“Yo, Is This…?” Column

There Will Never Be An End to Racism

The Founders Were Oppressors

There has never been a point in time in this nation where at least one group of people have not faced some form of discrimination. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” was a rhyme that most of us grew up knowing. Throughout my childhood years, we celebrated Christopher Columbus’s arrival to America. For many years I thought that Christopher Columbus was a man worthy of being honored until I was informed about the horrendous demands and the harsh treatment that he inflicted on the aboriginals. From forced labor to genocide, Columbus and his men did it all. We were even  taught the term “Native American” was appropriate to call the aboriginals, but in reality, they were the true “Americans.” I mention Christopher Columbus to remind people that from the point that America was discovered up until now, man has always despised one another. 

Slavery

Throughout the world, slavery has existed for many years. “The history of slavery is a large and untellable story, full of tragedy and cruelty that spans both centuries and continents. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact year that slavery began, historians can trace the roots of this inhumane practice back roughly 11,000 years” (restavekfreedom.org). There are many different forms of slavery: sex trafficking, forced labor, bonded labor (also known as debt bondage), domestic servitude, and unlawful recruitment of soldiers (borgenproject.org). The most saddening fact about slavery is that children at times are involved. Although each testimony of each slave around the world may vary, the characteristics and mindset of their oppressors are constant. Their hunger to be in control, and to have power over someone is consistent with the term oppressor.

The Significance of History Itself

I’ve always heard that it was important to learn about history. Whenever a sad or gruesome part of history was being taught in class, it was common for the teacher to say things along the lines of, “it’s important to learn about uncomfortable topics like this so that history does not repeat itself.” But are we truly taking that saying to heart? What are the steps being taken to prevent history from repeating itself in all forms? Not just the physical aspect of slavery, like torture but the repercussions that affect the mind.

______ Still Exists

Thankfully slavery (unwilling servitude, forced labor)  in the United States was abolished due to the 13th amendment being passed. But there is no denying that racism is still prevalent and that the hatred for one another because of one’s skin color is still common.  Just because slavery was abolished does not mean that everyone is treated fairly. There has been a great change if we are just comparing slavery to the times that we are in now,  but there is still more work to be done.

Recent Incidents

From Diary of Systemic Injustice: 

[Towards the end of May in 2020, the whole nation heard of the murder of George Floyd. A lot of news regarding police brutality typically involves Black/African Americans, every single case that has been brought to light left me and many others outraged. Terrill Thomas was a Black man who was arrested for firing a gun inside of a casino with no one harmed. He later died of dehydration after the water in his cell was shut off for seven days. According to the NPR article, “They forced him to spend the last week of his life locked in an isolation cell 24 hours a day, with no drinking water, no edible food, no working toilet, no mattress, no blanket, no shower access, no means of cleaning his cell, no ability to communicate with his family, no relief from constant lockdown, and no meaningful access to urgently needed medical or mental health care.” His treatment was compared to Jacob Chansley, a White man who was accused of participating in the rioting in the U.S. Capitol. “A judge ordered corrections authorities to provide organic food to an Arizona man—- The order came after a lawyer for defendant Jacob Chansley complained that his client had gone the past nine days without eating because organic food isn’t served at the Washington jail where he’s housed,” Chansley said that because of his religious practice he demanded organic food, which was later granted to him. I understand that as a citizen he has the right to exercise any religion. But when it comes to Black people or other minorities, I thought that prisoners had their rights taken away. Hearing his story saddened me tremendously because Terrill Thomas was treated so inhumane, while Chansley had his bourgeoisie commands fulfilled. Not only did Thomas have his rights taken away but the necessities to live, like water. Without doing too much research, I immediately thought that this was the perfect example of White privilege. That specific riot that took place at the U.S capitol also sparked a lot of debate regarding injustice and bias. Because a lot of people, including myself, believe that if Black people did the same thing, there would’ve been casualties. In correlation to what I mentioned last week, even if there was an appropriate charge for a White person, there is still injustice behind the scenes. Instances like these make it reasonable to feel/think that people think that the lives of Black people are insignificant. I would also like to add that it is unfair for all white policemen to be labeled as “racist” and for all  black men to be labeled as “thugs.” It sort of feels like a cycle: hatred(racism) from one group, produces fear from the other group, resulting in violence and sometimes death. The people who are meant to protect and serve the community are the ones that we fear the most. There have been too many deaths that were unreasonable and unjustified. I believe that this would be considered systemic injustice because a lot of white men (including policemen) believe that because they are favored in society they have this sense of pride. When the judicial system fails to discipline them, they have more reasons to not fear doing anything wrong because they won’t be labeled as “in the wrong” in the sight of the decision-makers.] Due to COVID-19, there has also been a significant increase in the number of hate crimes towards the Asian American community. [In the times that we are living in, it seems like it is gradually becoming worse and people are bold about expressing their racist/prejudiced way of thinking. Systemic is defined as something that is fixed, and structured. This system isn’t gonna change if people in authority are on the same side of the oppressors or even sometimes are the oppressors.] Cases like these are just a few examples of why minorities still feel as if this country cannot be considered home for them. Back then for the enslaved,  the reason was that they were not given human rights/ freedom in “the land of the free.” But today, racism is one of the major reasons. There is still a form of favoritism for White people and this gives them a sense of superiority. Viewing people as subalterns even in the slightest/nonchalant way is a form of superiority complex. It is only inevitable for people who are not White to feel inferior. Sometimes a majority of people are quick to blame white people for all the evil doings and unfair treatment in this nation, but I think it’s more of a lack of understanding and empathy.


Why Will There Never Be An End?

America is known to have years of history recorded where White men have always had the upper hand and authority to demean people that did not look like them. Today, slavery doesn’t necessarily exist anymore (due to the 13th amendment). White men aren’t necessarily threatening people with guns or weapons, and Black people and other minorities are not enslaved by them. But there is a form of slavery that still exists, and that is the oppression of the mind and also the spirit behind every evil doing against another human being. Whether that may be an implicit bias way of thinking towards another race or physically expressing their hate, it’s still racism.



Looking at this image, I’m reminded of a Bible verse  about the matter of the heart:

“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts. . .” Matthew 15:18-19

For racism to end, every single individual walking on earth needs to have their mind renewed on race and how we view one another. Whether we like to admit it or not, most if not all of us have some form of implicit bias. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are racist and that we choose to be racist, it just shows how much race has been ingrained in our minds for a very long time. The people who are “superior,”  and know that they have an upper hand in life,  but ignore this unfair treatment is the reason why racism still exists.

This image can also have many different meanings, depending on who is observing. Here is how I interpreted it and how it correlates to racism:

  • The root of this nation (the foundation) has always been corrupt. From the “beginning” when Columbus discovered and inform Europeans about America, he belittled the aboriginals and treated them inhumanely.
  • The reason why this nation has not removed itself from the same foundation as its founders is that the heart of individuals today have a similar way of viewing themselves: greedy, superior, powerful, and in control. The heart can be very wicked. The root of the problem (racism) is the contaminated hearts in this nation. Years and years of continuous hatred for one another have only made the roots of the tree grow larger and deeper, making it harder and harder to deracinate. 
  • The roots represent the hatred for one another that grows day by day, with recent news of police brutality, hate crimes based on race, more and more people are being turned against each other–being fueled with anger.

If the roots continue to go downward, there will never be an end to racism.


References

https://restavekfreedom.org/2018/09/11/the-history-of-slavery/

https://borgenproject.org/types-of-slavery/ 

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/29/728023455/-6-75-million-settlement-paid-to-family-of-milwaukee-inmate-who-died-from-dehydr 


https://abc7.com/qanon-shaman-jacob-chansley-riot-capitol-siege/10313166/ 


Image 1: https://creativemarket.com/Alltruecolours/5360302-Sketch-vector-Handcuffs-on-the-hands 


Image 2: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/350084571026639308/ 

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