i feel like this can’t be implemented only because of the majority of people believing that we should leave it here for historical purposes outweighs the people who believe it should be taken down. I do believe that in order to solve the problem as efficiently as possible, we can put these statues in the Confederate museum that isn’t far from monument avenue. The museum includes everything of our country’s past and the historical value so, why not leave it in a place for tourists to come? That way the message of these statues on Monument Ave are not taken the wrong way and people can still have their historical values.
My proposal for the current problem being the division within the Black Community is by possibly having everyone agree to having 1 term be used in order to define the entire community. Too many people feel that African American should be used but I feel as if that term is outdated and exclusive to many different people who make up the community. For instance the Caribbean/ West Indians and the Black Americans today don’t feel as if that is something to define them due to it never being asked either. I also feel that on federal forms where you have to check your box of Racial Identity we should have more options for the Community, how is it fair that we have to conform into 1 little group while White Americans can check almost anything. I believe it’s unfair and that we should be able to feel as if we have a Racial Identity that is correct to our beliefs. We should also be able to learn and understand our history and cultures through our community because the public education system highlights the trauma and the negative aspects of our contributions to the world but nothing of the good. I feel that learning through our community is the safest and easiest way to help teach for the future generations because older generations tend to be more stubborn and stuck in a closed mindset. I also feel that proudly uplifting one another instead of contributing the stigma and using stereotypes would definitely make everyone in the community more united and welcome because the whole reason why we weren’t is due to our own racial prejudice. My proposal uses the fairness and justice approach because why even mention in the Declaration that we were created equal if we truly weren’t? By being fair and giving communities our justice to be treated the same, I feel that we would be able to progress forward as a community. We see it constantly, which group is “better” or which group is “winning”, who has the “best” culture. There isn’t any actual way to compare which ethnic group is “better” or “wins” because we are already so unique, so why should we be forced to compare or forced to choose which group I mostly identify myself with? By having competition within a community not only are we moving backwards but we achieve nothing and can possibly lose everything that we have stood for.
Many people believe that solving the issue of a racial divide within the Black Community is simple, however it technically isn’t, it’s more difficult than it seems due to the multiple layers of the Black Community (Alderman, 1994). Yes all of our ancestors were enslaved and have shared some of the same experiences but that doesn’t and shouldn’t be the reason on why we should come together (Springer, 2010). We should confront every single issue within our community head on instead of “sweeping it under the rug” as what most would expect. Acknowledging that we are all cut from different cloths but still understand our roots and that we are all fighting for the same things should be the reason why we should aim to be more united.
Source 5: Alderman, L. (1994). Black Is…Black Ain’t A Facilitator’s Guide. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from http://newsreel.org/guides/blackgui.htm
This is a summary of the film Black Is…Black Aint. The summary goes on to explain the difference in racial identity between Black Americans in the U.S and African Americans. It also highlights how some solutions for the community is to confront every single issue that divides us, whether it’s sexism and or homophobia. The summary also highlights how complex the identity of Black Americans truly is, there is no real Black Man at the end of the day, while also Angela Davis states that the reason for the identity to be named Black American is “Perhaps we have an obsession with naming ourselves because for most of our lives we have been named by other people”.
This source is important to my argument because it not only shows the multiple issues that further divide us as a community but also that we will never fully be a united community if we don’t confront each and every one of them. We should be able to understand one another because no one else would understand our culture, the traditions and the values. This is also important because if we decide to further divide ourselves we not only aren’t going to be able to progress as a a community but we also won’t be taken seriously either.
Source 6: Springer, Jennifer. “Fractured Diaspora: Mending the Strained Relationships between African Americans and African Caribbeans.” Wadabagei : A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diaspora 13.2 (2010): 2-34. Web.
This peer reviewed article goes on to say that the way to combat the divide is to not highlight the shared experiences of our ancestors but to recognize the multiple layers of each diasporic identity. Without addressing the diasporic identities we not only fuel the anger but this can lead to a strained relationship failing before it can have the chance to mend. This article also highlights that the groups should not participate in the racist American ideologies and have prejudice towards one another.
This source is important because it highlights how multiple groups that make up the black community partake in racist practices that further divides us. This shows that we all have been guilty of being prejudice towards our own community but this also gets us nowhere in life either. Instead of believing we all should come together because of our ancestors we should understand why we are different but also acknowledge that we are all included in this community together. We will only ever be seen as one racial group so the divide is unnecessary.
The way we got here is simple. Slavery. Slavery was if not is, the worst thing to happen to America. Not only did we partake in it but we stripped these humans of their basic rights and stripped them of their faith, and culture as if it was nothing and then if that wasn’t enough, they were forced to assimilate to a country who never had their best interests at heart. Sweet (2000) says “By using a Western yardstick to measure the kinship arrangements that African slaves created in the diaspora, scholars merely reinforce age-old Christian prejudices and obscure our understanding of the African pasts of many slaves” (p.109) The difference in the slave diaspora still effects us today as a community due to us becoming estranged from the core beliefs we used to have as a race or as Sweet (2000)says “…this comparative approach will allow us to identify and distill those core African beliefs that endured…” (p.110). And believe it or not but we as people have been conditioned to look down on our own kind, we view ourselves as “promiscuous” or look down on “homosexuality” and adopted the same religion as our oppressors. Being conditioned this way has contributed to how we view one another, not every slave in the diaspora was treated the same, some were able to hold onto their same values and beliefs and some were stripped bare but bottom line is we are “bonded together” (Berlin, 2010).
Source 3: Sweet, James H. (2000). Teaching the Modern African Diaspora: A Case Study of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Radical History Review, 2000(77), 106-122.
This source goes on to explain the difference in culture and values of the different groups who make up the Black Community. Sweet goes on to say that because the community is so versatile and made of multiple things, there isn’t one set standard due to the diaspora. Not only are we all united but we must understand that not all of us were treated the same and that’s the reasoning behind the different attitudes and mindsets of one another. Due to the diaspora and how colonists treated us, shows why we act they way we do, we were conditioned, and forced to assimilate into another culture due to how they viewed us.
This source is important because it explains in depth how we have changed from one another and how we have started to look down on one another not realizing that we all make up this one race. It goes on to say that we must acknowledge that we have been treated different and accept it instead of judging. This not only helps prove my point of the argument being tired and only a negative in our community but this also shows that we have been trained to be this way. This source helps prove my point that we were people with our own culture and Gods that we believed in but were separated and trained to hate each other.
Source 4: Berlin, I. (2010, February 01). The Changing Definition of African-American. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-changing-definition-of-african-american-4905887/
This source goes on to to say how the diaspora has contributed to the divide between the different groups. Not only do they feel as if they didn’t contribute to some of the biggest achievements and liberation of the Black Community but because of where their ancestors originated means they aren’t impacted by it. Rather than celebrating together as a race we celebrate our own ethnic group’s holidays of independence but turn a blind eye on Juneteenth. We have over time given new definitions to the word “African American” and how black you truly can be. This source also comments on how we all have a past that “binds us together” while saying our history is still in progress.
This source is important because it shows how we started to disassociate ourselves with the world “African American” and how this has sparked debate on who the true African American is. It also shows how we aren’t as united as people think while also not accepting the dark past we have had to endure. This source shows that we are one in the same and instead of celebrating together as a community we ignore the other days as if they no longer impact us when in fact they do.
The divide within the black community has been an ongoing problem and a long and tired argument. Not only is the divide detrimental to our community in regards to unity but without diminishing it, we only feed into it, not realizing that we won’t be able to step forward and progress as a unified community. I feel strongly about this topic due to the constant arguments and debates that I not only see online but have had with my friends and how the differences and prejudice between the 3 groups is horrible, especially if at the end of the day, all groups make up the Black Community. But what’s an argument if it has not been heard? Instead of promoting unity between Black Americans, African Americans and West Indians we continue to make the divide worse not realizing that all of us make up the Black Community. We have different beliefs, cultures and traditions and instead of accepting one another, we compete to see who’s superior. Forysth and Hall (2015) have identified the 4 different levels of Racial Identity ego statuses for Blacks. Between Black Americans and West Indians, studies show that West Indians are 8X as likely to endorse a high pre-encounter and internalized profiles (Forsyth and Hall, 2015 p.128) . This pre-encounter attitude includes the “dependency on White society for self- definition and approval” including the active/ passive investment in White culture and the denigration of Blacks and Black culture (2015). The racial divide is caused due to the way we as a community decide to label ourselves which further drives the wedge; the start of using the identity “Black American” came about due to descendants of slaves from the U.S not actually being African descent so we as a society accepted the term Black and Negro (McWhorter, 2004). Regardless of what we choose to label ourselves, the media, police, the courts will see us as Black. So instead of fighting we need to unite and promote sisterhood and brotherhoods instead of contributing to the problem.
Source 1: McWhorter, J. H. (2004). Why I’m Black, Not African American.
Why I’m Black, Not African American (2004) was written by John H. McWhorter and his article revolves around the identity issues Black Americans have and where the start of using the identity “Black American” came about due to descendants of slaves from the U.S not actually being African descent so we as a society accepted the term Black and Negro. Not only that but with the influx of Africans immigrating to the U.S and how the identity “African American” seemed to be fitting for them due to their ancestry.
This is an important source to me due to it explaining where the difference in the racial identity between Black American and African American. It simply goes on to say how we as Black Americans cannot identify as something we aren’t if our ancestors here from the U.S due to slavery. We technically don’t classify as descendants from Africa. With the influx of African immigrants and the 2nd generations of immigrants, they are more likely to be considered African American and it would be more sensible. McWhorter doesn’t try to contribute the problem but instead goes on to explain that there is no actual group of just Blacks and there isn’t an option on federal forms to correctly identify yourself with.
Source 2: Forsyth. J, Hall. S, Carter. R. (2015). Racial Identity Among African Americans and Black West Indian Americans, 124-131.
This source goes on to explain the difference between Black Americans and West Indians and how they are treated and impacted by society and this can cause not only mental problems but racial identity attitudes. They talk of the 4 different levels of racial identity ego statuses for Blacks; pre-encounter, encounter, immersion- emersion and internalization and each status is characterized by a complex e of attitudes. Pre encounter status prioritizes White society and culuture rather than Black Culture and the need for accpetance by White Culture. Encounter status attitudes reflect confusion and discovery of mistreatment from Whites and an increased desire to align with Black identity. Immersion- Emersion status attitudes reflects a pro-Black stance and desire to adapt a Black cultural worldview with rejection of White culture and/or whiteness; where only a black world is perceived to be authentic. Internalization status attitudes reflect a sense of inner pride and acceptance of Black identity and cultural preferences about being a member of one’s own Black racial group without the need to idealize the Black Culture and race and/or denigrate the Whites.
This source is important because it shows the difference in the different groups that make up the Black Community. This not only identifies how society and racism can effect the group by itself but also how individuals can also adapt an attitude that can detrimental to the community and could lead to self loathing of where and who your ancestors are. I think this is important because we see if happen in the media today with celebrities needing validation from White Society and culture and idolizing them and the perception that they are the “winning team”. This article shows studies on the different attitudes adapted between Black Americans and West Indians and how this correlates with how they identify with themselves. This source goes on to explain the difference between Black Americans and West Indians and how they are treated in society and this can cause not only mental problems but racial identity attitudes.
I didn’t know that some white southerners took a liking towards African Americans from the first video. I know of the horrors of the Nazis and Hitler and the mistreatment of the Jews but I know that if it was an African American male to do the same, he’d be dead by nightfall. The first video made me uncomfortable due to how I know how many African Americans are sexualized by other races so hearing that they were intrigued and liked African Americans scared me in all honesty. It’s scary because you know that the curiosity is stemming from something else; the thrill of being with an African American or “sleeping” with one to know the experience and it’s frightening because I know that most of the slaves were raped on a day to day basis by their slaveowners, there was no such thing a love but a thing of “destroying” our hope and dignity.
I think the picture is showing that when you are aware of how powerful you are and aren’t second guessing yourself you become the leader you always wanted to be. Growing up we not only look at our parents as our role models but celebrities and athletes and hold them to a high standard when in reality we seem to forget about ourselves needing to be role models for ourselves. We grow and learn from past mistakes to mold and shape us into the people we are today which is why I think this picture is showing the effects of how a mindset can make or break you and your character. Social classes effect your self awareness by you feeling as if you don’t belong or aren’t good enough if you just so happen to be in a lower social class. But compared to people of a higher social class not only are they self aware but they know of their influence on other people. They not only feel more important but they also know of their impact in contrast to someone in a lower social class. I think that it’s important to promote positive self awareness for the younger generations so they know and can feel powerful.
I feel that environmental racism is a major issue and something that should be discussed more because people feel that if it’s not blatant, there is no such thing as environmental racism. I personally haven’t been a victim of environmental racism but I know of many family members who have. It’s no coincidence that Flint Michigan hasn’t had clean water in years and it just so happens to be affecting the black community. The amount of money to fix the water system in Flint costs little compared to the budget for the wall Trump wants. If we all donated, there’s no doubt in my mind we could fix it, but it shouldn’t be up to civilians to step in and solve problems that the government should be doing. Instead of helping solving the issue the government further contributes to it due to the people being elected in their positions who only want to o something if it benefits them, and not the community as a whole.
I don’t necessarily think that English should be the “official” language of the United States because of how culturally diverse we are as a nation. We are called the “melting pot” so what sense would it make to ignore the languages of others and make English the “official” one. We already have made it known in schools that you have to know English but it shouldn’t be something official, especially if we know that some people are learning making efforts and there are translators present in situations. I agree that the people supporting making English the “official” language of the U.S does come across as racist because it’s insensitive to ignore the different cultures that make up the U.S. If the need to have an official language is that important in today’s society then it needs to be more than 1 language because of the different regions and different residents we have. We simply don’t need one due to the fact there everywhere you go, you have to speak English or have an interpreter. Besides English is actually a very hard language to learn and understand so why put someone through that just so they can feel “welcome” in our society. We need to be more open minded and aware that not all Americans only speak English.