to educate young Americans about the whole story of Atlantic slave trade threatens to divide our nation and undermine our civic unity and belief in the historical legitimacy of our democratic institutions. Education in a democracy cannot promote half-truths about history without undermining the ideal of e pluribus unum—one from many—and substituting a divisive emphasis on many from one. The history of the slave trade proves that virtually everyone participated and profited—whites and blacks; Christians, Muslims, and Jews; Europeans, Africans, Americans, and Latin Americans. Once we recognize the shared historical responsibility for the Atlantic slave trade, we can turn our attention to “transforming the future” by eradicating its corrosive legacy.”


These are just a few of the little known facts that are presented in the book along with references.


3. The book cites numbers from the 1860 Federal census that shows that less than 6% of the “White” people in the South owned slaves while about 10% of the Free “Black” people owned slaves. The misconception that a majority of Americans in the South owned slaves effects the false claim that many “White” people today have a historical legacy of slave ownership while ignoring the fact that “Black” people were slave owners themselves.


4. The book notes that, when the African people were weakest in America, it was the “White” majority that created the “Abolition” movement, the Civil War effort, the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, the Civil Rights legislation and the "Affirmative Action" regulations.  The book shows how the founding principles of individual liberty and freedom caused Americans to reject and abandon slavery in the mid-19th century.


5.The book explains how racial heritage should no longer be an issue in America today. A college class project is cited as an example of why racial identification can no longer be valid in dividing individual citizens racially. By realizing the mixed heritage we all share as citizens, we can begin to end the “blame and shame” game and heal the racial animosity that plagues our nation. The college project noted, for example, how “three people who identified as African-American were upset to find out how much European ancestry they had.” To be factual, should they wish to remain hyphenated Americans, they would have to describe themselves as African-European-Americans.


6. The book shows how words, most of us use every day, promotes racism and make it impossible for Americans to unite as individual citizens. Also shown is how we can stop using these words to defeat racism and disarm racists, race baiters and racial agitators.


7. Such topics as Racial Supremacy, Racial Abuse, White Privilege and White Achievement are covered with a fresh perspective that provides a more in depth view of the topics.


8. The book offers suggestions for overcoming the racial animosity and resentment that exists today in America. By recognizing and knowing the factual history associated with the issues of race and race relations, the adage "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" from John 8:30 in the bible, is applicable.


9. The book concludes with a humanizing consideration of the charges of racism and abuse now being directed at the police men and women in our nation. Statistics and facts are presented in defense of the police along with a sense of urgency in the reason why there might be dire consequences for our nation in delaying our support.




A commentary from a different perspective about Race Relations and reason for concern by Waylon Allen