Thursday, March 3, 2011

Racism & Violence: Relevance in History vs. Today

After our class discussion on Fredrickson's, "Racism: A Short History", we got down to talking about race in terms of violence. I started to think about how this violence evolved, and the beginning of violence in the United States in regards to racism started when slavery began. We started to talk about how you need violence in order to perpetuate a system. Some believed that this was true, and others did not. After thinking about the relationship between racism and violence the first thing that I started to think about was white privilege. If you think about it, violence was initiated in the United States in terms of whites and blacks when blacks started to find their way of life. They started to humanize themselves, and make themselves other then the label that had been given to them as a slave. Violence was initiated so that whites could try and break down the power blacks gain from humanizing themselves.
The power that blacks would gain is possibly assimilating into the white society. Whites have always refused blacks, and today, still whites can't cope with the fact that they are at risk of losing their privilege. I have been learning about white privilege in my Anthropology class, and even if whites are against racism, and the classification of races, many of them would not give up this privilege. Back in time, during slavery, whites performed violence because blacks were starting to gain laws that gave them more freedom. Whites in fear, responded with lynching, and any other kind of violence to let them know that they were still in power. Do you think that violence is still connected today with racism and white privilege? Because today we aren't trying to perpetuate a system anymore, we claim we have equality within the races of America. What is the relationship between violence and race today?


  1. First of all, I think that it is definitely a fact that we need to get over the whole idea of an American Egalitarian society because I think that we are still very far from that. Yes, I would argue that today, violence IS still connected with racism and white privilege...specifically with white privilege because of course, the dominant group does not want to lose the power that is promised to them. However, we must also realize that, although the focus has not been in any way COMPLETELY shifted from the black/white paradigm in terms of racism and violence, it has spread, significantly, to other minority/inferior groups in society. Therefore, I think that the relationship between violence and race today is still prevalent and transparent, but not as much as it was years ago during slavery. Yet, the relationship between violence and minority/inferior groups is steadily rising as time progresses. I think that the question is then, How do we stop the spread of the relationship between violence and "othered" groups?...

  2. I don't think you have to go back as far as slavery to see violence and race intertwined. Images of blacks being hosed down by firemen from the Civil Rights movement are still ingrained in my brain. Though these events were not far in time (or space) from our own, I don't see violence tied to racism as it once was. The racism I see today is a latent one. It's not one you'll find on the front page of the New York Times or any respected publisher. All of the overtly racist groups have been pushed to the outer fringes of society (see the KKK and Neo-nazi status today). So I'm not entirely sure I see race and violence connected in today's aspects of racism. Could someone clarify?

  3. I don't think that violence is tied to racism as it was, say during slavery in the American South or Nazi Germany. I would agree with Ferrell in the way he stated that racism is not overtly outward and violent as it once was. I think that in today's world we see more violence tied to religion than with race.

  4. Racial violence has very few isolated incidents in today's society, at least in terms of interracial violence. I would argue that violence has increased within certain racial groups over the years. One of the top killers of young black men between the ages of 12 and 24 is homicide. One thing that I hope to talk about in class is why violence within minority groups has increased so much over the years.


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