US racial hypocrisy

A little more on the North-South relationship and the race issue.

US racial hypocrisy

The era of the “birth of the American nation” can be conventionally marked by the borders of 1865 (the year the Civil War ended) and 1925 (why – let’s say later). This time can be called the epoch of manifestation of American nationalism, which turned into a real national religion.

It is symbolic that the leading organ of abolitionists, Harrison’s “Liberator”, was renamed “Nation” immediately after the liberation of the Negroes. W. Garrison, the fanatical publisher of the Liberator, “Boston Jeremiah”, who had called for a “moral earthquake” before the Civil War and publicly burned the Constitution, fell into a feminist movement after the liberation of the Negroes.

The severe defeat and no less tragic years of “reconstruction” led to a deep crisis in the South. With weapons in their hands, the Southerners managed to overcome anarchy and defend autonomy. The first swallow of reconciliation between North and South was the agreement of Confederate veterans to take part in the Indian subjugation in the 1870s. Thus, the firm basis for a new unification was again the race issue.

President Theodore Roosevelt wrote frankly about the essence of Indian wars in his book “The 3-Way of the 3-Way”: this conquest was a racial war between the white Anglo-Saxons and the Indians, which was, by fate, “brought to a logical end in terms of racial social Darwinism. (Preface by Hart A.B. to The Works of Theodor Roosevelt // Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1926.)

With the “final solution to the Indian question”, the surviving Indians (237,000 by 1900) were resettled on reserves.

Another crucial moment of reconciliation between North and South and the “birth of the nation” was the resolution of the Negro issue.

Strange as it may seem, the real rise of racism and racial hatred in America was the “Age of Liberation”.

Of course, even before the liberation, blacks in the North and South had been recognized as inferior race. But the North did not encounter the black masses (before the war, no more than 250 thousand blacks lived here), while in the South blacks were rigidly built into the unshakable system of relations. At the same time whites not only used the slave labour of blacks, but also took care of them, treated them, taught them the basics of faith, and sometimes the basics of doing business, as it was practiced for example in the economy of the Confederation President Jefferson Davis.

After the liberation, a mass of liberated but deprived of any protection and livelihood blacks rushed to the North, where, as they were told, they could become “full-fledged people. In fact, the capitalist “hired slavery” of big cities, as the intellectuals of the South warned, turned out to be much heavier than the South. The former serfs turned to unskilled labour here. Their fate was poverty and segregation of the black ghettos, with their eternal companions alcoholism, crime and disease. And as a consequence, there was a new round of racial hatred.

Symbolically, its most vivid outbreak was recorded in the “negro-loving” Chicago, whose residents had sheltered once fugitive slaves, supported abolitionists and nominated Abraham Lincoln as a candidate for president of the United States.

In the summer of 1919 in Chicago, real street battles between blacks and whites, which lasted almost a week, stopped only by the intervention of troops. During the shootings 38 people were killed (including 23 blacks), 537 (342 blacks) were wounded and more than 500 arrested. The city was engulfed in fires, more than a thousand black families lost their homes.

Even sadder fruits of “liberation” were reaped by the southerners. As a result of the activities of adventurers – “bagpipers”, greedy crowds who rushed to rob the rich South and abolitionist fanatics who armed blacks and shamelessly deceived them, there was a rampant lawlessness and a surge of racial war.

This outcome of the Civil War can also be considered iconographic. Both in the twentieth century and today, American expansion in Europe and Asia will, time after time, be accompanied by the same tragic consequences.

The American society’s response to the Negro problem after liberation was unequivocal: segregation. Only in the North has it turned out to be softer (or, more precisely, more hypocritical). But in general, the compromise reached between North and South was as follows: in response to the federal laws that gave rights to blacks, the Southern states adopted their own, local, so-called “Jim Crow laws”. And the U.S. Supreme Court found them to be consistent with the Civil Rights Act because segregation meant the “equal but separate existence of two races.

In 1882, the Supreme Court ruled that interracial marriage was prohibited and in 1896, the Louisiana Train Segregation Act. By 1915, all southern states had such laws.

Some restrictions on the rights of blacks were very witty. For example, in Alabama, a Negro who wanted to vote was required to take a literacy test, which was a reading of the entire U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence by heart. As a result, only 3000 out of 181.5 thousand blacks could vote in the 1900 elections. Since only 5% of American blacks graduated from high school in 1940, the same 5% could exercise the right to vote in the South.

If liberation did not bring any relief to blacks, the “black issue” itself became an important map in the hands of all kinds of political demagogues, both racist and anti-racist. What is really more in American society after “liberation” is hypocrisy.

Vladimir Mozhegov


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