Prejudice Passed Through Generations
Racism is not a personal choice it is the product of one’s upbringing. During Fredrick Douglass’ career as an abolitionist he encountered many white Americans who were raised to fear and hate the African American community. A person’s view on society is handed down to them through the bias of their community. Within The Church and Prejudice, a speech by Fredrick Douglass, he speaks about his visit to a church in the South. He spoke of what he saw in the church by saying, “The white people gathered round the alter, the blacks clustered by the door.” Douglass expresses how blatantly segregated the white and black communities are in the South. Even within the bounds of a shared belief, the white community refuses to interact with the African American people. Within these circumstances white children are never allowed the chance to understand the other race. The church is also host to other types of division and prejudice. Douglass describes these in his speech as well, “The slaveholding ministers preach up the divine right of the slaveholders to property in their fellowman.” The church is a role model to the people. The minister’s word is considered fact to the youth of the white community, this makes their justification of slave ownership unquestionable. During the course of Douglass’ speech, an elderly gentleman interrupts him, speaking on his experiences with how the white parents teach their children. He tells the audience, “When they behave wrong, they are told ‘the black man will come catch you.’” This exemplifies the lesson directly taught from parent to child. “The Black Man” is portrayed as a monster or less than human. This impresses the idea upon these children that African-Americans are to be feared and hated. Racism is unconsciously being passed down from generation to generation, who so blindingly accepts what can easily be rejected.
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