Understanding the Core

KAY MELODIES, IUP

There's comfort in commonality, but based on whose standards? In America blackness is seen as different, blackness is seen as threatening, blackness defined as criminal. How? Who created this structure? America was built on the genocide and the enslavement of colored people by Europeans. Today we call those Europeans "founders of this country." We have been taught and conditioned to often romanticize the genocide and enslavement of those colored people. There were so many indigenous people of this land killed that the number is undocumented. Today we call the barbaric killers of those indigenous people "settlers."

Yet indigenous natives were not the only ones who suffered at the hands of these so called settlers. Slavery was completely dehumanizing and disgusting. The slave owners found entertainment in torturing, raping, and lynching slaves. I think it's hard today for us to imagine what one would and could do with the power to have complete dominion over another's body- in this case Black bodies. Today, America demonizes Nat Turner and slave rebellions that fought against this. There is praise for Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves, despite the Emancipation Proclamation not truly freeing slaves in many southern states. Slavery was officially abolished in 1865 under the 13th amendment, but like many other oppressed groups Africans didn't receive reparations or education. Former African slaves were put out in society to either return to the slave lifestyle (sharecropping) or failure.

Today the descendants of those "free slaves" still have the last name of their ancestor's owner. Today many descendants of those "free slaves" are still given poison to eat and to drink. Today the descendants of those slaves are more heavily criminalized. Today the faces of the descendants of those "free slaves" are demonized. Africans in America are incarcerated at nearly 6 times the rate of whites. The systematic structure is still hungry for Africans to remain slaves in America, whether it be through outdated chattel slavery or slavery reorganized through the prison industrial complex.

Do we fight for our Civil Rights in this country like the murdered Dr. King? Do we separate ourselves from "the system" and create something reminiscent of the Black Wallstreet that was destroyed by white supremacists? The pattern of how America has historically treated Africans in this country shows that we must pay attention to the foundation of this structure. This means we must understand the original intent of this country. This means we as Africans must unite across the diaspora. We have to reject this tactic of divide and conquer. We have to understand the core of colonization.