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May 10, 1740: The Negro Act
Systemic racism is as American as apple pie.
The Negro Act of 1740 targeted the “Negro” population of the 18th century province of South Carolina, a slave colony in the “new world.” The act prohibited Black Americans from assembling into groups, raising their own food, earning money, or even learning to write. The ongoing dehumanization of American descendants of slavery is as American as apple pie.
Republicans, and some conservatives, who deny the existence or prevalence of systemic racism (but who will also spend eons of their intellectual energy attempting to debilitate systems constructed to aid labor and sick Americans), seem to not realize it's an intellectual impulse that makes a major component of our national history seem like a tragic side adventure to the larger American journey.
A race-based legal framework that existed in the American slave states was aided at the time by a culture of White separatism that pervaded the nation then.
The visceral fear of retaliation by work forces that had been systemically dehumanized, raped, and brutalized had pervaded the cultural undergirding of white supremacy in America. A raw belief that the historical traumas inflicted on one group by another group must be forgotten and whitewashed (or not discussed at all) animated the paleoconservative world, consciously and subliminally, even if the legacy of America’s color system was right in front of their eyes.
As Republicans wish to limit the amount of brain food available to outline systemic racism through book banning, stochastic terrorism, and university takeovers, another set of well-meaning Americans, of all ethnicities, recoil in uncertainty. The reason being that divisions regarding access to opportunity, political realities one can take for granted (like unruly privatization for privileged populations), and the staggering resource deficiencies between races are all clear as day in the Trumpecine. These undeniable long-term problems can historically create the conditions for civic decline in any society. Especially, when it is ignored with great vigor offered up by bad faith, and frankly racist at times, pathologies within American paleoconservatism.
The people of America are mostly good, and I personally believe the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Still, the Negro Act of 1740 is in America’s DNA and its ongoing effects on an intentionally racialized society is an open weakness that can be exploited by antidemocratic actors abroad.
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