Jordan, Winthrop D. The White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
Racism has been in the world from a very long time. It started of from the first people on the earth Adam and Eve who gave birth to black and white children. The fight between them is the foundation of all the acts that have followed in the act of racism. America was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. The Europeans came here to rule and not to understand what the people of there did or lived. They first made Native Americans slave and then with the advent of the Africans into the American society the slavery started to take place which in the end was the result of the racism.
Long history of America states that White men have always dictated terms on the Blacks for various reasons and theories which generated from time to time in order to clearly devise the difference between them. In this book Jordan has tried to determine the various reasons for which the Blacks have been considered at the lowest level and why they are still considered as those who don’t have a right to live in this world freely (Jordan, 1974). In the late 18th century, the problems have increased to be at maximum. America was divided into two main divisions where one wanted the Blacks to be slave all their lives and treating them inhumanly and the other group however, was against the slavery. This initiated the War of Independence in the middle of 19th century which led to certain provisions in the law which gave the Blacks equal rights but the racism still exists.
Jordan states (1974) that, “people have created many theories about the Blacks in order to tease them for being Black” (p. 55). He also stated (1974) that, “the people from the early part of Europe who came here considered Blacks as black because they were cursed by the god for their actions which are not good; therefore they don’t deserve good as well” (p. 49). White men believed that they are White because god is happy with the way they have lived and how they pray in front of him. This was more a theory than an ideology of the people. This theory however, started to emerge as the source of the differences and for no reason only on the wrong perceptions Blacks were treated badly. They were not given their right of living free at all (Jordan, 1974). In the earlier days when the slavery was not so popular the Blacks were still mistreated as various incidents of beating took place at various places. If some disaster happens like thunderstorm or something else Blacks were accused of being the reason for that. This critically stereotyped that Blacks don’t have the right to live free. They were than made slaves. Slavery flourished in all parts of the America where they were treated like animals.
Another reason for why Blacks were considered like animals because of the discovery of the apes at that time. The black color of apes and the black color of Blacks was the inspirational source for the Whites to consider them like animals or another theory which originated at that time was that these apes are Black men who have turned into apes because the god is unhappy with them or they both are related to each other. These theories took the center stage from time to time and let people believe that if they are teasing Blacks they are making god happy. These stories prevailed from nothing to everything. Jordan states that White men always had the business in mind. When they left Europe in search of land they were only looking for a good possibility of trades and nothing more. At one place he has quoted that, “The Europeans were of the view that only they have the right to live free and that caused them think themselves as superior to other” (p.77). In fact this was similar in Africa as well where other Europeans even killed the natives just because sometimes they gave resistance to them. “The Black people had acquired the miserable living right after the expeditions of the Europeans in various parts of the world” quoted by Jordan (p.87). He also described the dominance of Europeans as, “The Asians including Chinese were treated as the same way with various stereotyping and misinterpretations” (p.112). This situation of searching for the opportunity led them to these Blacks and due the weapons and powers they had established they took control of the Blacks and labeled them with various names and types and said them Blacks for various reasons and accusations. All of these accusations were used to build there business in those lands where the Blacks were in majority. They were all looking to take advantage of the properties of the Blacks and another main reason was the achievement of the free labor that they got when they made Blacks slaves (Jordan, 1974).
The history of America is filled with all those things happening around the Blacks. The relationship between the Blacks and whites has seen various ups and downs but the racism is present there all the time. Consider the situation of the War of Independence when the fights were going around in all parts of the country just to get the control over the Blacks for slavery. This depicts the hatred that is present in the minds of Whites against the Blacks.
There were other notions also present which made the Blacks the most regrettable creatures on the earth. They were also thought to have suffered from leprosy which was considered as the deadliest disease at that time. This also caused the repelling effect between Blacks and Whites for many more years.
Jordan has expertly stated the mentality of the Whites who considered themselves educated and responsible for the progress of the world. They never understood the real meaning of the human kind and human generation but they always continued to terror others all the way. The burden of not being White has cost millions of Blacks and other ethnic people to grow in a low level all their lives (Jordan, 1974). Whether they are Black or Native, Latin or Asian all of them have been mistreated many times in all the history by these European people. The killings and beatings have made the new White to always believe that they are superior to the others all the times. They have been managed to control the power of the world and in doing so they have changed the culture of all the human beings.
The history of United States of America after the Independence War depicts the facts about how the new America has taken the others into their culture. No change has taken place. Though slavery has ended but by no means the Blacks has been able to get the complete package of their rights which really belong to them as being a free human being who wants to live freely in this world (Jordan, 1974). Entering into the 20th century was never different anytime where more and more campaigns have started against the Blacks as being the poorest creatures on earth.
Various wars have also taken place due to this racism. No one says that the action is taken due to racism but the main reason is the racism where the Whites don’t want to see others to progress in the world. Sometimes this racism has got into the religious and beliefs as well but by no means is the racism finished in the America. Today when we observe the situation of the America as being a common place of people from diverse cultures there are still many areas of interest present where the equal rights are not observed (Jordan, 1974). Even the government and police authorities are sometimes portraying the acts of racism where they are given the permission to beat the convict especially Blacks in some states only on the basis of doubts. This is because of the history of the United States where Whites still think of themselves as the best creatures on the earth and the other people are just mere pieces of heaps and they don’t have the right to live according to their satisfaction.
Jordan has implemented his great strength of determining the exact facts which have made this happen to the Blacks and others in this world. He has determined facts with examples that the history has allowed the people today to stereotype the Blacks as unintelligent, irresponsible and most hated creatures of mankind and they should not be given any rights by them as well. It is the curse that is given to them by god and they should remain like this all their lives. The racism today has led to loss of lives of many people who didn’t know why they were killed at first place.