The U.S. has a long history of slavery, racism, and the mistreatment of Blacks, but has it gotten better?
Slavery started in America in 1619 when 20 African slaves were brought to the shores of Jamestown, Virginia. The next 246 years were then filled with the continuation of the enslavement of African Americans.
According to History.com, “Throughout the 17th century, European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as a cheaper, more plentiful labor source than indentured servants, who were mostly poorer Europeans.”
Slaves lived on either large plantations or small farms, with typically no more than 50 slaves to a master. They were taught to be solely dependent on their owners, prohibited from learning to read and write, slave women were regularly sexually assaulted and marriages of slaves were by no means acknowledged.
Despite all of this, slave rebellions and abolitionist movements went on throughout the years. The Missouri Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Civil War were all major factors that led to the end of slavery.
On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which led to “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State…in rebellion…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”, and eventually the official end of slavery through the 13th Amendment after the Civil War.
From 1865 to 1954 we saw 89 years of segregation. While the Civil War ended slavery, it did not end discrimination and prejudice against blacks. They had had enough by the mid 20th century and began a war for equality.
Starting in 1868, with the 14th Amendment, which granted equal protection under the law, blacks strived to take on various leadership roles by holding public office and demanding legislative changes for equality and voting rights. In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave blacks the right to vote.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year old woman, took a seat on a bus in the designated area for black people and was instructed to move further to the back of the bus when a white man entered and could not find a seat.
Her arrest ignited a storm called the Civil Rights movement. The Montgomery Improvement Association started a boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted 381 days until the Supreme Court deemed segregated seating unconstitutional.
The March on Washington was one of more well known and famous day of the Civil Rights Movement. On Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous, “I have a dream…” speech.
On Sept. 9, 1957, President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957. This allowed the federal prosecution of those who attempted to deny anyone from voting.
The Civil Rights Movement began to fade with the assassination of former Nation of Islam Leader and Organization of Afro-American Unity founder Malcolm X on Feb. 21, 1965 and civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Martin Luther King Jr.
Fast forward 53 years to today. It’s 2018. We just had our first black president leave office. Donald J. Trump was elected 45th president of the United States of America.
The history lesson was for context. As we know, the U.S. has a long history of racism, but what about today? Sometimes, and more often than naught, the media makes it seems like we have made no progress—as if we are still the racist white plantation owners herding slaves through farms.
But again I beg the question, is America fundamentally racist?
I say no.
I don’t think anyone would argue that slavery or Jim Crow laws were not some of the evilest atrocities in our nation’s history. What I would argue is that it is not good to teach younger generations of blacks to project the ideological views of those 70 years ago onto people living now in 2018.
“The question now is we have people living now who have not committed those sins. Do we somehow remove—do we punish them for the sins of their fathers in other words?” said Ben Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief at Dailywire.com.
“And is the best thing to do is teach an entire generation of young black people, for example, that America is inexorably racist, inexorably bigoted, and they’re living in a country with such a brutal history of racism that they cannot rise? Because that is actually false, backward, and hurts them. That’s my main philosophy.”
This nation fundamentally is not racist. It is just filled with evil and wicked people who choose to do evil and wicked things, a portion of these evil things being racism. Unlike Jim Crow, Poll Tax or Segregation, there are no current laws that systematically target blacks like these did.
Lest we forget, the 14th Amendment gives blacks equal protection under the law.
Show me a law that is racist and I will fight it with you, but do not teach us that there is an invisible racist demigod that is untouchable and unfindable and after my life.
If we don’t fix this attitude of a racist America, we’ll continue to have tweets like this:
White people shouldn't be allowed to review Black Panther lest their innate racial bias subconsciously reflect in their reviewing. White people simply can't be impartial. PoC only please 🤚🏿
— Tyler Baines-Cadbury (@TyBainesCadbury) February 13, 2018
I hope I don’t have to explain the problem with this tweet.
In the past 25 years alone there have been many strides that black people have taken that shouldn’t be possible if America were as racist as some think it is.
The United States and its constitution is not fundamentally racist. This nation has had immense progress in regards to equal protection for blacks and minorities. Are there racist people in this country? Yes, but not enough to hold me back from my “American Dream.”