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Seminar paper from the year 2008 in the subject English - Literature, Works, grade: 2,0, , course: African American Women Writers, language: English, abstract: To introduce my term paper “Race and Violence in Ann Petry’s The Witness” I want to start with the definitions of the three terms race, racism and violence mentioned in the title. Regarding to the expressions I want to say something about the U.S. history, and about the current situation in the United States of America, with reference to the African American people.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary explains race as follows: “one of the main groups that humans can be divided into according to their physical differences, for example the colour of their skin; a group of people who share the same language, history, culture, etc.”
Racism means “the unfair treatment of people who belong to a different race; violent behaviour towards them; the belief that some races of people are better than others”
The history of racism in the United States of America goes back to 17th century and should have come to an end with the American Civil War (1861–1865) and the abolition of slavery (1865). Unfortunately, the abolition of slavery was not the end of the African American martyrdom. It was the beginning of prejudices, discrimination, violence and struggle. When we think of racism against African American people, we think of a long and torturous way African Americans had to go and still go nowadays.