Interminority racism in the United States

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Interminority racism is prejudice or discrimination between social minority groups. This article strictly addresses interminority racism as it exists in the United States.

Racial hierarchy in the United States[edit]

By the last quarter of the 18th century, US' colonies were dominated by an English majority. [1]

The melting pot[edit]

"They must cast off the European skin never to resume it. They must look forward to their prosperity rather than backwards to their ancestors."[2]

The Anglo majority was challenged in the 18th century by European immigrants.[1]

The exact term "melting pot" came into general usage in 1908, after the premiere of the play The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill. [3]

The 19th century[edit]

Between 1790 and 1962 the United States' politics used a racial hierarchy to determine citizenship. Despite that most of these regulations have been dismissed, racial hierarchy in association with political and social power continues today.[3]

Model minority[edit]

There are racial minorities that have experienced more success than others.

Asian Americans as model minorities[edit]

Post-1964[edit]

Current US policy advocates a multiculturalist discourse to acknowledge multiracial difference. Multiculturalist theorists like Claire Jean Kim criticizes that this contemporary policy because it still refuses to acknowledge the interminority inequalities and antagonisms generated by this new diversity.[4] Another expert on the subject is Angela Davis:

Examples of interminority racism in the U.S.[edit]

1. 1992 Los Angeles Riots

2. Crown Heights Riot

3. There has been a long-running racial tension between African Americans and Mexican Americans.[5][6] There have been several significant riots in California prisons where Mexican American and African American inmates have targeted each other particularly, based on racial reasons.[7][8][8] There have been reports of racially motivated attacks against African Americans who have moved into neighborhoods occupied mostly by Mexican Americans, and vice versa.[9][10]

Note: There are not many publicly known manifestations of interminority racism. That does not mean that there is not prejudice between groups. Interminority racism is best understood at a personal level, but there are few stories in literature that depict this phenomenon.

The Color of Fear[edit]

this section is not so much about interminority rascism as it is about the movie, The Color of Fear. Shouldn't it be separated? The Color of Fear, a film by Lee Mun Wah is material that provides a well thought out discourse for interminority racism on a personal level. Lee invited eight men to a cottage to spend the weekend while they engaged in an intellectual, dramatic and emotional discussion about race. The first half of the film is centered mostly around white racism: mostly of the institutionalized fashion. The second half deals with the issue of interminority racism.[11]

David Lee, a Chinese American expresses his anxiety towards African Americans. He has been taught through school and media that African Americans are killers, lazy, unintelligent, and are to blame for their own victimization. The eight men discussed the negative role of media. It was also proposed that Asian Americans take their cues from White Americans. Yutaka Matsumato, a Japanese American brought up an example from his own life in which he felt fear in the presence of a couple of African Americans at a bus stop. He explained how his mind reacted; that he conjured multiple outcomes of this situation upon approaching the bus stop. But he soon realized that they were just leaving work, on their way home, just like him.[12]

Victor Lewis, an African American expressed a resentment for the Asian American model minority. He views himself as an intelligent person and he blames white supremacy for using Asian Americans to put blacks down, as in the Los Angeles Riots.[12]

Roberto Alamanzán, a Mexican American brings up the notion that lighter skin equals a more American person. Loren, an African American, adds that slaves who were of lighter skin were used as house slaves. They ponder whether that notion still lingers in today's racism. Roberto says light skin babies are much more cooed over than darker babies among Latinos. Victor supposes that there were times his lighter complexion sometimes would dictate him as a "nice" African American. [12]

The point was earlier raised that interminority racism may not be called racism as it is not between a dominant group and a subordinate group. This too is addressed in "The Color of Fear." There was no clear answer in the end. Gordon, a White American, does not consider interminority prejudice and discrimination as racist and that in the US only Whites can be racist. However, more important than correct definition is realizing that interminority racism and white racism are different. Victor, an African American led a part of discussion addressing this difference. White racism pushes the subordinate down and the dominant up. It was adhered to in the end, that interminority racism may be called racism because it exists in a white racist context. Victor says interminority racism pushes both of us down, and you (White Americans) up.[12]

References[edit]