Featured Image: Graffitti painted on a Confederate monument, Augusta, Georgia, 2009
An NPR poll released on October 24, 2017 found that a majority of Whites say discrimination against them exists in America today. This has, predictably, led to much crowing about “fragility,” “lost privilege” and “victim complexes.” A closer look at the poll — and at American history — reveals a far more nuanced story.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary racism first appeared in print in 1902, when Richard Henry Pratt said:
Segregating any class or race of people apart from the rest of the people kills the progress of the segregated people or makes their growth very slow. Association of races and classes is necessary to destroy racism and classism.
Pratt rejected the idea that races or ethnicities were inferior: instead he believed the problem lay in culture. As he explained in an 1892 speech:
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