Week 2 Reflection Post

One of the most interesting themes I see in this weeks readings is the development of racism over time.  The idea that racism can be traced all the way back to the thirteenth and fourteenth century in the discrimination of Jews is baffling to me.  However, I think the one common theme between all the racism no matter what time it occurred is the dehumanization of those who are different.  In the height of Jim Crow south, racism manifested itself as treating African-American’s like animals, less than humans.  At the end of the day, just that form of racism can be traced back to the beginnings of the slave trade, with white Europeans going to Africa go use other humans as slaves.  The US Constitution, the highest law in our land of the free and home of the brave, says that all non-free persons shall count as three-fifths of a person.  The law itself counted African-American’s as less than one human being.  Racism itself has its roots in entitlement and a need to feel powerful and above those who are different.  It is interesting, however, to also see how racism and nationalism can be seen hand in hand, as evidenced in Nazi Germany.  The antisemitism views held by the German people were in support of their country and their leader.   The PBS article by George Fredrickson states that, “that to be Jewish in Germany was not simply to adhere to a set of religious beliefs or cultural practices but meant belonging to a race that was the antithesis of the race to which true Germans belonged.”  This racist hatred was portrayed as protecting Germany from outsiders.  While nationalism can be a positive, it is clear that with a slanted mindset it can be used to discriminate.

3 thoughts on “Week 2 Reflection Post

  1. Hey there!

    You made some really, really good points from this weeks readings. Racism is an extremely unfortunate part of our history that we can’t ignore. What is even more baffling to me is how many racists use the Bible for their justification. This dates back to the early 13th century, like you stated, but it also stems out to today for justification towards racism and discrimination.

  2. I do think it is interesting to read and see the development of racism over time. It is crazy that it can be traced so far back and I would even be willing to bet that racism probably started even before the 13th and 14th century. I don’t know that all racism necessarily leads to the dehumanization of all people. While in some cases it did and in other cases it just made people become divided and not associate with the people they found “different.” Slavery is a very difficult topic for me to discuss because what happened in America is absolutely terrible. We are all people and no one should be better than someone else just based off of their appearance. But this to me is also where I think education really fails in our systems. There is such an emphasis on slavery in America that people often forget that there was slavery pretty much everywhere in the world before then. I am not saying it is right or okay by any means because it is 100% not ok but most schools only talk about slavery in America.

  3. I also was very interested in how race developed over time, as it is something I often wondered, but almost seemed like too big of a question to ask and I was also surprised to hear that the first instance of racism is against Jews in Spain. In 20th century European history and biblical history, you will hear of how the Jews were often persecuted and discriminated against, but it really surprised me to find out that persecution of Jews was the start of this big mess society is in now. I also liked that you pointed out how often there are contradictions in laws and actions, particularly pointing out our own United States Constitution. I feel like people often forget, or try not to remember, how our discriminatory practices were spelled out in one of our most important documents.

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