Emancipated from what?
By biconews On 21 Mar, 2000 At 05:00 AM | Categorized As Archives | With 0 Comments

By Benesha Bobo
Guest Columnist

Recently, Amadou Diallo, a young African man, was brutally killed by four New York City police officers. He was unarmed.

He was someone’s son, someone’s friend, but above all else, he was a human being. On some level, each person who bears the tragic story of Amadou’s life can understand the anger and bitterness that surrounds his death.

One must ask what this country gains from all the laws and mandates that supposedly serve to preserve the peace and protect humanity. Is this country really free from the debilitating social effects of the blatant racism, classism and sexism that infiltrated the lives of the generations that lived before us?

Perhaps there exists a better inquiry that we might pose for this country. Are we really educated? Do we really have the tools that we need to successfully achieve our goals?

In this nation we equate success with achieving material wealth, political power, upward mobility and mastery within a work field.

What happens in a country that preaches equality and freedom for its entire body when there are systematic breaches in these notions occurring on a daily basis?

In order to achieve the kind of society that we pride ourselves on having, we must demand that those in power provide a country where we are free from the binding chains of stereotypes, stigmas, cultural genocide, oppression, illiteracy, unemployment, abuse, ignorance, sexism, classism and racism. All of these evil entities perpetuate hateful conditions for all persons living under such an unbalanced social dynamic.

Despite the progress that has been made through the present, the effects and practices of the pre-Civil War and pre-Civil Rights eras still haunt us. The Amadou Diallo case illustrates a kind of brutality that was common during those dreadful times.

We must dig deeper than the act itself, though, because it is easy to agree that there is no right in Amadou not being among the living today. What about the verdict? Acquitting the officers demonstrates this country’s indifference to many practices that blatantly disregard the peace and freedom it holds so dear. Sadly, Amadou’s story is not a standout among the hundreds of similar stories familiar to anyone who frequently reads nationally published newspapers or views news programs. This means that this country has a problem, and it is a problem that is not going away. We have purposefully ignored so much, and opted to forget the wrongs of the past so that we might enter upon a new dawn of liberating ideologies.

In spite of this, the correct solution remains as it always has been. We, the people, must demand that children are given an honest and accurate portrayal of the history of their nation so that we do not rear another generation of indifferent and subconsciously hateful thinkers. We, the people, must understand that our country has not come that far, temporally or progressively, from a historical period in which oppression of the non-white male minorities was a widely accepted practice. We, the people, must be brave enough to accept the fact that our country owns the blame for the state that we are in at present.

Now, ask yourself just what it is that we have emancipated ourselves from, and you might find your answers as alarming as do I.

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