We Charge Genocide: An Examination of Racism as Black Genocide in America.
The US Civil Rights Movement and race relations in the US have been met with recent academic popularity, with different historiographies being hotly contested (Hall, 2007) – the result is a complex understanding of African American history (Dwyer, 2000; Lawson, 1991). African Americans were enslaved, segregated, massacred, beaten, raped, and lynched for hundreds of years, leading some academics to believe that African Americans faced a genocide, specifically a ‘Black Genocide’ (Wright, 1969). For the purpose of this essay, the term genocide will follow Lemkin’s orginal conception of the word as well as the United Nation’s definition, where genocide is not necessarily to kill but to destroy a group, in part or in whole, through other means i.e. social, political and economic means (Lemkin and Power, 1944; United States. Department of State. Office of Public et al., 1949). The historical context of slavery, the creation of a race and the treatment of African Americans in America suggests genocidal intentions against black people. The violence that African Americans faced and the continuation of Jim Crow Laws shows dolus specialis, an intent to destroy. Furthermore, the legacy of racism and continuation of violence against African Americans further suggests genocidal intentions.