The Nadir of American race relations (c. 1890 – c.
1940) was when racism got worse among White Americans after blacks were
freed as slaves. This affected not just blacks in America but people of
colour everywhere White Americans exercised power. Racism against one
made racism against all easier and more likely.
Back in the 1850s abolitionists had persuaded most white Northerners that slavery was wrong. In the early 1860s
they fought and died in the Civil War to free the slaves. President
Lincoln made that crystal clear in the Gettysburg Address. That
generation of white Northerners was anti-racist enough to:
pass and uphold laws that gave blacks equal rights,
overturn state laws against mixed-race marriage,
play professional sports with blacks,
allow blacks into their neighbourhoods and schools,
set up black schools in the South.
By the 1890s those whites were mostly dead and gone.
gold was to be had by taking Native American land;
white votes were to be had by giving immigrant whites advantages over blacks;
brown countries were to be had for the taking, like Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
In short, power and wealth were to be had by not respecting the
rights of people of colour. Racism excused these actions, which led in
turn to more racist actions, which led to more racism and so on in adownward racist spiral.
What broke the spiral? Hitler. He took Nadir racism
to its logical, terrible conclusions. He wiped out millions of Jews. By
that time in America Jews were already white enough for that to seem
The weakening of Nadir racism was helped by:
the breakup of French and British colonial empires,
the Cold War, where America positioned itself as a champion of democracy,
Truman desegregating the army,
the Supreme Court desegregating schools,
blacks getting the vote back.
This created an upward anti-racist spiral.
A new nadir? I first heard about the Nadir – the
idea of it but not the name – in the 1980s when some were saying
President Reagan was sending America into a new racist nadir. Events
since then seem to bear that out:
To a certain extent yes but it has always been the part of the iceberg that remains under water. Reagan was a really long time ago but for some reason he gets credit for more than all those before him or since to advance racism. Those who founded the Tea Party realized that a new tactic was needed because of those white assholes who had the nerve to vote black but a strong, continued tactic has always existed, quietly, consistently.
These types of movies are not new and in fact I think they are more a celebration of "look, no more racism".
The same could be said of movies like Amistad but apparently America is more racist than ever. I do hope we are on a new path but IDK.
Lies My Teacher Told Me is one of my favorite books. I like how he challenges people to think about History like an investigative reporter and not just consume anybodies historical record as unadulterated truth.
The First Nadir was in short a response to African American progression right. Poor Southern Whites felt like Newly freed blacks were competition so... the Velocity of a culture of "Whiteness" Sprung to action in an attempt to assert authority over freedmen. Being that their wasn't an obvious Hierarchy like it was during slavery...this supremacy was felt from the local level to the federal level.
I do believe that there is a newer nadir developing. I don't think its extreme as the years following the Antebellum, but with white people slowly becoming a minority in the future, again, theres an attempt to assert racial dominance and superiority... But the difference is that the prevailing overall social zeitgeist has evolved, there are way to many intersecting elements to consider, and Black people are in a better position to not only respond legislatively but financially aswell.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot create polls in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum