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Why Do White People Hate Black People So Much?


Why Do White People Hate Black People So Much? This question is as old and worn as the variety of attempted answers to it. There are as many answers to the reason why as the number of people in the world and renders the question as irrelevant and even flawed. What do I mean by irrelevant and flawed, you might ask? Well, at this point in our history, the question why is not relevant, because there are many Black people who frankly don’t even care for the answer anymore, still many who think they know the right answer already, and most who believe the question itself is an abomination not worthy of an answer. Furthermore, if you ask any white person, you will get any number of answers on a spectrum from,” I don’t hate Black people, to “I hate Black people because they are thugs, lazy, or [insert epithet].


It is flawed because no answer to this question could ever be borne out of any real association with Black people, since most white people with negative opinions about Black people have never lived around or associated with Black people. Even those who have had cursory experiences working with or living around Black people have no actual idea why, except for what is presented to them via institutional media and entertainment sources. Indeed, this particular institution where Racism is used to create the form and substance of public opinion, has done a real number on Black people over the generations through entertainment of various kinds and certainly since the inceptions of radio and the motion picture industry. Pick a generation and you will find Black people depicted in some of the worst ways imaginable based on the music played, news media accounts of crime, movies, and television.


But if there was any one question to ask relative to the hatred of white people toward Black people, what then, would be the best one to ask in order to gain insight into this malevolent phenomenon? After much consideration and critical thought into the kind of question that would be the most insightful, this one emerged as the best.



WHEN DID WHITE PEOPLE BEGIN HATING BLACK PEOPLE SO MUCH?”

When exactly did this hatred start? In order to understand why, it is first necessary to gain an understanding about the foundation and the root that was laid at the core in order for the roots to grow and spread. In order for this behavior to have persisted for so long, there would have to have been a beginning, a catalyst; some event or circumstance to precipitate an animus that has lasted for 400 years and counting. Therefore, as is the case with each and every behavior, feeling, idea and representation today with regard to race, racism and white supremacy in America, the answer to when white people began hating Black people so much can be determined by examining the history of America and the idea of whiteness as superior, which could be and was weaponized by the wealthy white landowners to placate the masses of poor white people in the earliest days of America as colonies of England.


According to various historical accounts:


Wealthy landowners “encouraged” racial animosity of whites toward Blacks and made a “distinction between freedom and enslavement.” This distinction was “specified in explicitly racial, rather than religious, terms.” Prior to 1667, proving one’s conversion to Christianity could spell freedom, therefore, laws were put into place to remove religion as a pathway to freedom. Other important laws provided additional “distinctions,” such as differences between the “white servant” and the “Black slave.”[1][2]


By encouraging animosity between Blacks and whites using these distinctions of freedom and enslavement, of race and color, “white servant and Black slave,” they were creating an atmosphere of superiority for the poor whites.



Perhaps the most pivotal act distinguishing poor and indentured whites from Black people, free or enslaved, was in 1680 when the Virginia Assembly enacted a law which prevented any Black person “or other from raising a hand to any white person.” This law essentially provided impunity for poor whites and white servants when abusing enslaved Black people and “stripped enslaved people of any right of self-defense.”[1][2]


Here, they created protections for poor white people, essentially providing a mechanism for expressing their animus by abusing the enslaved Black people, and by eliminating the right for any Black person to defend him or herself. While the laws of today with regard to redress and self-defense are supposed to be “universal” and applied equally and equitably, we see today that the generations-old behaviors persist, from the white vigilante to police officers, with no real right to self-defense or redress for Black people. In essence, today, they still believe they can behave in aggressive ways with impunity toward Black people.


It was also easy to apply the concept of whiteness and blackness to physical bodies and profess the superiority of whiteness through already established definitions of white in religion and elsewhere[1][2].


Whiteness and religion, primarily Christianity, and especially as practiced by so-called evangelicals in America is persistent in its belief in a white deity and obedience to it.


The Encyclopedia Britannica references:


"Between 1660 and 1690, leaders of the Virginia colony began to pass laws and establish practices that provided or sanctioned differential treatment for freed servants whose origins were in Europe. They conscripted poor whites, with whom they had never had interests in common, into the category of free men and made land, tools, animals, and other resources available to them. African Americans and Africans, mulattoes, and American Indians, regardless of their cultural similarities or differences, were forced into categories separate from whites. Historical records show that the Virginia Assembly went to great extremes not only to purposely separate Europeans from Indians and Africans but to promote contempt on the part of whites against blacks."[3]


The wealthy landowners knew that simply declaring superiority based on color would not last as long as the poor whites were being subjugated by their imposed class caste system, so

they gave them the category of “free” and provided them with resources to “protect” their own interests, since they shared no real interest with the poor whites.


What is most interesting is the fact that the Virginia Assembly “went to great extremes” to “promote contempt on the part of,” specifically, “whites against Blacks.” This represents the genesis of the “hatred” that would last some 400 years and more.


Thinking people already know that the proliferation of the animosity over the centuries was aided by assistance through the various forms of entertainment available, all the way through the advent of radio, motion pictures and other forms of entertainment media.



Consequently, in examining the question of when white people started hating Black people, it can be reasonably deduced as having started as early as the 1600s. when the wealthy white landowners used their common skin color for no other reason than to mollify poor and “regular” whites by differentiating them from the enslaved by color and status of “free” and “slave,” separating them, and then by encouraging animosity, even going through extreme lengths, to promote contempt for Black people.


Therefore, if asking why white people hate Black people without first asking the when, will never really answer the fundamental question, but understanding the when provides an inescapable rationale for the reasons why it persists to this day.


This means, at some point, however, white people will have to decide whether they are still willing to continue to follow a manufactured and sustained lie of superiority coupled with continued animosity and contempt handed to them so long ago by people who really had nothing in common with them except for their skin color and who, in reality, only gave them “privilege” and “status” to keep them compliant and obedient within their own oppressive state.




Sources:

[1] When White Supremacy Came to Virginia. Williamson, V. (2017). Brookings.edu.

[2] Upcoming Book by Dr. Cynthia Alease Smith Tentatively Titled “The Post Racial Colorblind Era.”

[3] The History of the Idea of Race.

[4] Kelly, Martin. "American History Timeline: 1651–1675." ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020

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Copyright 2020 Cynthia Alease Smith, Ed.D.