It is impossible in six short pages to fully comprehend the attitudes that White Americans had to Native Indians and black Americans in the early centuries of our nations founding. That was m not my intent. My goal rather, was to illustrate first that although we are often presented a dominant narrative as the narrative, the truth is that in surveying American attitudes towards American Indians and Blacks a single cohesive narrative does not exist. If such a narrative did exist the Native American Seminole tribe of Florida would not exist. The Seminoles were a tri-racial tribe composed of Creek Indians, remainders of smaller tribes, runaway slaves and whites who preferred to live in Indian society (Loewen). The First and Second Seminole wars (1816-18, 1835-42) in which the Seminoles fought against invading Whites who demanded that they surrender their African-American members, were fought not for economic value but to eliminate a refuge for runaway slaves (Loewen). That White Americans were willing to fight for, and be considered brethren to escaped black slaves and their descendents illustrates that the dominant narrative of contempt that Whites had for black was not the only one. Rather, my goal was to illustrate that this negative attitude towards blacks was neither natural, nor instinctual, nor dominant at first, but rather that it came from a cycle that historian Winthrop D. Jordan pointed out once in place was automatically self-reinforcing, and that to “understand where that attitude came from we must not look to black people, but rather at the Englishmen who enslaved them, since the black man was not fully a slave for the Englishmen until they enslaved him (Jordan).
” In illustrating these alternate narratives, my secondary goal was to also to show how perpetuating the meme of a single dominant narrative continues to perpetuate and give credence to the “white is right” narrative that continues to be pervasive in American society to the present day. That as the philosopher Lewis Gordon beautifully states: from a white point-of-view, the assumed race of the human race is white. To be non-white is to be racialized in an anti-black world. To be raceless is to be pushed up toward whiteness (Root).” And that even while trying to articulate the historical analysis of race attitudes this essay question immediately falls into that racial trap. My point was to illustrate that history does not rest firmly in the past, but rather continues to frame how we view the present whether we are aware of that history of not. Works Cited Jordan, Winthrop D. White Over Black:American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812. University of North Carolina Press., 1995. Loewen, James. Lies My Teacher Told Me. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Miller, Eric. George Washington and the Indians. 1994. 25 March 2010