Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Nation Built Upon Racial And Ethnic Violence And Discrimination: A Short & Quick History of Phyletic Bias In The United States

My first impulse to write this particular posting came out of concern that something I wrote last week could be misinterpreted as slanted against minority or immigrant groups, which it wasn't but anytime, especially in this current anti-immigrant era, anything hinting group accountability could be construed as condoning collective blanket punishment against an entire community, something I would never think of or could support.  That I am disgusted with lying by anyone for any purpose goes without question but I find myself especially galled when my potential customer base is deceived by fellow transportation providers for the sole purpose of extracting as much money as they can from the passenger's wallet.  Not only do I find these actions nonsensical and repugnant, I understand fully that the immigrant cabbie is endangering their very ability to remain in the USA because cheating a customer is a misdemeanor, which upon conviction, qualifies and targets them for deportation whether a Green Card holder or recent naturalized citizen.

This fact is no joke in these Donald Trump poisoned times, a period where racial hatred emanates daily from the White House.  Few know that in 1964 Donald Trump and his father were discovered by the Federal Government to have illegally not rented to potential black tenants in NYC.  Only a settlement and substantial fine prevented them from being formally indicted.

That this man is now President says much about America today and what it means to be a person of color living in the United States and obstacles faced.  And that this is nothing new shouldn't be surprising which I is why I will be briefly outlining America's sordid racial history and how it relates to the country we reside in today.   Knowledge, not ignorance should be our guiding light.

Again, I consider this outline, however comprehensive it is or not, to only be a primer upon the subject, encouraging everyone to delve deeper into a topic essential to every living American, newly arrived or native born.  Without knowledge, one is blind, and to not know our countries history is like not knowing your own name, who your parents are and where you were born.  Knowledge then is purposeful, taking you to where you need to be, knowledge forever your comfortable home, warm and well lit.

Historical Timeline 1492 to the Present, June 2018

Christopher Columbus arrives in North America on October 12th, 1492, landing on the island now known as Hispaniola in the Caribbean.  Amongst other actions, he captured over 25 Indians (he thought he was in Asia) and transported them back to Spain, with only 8 surviving the journey.

Tiguex War 1540-1541---Tiwa Indians from both sides of the Rio Grande River in what is now the State of Mexico and Mexico fight the Spanish army led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado.

American Indian Wars 1622-1898

Spanning three centuries, both early colonists and the post-1776 Federal Government fought wars of aggression against the North American tribal nations, killing hundreds of thousands, breaking treaties and acquiring Indian lands.  The first recorded war occurred in the years 1622-44, Virginia colonists battling the Powhatan Confederacy.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in the infamous "Trail of Tears" with the 1838 forcible removal of the Cherokee tribe from Georgia to the Oklahoma Territory, a distance of about 800 miles.

The last recorded action, known as the Battle of Leech Lake, was a Chippewa uprising occurring in northern Minnesota. 

It was not until 1924, and the passing of the Indian Citizenship Act, that Native Americans were granted American citizenship.

American (United States) Slavery 1641-1863

Beginning in the Massachusetts Colony in 1641, and more or less officially ending upon Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation 95 (the Emancipation Proclamation) on January 1st, 1863, an over 222 period where Africans imported as live chattel were expected to live and die in lifelong forced servitude.

1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision that slaves were indeed the material property of their masters.

Jim Crow Period 1865-1966

President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) in 1865 opposed the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, providing former slaves American citizenship, thus empowering Southern Segregationists and White Supremacists to resist black integration, creating the "separate but equal" mentality fueling "Jim Crow" which in some forms, remain throughout the USA, especially concerning relationships with police.

The NAACP says that between 1882-1968 there were 4,743 confirmed racially motivated lynchings.

President Woodrow Wilson, president from 1913-1921, who was an avowed segregationist, oversaw separate toilets for whites and black at his Treasury and Interior Departments.

Negro Baseball Leagues 1920-1960.  Until the black ballplayer Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15th, 1947, blacks were not allowed into the baseball major leagues.

When President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, a full year after Robinson joined the Dodgers, he fully desegregated the American Armed Forces.  During WWII blacks served in separate units, usually led by white officers.

1954, the Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court ruling that the racial segregation of school children was illegal.

Negro Motorist Green Book, 1936-1966, an African-American road travel guide to restaurants and motels/hotels catering to blacks in the South and elsewhere in the USA.  If African Americans wanted to eat and sleep without getting arrested, they needed this guide.

In 1964, pushed by President Johnson (LBJ) the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended an over 150 year span of segregation in the USA, while also banning employment discrimination due to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Voting Rights Act of 1965, also by President Johnson, was aimed at overcoming and removing legal barriers aimed at preventing blacks from exercising their right to vote.  Unfortunately, this battle continues to this day despite the best efforts made by fair minded Americans.

Immigration Acts & Actions

Naturalization Act of 1798 required a 14 year wait to become an American citizen.  Currently you must wait 5 years before you can apply but only 3 years if you are married to an American citizen.

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.  If you were Chinese, you were not welcome, plain and simple.

Immigration Act of 1882 implemented "head tax" on all non-citizens entering the USA.

1885 Alien Contract Labor Law (the Foran Act).  Prohibited the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under any and all labor contracts. 

The 1892 Geary Act extended the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, requiring all Chinese residents in the entire United States to have a resident permit that acted like an internal passport.

!903 Philippines-American War, 200,000 to 1,500,000 to possibly 3 million killed.  What were the Filipinos fighting for?  Their freedom from the American colonists.

1917 Immigration Act required all migrants over 16 to demonstrate basic reading competency in any language, while also requiring increased taxes to be paid upon arrival.  All people of Asian origin were barred except for Filipinos and a very limited number of Japanese.

1917 National Origins Quota limited to two percent of total number of each nationality as of the 1890 census.  This means I am very lucky to be here because three of my grandparents were from Hungary and one from Sicily, people less than white.

The 1924 National Origins Formula capped annual emigration to the USA at 150,000.

Immigration Act of 1926 ( the Johnson-Reed Act) essentially excluded most anyone from migrating to the USA unless you were Anglo-Saxon.  You might remember Trump's comments about favoring potential migrants from Norway, their skin much whiter than mine.

The 1943 Chinese Exclusion Act of 1943 finally permitted Chinese nationals to become citizens.  That sounds great until you know that the Act limited potential Chinese entrants to 105 per year.

In 1954, Joseph Swing, then Director of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), led something called "Operation Wetback" which deported over 1.3 million people, including hundreds of thousands who proved later to be legal American citizens. Now do you feel safe?

In 2006, the Secure Fence Act was signed into law, mandating 700 miles of double-reinforced fence stretching from California, Arizona, New Mexico to Texas.  Obviously putting up a wall is nothing new.

Focus Upon Japan

On July 8th, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry and ships under his command sailed into Tokyo Bay demanding trade and contact with Japan.  When the Japanese didn't respond  properly, he once again in 1854 entered Tokyo Bay with many more ships and cannons, and Japan, clearly getting the message, signed something called the Treaty of Kanagawa, opening up ports to American traders and shipping and allowing the establishment of an American consulate.

Upon FDR's issuance of Executive Order 906 on February 19, 1942,  all West Coast Japanese-American residents, citizens or not, were ordered to leave their homes and businesses and be interned in concentration camps.  That they had done nothing to warrant their arrests didn't matter given American antipathy toward Asians in general and Japanese in particular, somehow being blamed for Japan's attack upon Pearl Harbor.  Many years later the survivors received a letter of apology and $20,000 dollars, this after many had lost everything they once owned.

On March 9th, 1945, the US dropped 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs upon the civilian population of Tokyo, killing between 80,000-130,000 people.  One American pilot reported that he could smell the cooking of human flesh, stopping him from eating for 3 days.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945, and Nagasaki, August 9th, resulted in up to 226,000 deaths, including 20 Allied prisoners of war.

 German & Irish Migrants in the 1830s & 1840s

It seems if too many of one group decided to come to the United States to be free, trouble soon ensued.  The first large wave of Germans were harassed and maltreated and forced to live in squalor. Worse was the Civil War-era draft when poor Germans were seen as prime conscripts for the Union Army.  And since most didn't have the $300.00 to buy their out of the draft, the famously rioted in NYC.

Same fate awaited the Irish fleeing the potato famine, resident Americans not liking their Catholicism or their tempers, subjecting the Irish too to discrimination and hatred. Can you imagine hating the Irish now just for being Irish?  Hey, pour me a Guinness!

Eugenics---Darwin's Theory of Evolution Gone Amok!

Misinterpret Darwin's classic voyage upon the Beagle, then adding tainted elements of racism and class superiority and you come up with that bastard science, eugenics, once supported by the likes of President Teddy Roosevelt, H. G. Wells, Margret Sanger, Winston Churchill and Charles Lindbergh. The advocacy of such theory was popularized by a Darwin cousin, Sir Francis Galton who claimed that a "new social engineering" was a societal cure all, eliminating all those considered low functioning and feeble.

And it was the American Henry Goddard, whose 1914 book "Feeble mindedness---Its Causes and Consequences," later published the same year in German, that came the basis for some of Nazi Germany's most atrocious crimes, which of course clarified for the world what eugenics truly is---a bogus science used by fools for their own end.

In 1907, the State of Indiana passed the world's first mandatory sterilization law, mandating the "compulsory sterilization of degenerates."

In 1927, the Supreme Court, in Buck versus Bell, upheld the state of Virginia's right to sterilize young women considered "unfit to continue their kind."

In 1939 the transatlantic ocean Saint Louis held over 900 Jewish refugees escaping Nazi violence.  Famously refused entry into the USA, they sailed back to Europe.  Over 284 of those passengers seeking freedom in America were killed by the Nazis.

After what happened during WWII, eugenics, for the most part has lost its cultural appeal and the bulk of its supporters. 


Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria death toll: official 64 while the actual is closer to 5000.

Over 500 civilians killed by American bombs in 2017 in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin police swarm black NBA basketball for parking in handicapped zone, knocking him to the street and stepping on him.


If you listen closely, you hear the echoes of what I have referenced from the pass nearly four hundred years in the words of Donald Trump and his supporters.  That is why it would be wise to heed warnings taken from the near and distant past and make sure you don't involve yourself in petty actions that could jeopardize the well-being of both you and your family.  Play it straight because the history of this country says that it won't hesitate to kick you in the buttock all the way back to where you originally came from.  Taking a quote from Bob Dylan, "the cops don't need you and man! they expect the same."  Beware!

Postscript June 11, 2018

A few days ago, the American Historian Ira Berlin (1941-2018) died, a writer known for his thorough research concerning American Slavery.  Two books of his are especially recommended:

"Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South"  Published 1974

"Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America"  Published 1998

As I said, knowing our human history is essential, especially if you are interested in not repeating past mistakes.  Know the world's history and you will know life as it is.  Not knowing history, like Donald Trump thinking it was Canadian troops who burned down the White House during the War of 1812, when it was not until 1867 that Canada gained independence, is to be culturally and historically illiterate, something no one should want to be.


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