How The United States Culture Is Failing Minority Groups
Article Summary: The United States has so many beautiful aspects, but its relationship with minority groups is anything but. This article examines American culture, the idealized American, and how the United States is largely failing at its human rights commitment to the minority groups in this nation.
The United States Culture and Minority Groups
The United States has often been described as a soup of distinct cultures; it's long been known that the United States is no melting pot.
Regardless of the soup-like analogy, one really significant detail is retained when describing the United States Culture: there is something connecting all of us, especially minority groups.
What is that?
Since the arrival of minority groups in the early United States colonies, especially racial minorities, marginalization due to White Supremacy became one of the main connecting factors. Over the years, that same marginalization has been weaved into everything from American film to American art.
Let's step back in history to trace the connection between white supremacy, minority groups, and marginalization. In this analysis, I am specifically focusing on racial minorities. However, this same logic would apply to non-racialized groups like the LGBTQIA population.
Starting in 1492 when white colonists began stealing this land WE currently call the United States, Native Americans were murdered, to the tune of 12- 100 million. During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped to be the free, forced labor that ultimately built White American wealth. In the United States, African Americans were "bred" like animals to be slaves, by 1850, most US slaves were third-, fourth-, or fifth-generation slaves. In the 1800s through even the 1940s, Mexicans and Spanish-speaking folks were exploited for cheap labor, murdered, and generally abused so sorely that the Mexican government even refused to even send any workers to some states. Asians have an incredibly dicey history with the United States. Asians were used as cheap labor to build the transcontinental railroads and often died in the process. Additionally, some Asians have been explicitly banned from the United States, especially women, and were described as "prostitutes" and "disease-ridden." The Sikh Temple shooting is also a powerful example of Anti-Asian hate.
That's over 500 years of minority groups being marginalized, discriminated against, exploited, and murdered in this nation. One of the most potent elements of the United States culture was and is White Supremacy.
Failing to be the "Ideal American"
As a result, for many minority groups, their experience in the United States is directly informed by how closely they resemble the age-old ideals of what an American is "supposed to be."
White Supremacy itself was designed to create and sustain wealth and privilege for white elites, commonly known as "Old Money" or "WASP."
WE are talking about dynasty families like the Walton family. This is the family behind "Walmart" who easily collect $100 million dollars richer every day!
According to Webster, WASP are:
"American of Northern European and especially British ancestry and of Protestant background especially : a member of the dominant and the most privileged class of people in the U.S."
In the United States, for 500 years there have been marked consequences for not meeting that expectation.
WE find ourselves at another crossroad: will the United States become a better home for minority groups or will it become even worse?
If past behavior indicates future behavior, then the United States will become an increasingly hostile environment for minority groups.
This is especially true if neither the people of the United States nor the government, take dramatic actions to move away from our culture of normalizing the inhumane treatment of minority groups.
So far, the indications are bleak.
In 2022, WE are facing the rise of hate crimes. Based on FBI data, the chart below illustrates the percentage of hate crimes based on identity.
% of Hate Crimes In 2022
As a black woman, I feel the weight of my race. I am aware that I or others may die at Juneteenth celebrations: one of the most amazing opportunities for black people to gather and celebrate our resistance, our strength, and our culture.
Recent high-profile cases, like in Buffalo New York, clarify how scary it can be to have black skin in the United States. In Buffalo, 11 black people and two whites were murdered while shopping in a grocery store. As described by the governor of New York, the evidence demonstrates that this was an act of domestic terrorism undertaken by a white supremacist. The shooter was so racist that during the process he filmed and apologized to a white man for pointing the gun at him.
As a gay woman, I feel the weight of my sexuality. I am aware that I or others may die at Pride celebrations: one of the most amazing spaces for LGBTQIA folks to celebrate living and loving exactly as we are.
White Supremacy is Mainstream America
The United States has failed to address the violence against minority groups that has persisted since 1492. While the term "hate crime" may be new, the actuality of hate crimes is 500+ years old on this soil.
According to Southern Poverty Law Center, over the past twenty years, the amount of hate groups in the United States has risen by over 100%. In 2018 alone, white nationalist groups rose by 50%.
White Supremacy is flourishing on social media. On a channel with 2 Million subscribers, these words were spoken “I care about white people and not sand [n-word] Paki Jew f****t c****s, yeah?” It continues, “I really think that you should press the button to wipe Jews off the face of the Earth.”
Outside of Trump numerous government officials have expressed support for white supremacy. For example, Terry Dittrich, the chairman of Waukesha County Republican Party granted an interview to a known white supremacist and expressed his support. In 2006, the FBI warned of the increasing presence of white supremacy in law enforcement. Yet in 2019, there were over 100 police departments in 40 states identified for explicit racism.
In 2019, the CDC noted that 200 black Americans per day— die prematurely from subpar medical treatment.
White Supremacy is not uncommon, it is mainstream America. In the United States, White Supremacy is so mainstream that WE are not alarmed by it. In fact, WE often don't even see it as an unnatural problem.
The United States Government is Sustaining White Supremacy
Instead of dismantling and disempowering White Supremacy, American leadership in every sector, including the government, is maintaining the system.
WE face an increasing tide of state and federal leaders mandating WE teach white Supremacy. Critical Race Theory calls for addressing racism in our educational curriculums.
Through legislation and bills, 42 states have either banned Critical Race Theory or limited discussion on racism and sexism. This is a great example of mandating White Supremacy. These bans make it illegal to fully teach the history of racism, white supremacy, and sexism in this nation. Under these limitations, WE are also limited in creating educational environments that reduce the occurrences of white supremacy. Instead of dismantling white Supremacy, these reactions show that we protect it from criticism, accountability, or informed discussion.
Even the federal government has a bill to ensure that government employees are not taught or addressing the history of white supremacy and marginalization in this country. As a result, WE will certainly have a government that is even more inept at addressing White Supremacy and inequality.
The choice to suppress this nation's history with the marginalized, by default, means rewriting history to focus on whiteness. Consequently, schools and government officials will be suggesting that the marginalized are marginalized due to their inadequacy. In fact, if the marginalized can maintain their history, these systems will position them as liars. White Supremacy is prioritizing, highlighting, and focusing on white people above people of color. This is concrete evidence: our nation is sustaining White Supremacy.
Therefore, The United States is actively violating the human rights of people of color. By formally instituting and permitting white Supremacy in our education system, The United States actively fuels a continuing pattern of racism, White Supremacy and violence.