Race is the Beginning of Racism

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In 4 years, 2024, we will be able to enjoy life just like any other American citizen. I still have a lot to experience, we both do, but we will finally be out of the house away from the people that tell us what to do. We will be on our own, out into this world, despite what they say now a lot can change in four years. Right now we are only seventeen years old, and those seventeen years weren’t promised, but no matter how simple-minded America maybe I have faith we will grow in these next four years. I feel it is my duty as a young adult to take the responsibility to prepare for this new life ahead of me, and as your friend to be by your side so we can both survive this World.

Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, and Bayard Rustin. What do these names represent? They are all significant figures in the struggle for freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955. James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, but most notably in mid-20th-century North America. Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Rustin worked with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement in 1941 to press for an end to racial discrimination in employment. These men and many others fought just so us future African Americans can have a better life with the equality and Freedom they couldnt have. Sometimes we take these people for granted and don’t give them their recognition, so as a way of remembering these people and celebrating their hardwork Black History Month was created. Black History Month began as a way of remembering important figures and events in the history of African Dispora because African Americans came a long way just so we can sit together with whites, be educated the same as whites, and live an equal life not viewed as God's mistake, since our skin color was different. In The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass he describes his life growing up as a slave in a difficult time period, and fighting through the struggles of the social construct created by race and white supremacy. In Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates outlines this struggle of racial construct in modern times and how it reflects to slavery. Although these books are very different, Coates breakdown of his own experiences and Douglass’ experiences in slavery create this unifying theme that race creates a timeless chain around a black persons freedom.

It took more than one encounter with White supremacy and racism for Black people to realize their powerlessness in the face of the government. Whites need to come to terms that we are people too and our lives are equally important and can impact the world greatly if they stop being so selfish.

Race emphasized in Between the World and Me demonstrates the very big difference between Whites and Blacks. Race is described as being the child of racism; came after the need to oppress people becasue of their color and was achieved when Americans started the enslavement of African Americans treating them like property. Coates states, “Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in pre-eminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes.” Coates 7). This quote is demonstrating how Coates realizes that the whites have a “belief in pre-eminence of hue of hair” by breaking down the organization of society. Coates began to understand that it's not about the differences in color, but the dominance that comes with the difference that determines your place in society. Coates goes on to say, “What I told you is what your grandparents tried to tell me: that this is your country, that this is your world, that this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” (Coates 12). When Coates says this to his son, he’s passing down a generational understanding that comes with being African American. He tries to pass on the understanding that he cannot dictate or tell his son the path he must go on, but that the path is in his hands and he must find the answer himself. Many African Americans are told more than once in their life how to live and that you have to live a certain way because your image matters.

Since African Americans are looked differently in society, and Coates’ had bad experiences he doesn’t want to pass on any of that to his son and is trying to protect and guide him through this. Although it is impossible to forgive and forget how this form of racism started, and the centuries of dehuminization, pain, and torture it is important to use that as history as a lesson to be learned about how African Americans got to where they are, and how we still have some way to go. African American ancestoral history is motivation to be better and live the best life that generations before us sacraficed their lives for us to have. The misconception of this ancestoral history is what Coates contrasts in his idea of racism today and then, and how the social construct created by racism to systematically categories African Americans was started when the first ship of African Americans arrived.

Freedom from the system is one of the many factors important to the develpoment of prosperous African American communities, observed by Fredrick Douglass and his persuit of education and knowledge. Douglass explains this concept as a path to freedom in which he understood to be an escape from the enslavement, by learning to read and write one can free themselves from the mental captivity of slavery. When Douglass was sent to work for a “slave-breaker”, he gets a taste of this freedom deciding he is done with being a slave. This represenitng a turning point in Douglass’ life as a slave because this experience reawakens his desire and drive for liberty.     

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Race is the beginning of racism. (2021, Oct 08). Retrieved May 20, 2024 , from

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