We Need to Talk About the 200 Year Head Start!

Sure, slavery was abolished in 1865 (155 years ago) and segregation was deemed illegal in 1964 (66 years ago). That means my mom and my grandma’s American Dream was a nightmare.

We Need to Talk About the 200 Year Head Start!

For some reason our simple-minded government that after segregation was abolished that it would fix 200 years of slavery, racism, redlining, and all in all systematic oppression. Some black men and women feel helpless even after working twice as hard as their counterparts. They get passed over for jobs and sometimes even promotions. I know first hand as I was hired before my counterpart and worked super hard to prove that I belonged there and it wasn’t until after I pointed out that he got promoted before me, that my supervisor promoted me. I know a woman that worked at her job for years and wasn’t promoted because, “she never asked for one. It’s disturbing”.

While my ancestors were fighting discrimination, some of my counterparts were busy reaping the benefits of former slave owners. Significantly more white people already owned land. Redlining was already set in place by the federal government in the 1930s. Redlining is when the government came into neighborhoods and color-coded them and those codes were tied to the local economy when it came to taxes and lending practices. The great neighborhoods were blue, yellow was just okay, and red was for undesirables. Mostly black people lived in the red areas where lenders considered them credit risks. You can’t build credit if you don’t have opportunities.

“The fact that slave owners got paid by the US government after the slaves were freed says all you need to know about the movement’s priorities.”

By the time black people were truly “free” white people had estates and rules in place that made it significantly harder for black people to catch up. Imagine running a race and starting 200 years after your competition. Not even Usain Bolt could catch up to that.

Source: The Plymouth Church in Framingham

 

A great example of oppression is the women’s suffrage movement. It was hella racist. Women fought for the right to vote in 1920. Black women couldn’t vote until the 1960s because those who would try would get assaulted, berated, tested with the constitution, and this made it nearly impossible to even try. Meanwhile, in between all that time the black woman was good enough to breastfeed and take care of white women’s children. Let us not start on the fact that after slavery and racism was “abolished”, black people literally couldn’t live where they wanted. Some couldn’t trace their lineage to “go back to where they came from” because they didn’t know where they came from. The African Diaspora is still a struggle for black people today and before someone says, “how do you know your ancestors were slaves,” just know my family has traced our roots back to the 1800s and the furthest we got was a very small town in South Carolina. There’s a reason why the traced stopped. 

What can we do to fix systematic failure? Create more programs encouraging black people to become homeowners, take after Georgetown and offer slave descendants scholarships, finally last but not least reparations are past due. I don’t understand the argument against it. Slaves built the White House and they deserve to be acknowledged and compensated. It’s time the whitewashing of American History finally be addressed as we can never truly move forward if we don’t address the past.

“How can we expect the black woman to carry so much of the burden if we don’t even acknowledge her hard work?”

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