Magazine article Diversity Employers

The Legacy of Racism and Social Inequality: New Millennium Challenges for African Americans

Magazine article Diversity Employers

The Legacy of Racism and Social Inequality: New Millennium Challenges for African Americans

Article excerpt

We are in the last months of the 20th century and with the dawn of the 21st century, we will enter the next millennium. The past one thousand years have been, in virtually every respect, a momentous period in human history. However, changes in technological, bio-genetic / medical, and informational sciences are expected to be so vast in the next century that economic, cultural and social structures will be radically transformed. The simple, but poignant question that will challenge us profoundly in the future is "what will be the consequences of such changes for people and society?" Change does not inevitably mean 'better', or 'good' for all people equally A critically important subsection of the larger question is what will be the role of Black people in the anticipated changes? Will we be passive on-lookers or active agents of our particular interests and therefore take command of our own destiny? Can we avoid in the next millennium, what our fate has been during the past thousand years? Are we poised, eff ectively, on the brink of the new millennium to engage the emerging forces in order to change the course of social relations that have been dominant for the greater part of the past six hundred years?

There is an ancient proverb that says, "It is very difficult to predict, particularly about the future." As true as this may be in terms of specific prediction; we can nonetheless make reasonable assessments about the probability of the kind of future we are likely to inherit. In this instance, in order to see sufficiently forward, it is necessary to look adequately backward to review history.

Dr. W.E.B DuBois, undoubtedly, one of the great scholars of the 20th century predicted accurately, "The problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the color line." He could not have been more correct! But, he could have just as well applied his analysis to the new millennium. The "color problem" has its roots deep in the history of the current millennium. For several millenniums, Africa, Asia, and the region presently referred to as the Middle-East and the surrounding environs, were the center of the world. It was there, in Africa to be precise, that human history began, and progressed to its highest forms. The foundations of medical and physical sciences, logical reasoning and mathematics, ethical philosophy and religion, art and engineering, astronomy and ocean circumnavigation, systematic agriculture-plant cultivation and animal husbandry for human nutrition were developed in Africa. Dr. John Henrik Clarke has pointed out that at the time African societies emerged, there was no Europe. I know this is hard on the imagination, but Europe had not yet joined civilization. When Europe was born, Africa, particularly Nubia, Egypt and Ethiopia, already had enjoyed 10,000 years of history. However, with the rise of the bellicose Roman Empire, the world entered the most dangerous period, known to humankind up to that point, that would reverse much of the social order of the world. It is important for us to understand how African people, who were among the first in the world, were reduced to the bottom of the world order (humankind). Those societies that were among the most advanced were shattered and their people became among the least developed. This dramatic turn of events was, in large measure, due to European expansion and imperialism that resulted in the enslavement and colonization of two thirds of the world's people, their land and resources. These actions were predicated upon the invented fiction of race.

To Europeans the conquest of the earth meant taking away from other people, who for the most part, did not look like them. The massive appropriation of wealth and labor from other people is the basis for modem racism and the world (racial) order of the global economy. Europeans are positioned at the height of, and in command of the world order; Africans / Black people in Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas are at the base of the world order. …

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