Sunday, September 6, 2009

Racial Implications and Defining Florida

Since explorations to the Americas begun, the Europeans have had to deal not only with problems associated with the land but also problems with the Native Americans who had already had footholds in the Americas for many years. Initially Europeans didn't look to understand the Native Americans but they looked to eliminate them totally because of the problems they posed with controlling the land and complicating their trading processes. In Constructing Floridians Daniel S. Murphee highlights the struggles of the Europeans in dealing with the Native Americans paganism, their barbaric nature, and their uncivilized actions. The Spaniards, French, and the British all came in to account with Native Americans at different times but all classified them the same and made attempts at racialization which most of the time ended in bloodshed. Native Americans were different in all aspects of life. They had their own set of "morals, manners, activities, lifestyles, and philosophies," that were different than that of the Europeans. The Indians were not Christians and European attempts at conversion failed. The way that they dressed (or lack of) emphasized their natural beauty and muscular build which was frowned upon by the Europeans. Also, their savagness and advanced weaponry was much different from the Europeans and other settlers of that time. These differences between the Native Inhabitants and the European settlers helped to form an identity for what Americans should look like and the ways in which they should conduct themselves. Racialization would continue to be a problem with settlers because the more they gave themselves an identity the more fuedal the relationships between themselves and the Native Americans would be. All in all, racialization acted as a blueprint to the character of the ideal American and all the practices and lifestyles that would be frowned upon in times to come.

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