Saturday, February 2, 2008

Make Black History Everyday, I Don't Need A Month

(It's long, but it's a good read. I promise. Look at that side pic. Does that look like the face of someone who would lie to you? Granted, you can't see the face. For visual learners, sorry- there are no pics in this one)

Being that it's Black History month, I thought it would only be right to shoot out some things we've discussed in two of my classes this semester. The things I learned have made me a bit angry at times, but it has also left me more informed. Therefore, it is in my place to spread the word and shed light on dark areas. Some of these things I had never heard of, and just like the movie, The Great Debaters- I'm sure there are more issues that occurred in the black community that have been buried deep in the books.

1st and foremost: My Intro. to Sociology class-
Ever heard of the Tuskegee experiment? No, I am not referring to the national historical landmark and historically black college, Tuskegee University. The Tuskegee Experiment took place between 1932 and 1972. 399 black men from Alabama were diagnosed with syphilis and went uncured. The doctors told them they had a case of 'bad blood'. In all actuality, the doctors were performing an experiment to test the differences in the effects of syphilis on black people in comparison to whites (only to later admit, that knowing this would not make any difference in regards to curing it). Mind you, syphilis is degenerative-deadly. Furthermore, these men were made to believe they were receiving free, frequent visits with the intended purpose of getting better. Yes, they were given (what was then) "the modern day medicines for syphilis", but they were given these prescripitions in such small doses that only 3% of the men showed any improvement. And when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I learned than penicillin (the cure for syphilis) was discovered in the 40's and these men were purposely declined treatment. The doctors only intended to keep up with their progresss, or the lack there of.

Make no mistakes, there were black nurses/doctors involved with this experiment. However, since learning about this in class and doing online research- it seems that they were either uninformed, only doing what was told to them by the doctors, or had attitudes described as "passively obedient" and "unquestioningly submissive".

I was going to mention the other statistics we've learned in class about the African-American population in America versus those in jail, but I have been led to believe that all these figures are not true; I wouldn't want to misinform you. So..

2nd runner up: My History Recitation-
We were in class talking about the large number of immigrants (over 20million) that moved to America between 1840 and the early 1900's. Our teacher pointed out, that of all the immigrants to move here, the African-American culture was the least embraced. For the most part, every other ethnicity moved here and was accepted after a certain time period. Initially, Asians weren't accepted and the first law about immigration was in regards to them. They did not look like the "average American", and that's why they were shunned from society. However, eventually, even they worked their way in.

We touched on the Native Americans as well. Personally, I think Africans were brought here, so the move wasn't optional, and in a similar fashion, Native Americans were forced to assimilate so their exception into our culture wasn't desired. Long story short, they could have cared less about "the American way". Let's not forget the massacre at Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears. Personally, if we're "honoring" people- they deserve a month as well ::takes a deep breath:: Before I go off on a tangent... (back to African-Americans) we begin to discuss how slavery has shaped racism and the view of a black persons worth. A (northern) guy in class mentions that some of his closest friends are black and that people make way too big a deal out of racism. I am firm believer that things are what you make of them.

However, I think racism is a large issue by its own admittance, and society does not have to "amp it up" for it to be noticed. North Carolina isn't the deep south, but it's the south nonetheless, and there are many examples of racism all around- proudly boasting themselves, might I add. My first job was at what some described as a "cowboy store", and I can't begin to tell you the feeling I had when a group of white supremacist came in the doors. Not to mention, I'm sure everyone has heard the idea that Obama will be assassinated if elected into presidency. These aren't peoples way of "making a big deal out of things". These are the issues, the truth of the situation at hand. Furthermore, I think claiming friends of another race only proves the ignorance of one's knowledge on racism. Afterall, some slave owners were friends with some of their slaves. Don't be so simple-minded. I think I'm getting myself worked up, so I'm going to cut this off right here. My point: Kanye West said it best, "Racism's still alive, they just be concealing it".

*If any republicans happen to read this, please respond. I promise not to make a dispute out of this. As the saying goes: Never enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Contentment is Key,


  1. I was just recently made aware by my white English teacher that lynchings were photographed and made into post-cards. Apparently there's a website too, illustrating such truths. She asked my permission to show this website in class, considering I'm the only black girl in the class. And she did not want to offend me. Ha.

    So I know what you're feeling. And there is freedom in discovering. Racism has not died, and just like any other period in history, it needs to be thoroughly analyzed for people to understand.

  2. It angers me how black Americans were treated throughout the history of the U.S. I mean, they were beaten, murdered, raped, verbally abused on a daily basis. Our ancestors were even forced into lifelong periods of servitude to the white man. They didn't allow black people to eat in the front of their restaurants, or they didn't let them in at all. We couldn't even live in the smae neighborhoods or drink the same water as them. They were even testing drugs on us like animals...

    but at the same time, racism will always exist,the history is too deep now. I mean, you can't erase 350+ years of degradation. Racism is all around us...hell, one of my roommates is a racist. I could go on more...but I'll just say that other cultures barring the Native Americans will never understand the black struggle. Nobody but us can understand fighting for basically every single right we've got. Now we even have the right to vote one of our own people (who has a realistic chance of winning) in as president of the United States. This is what makes me proud to be a black man.