Years of state violence against Africans, Indians and "Coloureds" in South Africa kept apartheid alive, and it has left a legacy of psychological and racial violence.
The segregation of black children in inferior schools, however, brought special criticism. Worldwide charges of American hypocrisy certainly played some part in the Brown decision. But the climate of anti-communism largely constrained most political battles to the legal arena while displacing the larger calls for freedom that included jobs, housing, land, and wealth. At the same time, courtroom success was quickly followed by waves of "massive resistance" by whites. Less than a year after the Brown decision, fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till was found murdered in Mississippi's Tallahatchie River. He had been shot and his body mutilated because he allegedly whistled at a white woman. Yet his death was simply the most spectacular manifestation of white terror and racial containment.
History is littered with similar examples, and we must never forget the systematic violence meted out to slaves, Indigenous Peoples and others during the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism.Response to racial violence
The state response to racial violence indicates the way society, the institutions and the political systems behave towards those who are perceived to be different.
Robert F. Williams was president of the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP. But his frustration with nonviolent protest stemmed not from a preference for courtroom battles. He advocated armed self-defense, responding to white violence with bullets and barricades. Williams looked out over America's social landscape and saw little recourse in nonviolent protest or legal statutes. As a case in point, the federal government passed the first Civil Rights Act in 1957, but it was hardly enforced. Williams was part of a growing body of activists from within traditional organizations who were critical of both nonviolence and top-down leadership approaches from the start. Their presence reveals that the meaning of civil rights activism was not set in stone but constantly contested and reconstructed.
Also we probably will not publish articles promoting inter-racial harmony, because that approach too often leaves intact differential treatment of whites and blacks and provides subtle confirmation of the idea that different races exist independently of social distinctions.
"[F]or white women and women of color, the experience of battering is quite similar but at the point of seeking help or escape from the abuse, women of color face many problems that white battered women generally do not." The additional hardship of racism creates concerns that are specific to African-American victims of domestic violence and other marginalized groups. Like all victims of domestic violence, African- American women consider many issues when making the decision to leave an abusive situation. African-American women, however, may consider a number of additional issues, including the African-American race image as a whole, the position of African-American men, the view of African-American families, their economic situation, and the system's responsiveness if they do make a call for help. Addressing these concerns while developing domestic violence resources will create better resources with equal effectiveness for all domestic violence victims. If the resources took into account all victim concerns and realities, the victims would likely feel more comfortable using the resources. Just as resources, such as a shelter, do not ignore facets of a victim's life such as whether she has children or a disability, so should the resource not ignore whether the victim is African-American. The fact that a victim has children or a disability affects what the victim needs to live a life without domestic violence. Our society has made race matter. Therefore, for resources to be effective in our current society, race and/or racism must matter.
American citizenship provided little security. In 1947 W. E. B. Du Bois placed the grievances of African Americans before the newly formed United Nations in his famous "Appeal to the World" address. The United States held itself up as a beacon in a sea of totalitarianism, and black people seized the opportunity to realign democracy with anti-racism instead of white supremacy.
Black defenders also knew when and where to abstain from using their guns. The key distinction made was between police violence and civilian violence. Violent police mobs, like the one that rioted on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, found it easier—or at least less risky—to target unprotected, nonviolent protesters. Protests like that on Bloody Sunday in Selma and the Selma-to-Montgomery march that followed were always tactically nonviolent. The very practical and disciplined black self-defense groups did not interfere with the violent, hate-fueled actions of uniformed authority in these instances. And although defensive groups were sometimes present at the scenes of such protests, as with the 1966 Meredith March Against Fear in Mississippi, they did not violate the commitment to nonviolence of such leaders as Martin Luther king (although in many communities young people reacted to white violence during nonviolent protests by hurling rocks and bottles).
In the Americas and Caribbean, the Colombian legacy of dispossession, massacres, violence and near annihilation of the native peoples, and the brutal slave trade have left lasting effects on marginalised communities of that area.
The slave trade, imperialism and colonialism, and more recently apartheid, were systematic and legalised forms of racism which used brutal force and violence against Africans, Asians and Indigenous Peoples, including Dalits, Gypsies and travelling people.
It is indisputable that nonviolent direct action in the mid-twentieth century brought thousands into the southern civil rights struggle. And it is incontestable that this eruption of protest was a huge factor in securing the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. Because nonviolence so often worked as a tactic, it is somewhat surprising that so few participants in the Freedom Movement embraced it as a way of life. But nonviolence has always been much more demanding and difficult than violence—and although it is a beautiful idea, perhaps in the end, it is not one that can be realistically expected to be widely embraced. yet the notion of nonviolence is certainly relevant in an increasingly coarse society that today is spiraling into violence to such a degree that carrying concealed weapons, including guns, has become acceptable in many parts of the country, as has the right to kill an unarmed person deemed “threatening” in manner or clothing. Furthermore, although the country more or less celebrates the nonviolent southern civil rights movement—whether according to Mohandas Gandhi’s strict tenets or in Martin Luther king Jr.’s somewhat less stringent manner— nonviolence itself has yet to find a path into U.S. culture in any significant way; for the most part it has had no impact on the current conversation about what America should be.
All domestic violence victims must confront a number of issues when trying to leave an abusive situation, but the racism against African-American women imposes additional issues on women already burdened. The fact that African-American women face race-based obstacles in obtaining domestic violence resources is the reason that racism within the movement against domestic violence and within the legal system must be brought to the forefront. Racism must be fought within the domestic violence movement and in the legal system in order to successfully help all victims of domestic violence. Not only are African-American women's needs ignored as a result of racism, but racism also creates additional needs for African-American women.