Студент бакалавриата филологических наук, Санкт-Петербургский Государственный Университет
ПОНИМАНИЕ ПРОБЛЕМ РАСИЗМА И ЭТНОСА В РОССИИ И США
В статье затрагиваются основные проблемы понимания расистских и этнических проблем в России и Соединенных Штатах Америки с акцентом на мнение популярных СМИ и российскую статистику последних лет.
Ключевые слова: толерантность, расизм, рабство, статистика расового насилия.
Undergraduate student of Philology, Saint-Petersburg State University
BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF RACIAL/ETHNIC ISSUES IN RUSSIA AND USA
The article deals with basic understanding of racial and ethnic issues in Russia and the United States of America emphasizing the opinion of popular mass media and Russian statistics of recent years.
Keywords: tolerance, racism, slavery, statistics of racial violence.
We didn’t all come over on the same ship,
but we’re all in the same boat.
Bernard M. Baruch
Originally, slavery as the biggest racial problem of those days came into existence with the British Colonization of the Americas back in 1607 and polarized the country into slave states and free states.
Slavery was fixedly set up by the time of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1863, the Final Emancipation Proclamation was issued by the 16th President of the United States of America Abraham Lincoln. That was the harsh time of the Civil War and the governmental split between those who endorsed slavery and those who denounced it.
The Constitution of the United States of 1787 included several points about slavery among which was Article I which allowed the import of slaves.
Also, slave owners had the special Slave Codes which enforced their “servants” to follow several provisions.
The above-named Codes included such strong forbidennesses as escaping the colony or the state (for doing which slaves received the death penalty) or working for pay. Dark black slaves were obliged to live in a separate house and were not allowed to use home comforts destined for house owners.
One of the most negatively impressive punishment (considering not “death” penalties) was a branding with an “R” on the right cheek of a slave which to all appearances meant “runner”. All these punishments were resorted regardless of the gender of a slave, and sometimes, after such punishments a female slave went down in price or was not given a house work anymore for being ugly.
The Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, issued by Abraham Lincoln, outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude which changed life of the black population once-for-all-time. The zero tolerance policy resulted in the time of distressful uncertainty and anger for freed slaves.
The brutality of slavery will be alluded to for many centuries and it would take a lot of time for the African-American societies to entirely ‘swallow’ the past.
However, by now the United Stated have acknowledged their unfavorable involvement in the slavery regime and have passed joint resolutions. In 2008 The House of Representatives passed the resolution of an apology for the slavery and discrimination of their rights .
Thus, we should realize that after-pains can be still felt – the racial problem in the USA of 18th and 19th cc. echoes in the racial situation in the USA of present days.
Also, it should be mentioned that “black” Americans is the largest racial minority, but isn’t a single one. Hispanic and Latino Americans make up around 15% of the population , Mexican Americans make up 64,6% of all Hispanics and Latinos. These minorities also face discrimination based on ethnicity and race because of their widespread immigration to the USA.
In addition to this, present day Russia also experiences a disturbing racial and tolerance problem. In Russia, cruel and inconceivable ethic-based cases were recorded in the first decade of the 21st century in St. Petersburg. One of the most known is a violent murder of a 9-year old Tajik girl Hursheda Sultonova  in 2004; Moscow Market bombing in 2006 and the notorious video “The execution of a Tajik and a Daghestani” downloaded to the Internet in 2007.
All these crime cases were fully or partly connected with the “Russia for Russians” slogan-movement. By “Russians”, respondents usually mean people of Slavic descent while Russian citizenship is not necessarily required. According to the poll taken by Levada Center in 2013, 21% of Russians “definitely approve of the slogan” while 27% of interviewees “rather approve than not”; 42% of Russian respondents opposed to it .
Nowadays, the situation is still worrying. The bar chart below clearly shows that the racial violence issue has hardly changed since the beginning of the given period. In 2004 the bar was approaching a 254 point (the number of victims), in 2007 it reached its peak and then fell sharply attaining a 225 point which is only by 29 victims less than in 2004.
However, for the last several years, the new generation has been intently taught to be tolerable to all nations and complexions as a part of the State Educational Policy. The outcome is rather positive so far: friendly festivals and contests are held around the country, children have an opportunity to make friends, to win useful prices (such as trips to other countries) and to gain new experience.
Resolving the racial conflicts in the USA, people usually refer to the stumbling stones of American humanism: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The famous and extremely humanistic words from the Declaration of Independence, which is always referred to, are as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 
Furthermore, the Article 17 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation says: “Fundamental human rights and freedoms are inalienable and shall be enjoyed by everyone since the day of birth.”
Human rights and freedoms are inalienable – axiom, the men are given imprescriptible rights that should be enjoyed by everyone. The issues of inequality are expected to be resolved, first, on the national level, second, on the local, in order to achieve universal tolerance ever possible.
- 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. United States Census Bureau.
- The Declaration of Independence, 1776.
- The Constitution of the Russian Federation, 1993.
- Darryl Fears (July 30, 2008). House Issues An Apology For Slavery. The Washington Post
- Roy L. Brooks, Over Apologies and Reparations for Human Injustice, When Sorry Isn’t Enough: The Controversy, 1999.
- David B. Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of New. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Susan Oba, “‘Mostly Made, Especially for this Purpose, in Providence, R.I.’: The Rhode Island Negro Cloth Industry,” Brown University, 2006.
- The Declaration of Independence of the USA
- The Constitution of the Russian Federation