The United States of America has a very troubled history regarding race. Our country was founded on July 4, 1776. Since we first became the United States of America, we have had 44 Presidents. Of those Presidents, the average age was fifty-two and all but one have been white men. Until 2009, we have been led by older white men while the rest of the country has been shut out of leading our great country. It took us two hundred and thirty-three years to elect an African-American President. It wasn’t easy and we are still fighting over our President’s birth and his right and ability to lead this great country. We have a problem that no one likes to talk about. Race relations have been a part of American history since our first day of stepping foot on this land.
When our forefathers came across the oceans to create a new society, this land was already occupied by Native Americans. When Christopher Columbus pitched his idea to Queen Isabella, it was under the guise of converting Native Americans to the Christian faith. He claimed to have said he wanted to “Christianize” the Indians. On the island of Hispaniola, the population decreased from roughly five-hundred thousand to less than one-hundred thousand within a ten year span. Columbus never reported any sickness that may have cause this. The United States had such disdain for the Native Americans simply because they got in the way of American progress. in 1831, the Indian Removal Act attempted to move roughly fifty-thousand Cherokee, Chickaswa, Chocktaw and other tribes from their homes to what we now presently call Oklahoma. In just one relocation effort, more than four thousand Native Americans lost their lives. The reason for most of the deaths was that the United States government gave no assistance in relocating the Natives. These poor families had to walk over two thousand miles just to get to Indian Territory. Most did not make it. Again, we allowed the deaths of thousands of Natives, all because we were greedy and didn’t want to share anything with the actual owners of the land. These relocations occurred through-out the 1800s. On November 11, 1864, Col. John Chivington said “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians. Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice”. This was said at the Sand Creek massacre. On November 29 of that year, militia from nearby Colorado surrounded the encampment of the Peace Chiefs. The residents of this encampment were given no warning and approximately 150 Indians from various western tribes were slaughtered. These massacres would continue for many years to come. On March 8, 1782, ninety-six Lenape Native Americans were killed simply because of their skin color. The Native Americans were rounded up and placed in a couple of homes where the militia scalped men, women and children. Again, this was done because they were a different race. The irony of this tribe was that they were Christian, just as Christopher Columbus had hoped. Yet, they still were slaughtered in front of their own family members, simply for being the wrong skin color. The United States government implemented a policy of Assimilation. The militias wanted to wipe out the who race so that they could have a pure land of only white people. This is what happened to our native ancestors. Pure evil exists and sometimes that evil is our own government.
The United States continued their persecutions of anyone different from themselves. Prior to 1655, it was not legal to own a slave. All slaves were called indentured servants. They were given to a land owner as payment for supposed crimes that the servant committed. It was a 17th century version of prison. These servants were treated just as bad as slaves, yet they were freed at the end of their sentence. What many forget is that these indentured servants rarely made it out alive. Between the years of 1620 ad 1865, almost six-hundred thousand slaves were imported to American Colonies. The United States population in 1620 was a mere 2,302. Within eighty years, the population would rise to just over two-hundred and fifty. From 1620 to 1700, around twenty-one thousand slaves were brought to American soil. By the time we ended slavery in 1865, we had almost six-hundred thousand slaves and a population of roughly thirty-one million. The civil war finally freed the slaves. However, that did not truly make them free. We are in the year 2015 and we are still fighting for equal rights for all ethnicities. We have a white problem in America. We have a large group of Americans that believe they are better than everyone else. They believe they are pure and good. They believe only white people, specifically white men are superior to everyone else. I wonder if the Forefathers would have imagined that almost two-hundred and fifty years later, we would still see such violence and disdain for our fellow-man simply because of the color of their skin.
Did you know that prior to the Civil Rights Act, nearly four thousand African-Americans were lynched simply for the color of their skin? Did you know that on average, our population is around 13% African-American, yet over 31% of United States arrest-related homicides are against African-Americans. Did you know that nearly half of all incarcerated individuals are African-American, yet they make up less than 15% of the total population. We see cases of white male executives stealing millions of dollars from their investors, yet they serve probation or a few years at Club Fed. Yet, if you are African-American and you still a $200 television, you can spend ten to life. We have a problem here. We have allowed our leaders and our police forces to do whatever they want without consequence. We watch on television as videos show police officers degrading, beating, and killing citizens simply because of their skin color. We turn a blind eye to injustice because we feel that it doesn’t affect us. If you really think you can just look beyond the injustice, you may be racist. Every human has a life and a right to live that life without the fear of attack or death simply for being the wrong color. Until we start standing up for our fellow Americans, this injustice will continue. Until we change the way we elect our leaders, these injustices will only get worse. We have to find a way to discuss race without fighting. We have to sit at the table like real adults and talk about the tough issues, no matter how uncomfortable they make us.
Until we face the demon right in front of us, we will never truly be free. Protect your fellow Americans, no matter what color skin they may have.