The African -American Race for Respect and Equality Amongst Ourselves
and Other Races: Can We Hold Hands and Run Together?
"African brought to North America as slaves were a small minority, probably fewer than six percent, of some twelve million men, women, and children shoved in the decks of ships lying off Africa's Atlantic shores between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although they shared the humiliation and brutality of slavery, in the New World, they came from diverse backgrounds in a continent as different as from north to south and from the coast to its vast interior, as were the Americans themselves. As African- Americans they came to bear the common burdens of racial prejudice, burdens even heavier than the subjugation to masters and mistresses effectively unrestrained by law. However, they also created an infinite variety of new lives for themselves out of local circumstances." (Upon These Shores, W.R Scott & W.G Shade, p.21).
African-Americans have endured unbearable circumstances from slavery, to freedom, to apartheid, to civil rights, to now. Where are we now? Are we considered equal? Do we get the same opportunities as other races? Is racism in our head? Are we (African-Americans) our own worst enemy? Should we change our way of thinking to incorporating the thought of there being only one race, the human race? Can we accept that we are Americans and have rights to this country that we help build?
As African -Americans that have been part of the United States for the centuries, we have helped to build this country. The fact that we helped to build this nation does not take away who we are as a people. We as people seem to forget that we are prideful, intelligent and beautiful beings that can accomplish anything when our minds are set to achieve a task or goal. African -Americans should not be limited to stigmas or stereotypes that define us.
Some believe that we lost our culture and roots to slavery but I disagree. Culture is in our music, art, language food and expressions. Church on Sundays, Sunday dinner (soul food), the tradition of hard work and taking care of family is part of our culture. As we learn more about our ancestors, we should have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the struggles they went through, for without those struggles where would we be. Some would argue that we still experience racism as well as social and economic class division.
On the socio-economic level, resources and programs need to be implemented to help those in the low income urban areas. The programs would have to be utilized to insure that they are not removed. When programs are taken out of those neighborhoods, it is due to the fact that they are not utilized to full potential. If the government sees programs aren't being used, the programs are cut.
Racism still exists to present day in the way how we treat each other as African -Americans as well as how other races treat us. Whenever an African-American does anything proper or is successful they are coined as "acting white" or "selling out". Positive accomplishments should not be only associated with being white. Wearing weaves or relaxing (straightening hair) should not be stigmatized as not wanting to wear your natural hair (acceptance of being black) The shade of a person’s skin whether light or dark does not make someone more African- American or black. Until we deal with the issues of loving and accepting ourselves,
other races won't take us seriously. We must uplift each other and work together as a nation to completely erase racism on every level.
Foote, T.W, and (2004) Black and White Manhattan: The History of Radical Formation in Colonial New York City .New York: Oxford University Press. p.334
Graglia, L.A (1999) Race Policy in Three American Cities, Independent Review, Vol. 4(1) p.119
William, S.R & William S.G, (2000) Upon these shores: themes in the African-American experience, 1600 to the present. New York Routledge