Over the past couple days celebrity and highly successful artist Kanye West has made very controversial statements. Maybe the most controversial was his statement regarding slavery as choice for it’s victims. This sadly was not a joke and as a African American who’s family has traced back ancestry to slaves, the only choice slaves had was death or servitude, and that choice was often made by their masters. The struggle that slaves had to go through from rape of the woman, to murder of the men, and all the kids witnessing both, there was no happiness or benefit. They had no choice but to keep going and continue there life under the fist of evil men, of hope one day they may be free, and some came to the realization there was no hope and ended their own lives. It is disappointing as an 18 year old to find someone older who should be a role model, a example of what to be, is with all the money in the world doing nothing but enabling prejudice, and hateful citizens of America who denounce and deny slavery, and gloss over it. To see another African- American make such comments and feel no regret, is unbelievable and disgusting. Civil Rights legends who died and are still alive didn’t make the sacrifices they did for us say things such as this. It spits in the face of there sacrifices and success.
The two most notable figures in Civil Rights History are Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. Two great leaders, amazing orators, highly educated warriors for equality, but complete opposites in ways to achieve it. Malcom X was known as militant, defending yourself by any means necessary, calling out black leaders that aren’t true to the cause. MLK Jr. was known for nonviolence, turn the other cheek, peaceful protests, marches, overturning legislation. Both never came together before being assassinated, and were actually at odds. Their contrasting views divided followers and even to this day some will pick one over the other. One plight that black people must overcome is the failure to completely unite, and put aside envy/jealousy and come together, something even the movements greatest leaders didn’t do. It is one thing to find one more relatable but still both should be celebrate, revered, and appreciated for what they have done and the jewels they left behind long after there deaths.
This article I feels still relevant today and that there is a higher standard for African Americans and other minorities than the majority. They must work twice as hard as there white contemporaries in order be successful or viewed as talented. Those sentiments I feel are echoed by Langston Hughes, but he goes more in depth to address how some may goes far to stray from being themselves to be accepted and there work as well. He says some will goes as far as to not identify with their blackness to be accepted. I think this effort to falsify who they are is a fear of rejection of being themselves, which is being black because especially at that time it’s not accepted when one embraces his/her blackness while trying climb the ladder of success. Langston Hughes message is to go against the grain and don’t conform to critics and to be yourself when striving to be successful, it is the most wholesome feeling.
The Brown v. Board of Education case is of the biggest pillars in African Americans efforts to gain and establish basic civil rights in America. I found this article on the case and the time period it took place to be one of the most interesting I’ve read this year. It opened up my opinion and made me question whether the desegregation of public schools was really authentic or was it to prove that America is a true model of democracy in time where it was competing as THE global super power. It asks the question: Was the verdict meant for true change or just a to put on a false face that the government actually cared about the advancement of all who are citizens of America and is different from a country such as their rival at the time the U.S.S.R.?
So far this semester I have enjoyed my time revisiting concepts I already knew and learning new information I was unaware of in this History of Black America class. What I’ve learned in class has broadened my knowledge of African history and how it has intertwined with American history. Whether it’s from the Atlantic Slave Trade to Amercian Slavery and the Civil War, this class is rich with information and I’m excited to learn more as we go further into the history of Black America.