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America the Great, as we know it today was built on the backs of african slave laborers for over two and half centuries. A deep wound that has been left opened for centuries due to racism, inequality,segregation and discrimination. Slavery was officially abolished in the United States in the year of 1865 with the adoption of the thirteenth amendment to the Bill of Rights. However, even in 2015, majority of African American’s are faced everyday with the challenges of racism, inequality and discrimination. Many African American’s believe that they should receive reparations in the present day for the grotesque acts that took place over a century ago to their ancestors. Although these acts were monstrous, the African American’s living in the United States today were not the ones that broke their backs everyday trying to stay alive and the Whites of today were not the ones enforcing slavery. African Americans should not be allowed to receive a tax write off for slavery due to the fact that these actions were not done to them and because there are better ways to account for the back breaking work of their ancestors than through monetary values.
In 2008, National Public Radio did an article about a woman named Amanda Jones. She is the daughter of a slave and at the time lived through “two world wars, a great depression, and the arrival of jazz, television and antibiotics”(Burnett). Both of Jones’s parents were emancipated from slavery and took their masters name. Although, Jones grew up free, she dealt with the hard times of Jim Crow laws and segregation. The first president she ever voted for was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and of course she was forced to pay a poll tax in order to do so. By that age she was married and her husband and herself would pick cotton in order to save up enough money just to vote. In 2008, Jones got to see a miracle, she saw a black man become president and to her everything she and her family had went through was all worth it now. Jones’s struggle is something that majority of African Americans today can not say they ever experienced. Even if someone was born in 1865 right before slavery was abolished, technically making them born into slavery, they would be 150 years old. Research shows that there is no living former slave still alive today but unless it is wrong no one but them should receive any reparations, because they did not do anything to get reparations for.
As an African American in the United States, there are many stigmas and stereotypes that are associated with one’s skin color no matter who one is. On December 13, 2014 Fox News posted a link on their twitter page to a new article they wrote titled “Andrew Cuomo Meets With Admitted Former Crack Dealer Jay-Z to Discuss Police Policy”. The article starts, “When you need advice on a subject, you go to an expert. Gov. Andrew Cuomo did just that when he had a policy meeting on the subject of how cops enforce the laws with hip-hop mogul Jay Z — who earned most of his expertise in crime as a crack dealer”(DeRosa). Although, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter does admit to formly being a drug dealer back when he was much younger and living in the projects of Brooklyn, he is now a multimillionaire worth over $485 million alone and over $1 billion dollars, adjoining with his wife Beyonce, according to Forbes Magazine(Greenburg). Jay – Z a phenomenal entrepreneur and businessman, he demonstrates to young African Americans that no matter where one starts from, one can always make it to the top. He did not ask for anything from anyone, how he initially started may have not been the best but he grew and overcame that. That is what all American Americans should be doing instead of standing there with their hands out, always thinking someone owes them. African American ancestors did not just stand around and wait for whites to give up free labor, they fought and died for it. Standing with one’s hand out will not make them proud. But making due with what one has and working and pushing for something better. That will make ancestors turn over in their graves and smile.
What African Americans went through and still go through today is wrong and can lead to a lot more riots and chaos in our cities. However, the past can not be changed, the future needs to be better for all people. There is no more institutionalized slavery, African Americans have to let the chains of mental slavery go as well. There is no need for a pay out, no amount of money can account for the pain and suffering ancestors had went through. No one can ever put a dollar sign next to what has happened and think it will make up for it. The only thing that is owed to African Americans is a proper education. An educated slave was a white man’s worst fear, so take the education that is giving and exceed to the highest level.
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