In Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People he introduces Josiah Nott, a surgeon from Alabama who “loved annoying traditional believers” (Painter 195). Nott’s most frightening ideology is his conviction that any racial mixing is bad and one purified white Aryan race should occupy America. I say frightening because of this similarity to the Holocaust, and Hitler’s hope that racial purity could create an ideal society to exist in Europe. Obviously neither of these plans succeeded, and America prospers today as a racially diverse country, because societies “need the contributions of other races for the development of civilization.” (Painter 197)
Thinking back now, in the year 2017, I wonder what our country would look like had Nott and others like him actually gotten their way and if no racial mixing occurred in America. I’m from Baltimore, and any average day just walking around downtown would be so, so different. The Museum of African-American History, where my fifth grade class took our first field trip to and is an important landmark building in my city would not stand. For lunch, I would not be able to go to my favorite Indian restaurant with authentic cuisine and the friendly staff who knows my family when we come to eat there. I wouldn’t walk into Pimlico Elementary and make art projects and play sports with the cutest third graders after class like I used to last year because 100% of the students who attend are black. Just strolling on the streets by the Inner Harbor, every person I saw would have skin the same color as me, with no diversity to liven and enrich the culture of the metropolis.
Obviously Nott failed to limit inhabitance of America to just white people, and our country thrives today because of the unique aspects and traditions that different communities have developed over time. It is difficult to imagine what America would look like, and I wonder whether it would still even exist today without the melting pot of ethnicities that it is renowned for.
Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People. New York: W.W. Morton and Co., 2010. Print.