US History Class Pages :)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

 I agree that "cruel treatment" and "humiliating and degrading treatment" should be prohibited fro prisoners of war. This is because, prisoners of war are also citizens of another country: if Americans were caught in war and put in a detention center outside of another country, would American citizen want to be treated that way? Since our nation does value freedom and positivity so much, they should not use these methods of force on prisoners of war, that which they wouldn't use on American citizens. I think there are less violent ways to handle people who the United States think poses a threat to our country. For example, they can just be kept in a contained detention center, but without the use of force. If the matter of concern begins that people aren't answering the officials' question because force isn't being used, I contend that if the detainees aren't giving up information with force, chances are they won't without force either, so it doesn't matter either way. If they just need a method to hold them, a non-violent one is best. I also don't think there should be a difference between the treatment of citizens and non-citizens because we are all humans, and there shouldn't be a standard at which humans are compared. If detainees that are citizens are not physically harmed, non-citizens should also have the same rules. I think the government should take more responsibility and make these decisions because as hard as it is trying to protect our country, the rights of the individual citizens are far more integral in developing society. The more individual rights are suppressed, the angrier citizens will become, and chaos will become more likely.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can the Japanese Internment be Justified?

      In my opinion, the Japanese Internment order did not find the right balance between national security and the civil rights of its citizens.

The 14th Amendment states, "... No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States..." A majority of the Japanese population in the United States at that time were with either immigrants or had Japanese parents, but were citizens of the United States. Therefore, since the US exiled all Japanese people in fear of an attack similar to Pearl Harbor, they technically were discriminating on American citizens, because of their race. This, in fact, is a violation of the 14th Amendment. The Court justified this, in the Korematsu case, through the compelling State interest. This meant that the Court or State could not abridge the privileges of citizens based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude, unless it is "an extremely important purpose for the government." That clause of justification, I think, is absolutely unreasonable because the government could deem anything as "extremely important" and get away with it. Lastly, I think that even though a majority of the Japanese population in America was sent to internment camps, if Japan really wanted to attack the US, they would have done it with or without the help of American-Japanese residents. 

 I do not agree that racial prejudice does not play a role in the government's treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The first main reason is that the executive order, issued by the President, was written in very vague terms, and never mentioned the exclusion of Japanese Americans that would follow. Therefore, since they did not mention a particular race, the United States could have relocated and incarcerated any other group of people along with Japanese Americans, but they did not. Instead, they used the executive order as method of discrimination against the Japanese population of America. Secondly, the government gave an excuse of doing this simply in an act of self-defense against Japanese espionage that might preside with in the United States. Although, there is no record of any Japanese-American sabotage or espionage during World War II, or in times before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Moreover, prejudice against Asian Americans existed in the United States long before WWII: it started with the Chinese Exclusion Act, continued to be maintained through WWII, and then the major act of discrimination (Japanese Exclusion) occurred. A pattern can be devised when looking at these two events. Not only did they discriminate against this Asian population, they abridged the rights of those who had been living in the United States their whole lives, most of whom have lost touch with their home country or original ancestry. Lastly, any one of Japan's allies (Germany or Italy) could have attacked the United States, but the government did not do anything about that, because the Japanese population was one of color (not white), and they wanted a "legitimate" excuse to use their power and wipe the entire Japanese population out of America. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lesson 9 Reflection

How has racial caste perpetuated in the form of mass incarceration, despite the achievements of the civil rights movement?

Racial caste has been continuing to perpetuate in the form of mass incarceration but the origin of it dates back to a long time ago. The political origin of mass incarceration was elite whites' desire to exploit low-class working whites in order to succeed politically or economically. Since then, a black man (or woman) has been seen as the lowliest of human being in the United States, and any white man (no matter how economically disabled) trumped a black person in terms of status. A racially biased crackdown has resulted in mass incarceration. An example of such perpetuation of racial caste is through legalized discrimination. This is because, blacks are first searched by police (which is "allowed" through the clause "reasonable suspicion"), then thrown in jail (for who knows how long) for reasons that white people would only be thrown in jail a few months (or short amount of time) for, and then would be denied housing, employment and economic opportunities because of the "convict label." This process is repeated until masses of people are incarcerated and suddenly 25% of the world's prisoners are in America's prisons. An immediate effect of this is black exclusion from juries. Not only are black people excluded from juries, but a very large percentage of black men are also prevented from doing jury service they have been labeled a convict. This, in turn, makes them look like serious criminals in front of an all-white jury. Another example of perpetuation of racial caste (in the form of mass incarceration) is through the maintenance of racial segregation. For a long time, basic needs like the sewer systems and pavemented roads were purposefully not provided to black communities and this gave white people a negative perception towards blacks. Therefore, those perceptions turned into stereotypes and has continued to be maintained all these years, explaining the never-ending, racist commentary. This definitely makes it easier for white people to deny black suffering and easier to be "color-blind." Finally, the new racial caste system has found loopholes in order to operate, despite laws such as civil rights legislation and the 14th Amendment, and has therefore resulted in mass incarceration.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What is the Age of Color-Blindness?

If you ask anyone in the United States, "Are you color-blind?" a majority of them will probably say yes. There are many reasons for this answer but the main one being that no one wants be offensive and cause a commotion. Another reason to their response is because many people genuinely do believe that they are color-blind (not racist). In their definition, being color-blind is to treat each person as an individual, regardless of their race or ethnic background. In reality, as Michelle Alexander defines it, being color-blind means the inability to recognize racial discrimination and inequality based on race. Therefore, when people say that they are "color-blind," they probably think that if they're nice to everyone and don't take any actions against anyone based on the color of their skin, they are as color-blind as one can get. The truth is, implicit bias still exists. Social media (and media) still exist. Mass incarceration (in the United States alone) based on race still exists. All these factors influence the Age of Colorblindness and one's ability to mask his/her racial bias.

The Age of Colorblindness also reinforces the never-ending idea of white privilege and supremacy. An main example of this is the War on Drugs. For instance, if a white man is stopped on the road for doing something he was not supposed to, his "punishment" might be probation or a fine. Although, recently, if a black man is stopped on the road, it's because he "looked like" he was about to do something illegal, so he can get arrested for being a possible drug dealer. A specific example of this is of a man named Edward Clary. He was stopped and searched at the airport because he "looked like" a drug courier. He was an eighteen-year old first-time offender, with no criminal record, and was sentenced to at least 10 years of federal prison. Edward Clary is just one example, but there have been many cases where people have been stopped and search because prosecutors have thought that they looked like people who would be involved in dangerous activities. A majority of the people stopped, regularly, are racial minorities, and a majority of people in that group of racial minorities are black. The use of the terms "color-blind" and "all lives matter" give people a reassurance that no one will think they are biased because they have the "inability to judge others based on the color of their skin." Although, that isn't even the true meaning of what it means to be color-blind, so that claim proves to be invalid. It is, at most times, an excuse for discrimination. To summarize, the Age of Color-Blindness reinforces white privilege and gives people a reason to defend their actions and mask their racial prejudices.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lesson 5 Reflection

Conservative "law and order" rhetoric provided a new racial bribe to low- and lower-middle class whites by arguing that Martin Luther King's acts of civil disobedience were leading to the breakdown of lawfulness and morality. Since this was at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, many protests were seen as being violent and crime-like instead of peacefully. Therefore, since civil rights were seen as threats to law and order, white people had the opportunity to inflict further accusations.

Furthermore, many law enforcement officials used rising crime rates as a way to closely observe and crack down on impoverished black communities. Since urban crime increased and black people supported it, government officials and various kinds of authority saw it as a way to reverse the racial progress that was already made, and provided them with a new racial bribe. Because law and order failed to break down the Jim Crow system, it appealed poor white people in the South who were annoyed by how supportive the Democratic Party was of the Civil Rights Movement. The Jim Crow system is obviously dear to the Southerners' hearts, so it seemed valid that law and order appealed to them. This allowed them, in turn, to use the strength of the Jim Crow system to construct a new racial bribe and use it to continually discriminate. Finally, this wedge impacted the Democratic Party because a majority of people were being convinced by the Republican Party that a "new majority" could be created (that included a "white South"). This was often seen as one of the biggest race-based strategies used for Republican dominance in the South.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lesson 4

              The beginning of Reconstruction seemed as if African Americans were finally getting what they deserved: equal rights. Although as African Americans obtained political power and began to gain a better social and economic status, there was panic in the white community. Southern Conservatives vowed to reverse Reconstruction. The idea that blacks might be reaching the same “level” as them was so intolerable that the South embraced the KKK, which fought a terrorist campaign against Reconstruction governments. With the introduction of vagrancy and convict laws, the federal government no longer made any effort to enforce federal civil rights legislation. Therefore, as the 13th amendment was thought to be the end of slavery, those who were convicted faced another form of enslavement within the new racial caste system.
             Similarly, the end of Jim Crow might be linked to the Supreme Court Case, “Brown v. Board of Education.” This was definitely a landmark event in the victory of black people because it threatened to disassemble the legalized racial system of the South. Albeit it desegregated many Southern institutions, by 1956, the Southern white opposition to desegregation grew so much that Brown resulted in a violent backlash. Because of this, the KKK reasserted itself as a major political entity, black churches and communities were being bombed, and NAACP leaders were being attacked.
             Once again, after all this happened, the public hoped that it would end with the Civil Rights Movement of 1963. With this movement, everything that black people were forbidden to do was reversed, and life seemed great. For example, black men were able to vote, they were allowed enjoy the same public activities as everyone, and transportation became universal. Although, while dramatic progress in social and economic situations was apparent, civil rights leaders worried that blacks might remain in poverty for a very long time. Therefore, the Poor People’s Movement was created to eradicate black and white poverty. This marked an extremely important time in history because it was being more clear that the nation would finally reach “racial equilibrium”. Although, as always, since many white people were dramatically offended by the fact that black people might actually be humans and can earn their own rights, supporters of racial hierarchy thought that they still could install a new racial caste system WITHOUT violating a law. They thought that they could create slavery, yet again, without violating a law or calling it slavery.
             Alexander thinks these markers are problematic because even though they make so much progress for the black community, white people are never able to handle the fact that blacks can be equal to them, so white supremacy always takes over, For example, during World War II, the US Army was exceedingly segregated. The Jim Crow laws (thought to be over) seeped into the Army, and now black army soldiers were being imprisoned without reason. This relates to the Civil Rights Movement, though, because although blacks knew they were going to serve in segregated army units, they did not know what would happen when they returned back home. When blacks came home after the war, whites were prepared to "put them back in their place,” but they found that their attitudes had changed because of the war and they knew that Jim Crow was not, in fact, inevitable. All these problematic markers may seem like the end to slavery or racial segregation, but the Civil Rights Movement truly did end the Jim Crow Laws to an extent. There is no doubt that a racial caste system has been continually forming, but these markers are problematic because they provide false history about black freedom.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What is the "Racial Bribe" ?

As Michelle Alexander explains it, the concept of race in America is not a very modern issue. During the Colonial Period, when there was a need for cheap labor, white and black people started to become separate. Poor whites received special privileges from the planter class, in order to drive a wedge between black slaves and poor whites (and between free & slave labor). This, in summary, became known as the "Racial Bribe." Essentially, this helped create the idea of race in America because, by the late 1700s, a racial caste system had been born: Africans were considered a "lesser race" and the concept of white supremacy was being used as a justification for enslavement. The goal of slavery (through white eyes), from the beginning, was to create a new "white" nation free of black people. The "scientific" reasoning behind this early discrimination was that black people lacked the human intelligence and physical ability that white people apparently have an abundance of. Through this reasoning, chattel slavery was born (before American democracy). Whites were able to reconcile the ideals of democracy while still painting the system of slavery, through the Constitution. This is because the Constitution was set up in a way that preserved the racial caste system while giving whites superior economic and political rights. Preserving slavery was so deeply rooted into the political system that federalism was designed to protect the act of slave-owning. The Constitution, our country's primary document, categorized slaves as partially human (which gave anyone the "right" to own and control other human beings however they wished to).