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WASP has been identified as a northern American sociological term that is employed to denote an acronym that stands for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. The term is said to have originated in the US in reference to white individuals who were said to have an "old money" ancestry and the word is often employed in a derogatory manner. As Barkan, Diner, & Kraut (39) have noted in their studies, the white rich folks are never referred to by the term despite them being Protestants with the Anglo Saxon descent. As it has arisen the term WASP is no longer used to strictly imply to the Anglo- Saxon (descendants of Germanys who are believed to have settled in Britain in the fifth century) individuals (Clecak 16).
The term can be said to have become redundant since all people who are Anglo Saxons are white in sense. In addition to the term being employed in the English speaking world, the term has been employed in a metaphorical way to refer to those individuals who are perceived to belong to elite groups in the society. In 1964, E Digby Baltzel popularized the term in his book "The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America". However, in 1957, Andrew Hacker was the first one to have employed the term and it was recorded then. Originally, the word WASP was used to denote to a specific ethnic group, culture, heritage or customs of the American Yankees. The term was also included individuals who had the ancestry of the Dutch like the Roosevelts and Vanderbilts (Alan 7).
Definition of WASPdom
A number of scholars have claimed that the term can be used to denote those individuals with multi generational riches whose ancestry may be from immigrants from Wales and Scotland who were Protestants, members of the Episcopal, Presbyterian and Congregationalist churches. Since these individuals did not directly descend from England they are sometimes referred to as WISPS (White Irish/Scottish Protestant) (Kaufman 40). WASPS in the northeastern US are currently referring to themselves as Yankees, but the term is not used to refer to the Canadians there. As asserted by Alan (79) the acronym WASP is rarely used in the southern part if the US due to the few immigrants who settled in the region (Barkan, Diner, & Kraut 119). The name WASP since its first use has been used to refer to the elite powerful class with less attention being regarded to the actual religion or the individuals' ancestry. Some individuals however use the term to refer to the culture and ethnic of specific individuals.
In the United States, WASP is believed to have been responsible for the creation of the white identity; white in the US was and is used to encompass the fast growing population of individuals from the European nations who were immigrants into the USA (Clecak, 213). However, the founding fathers such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were not so happy when people with ancestries fro m Russia, Spain, Italy and French were being categorized to as whites and their culture was also termed to as the white culture. In the present past, there has been a struggle of trying to include people whose skin is fair into the white class. Until the end of world war two, people whose origin was from Southern and Eastern Europe were not classified into the whiteness American class.
WASPs and presidency
According to research and scholarly studies, the most honorable position in the US have been occupied by individuals who can be comfortably be classified to as WASPs. This is despite the fact that currently, the US can be said to be more diversified in terms of ethnicity and religion. In addition to those, the individuals in the most influential positions such as those who determine the laws and justice system in the United States are those from the white ancestry and white in color. In the judicial department out of the total 1, 335 people working in the department, 1,069 are males while the rest are women, the judges are all white and not of the Hispanic decently out of the 107 judges, 79 are male while 28 are females, from the African American ancestry, there are 53 of them, forty two are male while the females are 11. The Hispanics are ten in number, 7 males and 3 females, there are three males of the Asian ancestry and the remaining 104 belong to the unreported ancestries, 80 are men while 24 are females (Schrag 51).
Though the united states is say to be diversified religiously and ethnically, the frame employed in reference to the important society individuals who have governed the nation and are involved in the daily formation of policies that affect the operation of the country and its citizens is greatly made up of individuals who van be said to be WASPs (Kaufman 84). To show how significant, influential and honorable these men were or are, the historical books , the curriculum and the mass media has referred to these people as important, honest, honorable and individuals who have adhered to the moral and ethical principles that relate to equality, justice and democracy. According to studies, these factors have played a major role in contributing to the comprehension of the WASPs as honorable and respectable individuals (Robertillo & Hoguet 110).
A very common historical reference that can be employed to show the essence and significance of the WASPs in the United States history is the presidency and its relationships with WASP (Kaufman 67). In addition to this is the relationship that the presidents have to an issue such as slavery. When looking at the historical books both those meant for the primary and secondary levels, there is one common factor that you will note, slavery took place in the American history and the person to whom the abolition of slavery is accredited to is Abraham Lincoln through the law that he signed in 1868. However apart from this, other presidents relationships with slavery is not mentioned.
According to Sponberg (189) neither is the violent ways through which the African Americans and other colored people in America being mentioned in these materials. It is estimated that a total of over ten million Africans were brought to the new world during the slavery era as slaves, millions of others are said to have died on the way across the Atlantic. Till 1968, The Royal Africa Company was believed to have held the monopoly of slave trade. By the start of the 17th century England economy relied heavily on slaves.
Thirteen of the united first presidents are said to have owned slaves. The US first president, George Washington was the one with the largest number of slaves in the wide nation and slaves were even said to have lived in the white house. George Washington also during his lifetime owned a number of slaves and in a specific period, he is said to have owned 317 slaves. Thomas Jefferson owned 237 slaves; this is considered as the largest number of slaves he owned at a time. However, Jefferson was able to write that slavery was immoral and a great political evil. Andrew Jackson owned 200 slaves. He termed to the international slave trade as inhuman illegal (Sponberg 174).
The father of the US constitution, James Madison believed he was superior when compared to the blacks; he described blacks that were free as depraved and idle. In addition, John Quincy Adams believed in the moral and cultural superiority of ht whites compared to the blacks and the way the blacks were being treated was considered moderate tot him. From this it is clear that the honorable WASPs, the presidents of the United States in the land benefited and participated in a way from slave trade and the exploitation of the Africans.
According to Rodriguez & Vincent (199), it has been assumed that the US presidents have governed the nation on the perspective of justice, equality and democracy; however, the authors fail to tell us of the ordeal that the blacks, Puerto Ricans, Chinese, Mexicans and the Native Americans had to go through in their leadership. This is an indication that both historically and present, the WASPs have not been ass honorable as the books are trying to portray them to be. They have not been as honest, trustworthy, of ethical and moral principles and they do not deserve the respect hat is being accorded to them.
The rise and decline of the dominance of the WASPs in the US is striking more especially due to the relationship that exists between the leaders and their ancestry. The US power positions have been greatly related to the Anglo Protestant groups that have asserted their influence politically especially through their ethno national movements in the general civil movements (Parker 372). The shift of the WASP elite and the control that this group has in the influence of the country's stability can not go unnoticed.
Irish forms part of the WASPs, and with this, there is a number of presidents who have governed the United States. Below is a list of the presidents with Irish ancestry and their time of power in the white house. 1 Andrew Jackson, 7th President 1829-37, 2 William Henry Harrison, 9th President 1841, 3 James Knox Polk, 11th President 1845-49, 4 James Buchanan, 15th President 1857-61, 5 Abraham Lincoln, 16th President 1861-65, 6 Ulysses S Grant, 18th President 1869-77, 7 Chester Alan Arthur, 21st President 1881-85, 8 Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President 1885-89, 1893-97, 9 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President 1889-93, 10 William McKinley, 25th President 1897-1901, 11 Woodrow Wilson, 28th President 1913-21, 12 John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President 1961-63, 13 Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President 1963-69, 14 Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President 1969-74, 15 James Earl Carter, 39th President 1977-81, 16 Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President 1981-89, 17 George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President 1989-93, 18 William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President 1993-2001, 19 George Walker Bush, 43rd President 2001-09, 20 Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President 2009- (Alan 213).
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