Slavery May Be Over, But Racism Isn’t It is commonly argued that the abolition of slavery marked the end of racism for black people. It is claimed that this is a post racial society, and blackpeople receive the same opportunities as white people do. However, although they are no longer owned as slaves, black people are still harshly oppressed. Examples from both the novel The House Girl by Tara Conklin, which shows what life was like for people who were enslaved in the 1850s, and examples from society today illustrate the staggering amount of racism in society.
This can be exemplified with the hate crimes, wage inequality, and the segregation of black people from public spaces that are deemed “for whites only” that, although are less extreme in today’s society, are still prevalent today. In The House Girl, there are several examples of brutality towards the black slaves that are comparable to the deplorable hate crimes of today. One that provides good insight into not only the situation of the people who were victimized but also illustrates the injustice of the situation is when the main character, Josephine, stumbles into a field and finds a black slave tied to a pole, the flesh on his back flayed and his body thin and fragile from malnutrition.
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He has clearly been battered and whipped by his owners, and when she asks what he’s done to have been punished so severely, he explains, “Nothing. Not a thing. I ain't done a thing since I was born.” (144). This quote is very poignant and clearly describes the relationship between black people and white people: black people were treated as lesser and as a result beaten and tortured, just because they were born black. Even though slavery was abolished, anti-black violence and intimidation remain as prototypal hate crimes that are used not only to injure and kill black people, but to terrorize an entire race of people.
In our society black people are beaten and murdered simply because they are black. These hate crimes happen far too often, and involve an innocent person being targeted simply due to their race. When looking at statistics, it is shown that in Canada, black people “were targeted for 295 out of 704 racially motivated hate crimes”. (Allen).Some examples of racially fueled hate crimes against black people include the assault of a 17 year old African American boy by three men who, after the election of President Obama, beat him with a metal pipe and police baton while he was walking home, severely injuring him. A second example of hate crime in our society is non violent but severely violates the civil rights of the victim.
A black man and his family were the first non-white people to move into a neighbourhood in Louisiana and several individuals fired shotguns at his property and dressed in white robes and stood across from his property, shouting “White power!” and “White Knights!” The family was so terrified that they moved away. Racially based hate crimes have only one purpose – to intimidate, hurt, or kill a person based simply on their race. The fact that these crimes are still prevalent in society today clearly illustrates that racism is still alive today, even though slavery is not. A secondary example that shows racism in both The House Girl and racism today is the fact that in the book, slaves are not paid for their labour, and in our society, there is a large wage gap between the pay of white people and the pay of black people. In the novel, Josephine is washing the dishing and thinks to herself, wishing that she was “a white lady like Missus.
Then I wouldn’t be doing this for free.” (79). This quote illustrates the unfairness of the situation of black slaves at that time: they laboured all day, but received no pay, while if a white woman was doing the cooking and cleaning for people as Josephine was, she would be paid for her services. Black people were treated as animals; Josephine refers to herself as “A horse, the chicken or cow, something to be fed and housed, to do what it was born and raised to do.
” (183). This quote shows the deep internalized racism that black people faced – they were treated like animals and forced to do continuous labour, and as a result began to think of themselves as undeserving of pay. This is shown in our society through the wage gap between what white people are paid on average, and what black people are paid on average. Black men in 2012 were, on average,paid about $0.
74 to the white man’s dollar, while black women were paid $0.69 in comparison. This is a huge problem as it results in higher.