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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Why Does the World Hate Black People?

Jim Crow
Jim Crow

Opinions will vary on this one, no doubt. Fortunately, this is my column, so mine is the only one that matters here.

The world is very clear on its feelings toward black people, but the question I pose is why? What did black people do collectively to the world to warrant such aggressive behavior toward us?

From the shores of Africa to the white-owned Spanish slave ships of Europeans. From the first slave auction in America to the first lash of a whip cracking across the black back of a slave. The black experience in America has been a total and complete failure since the first slave transaction was finalized in 1619. For so long, we had no role model to look up to, until Frederick Douglass rose from the ashes of nothingness to shape black intelligence in America.

During slavery, black people had to endure forced labor, had to learn a religion they never heard of, had to allow their infant children to be used as alligator bait, and had to live like they were less than human. They were treated like animals, really. Then, in 1865, the Civil War ended, and slaves were “freed” (sort of). However, keep in mind that white Democrat-dominated states had no interest in giving black people equal protection under the law, which the 15th Amendment would have given them, were it ratified that year.

It was, however, ratified in 1868. So what were freed blacks from 1865 to 1868? Residents. We were (and still are to this day) simply residents of the United States, not citizens. Moreover, both the Star-Spangled Banner and the Declaration of Independence of the United States either flatly ignore the fact that freed slaves are people or boldly advocates violence toward them.

Then, we got Segregation—the Jim Crow era, when the southern states passed laws that alienated blacks in every aspect of life. At the time, America was covered in signs that read “NO COLOREDS.” Multiple generations of blacks lived and died with those words burned into their memories. Those signs relegated whether black people could eat at a restaurant, shop at a store, sit in a public park, drink from a water fountain, use a public restroom, ride a bus, hail a taxi, and so on.

When white society told us we were not welcome once the shackles came off, we had no choice but to start from scratch. Oddly enough, enterprises like Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK began. Individuals such as Booker T. Washington, Madame C.J. Walker, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey came into prominence.

What is terribly ironic is that, for a time, Black Wall Street flourished economically… until white racists decided to change that and devastated the entire city with the aid of the Tulsa Police Department by using bombs and gunfire.

Stories like this echo from the past; voiceless and lost in time, but desperate to resurface for the here and now. It is probably because black patients have done the most for scientific research since the turn of the 20th century. Don’t believe me, look up Henrietta Lacks or the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

I think it is essentially a case of what human beings have witnessed, generally, over the last 500 years. Namely, what humans have witnessed is a lot of European (white) dominance & prosperity and a lot of African (black) misery and chaos. I don’t think we can casually put aside the role that the centuries-long Trans-Atlantic slave trade played in shaping this world’s view of Black inferiority and White superiority, as well as the later trend of European powers conquering and colonizing various non-White nations.

Even though most people would rather forget, many of the historically-racist views throughout the world went far beyond a mere belief that one race was superior to another. Some people (even today) questioned if blacks were fully evolved.

And apparently, White people weren’t the only ones wondering. Colorism ran rampant among Black people in America (and abroad); and it still runs today, to an extent. Note the skin-lightening industry in Africa. Hell, look at the similar reality in India and the Philippines.

Consider the hot button conversations surrounding “black” hair (especially with women). I remember my teen years. I don’t recall any news stories that portray Black people (as a people) as anything other than victims, problems, or an overall pitiful situation. There were always exceptions to the rules, of course; from George Washington Carver to Mae Carol Jemison. But as a people, we never seemed to be on the forefront of anything admirable besides arts, entertainment, sports, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Or, at least, it seemed that way. I remember when Ethiopia was experiencing a horrific famine in the 1980s, and a long roster of sympathetic American rock stars organized a huge benefit concert to help.  Interestingly, it was around the same time Japan (a vanquished nation from WWII) was kicking butt seemingly in every way, technologically and economically.

As a Black kid growing up, observing these images consistently throughout my life, at some point I (and many of my peers) could not help but ask, “What happened to us?”

I only say that to say this: If “we” have been asking ourselves that question for all these years, then surely non-Blacks have been doing the same.

The Earth’s population is ingrained with the idea that Black people are something other than completely equal. That’s just reality. And it takes a certain amount of education and perspective to make sense of it. But unfortunately, most people don’t want to be bothered. Black people are looked down upon because many of them remain in impoverished situations after the past hundred years of oppression and colonization.

When cultures clash over resources, you have the physical conflict of wars and colonization, but you also have societal clashes. With superior power, European and other cultures were able to establish a narrative by which African people were labeled as “primitive” or “barbaric.” This would then be associated with the presumption of a lack of intelligence, and often combined with religious racism—the belief that the more powerful group found success by the will of God, that they were the Chosen Ones, surrounded by lesser people.

The same thing can be seen anywhere colonialism occurred, where the dominant, invading culture looks down upon the “Godless heathens.”
That Africans and their descendants were targeted for discrimination is a result of this mindset, which became self-affirming. The circular logic was that Africa was undeveloped because the people were inferior, so it was justified to subjugate African cultures, which further prevented them from advancing, which reinforced the judgment that there was something lesser about the people and the culture.