According to Merriam-Webster’s definition of racism, it is defined as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Therefore, based on this definition, if a person believes that their race is superior to others, they are practicing racism. However, this limited meaning does a major disservice to the deplorable impact that racism has had on the economies and histories of most of the world.
When people consider the origins of racism, the first thought that typically comes to mind is slavery. However, the first enslavers of the world didn’t practice slavery based on skin color, but instead as a result of religious persecution, debts owed, or being a prisoner of war. Race didn’t become a variable of slavery until the 16th century and at that time it became defined as a competition between Europeans to survive and prosper, specifically at the expense of black people.
On the other hand, the dictionary definition of racism became relevant when the Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion was adopted in 1838 which states that, “Neither the existing Black population, their descendants, nor any other Blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of White society.” This doctrine was manifested to ensure that blacks would remain a “subordinate, non-competitive, non-compensated workforce.”
However, based on history racism is when one group of people (whites) have the power, resources, and wealth to deprive, exploit, or injure another group (blacks) for beneficial purposes—usually economic gain. But in more practical terms, racism is how religion was used (and still being used) to condition and psychologically subjugate blacks. Furthermore, racism is how it has been proven that whites receive a better education than blacks, yet society is mystified by the idea that whites are intellectually inferior to blacks.
Additionally, racism is how black history was written by Europeans and the only time they mention blacks is to describe the slave trade and Jim Crow eras. According to white history, the only history that blacks have is slavery and that is racism.
Moreover, racism is when whites have had a 400-year advancement over black people, and yet blacks are told to “equally” compete. Blacks are under the false pretense that they have the same opportunities and life chances as white people, while whites control wealth, privilege, media, and all levels of government. And those that are actually competitive typically face a recurring cycle of overcoming one racial barrier, only to have to conquer another.
Overall, racism is America and what this country was founded upon. Racism was used to subjugate blacks in every aspect of being. Therefore, it is essentially a socioeconomic system that uses religion, politics, and education to preserve the privileges naturally warranted to white people.
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