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This page is about racism directed against black people in the United States.


1. Slavery in the US has been almost entirely white enslavement of black people.
2. The primary cause of this enslavement was not because white people believed black people were inferior (although many white people did believe this), but because they needed a justification for enslavement.
3. They needed this justification in order to obtain cheap labor, because that was much easier (and more profitable, in the sense of wealth concentration) than working out fair labor-sharing arrangements.
4. As the institution of slavery became an established part of American culture, especially in the South, more Americans came to accept as fact the idea that black people were inferior and that it was their "place" to serve.
5. Slavery in the area now known as the USA pre-dates the existence of the USA as a country, and was initiated by Europeans.
6. Although now legally free and equal, black people suffered from the remnants of slavery law (e.g. "Jim Crow" laws) up until at least the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
7. Black people -- and, to some extent, other non-whites -- continue to suffer from the attitudes ingrained in American culture due to the long endurance of slavery as an institution.
8. While other US immigrant groups received quite intense discrimination (e.g. Jewish and Irish "ghettoes"), the degree and extent of this discrimination is not really comparable to that experienced by black people, nor has it been as enduring or as deadly.


I posted this list in a comment on a Google+ thread (2012-04-10, limited access), asking if everyone agreed. The only contention was over item #7, by two different commenters. Some sample quotes:

See the difference in success (here defined as moving up in socio-economic status both in their own lifetime, and that success continuing with their progeny) between "black" immigrants and "black" populations born in the United States. If the attitudes of the "other" was the issue the rates of success would be as well, yet they are not.

The other commenter added:

Also the Jewish and the Irish are not specifically impoverished as you may know. The durability of the gene pool is based of adaptation. Seems every has adapted nicely here except for a fringe few who seem to blame others for their lack of skills and there inherent stupidity. And i am speaking even about those white separatist people who like to blame immigrants for all their problems.

When asked to clarify what she was getting at, this commenter said:

Blacks in this country are impoverished because they lack motivation. Immigrant blacks come here hoping to thrive and do.

If nothing else, this may illustrate some of the key misperceptions which underlie anti-black racism in the US.


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