Updated: Apr 18
By Gabby Hammond
Image via Washington Post
There is a certain evil that surrounds the discussion over the genocidal history of the United States, and people have been making excuses for the hatred seen in our past for decades. A common thing I hear from the people who form these excuses is the belief that this feeling of hatred was the common thread that held people together during this time. Not only is this completely false but objectionable to all the fighters for justice and freedom of the era. People tend to forget that the feminist movement in America today can be traced all the way back to 1848 with the womens rights convention in Seneca Fall, New York. Demo that the disbelief for the struggles of people of color and women is sprouted from nothing but ignorance relating to the lack of compassion for fellow humans.
This leaves one to question: any person with Christian morals as seen in the South would subject to slavery, so why didn´t they? Well the truth is that many Christians did, as far back as when imperialism overtook European countries around the eighteenth century. Bartolomeu Dias, a famous Portuguese explorer and priest advocated for the native americans in Spanish colonies, who were experiencing inhumane treatment from his Spanish counterpart. Dias even debated a pro-slavery theologian Juan Gines de Sepulveda in front of the colonizers in Spain. Sepulveda argued that the Spanish were simply superior to the Native Americans, Dias argued against this and criticized the cruel actions of the Spanish fueled by greed for natural resources in Spanish colonies. The anti-slavery argument fueled by Christian morals can also be seen in America. Despite what your teachers might have you believe, (especially if you live in America´s South) many southerners protested against slavery. An article titled ¨Southerners in the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1800-1830¨ by William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist and journalist throughout the nineteenth century, highlights the anti-slavery movement seen in the South. How did slave owning southerners excuse their actions? Similar to Sepulveda by downgrading Black Americans to being ¨property¨ not human. These parallels across history were fueled by fear.
Hate is derived from fear and lack of understanding, and unfortunately in our modern age with any information we desire with a google search, ignorance is not a suitable plee anymore. People chose to remain in the dark for a variety of reasons: it's been so long they don't know any other way, or they have been force-feed a certain ideology for so long anything else seems absurd. It is common for people born in a predominant culture to not want to leave their cultural beliefs, since this might be the only familiar in their lives. Inherently this is not bad; comfortability is something most people search for in our lives once we leave the nest, without family or friends to guide us. But when your culture includes racist or sexist beliefs that you are made aware of but still refuse to look outside your point of view, a problem occurs. We need to start understanding and appreciating other cultures more instead of simply mocking them due to our own guilt and self-hatred.
When we look at our country in the future, I hope out of it all, social justice fighters are remembered. I hope we make future generations understand that the racist behavior exhibited right now was not accepted by the majority of citizens in the United States. The rise of technology gives me hope in this, with social justice leaders spreading their refusal to give up on social media reaching more people than ever before. And though we cannot predict the future, do not stop fighting, make sure your voice and refusal is heard for future generations to hear.
Written by Gabby Hammond