noise prince/ss. @bandcamp daily managing editor. gay as in gay, intersex as in intersex. opinions belong to my loud mouth only.
a short resource list w/context wrt the white supremacist history of the united states
I threw this short, very oversimplified history together in a comment thread for the My Favorite Murder podcast group. A person from outside the US was asking on a thread about a POC subgroup about the history of US race relations, and I put this together quickly so that they’d have a basic idea of the historical context and framing. This may be helpful to some of you educating others/having arguments with families or friends right now—or just in case you’d like to read some more on the topic.
You’ll find tons of suggested reading at the end.
It all goes back to the very first European settlers, who found indigenous peoples living here when their ships first came to these shores. Through the spread of diseases brought to the US by European colonists (some by accident, some as active attempts at genocide), and active violence when colonists sought to take Native land, millions of Native lives were lost during the most rapid period of colonial expansion from 1492 to 1900. Also starting in 1492 with Columbus’ expedition landing on American shores, European slave traders started bringing enslaved Africans over to work in the Spanish colonies in the Americas. Often, enslaved Africans and Native peoples were pitted against one another, and the suffering of enslaved Africans was key to establishing what would become the thirteen original colonies of the US in 1776. Without slaves, there would be no American industry.
Many of America’s founding fathers, of course, owned slaves. This country fought a civil war between northern and southern states in the 1800s; the institution of slavery was the central issue. The conventional narrative says that slavery was abolished with the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865. The institution was, and there were significant civil rights gains for Black Americans granted by the 13th and 14th Amendments. But the Civil War has left an indelible imprint on the American psyche, and even the “free” states of the north weren’t—and still aren’t—exactly racist-free zones. (Of note for understanding racialized police violence in this country: our police force derives DIRECTLY from fugitive slave patrols.) And we can’t forget the history of immigration policy in the construction of US concepts of race and race relations. It’s also worth studying the U.S.-Mexico border and how that got to be.
While the formal system of slavery no longer existed after 1865, another form of strictly encoded systemic discrimination existed for another century, the Jim Crow system. From the 1950s through the 1980s, black Americans and those who struggled alongside them gained a number of civil rights victories, including the end of Jim Crow, through grassroots organizing and demonstration. What I was taught in school (I graduated in 1997) was that the civil rights era “solved” everything with regard to racism in the US, but that’s clearly untrue and was mega-evident to me even then. The color of one’s skin and one’s national origin and ethnic identification are clearly still INCREDIBLY important to how we experience the world — they shouldn’t be, but they are. This history resonates through our experiences today.
SOME RECOMMENDED READING, BY NO MEANS COMPREHENSIVE, TO BE USED AS A JUMPING-OFF POINT