Racial Tensions Fueled by Manifest Destiny

American Progress by George A. Crofutt c1873
American Progress by George A. Crofutt c1873 – Library of Congress

The racial tensions we’ve seen brewing in America have been here since the Europeans first stepped foot on this land. The original people welcomed them and were willing to share everything because there was more than enough for everyone. The Europeans, however, had a different plan.  One driven by what they called, “Manifest Destiny.”  The pioneers believed they had a divine obligation to stretch the boundaries of their Republic all the way to the Pacific Ocean, despite the fact there were people already living on the land. They even went so far as to say their god blessed their actions.  Yes, this is the same god most of you still pray to today. The image shown here is a depiction of Columbia, the “Spirit of the Frontier” leading the settlers westward.  She’s holding telephone wires in one hand and books in another as they encounter the original people and bison.  What does this have to do with racial tensions in America today?  Everything!

The posts in this blog provide factual information outlining how today’s people of color are the descendants of the original copper-colored people the Europeans found in America. What was done to our ancestors back then is still being done to us today because the mindset of “Manifest Destiny” never went away.  The articles listed in the Know Better section below talk about how the original people were considered heathens and had to be christianized by the missionaries.  It also eludes to the need for  replacing “darkness” with “light” and ignorance with civilization.  The original people who did get christianized and so-called civilized were the ones who moved west of the Mississippi during the Trail of Tears and were initially embraced by the Europeans.  The others, who didn’t conform and stayed on their land East of the Mississippi, were shunned and treated harshly.

It was clear then and is clear now that in order for us to be accepted we must assimilate and if we don’t, we’re shunned,  treated harshly or portrayed in a negative light.  This is what causes tension between whites and non-whites.  The article goes on to discuss that at the heart of “Manifest Destiny” was the pervasive belief in racial superiority and that the original people were considered to be inferior.  This belief also never went away, as much as whites would like to believe it did.  This fuels racial tension more than anything!  In today’s society for example, people of color who leave their inner-city neighborhoods, go off to college, get jobs in corporate America and live in the suburbs are accepted.  On the other hand, people of color who never leave the inner-city are not accepted and are therefore shunned, treated harshly and portrayed in a negative light. Until this mindset is erased, and I’m not sure that it can be, race relations will continue to be a problem.  The first step to solving any problem is awareness of the root cause.

Know Better:
Manifest Destiny – UShistory.org
Manifest Destiny – Wikipedia.org
Ancestry DNA by the Numbers – blog post

Do Better:
Learn the truth about your history or you’ll be at the mercy of the one telling the story.  My son was taught in school that “Manifest Destiny” was a good thing for America, just like it was implied in his school that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was good for the American economy.  We have an obligation to our youth to educate them on the truth, so others won’t dictate their worth to them.

 

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