400 Years a Slave

So I had no intentions on writing an article today. However, I was up late last night watching 12 Years a Slave. If you have ever seen it, you can imagine how enraged I became. Some things are better said than just felt.

After watching this movie, I realize that I can never pledge allegiance to America. I will never be okay with what was done or the oppression and tyranny that was bestowed upon a people who did nothing to deserve it. But let’s be honest though, none of us will ever be okay with it and, though we weren’t the sole cause of such misery and destitute, some of us may never forgive our ancestors for what transpired. Heck, some of us cannot even forgive ourselves for those wicked deeds.

However, it is not the sufferings and torment of yesteryear that affected me while watching this film. It is not the echo of racial segregation, inequality, or even the prejudice and discrimination that proceeded these events. It is America’s contemporary response to slavery that angers me.

Circa 1610, a total of about 600,000 slaves were imported into the Thirteen Colonies. Slavery lasted until 1860 when it was abolished President Abraham Lincoln. In many states, slavery continued even after that due to the south’s unwillingness to comply with newly established law. So for at least 250 years, blacks have been purchased, dehumanized, miseducated, tortured, raped, and used as the workhorse for many parts of America. Never at any point were these generations of people compensated for their time, intensive labor, or arduous efforts.

It is difficult to believe we are on the cusp of the 400-year anniversary of American slaverly. And still to this day, no African-American has been formally paid for any labor completed during the time of slavery. Blacks were the backbone of this country and labored heavily to build it from the ground up. They endured tremendous hardship and incredible affliction without any reparation or recompense. Then, with wretched audacity, America pantomimes justice by asserting that their sins have been forgiven, tragedy has been reconciled, that we are created equal, and reimbursement is not warranted or necessary.

I, by no means, am asking for payment by monetary means, nor am I suggesting that it is even feasible to achieve it. However, African-Americans should receive at least what the Native Americans received for their similarly troubled history caused by the poor choices of our forefathers: free college and free healthcare. That simple. Millions of Native Americans participate in such compensatory programs that provide these formerly curtailed rights. The same can easily be done for blacks. But why hasn’t it?

Justice has not been served, no matter the extent to which America declares that is has. I will never salute to a country who fails to uphold the truths that it solemnly asserts are self-evident. They are not by no means. Until they are, America will always be the world’s most horrendous place on earth, past and present

-Dee (ShonJay714)

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Journalist and aspiring writer. Contact me at da.advocates@gmail.com

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