10 interesting historical facts about racial prejudice and segregation

Posted by Ria, 30 Sep 15

Sometimes, its good to go back in history and see where all this began. But as we learned from our previous article: 10 interesting facts about race and skin color, the whole concept of human races is a recent theory. Well below are some facts about racial prejudice. The first one... so unbelievable.

1. Well, here is how people qualified to attend some churches in the U.S. in the early 20th Century: One had to go through a comb that hang from a string on a pinewood slab. The pinewood was used as the color test – you could only get into church if your skin was lighter than the pinewood. The comb was for the hair test – only those whose hair went through without it getting caught on the comb qualified for church.

2. Going by the federal figures, one in four students in America reports to being a victim of racial or ethnic prejudice in a typical school year.

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3. If you are a child born to an interracial couple, then automatically, you are categorized under the less privileged or inferior group. This is because traditionally, U.S. has followed the theory of hypodescent.

4. Apparently, going by research conducted on the National Basketball Association referees in 2007, economists Joseph Price and Justin Wolfers maintained that as per results of the study, the referees were expected to call fouls on players who were not of the same race as themselves.

5. Interracial sex was outlawed in Virginia in the year 1662. They made amendments to this law imposing heavier penalties if the persons found guilty of interracial fornication were “Blacks” or “Christians”. Come 1691, it was illegal in the state of Virginia for any Black man, mulatto or Indian man to be seen in the company of or marry a white woman. These laws were dropped in Virginia in 1967.

6. In 2002 the Institute of Medicine documented evidence of pervasive racial inequalities in the healthcare system. These disparities were partially attributed to physician bias. For instance, in the years between 1940 and 1999, more than 4 million Black Americans were reported to have died prematurely compared to their Caucasian counterparts.

7. Racial classification of every child at birth began in the early 1900 in the United States under the Racial Integrity Act. This act made marriage between whites and people of with even one drop of the “Black” lineage unlawful. The driving force behind this law was the fear that interracial sex between blacks and whites would dilute and depreciate the white race.

8. In a bid to prove that some of the human races were intrinsically more intelligent than other races, during the early 1900s, Eugenists employed IQ tests on individuals. The main aim was to show that Blacks and other immigrants (even those from Southern and Eastern Europe) were intellectually inferior to Americans of Saxon or Scandinavian descent. These tests didn't last long because by the 1940, Eugenics as a science had been discredited. It was also discredited on grounds of being an excuse for racial prejudice and hatred.

9. In order to be allowed into the state of Ohio, blacks were required to post a 500 dollar bond as a guarantee of their good behavior. They were also expected to provide court documents proving that they were free. This happened in the early 1800s.

10. The African slave trade boomed in the 18th century. But before then, Africans and Native Americans servants had the same standing as the White indentured servants. About 2/3 of all White immigrants to the American colonies were non-free laborers. Then came the slave trade boom; Africans and their children were treated and seen as a different and inferior race who became life-long properties of their masters.

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