White supremacy is a historically perpetuated system of discrimination, oppression and exploitation of colored people by the whites. This was introduced by the whites in history for the purpose of defending their wealth, privileges and power. White supremacy is based on white culture, which has been defined as the dominant culture in the American history. The white culture, which originated from Europe, is a system of interlocking institution, which was culminated by the Europeans (Gibson, 2012). Therefore, development of white supremacy is not only the prejudicial acts of discrimination rather it is a system of interlocking institutions in the legal, economic, education, religious cultural and military system. Therefore, dealing with racism and discrimination is not an individual act; rather it is a collective act that deals with the whole perpetuated system.
White supremacy originated from the colonial British times that introduced slave trade. The Black, American community is blend form history of slavery and discrimination in 1800 – 1860 the period referred to as market revolution. In this period, the economy of USA changed from being predominantly agricultural to being industrial economy (Bryan, 1994). The demand for slave labor increased since it was the only source of cheap labor in the large scale farms. The economic exploitation and discrimination led to institutionalization of inferiority and supremacy. White supremacy and economic power are highly interconnected as it was developed on the basis of capitalism an economic system adopted by the America. The hatred in the southern states in the early 1880s, against the whites was highly intensified by economic development made by the black community. The white community felt threatened by the rise of the black community entrepreneurial activities (Cashmore & Jennings, 2002).
The southern whites discriminated against the Negroes strongly, to an extent where some white leaders presented the view that white supremacy should be upheld forever, and domination of the Negro should be subdued. The perception that the white race was the dominant race was upheld even through suppression of Negroes. However, in the current period the white supremacy doctrine is disappearing from the American community, but the doctrine live in the conviction of the whites (Schuyler, 2005). The discrimination was strong such that even an educated Negro could not associate with an uneducated white, since the Negro downgraded the white.
The Negro strongly protested the white supremacy through the formation of activism activities. The Negro women also engaged in entrepreneurial activities, in the financial fields, shaping not only the black community economy but also the southern capitalism. However, in the early 1880s Negro business community experienced a decline of the white customer base with the rise of industrialization. There was increased competition in the aspects of economics development, social and political relationships between the black community and the whites. However, majority of the white community in the south felt that the black community threatened social political status, as well as their economic status. Jim Crow one of the white leaders perpetuating white supremacy in the south did not acknowledge the power of the black community to drive the south economy. In 1912, Dr. W.D Weartherford who was the president of the southern association college in a conference requested the white community to refrain from involving with the black community intimately (Schuyler, 2005).
From the early 1880s to the late 1950s, the history of USA was characterized with increased violence against the black community. There were many incidences of the black community lynching and riots (Chin, Levangie, & Houston, n.d). The policy adopted by the government discriminated against the black community, which resulted in black people disfranchisement, social discrimination. In addition, the policies adopted by the government, encouraged employment discrimination against the whites, as well as in the education sector. This resulted to increased hostilities characterized by racial hatred, fear and lawlessness. The increased lawlessness led to mass violence, murders and lynching of the black community. The government legal and policy framework in the south viewed black community as second class citizens, which led to deprivation of their human and civil rights. The last two decades of the 18th century murdering and lynching of the black community developed as an institutionalized scheme used to terrorize the black community (Schuyler, 2005). The whites wanted to retain the white supremacy by subduing the progressing black community in the south. The hatred between the white and the black community was perpetuated by the political leadership, since there was no legal actions were taken against the perpetrators of the violence. The white community developed various brutal methods of ensuring social justice against Black American community, such as hanging, murdering and lynching (Bryan, 1994).
The violence contained brutal methods as most of the lynching and murders involved actions of hideous nature such as castration, dismemberment, maiming and burning. The white community believed that to control the black community and perpetuate the white supremacy they had to instill fear into the black community. Therefore, these brutal methods of killing were adopted to instill fear and perpetuate the discriminative white supremacy. In the wake of early 1880s, most of the southern states passed laws legalizing discrimination of against the black community (Chin, Levangie, & Houston, n.d). Legalization of discrimination resorted to the violence, lynching and murders of the black people as a way of intimidating and keeping the blacks “in their place”. Majority of the African American community believed that the discrimination and racism in the country was a result of slavery. However, the Jim Crow discriminative laws largely contributed to the intensified racial discrimination and the resorting violence (Cashmore & Jennings, 2002).
The Black, American community opposed the Jim Crow rules strongly, since it was an attack on the freedoms and basic human rights. African Americans challenged Jim Crow rules through court challenges and public protests, insisting that they were entitled to rights and freedoms as other citizens. African American leaders such as Booker T Washington accepted the disfranchisement and social segregation policies adopted in the Jim Crow laws. However, the laws had to ensure and allow the black community economic progress, legal justice and educational opportunities. According to Booker T. Washington economic, industrial and educational progress was more important than issues of segregation and discrimination. According to Booker, economic progress would engender white respect. He largely worked as a conciliator between the white and the black community in the government, since the government liked his soft approach of accepting segregation and discrimination (Gibson, 2012).
However, black American activist led by W.E.B Dubois insisted on political equality. They expressed that economic, industrial and educational progress of the Black American community, was meaningless without political equality. Dubois also reported on the lynching and killings of the black community since he was a social scientist. For example, in 1919, James Weldon Johnson a famous black writer described as the “The Red Summer” due to increased racial tension (Gibson, 2012). That year W.E.B Dubois reported that in that year seventy seven black Americans were lynched in various mass lynching, in various southern states. W.E.B Dubois expressed that economic, industrial and educational progress of the African American community was not impractical without political equality. This was because African American people who had made progress in business and education were murdered or lynched. This instilled fear and intimidated their progress in both economic, industrial and educational progress and the only solution according Dubois was through political equality (Chin, Levangie, & Houston, n.d).
According to Isaiah Montgomery, the success of the Black American community was only through their separation from the white community. In his attempt to practice his beliefs Isaiah Montgomery created a colony of black farmers in a small town known as Mound Bayou located in the Yazoo Delta of Mississippi. He led over eight hundred families in this town where they lived for more than thirty years without the white community. The reason behind separation according to Montgomery was that, through separation of the whites, the African American community would learn to be self-sufficient. The African American community through separation would be able to form their own social and political frameworks. In a constitutional convention, in 1890, he expressed the importance of eliminating the black votes from the Mississippi voters (Gibson, 2012). He endorsed the literacy tests, which endangered the African American voter. However, he was not concerned, since with the separation the African American community would form their own political system.
Charlotte Hawkins Brown was among the founders of the black women crusaders against lynching. The movement aimed at gaining support from the white women in terms of funds and moral support against their men lynching the black Americans. Charlotte Hawkins brown expressed concerns that the white woman could support the initiative of ending racially instilled lynching and killings. She stated that white women could control white men, hence subduing violence against black men. For example, white women publicly denounced public lynching as an act of gaining social control. Juliet V. Harring and Mary Talbert were among the first white women to support the black women movement anti- lynching crusade (Mungarro, 2002). Therefore, there was an outrage from the African American community due to institution of Jim Crow laws, which were racially discriminative.