The Worst Holocaust In Human History
The Color Stigma: Still a Reality in 21st Century America
By William Sutherland
“I have low self-esteem cuz I’m dark skinned [and] that’s not accepted in the black community. I mean I’m not bad lookin�? I have hair past my shoulders [and] I can dress my tail off! So why do [sic] it matter the color of my skin. I’m just as good as light-skinned girls right?�?a high school junior asked in 2005 before adding, “I don’t kno[w] anymore. I’m about to jus[t] give up. What’s the point in tryin�?when no one’s gonna give me a chance.�?/P>
Back at a small real estate firm, a 36 year-old black receptionist noted that the staff treated her children differently than those of her white coworkers. “They showed less warmth and friendliness,�?she stated in 2002.
Anecdotal statements are not the only evidence that that the color stigma still exists with its negative perceptions and stereotypes. Furthermore they are not indicative of a few isolated cases. Instead they point to a widespread problem.
When black and white people were asked “who has a better chance of getting ahead in today’s economy?�?in a February 2000 CBS poll, 62% of white respondents answered that blacks and whites have an equal chance while only 38% blacks agreed. 57% of black respondents stated that white people had the best chance while 7% of whites felt the same about blacks. Most startling, 0% of blacks gave themselves the advantage while 29% of whites responded that they had the best chance.
Major causes of this “skin-color complex�?are:
500 year Historical Perspective:
§ For more than 400 years, black people were victimized in the worst holocaust in human history, in which between 50 to 100 million perished, millions were enslaved, and Portuguese conquerors even established “color hierarchies.�?From the 14th century to the 19th century, “expropriation of African labor was the great engine of Europe’s [and America’s] wealth�?Over time, Africans�?status in the English colonies of North America shifted�?to a highly stigmatized permanent�?full-scale lifelong enslavement.�?B>
§ Colonial American legislation decreed black[s] as 3/5 of a person “institutionalizing [them as] part human and part property�?as producers of wealth for others.�?The inception of “inscribing [this] inferior status began in the 1640s when Virginia courts referred to “black men, women and their children as property.�?That state’s “Slave Codes�?(1680-1705), which “limited the political rights of free blacks�?and South Carolina’s 1670 founding with the establishment of “institutionalized slavery in its charter�?further exacerbated the situation. A further deterioration occurred in 1787 following the U.S. Constitutional convention. In anticipation of the 1808 slave importation ban, black women were stripped of control over their own bodies. They were then “regarded as breeders�?and often raped or forced into cohabitation with male slaves “to produce more slaves for the owner.�?