Building the New Empire
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: In God is our trust.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave (Francis Scott Key).
Overt racism (1787-1964). Virtue principles were codified in the US Constitution (Library of Congress, 2016) in addition to those found in the Declaration of Independence, to extend and confirm the right to equality, freedom, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all human persons who were to live in the new nation. But in Article 1, Section 2 of the same Constitution, a racialized double standard was instituted from the outset by defining a slave as three-fifths of a whole free person, for the manifest purpose of official representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Slaves had been imported into the US from Africa and the trade had not ceased. Article 1 thus defined African Americans and human persons of African descent as less-than-human, denying them the right to official representation in the new democracy (de Tocqueville, 1835-1840/2000). The latent intent of Article 1 was to legitimize slavery as a way of maintaining a cheap agricultural and mining labor population for those of White colonial stock.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 (1 Stat. 78) established the diversity jurisdiction of the nation to define foreign citizens and subjects as aliens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 103) restricted US citizenship to “free White persons” (Ancheta, 1998) – in practice, White males. In theory, therefore, America was a functioning democracy. In practice, however, it was a racialized plutocracy (Thandeka, 1999).
Translocation of the Indians. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 (4 Stat. 411) and multiple removal treaties facilitated the translocation and re-education of Native Americans through the 1950s, ostensibly to protect and ‘civilize’ them into American culture. In reality, the forced translocation of the natives facilitated more governmental land appropriation through the practices of covert genocide and legalized land fractionation for cotton-growing, these actions extending the border-frontier of the nation by millions of acres. Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the US, had declared these removals necessary for “pecuniary advantages” (Richardson, 1908). He also considered the natives to be childlike, decadent, and rude savages. Continue reading “Chapter 3: Building the new empire”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (Preamble).
Racism has existed in the US since the birth of the nation in 1776, despite having been founded on the egalitarian value principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence (National Archives, 2016), the Preamble to which can be found above. Racism, defined as a “system of cultural, institutional, and personal values, beliefs, and actions in which individuals or groups are . . . [disadvantaged] based on ethnic or racial characteristics” (Tinsley-Jones, 2005), has long been considered the hallmark of US history, because the construct of race both was and still is the fundamental determinant of sociopolitical ordering in the nation (Essandoh, 1996; Omi & Winant, 1994). Racialized sociopolitical ordering affected and continues to affect without abatement the legal, natural, political, psychological, and social rights of human persons in America (Miller & Garran, 2007; Omi & Winant, 1994). It also affects their labor market positioning and personal identity.
Right from the outset as a nation, the US involved itself in the active organization, interpretation, and management of race, and it did this for two reasons. First, to compare, contrast, and control the ‘different’ or ‘unknown’ other in relation to the Anglo-Saxon norm as the ideal of a human person. Second, to attempt to establish a ‘pure’ or ‘real American’ race by reducing or eliminating the ‘undesirable other’ as much as possible and this in a legal manner. Continue reading “Chapter 3: Racism in the United States / The American dilemma”
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one cannot stay silent (Davoine / Gaudilliére).
In 1944, the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) ruled by a 6-3 decision in the case of Fred Korematsu v. United States (323 U.S. 214) that the Executive Order 9066 (The White House, 1942) signed two years before by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the nation, was constitutional. The Order had cleared the way for American citizens with dual nationality from countries of concern to be banned from areas deemed critical to national security and to be interned in government-run concentration camps across the US. These countries of concern were Germany, Italy, and Japan; the designated critical areas stretched from Washington to the south of Arizona.
Tens of thousands of dual-nationality American citizens and LPRs were interned as a result of the implementation of Executive Order 9066. Some people were held for brief time periods; others were held for several years after the end of World War II (WWII). Fred Korematsu, an American of Japanese ancestry, had been convicted for refusing to obey the military order to leave his home and report to the ‘relocation camp’ upon implementation of the order. This conviction was upheld at the time. Continue reading “Chapter 2: Korematsu revisited”