Groups and individuals often engage in scapegoating minority groups as a means of social control and easing their own consciences when working to cope with a challenge or solve a problem.
The problem is that scapegoating does not solve problems. It, instead, perpetuates the ill effects of a problem due to the refusal of the majority of individuals in a group to take personal responsibility for their personal choices. When individuals who belong to the majority of a group collectively scapegoat a minority of the group, the group’s problems remain unresolved.
Scapegoating does not solve problems and meet challenges in the collective life of a group. It dangerously perpetuates and makes them worse.
Many racist European- Americans, both in the North and South, often used African-Americans as a scapegoat for the collective problems of Americans, both before the Civil War, during Reconstruction and beyond.
Whatever problem occurred, somehow someway, many racist European-Americans found a way to blame the African-American minority in their communities and the nation as a whole. In reality, it is illogical to assert African-Americans could possibly be responsible for any collective problem of any community or the nation.
Racist European-Americans had effectively ensured that African-Americans would be marginalized from the mainstream in all aspects of community and American life before and after the Civil War and beyond.
African-Americans had been segregated away from the ability to pose any kind of real threat to the cultural, social, political and economic dominance of European-Americans in American life before, after and beyond the Civil War. Therefore, it was entirely fallacious and illogical to blame African-Americans for any real collective problem of a community or American life as a whole.
However fallacious or illogical scapegoating African-Americans might be, racist European-Americans expended much time and energy working to deflect their own responsibility for their personal and collective problems onto African-Americans.
If economic problems developed following the Civil War, racist European-Americans often blamed African-Americans for the economic downturn. They increased employment restrictions against African-Americans and sometimes formed mobs to drive African-Americans from their communities. These violent mobs attacked African-Americans with impunity as European-American law enforcement officers stood by and only arrested African-Americans who chose to defend themselves against the violence of the European-American mob.
Racist European-Americans often chose to refuse to consider the reality that the economic choices of European-Americans had been the cause of economic downturns or other difficulties.
Sadly, scapegoating African-Americans and other minorities instead of understanding that a community’s or nation’s problems are collectively caused in a small part by all of the individuals who make up a community or nation is still a reality today.
Scapegoating a minority group as the cause of community and nationwide problems does not resolve problems. All citizens of a community and the nation must take personal responsibility for their own choices in order to create positive solutions for society’s problems.