Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others. Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. Race is a powerful idea and an enduring concept, invented by society. It has also promoted inequality and discrimination for centuries, as well as influencing how we relate to other human beings. Race is a short word with a long history.
Race is a concept that has molded our nation. Many ideas we associate with race originated in the past during the European era of exploration. Europeans like Christopher Columbus traveled overseas and came across then conquered peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Americas; People who looked, spoke, and acted different from them, which became the foundation of the idea of race. In the American colonies the first laborers were European indentured servants. With the development of the transatlantic slave trade, indentured servants were replaced by African slaves. In 1776 “all men are created equal” was written in the declaration of independence by Thomas Jefferson. Blacks and American Indians were seen as less human and therefore they did not deserve the same rights as whites, so they were not treated equal by any means. Social class was determined by skin color not physical ability. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the rise of “race science” supported the belief that people who were not white were biologically inferior. Native Americans lost their land, segregation was legalized, and Japanese Americans were put internment camps during WWII.
Today, science tells us that all humans are alike and have the same DNA. Although we may have different physical characteristics we all share common ancestry. There are more interracial marriages and diversity in the workplace. Regardless of these...
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