White Supremacy and American Exceptionalism. Same Coin, Same Side (Part One).
It has been argued time and time again that white supremacy is a tool used by oligarch to divide the poor in working class, especially in America. I give much credence to this idea. As described to Peter H. Woods, Strange New Land : Africans in Colonial America, it was not until “second half of the 17th century, a terrible transformation, the enslavement of people solely on the basis of race, occurred in the lives of African Americans living in North America”.
Before this time the situation of the enslaved had be justified by their religious faith. It was even possible for those converted to Christianity to be freed, especially in Catholic colonies. This began to be outlaws as early as 1644, as colonies like Maryland began to outlaw the practice of free slaves after Baptism. As slavery became more profitable and alternative sources such as Native Americans and even Europeans, the desire to make slavery a permanent state became more popular. Laws were eventually enacted to tie the state of children to that of their mother, presumably because paternity was more difficult to establish.
One reason why skin color was chosen is because it made it easier for those in power to pacify poor whites, it’s been argued. By enslaving Africans it gave lower class Caucasians a sense of pride and superiority. This basic divide and conquer strategy persist to this day, in a post-racial America. Whether it be mostly white worker unions or private school schools.
In this article I will make the assertion that this same tactic has been used to keep the American people as a whole blinded. The American exceptionalism, that I will refer to, is the idea is inherently different and superior to all other nations. I will not argue that America is not exceptional, I believe that it is obvious that we are in many respects. This idea is often used by some, to discredit ideas that have been implemented in other nations, particularly European nations. The fact that many of these ideas originated in America, does little to for naysayers. Examples of such ideas are universal healthcare, paid maternal leave and state subsidized childcare.
In my opinion, oligarch in America have used this idea (American Exceptionalism), to disservice the American people. One of the principles closely associated with the ideal, is that of the bootstrapper. The hard-working American who pulls himself up by the bootstrap, without the aid of others, especially without the assistance of the government. The idea of government funded social services fly directly in the face of this “individual responsibility”. It is also often argued that what we have as American is superior to that of anyone else. I would like to point out a few situations where this just doesn’t hold water.
As I stated above, American Exceptionalism and Universal Healthcare are often viewed of as incompatible. Conservatives will argue that American healthcare system is the best in the world, at least it was before Obama Care, and this justifies the cost being 17.6% of GDP. Life expectancy in the U.S is 79.3 years, compared to 82.4 year in France where healthcare accounts for just 11.6 percent of GDP. Is there a better ruler for a nations healthcare system than life expectancy? Maybe, quality of life. According UsNews.com, the U.S ranks 14th in quality of life, just 3 spots above communist China.
Public education — Coming in Part 2