Like nearly all wealthy landowners in Virginia, George Washington owned enslaved people who worked his land. He received the first enslaved workers of his own when his father died in 1743. Washington, just 11 years old at the time, was willed 10 enslaved people, and by the time he married Martha Custis in 1759, he had purchased at least eight more.
fearing the rise of the abolition movement in the North, slaveholders throughout the South strengthened laws governing slaves and free people of color, known as “black codes.” The black codes governed enslaved people as well as four categories of free people. By putting both into one legal category, whites divided the population along racial lines, not along categories of free and unfree.
Much has been written about how white women perpetuate and/or support racism and include behaviors such as using our white fragility and tears as as weapons of oppression or calling the police on POC for ordinary things like having a picnic. Historic reasons include, and go beyond, white privilege and supremacy.
Plessy is widely regarded as one of the worst decisions in U.S. Supreme Court history and has never been explicitly overruled. This ruling stated that although the 14th Amendment established the legal equality of white and black Americans, it did not require the elimination of all social or other “distinctions based upon color.”
White supremacy is hard wired into every American. Like fish swimming in an ocean who can’t identify themselves as wet, its impossible for most of white America to understand how deeply white supremacy is a part of us and how it has been woven into the very fabric of the United States existence from the first beginning.
This list documents white supremist and colonizing behavior in the US. As we start to see the extent and insidious nature of this behavior we can begin to realize the importance of doing things differently. This awareness will help us move toward decentering the negative white behavior and instead center the resilience, survival and strength of people of color.