Introduction To Racism In The U.S.
Racist words by President Trump.
A bit of humor:
A student's true and (probably) unintentionally funny answer to a teacher's question.
A statement by Bill Nye, the Science Guy:
"Researchers have proven, scientifically, that humans are all one people. The color of our ancestors' skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultraviolet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts here in the U.S., there is really no such thing as race. We are one species -- each of us much, much more alike than different. We all come from Africa. We are of the same stardust. We are all going to live and die on the same planet, a Pale Bluer Dot in the vastness of space. We have to work together."
Definition of "racism:"
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "Racism" 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.
A doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles.
A political or social system founded on racism.
Racial prejudice or discrimination. 1
This dictionary also has a definition for the word "Race" for use by students:
"Any one of the groups that human beings can be divided into, based on shared distinctive physical traits." 2
Many Jews, Christians, and Muslims accept the accuracy of passages at Genesis 1:26-27 from the Hebrew Scriptures -- called the Torah by Jews, the Old Testament by Christians, and the Tawrat by Muslims. These two verses discuss God's creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve "in the image of God."
If Adam and Eve were created "in the image of God," then it would seem logical to believe that their children, grand-children, and all their subsequent descendants down to the present day would also be "in the image of God," regardless of the person's skin color, age, sex, gender identity, race, country of origin, language, sexual orientation, etc. Thus, many would conclude that no one should be discriminated against, on the basis of their "race." All humans are valuable, simply because they are humans.
Essentially all scientists, the vast majority of non-religious persons, and many religious believers accept the accuracy of the theory of evolution.
(The term "theory" is used here in its scientific sense as meaning a belief that is soundly confirmed by many scientific studies and is accepted by essentially all scientists. It is not used in its common usage to mean a conclusion based on a hunch.)
One evolutionary belief that is that all members of any species of sexually reproducing animals on earth today -- including humans of all races -- all share two common ancestors, one male and one female. If one accepts that all of the approximately 7.7 billion humans who are currently alive on Earth share common male and female ancestors then many people would agree that all humans are of equal value, and that nobody should be discriminated against because of their race, sex, color, etc.
What do scientific studies tell us about race?
Skin color is often used to sort humans into different races. However, according to Wikipedia, skin color is determined by a minuscule percentage of genes in a human's DNA:
"A relative handful of genes accounts for the inherited factors shaping a person's appearance. Each human has an estimated 19,000-20,000 human protein-coding genes. Richard Sturm and David Duffy describe 11 genes that affect skin pigmentation and explain most variations in human skin color -- the most significant of which are MC1R, ASIP, OCA2, and TYR." 7
One result of this observation is that fewer than 0.05% of a white person's genes would have to be altered in order to convert their skin color to black, and vice versa.
Many IQ studies have compared the average intelligence of groups of blacks and whites. Racists often emphasize the difference in average IQ among whites (higher IQ), and blacks (lower IQ). However, other studies have shown that a person's result on an IQ test is profoundly affected by their early childhood experiences. Because of various prejudices, black children are at a disadvantage. This lowers their IQ score.
J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario, and Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California have published an essay titled: "Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability." 8 It has been cited in over 525 other scientific papers. They reported that:
"Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; that for Whites, about 100; and that for Blacks, about 85 in the United States and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa."
Dan Agin, writing in Huffington Post during 2011, noted:
"The notorious black-white IQ gap of one standard deviation (about 15 points), touted by genetic determinists to be independent of culture, was in fact substantially reduced between 1972 and 2002 — and it continues to shrink." 9
Many studies have been designed to determine whether the differences in IQ by race is caused by genetics or by the environment in which a person is raised. A number of studies have indicated that black children who were adopted and raised by white families have an average IQ equal to that of whites. 12
Discrimination by others based on racism, and any other similar form of discrimination against groups of humans is, by definition, a violation of the Golden Rule.
2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission in the U.S.:
President Lyndon B. Johnson created the Commission in 1968 to investigate causes of the country's racial unrest. The study identified "white racism" as the main cause, and concluded that:
"... our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal."
Human Zoos: an example of past racism:
"Human Zoos" are a largely forgotten part of what some call "Scientific Racism" or "Darwinian Racism." This was the misinterpretation of Darwin's Theory of Evolution which some people believed "proved the inherent superiority of the white, northern European 'race'." 3
The above video describes an exhibit that opened at the Bronx Zoo in New York City on 1906-SEP-08. It contained one man and multiple monkeys, implying a relationship between the two species. Ota Benga was the man selected, in part, because he was an African American. The implication was that blacks represent the lower stages of human evolution. They were viewed by the zoo owners as intermediate between white humans and monkeys. Sadly, the exhibit was very popular among the public.
Although there are no Human Zoos left in the U.S., racism still lives on today. One example occurred on 2018-JAN-11, at a closed meeting in the White House's Oval Office. It was called by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who promoted a plan developed by the Congressional Black Caucus. It would have cut the visa lottery for immigrants in half. One half would go to underrepresented countries in Africa and Temporary Protective Status nations, including Haiti. Trump reacted very negatively, and allegedly asked:
"Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?"
Trump later allegedly said that the U.S. should get more immigrants from countries like Norway.
Later that day, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, denied that Trump had made the comment. His words were confirmed by some congress members and denied by others present at the meeting.
Neal Katyal is a lead lawyer who was challenging Trump's attempts at the time to impose a travel ban on mostly Muslim nations. CNN reported that he said:
"As I put the finishing touches on the travel ban brief to the Supreme Court tonight, the President's words remind us again of how his un-American racist ideology impacts [government] policy." 5
One example of current racism: Birth mortality rates differ greatly by race:
Racial differences in maternal mortality (MMR) and infant mortality (IMR) are quite large. The Center for American Progress reports that racism is the:
"... evergreen toxin [that is] killing [large numbers of] black mothers and infants." 10
Danyelle Solomon, writing for the Center, said:
"African American women and their babies are dying at alarming rates. According to the most recent data, black mothers are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts, while the death rate for infants born to black mothers is more than twice that of infants born to white, non-Hispanic infants.
A growing body of research suggests that even when clinicians control for education, income, and health, black women and their infants are dying at significantly higher rates than other groups of U.S. mothers and babies. And while race is a consistent factor threaded throughout the data, the driver of these disparities is racism." 10
Often, the first time that a pregnant black woman sees a doctor about her pregnancy, is in her ninth month when her labor contractions have already begun.
Among developed nations worldwide, the U.S. has the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality. Recent data (2011-2013) also shows that, for every million live births:
435 black women die, while only 127 non-Hispanic white women die.
117 black newborns die, while only 48 non-Hispanic white newborns die.
During 2017, a total of 3.85 million babies were born in the United States. 11
On 2018-APR-26, the Coordinator of this web site reasoned that pro-life groups consider human embryos and fetuses to be persons, and believe that abortions murder a human being. He felt that it would be reasonable to expect these groups to have programs that try to save the lives of fetuses being born. He sent an email to a dozen leading pro-life groups in the U.S..
American Life League
American Right to Life
Campaign Life Coalition
Family Policy Alliance
Knights of Columbus
National Black Pro-life Union
National Right to Life Committee
Priests For Life
Prolife Across America
Pro-Life Action League
Project Defending Life
Sisters of Life
He asked each agency:
"Recent data (2011-2013) show that, for every 100,000 live births in the U.S., 11.7 black newborns die during childbirth, while only 4.8 non-Hispanic white newborns die.
Is your group addressing this loss of life among babies?
Do you know of any pro-life group that is?"
None of the 12 groups responded to our email. However, email is not that reliable; it is always possible that one or more responses might have gone missing.
U.S. Child suicide rates also differ by race:
Researchers reported in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics that:
"Suicide rates in the United States have traditionally been higher among white than black individuals across all age groups. However, suicide rates increased from 1993 to 1997 and [from] 2008 to 2012 among black children aged 5 to 11 years (from 1.36 to 2.54 per million) and decreased among white children of the same age (from 1.14 to 0.77 per million).
As a result, suicide rates among children ages 5 to 17 now differ greatly by race:
Suicide below the age of 5 is almost non-existent.
By the age of 11, recent suicide rates among black children was more than twice those of whites.
By the age of 12, suicide rates were approximately equal at about 18 per million.
By the age of 17, suicides by white youths were about double that of black youths, about 80 vs. 40 per million. 6
The cause(s) of these shifts is unknown.
Race in advertisements, television commercials, etc:
There is a widespread shift in the race of persons shown in ads and on TV commercials, etc. Biracial couples and families are being increasingly portrayed.
Hallie Golden, writing for The Daily Beast said:
"The commercials can certainly help to attract consumers who come from biracial families or relationships. They are also increasingly more representative of the world we’re living in today. But perhaps the biggest selling point is they help to attract the broad base of customers whose values align with those portrayed through these ads -- inclusion and diversity.
Americus Reed, marketing professor at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said:
"That’s a large group of people that are out there, that have this sense of attitude and belief that would make them say, 'Hey that’s cool that company X or Y is actually doing this'."
He believes that racial diversity in ads and commercials will become even more common in the future. He said:
"You’ll see more and more of them and it’s just going to kind of become the new normal."
Mark Jones, president and creative director of Jones Advertising, said that companies may be showing interracial couples:
"... to show they’re more progressive, while also projecting inclusivity, so they can potentially speak to a broader array of consumers. I think people might be saying ‘we welcome you.’ In other words, we respect you and you’re safe to come here. We want your business."
2019-JUL-14: Examples of President Trump racist tweets:
He twitted at @realDonaldTrump in two linked tweets:
"So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how."
He is apparently referring to four Democratic female members of Congress whose parents were immigrants to the U.S. Three of the congress members were born in the U.S.
The Progress Report issued a statement to their email list saying:\
"... CNN's Brian Stelter ... strongly condemned the tweets on his show over the weekend: 14
'[Trump’s] racism is becoming more obvious, more frightening...That kind of racism that Americans have been fighting against for decades is coming from the president’s Twitter feed'."
2020-JUN-17: Those concerned about racism promoting Juneteenth as a new national holiday in U.S.:
"Juneteenth" appears to be a contraction of "June Nineteenth."
During the week of JUN-08, President Trump announced that he would hold a campaign rally on JUN-19. He apparently did not realize that JUN-19 is celebrated as a special day in much of the U.S. It is called "Juneteenth" because on that day in 1865, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read aloud General Order No. 3:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."
Slaves in Texas at that time became the last group in the U.S. to find out that they were free.
In 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. Currently, Juneteenth observances are held in 43 states and the District of Columbia. 15 Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only four states that have not officially recognized Juneteenth in some way.
After the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Mineapolis, calls to make Juneteenth a national holiday have become common. Jamaal Bowman (D), a candidate for a New York congressional seat, tweeted:
"RT if you think Congress should make Juneteenth a national holiday."
His tweet has been retweeted more than 200,000 times.
The New York Daily News editorial board said:
"Juneteenth should become America’s 11th federal holiday, ahead of other proposals to make formal holidays recognizing important Americans like Susan B. Anthony and Cesar Chavez. All Americans of all races should honor the most meaningful moral decision this great nation ever made. Doing so will focus our minds earnestly on how to ensure the human birthright articulated at the country’s inception extends to all women and all men, of all races." 16
A number of professional sports organizations, including the NFL have declared Juneteenth a paid holiday for their employees.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D) is a Congresswoman from Texas. Every year, she introduces a bill to recognice Juneteenth. This year, her bill has more than 200 co-sponsors. She plans to introduce a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Karlos Hill, department chair and professor of African and African-American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said:
"Our country hasn’t really reckoned with its history of slavery. We could say that the country is dealing with the history of slavery in our current politics. But in terms of telling the hard truths of what slavery represents, how slavery remains with us and how we are still navigating slavery in contemporary politics â¦ those hard truths, we have not confronted them."
“If we made Juneteenth a holiday, we would have to do some of that work.” 17
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
J. Bridge et al., "Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths from 2001 to 2015," JAMA Pediatrics. 2018-MAY-21, at: https://jamanetwork.com/
J. Philippe Rushton & Arthur R. Jensen. "Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability," Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, American Psychological Association (APA), Volume 11, #2 (2005), at: https://www1.udel.edu/