Racism has been a black mark on human civilization. Even today racism can be seen everywhere. Racial discrimination in one form or the other still survives in the psyche of people of every country, religion, color and race. Although it is natural to mistrust people outside of your own community but to form strong opinions about stereotypes and then use them to discriminate and abuse others is real racism. It doesn’t even have to be violent to be disgusting. Whenever someone makes a snap judgment based on somebody’s race they are being racist. The following cases of racial abuse will show the extent of racism that the world has seen over the years.
Michael Richards is an American comedian and actor that was part of the cast of hit show Seinfeld. In 2006 during one of his stand up shows he shouted racial slurs at hecklers. He talked about slavery and used the word “nigger” multiple times. Although later he apologized for his behavior, this incident marred his reputation and brought to the fore the racism that is still inherent in the society.
Oprah Winfrey was recently face to face with the racism that still exists in Europe. She was in a shop in Zurich and wanted to see a purse. The salesgirl didn’t recognize who she was and told her that it was too costly and that she won’t be able to afford it. This case is not violent or hateful but shows how the salesgirl made a snap judgment about Oprah’s wealth based on the color of her skin.
In 2011, in a football match between QPR and Chelsea, Anton Ferdinand was abused racially by Chelsea and England captain John Terry. The racial slur caused a lot of uproar in the media as Terry continued to deny the allegations. Later he was found guilty by the Football Association and fined £220,000 and banned from 4 matches. Sadly racism is more common in football than one would like it to be.
John Wayne, the most notorious right wing American actor, was quoted as saying, “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or ten generations ago these people were slaves” in an interview with Playboy magazine in 1971. The fact that a star as big as John Wayne had such views just show that old racist ideas haven’t died yet.
In the most recent case of racial abuse, Nina Davuluri, who became Miss America 2014, was racially abused on a mass scale on social media sites such as Twitter. Nina is an American citizen who has Indian immigrant parents and became the first Indian American to win the Miss America pageant. Thousands of racial tweets filled the social media calling her “miss terrorist” and questioning her eligibility to be Miss America. This incident has just shown that racism is strong on a large scale among the public.
Larry Jacobs filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco fire department for racially abusing him for years. The abuse started in 2005 when he joined training to become a fire fighter. The abuse was targeted at forcing him to flunk or drop out of the training. When he got injured he was removed from training and put on “light duty” cleaning the kitchen and toilets. He was called “house boy” and was restricted from talking to or eating with the other firefighters. The suit is being settled for $175,000 but the racism will go on.
Rodney King was an African-American construction worker that was brutally beaten by Los Angeles police officers in 1991. He was on parole for robbery and was part of a high speed chase at the end of which he was caught and mercilessly beaten by 5 police officers. The whole scene was captured on video and created a lot of outrage in the media. It showed the world how racial inequality still existed in USA.
Issac Woodard was an African-American World War II veteran who was beaten by police officers in 1946, on the same day that he was honorably discharged from the United States Army. He was on his way home when he had a slight altercation with the bus driver. At the next stop of Batesburg, South Carolina the driver called the cops who arrested Woodard and beat him up before taking him to the station. He was beaten so badly that he was blinded and lost his memory temporarily. The case was not reported immediately but slowly led to a large outcry in the African American communities.
Emmett Till was murdered in 1955 for flirting with a white woman. He was only 14 years old. He was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he happened to speak to a 21 year old white woman, Carolyn Bryant. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband and his half brother went to Till’s uncle’s house, took him from there to a barn, beat him mercilessly, gouged out one of his eye and then shot him in the head. They then went on to dispose his body in the Tallahatchie River.
The President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed the executive order that started the Japanese American Internment. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, there were many Japanese living in America and military reasons were sited to contain and restrict them. 120,000 people of Japanese heritage living in America were moved from their homes to internment camps even though most of them were American citizens and showed no signs of disloyalty. When some Japanese people went to court against the internment, the Supreme Court also held up the decision. This just shows how cases of racial abuse are relevant event at national scale.