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Jean-Jacques Rousseau who once said, “All men are born free”. However, this frankly doesn’t apply to those in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, as well as African Americans in this modern day. Throughout the novel, Orwell uses aspects of the government controlling everyone and their rights. Although they can challenge Big Brother they are stopped by the fear of becoming an unperson. No matter how small or big your action is, they can declare you gone forever. This plays a huge role in the black community because black people are constantly scared to walk down their streets, or every time a higher authority stops them. They fear their lives more than others and the society of Nineteen Eighty-Four limits those in Oceania as well as the World’s community now limits African Americans. For instance, the high homicide rates, or how black people have a higher chance of poverty and how hard it’s to break through that and get a job in this corrupt system. However, many black people have played a huge role in this society so people should value the lives of African Americans. Therefore, when you hear these names, don’t dismiss them, or let them be forgotten. Trayvon Martin. An innocent seventeen-year-old black kid, who was walking home one day not knowing it, was going to be his last day. He was fatally shot on February 26, 2012, later his killing was a huge influence on the starting of the Black Lives Matter movement. Sandra Bland. Pulled over for a “pretextual traffic stop,” but later on found hanging dead in her jail cell. Stephon Clark. Shot and killed in the back of his grandma’s home by Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, two officers of the Sacramento Police department. Innocent black women and men’s lives are in danger every day and it needs to be highlighted.
Firstly, there have been 722 fatal killings by police, and ¾ of them were black. This statistic is sickening because black people only makeup 13% of the US Population, but are five times more likely to get stopped by the police. This plays into the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four because the people of Oceania can become an unperson and be completely erased from everyone’s lives. For instance, Orwell adds, “But Syme was not only dead, he was abolished, an unperson”. An unperson is someone who has supposedly done something wrong or went against the government and is so easily able to be replaced or forgotten. Throughout history, black lives have been put on a high risk that leads to the misfortune of their lives ending or put into danger. For Instance, in the article, “Remembering the African-American Past” by Glenn Jordan, he writes that “in addition to Harriet Tubman (1931) and Into Bondage (1936), there are other paintings by Douglas, in which Black people are in chains”. This picture is an example of one of the many things Black people had to experience. Douglas used the picture as a way to show the slaves raising their arms, and pulling their chains.
African Americans went through traumatic experiences back then and even to this day. Although slavery and lynching were abolished, people still find ways to work around the system and dehumanize Blacks. Furthermore, recently the United State’s president, Donald Trump has compared his possible impeachment to being lynched. Something so far from being impeached. Lynching was used to punish African Americans for no reason. It was one of the most used ways to kill black people, which later the KKK ended up using. The fact that someone would make a joke so disturbing, which brings back the pain and suffering young African Americans had to go through is so devastating and is another example of how America is failing African Americans. Blacks need to be seen as normal people and carefully watched so nothing bad happens. Police can’t just jump to a conclusion that they are going to harm someone or to be so quick to shoot. This leads to the fear of those who are black and born in America or those who have a black kid. Many parents or black individuals have to teach their kids or themselves to be safer or watch out for specific things that may set them up. For example, in the ted talk “How to raise a black son in America,” by Clint Smith. He speaks about his parent’s decisions on parenting him and how he feels how hard it was for them to strip away parts of his childhood just so he could come home every night. He further goes on to preach, “Son, I’m sorry, but you can’t act the same as your white friends.” and “You can’t pretend to shoot guns.” because of the fear his parents had due to the years before of how Blacks were mistreated. It puts others in danger, and he says he now understands how scared his dad was the one night he saw him running around with his friends pretending to shoot guns. He understands now that when the sun goes down to take your hood off. This shines a light on how black people need to be able to do what they want without being afraid, and it applies to Nineteen Eighty-Four because those being controlled are afraid to do something because they will be hurt.
Another example from Nineteen Eighty-Four is, “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’ Winston thought. ‘By making him suffer,’ he said. ‘Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation”. Through his thoughts and beautiful thinking this conveys the message of how people in Oceania are suffering and that the government takes control of people’s lives, which can be implied to African Americans as well because higher authorities using their powers to harm them and take away from their freedom, therefore, the Blacks Live Matter Movement is very much needed in order to solve these problems and let everyone have equal life.
Secondly, through the pain and suffering, African Americans found an outlet and played a huge role in America’s society which is heavily looked down upon, however, they were the main reason for the contributions to this society. The black community is just like the proles in Nineteen Eighty-Four because they are looked down upon, however Winston sees different. For instance, he writes that: ‘If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles.’ Even though the proles were unbothered to fix the corrupt systems in Oceania they were still valued and seen as the uprisings who could make a change. Just like the African Americans, they had a massive role in our society whether it was from music or art or those who fought for Civil rights and the change in the world. They played a role in society that people tend to show instead like to overpower the positivity with negativity, which ends up being unfair for those having disadvantages. If it wasn’t for Martin Luther King, Rosa Park, Obama, Muhhamed Ali, or Malcolm X, Langston Huges, and many more of those incredible people who played a role in changing history and showing the true value of African Americans.
Furthermore, although many African American leaders made an impact they still had plenty of hardships, for instance, poverty. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell writes, “But in among all this terrible poverty there were just a few great big beautiful houses that were lived in by rich men who had as many as thirty servants to look after them. These rich men were called “capitalists“. As Winston explores the corrupt system in Oceania, he realizes that things aren’t fair. That everyone doesn’t have an equal chance at life and this quote explores that. It shows how easy it is for a white man to get home, or a job and be able to provide for himself and many others, but there is a problem when it comes to African Americans. When an African American applies for a job, it’s more likely that someone with the name of a white person would get it over the one person with a black name.. African Americans are one of the highest people to face poverty. 21.2% of poverty is from African Americans. If People weren’t as blindsided and gave them a fair chance this rate would lower.
Thirdly, in contrast, many people believe that Black Lives Matter is taking away from the values of other lives, but this is false because other races don’t experience the hatred and righteous things that African Americans have to face every day. Therefore, All lives matter movements are pushing the concerns of blacks aside and saying they aren’t worthy or are seen as less than. Until Black Lives Matters then All Lives can’t matter, and this was created to discredit the Black Lives Movement. According to Gordon Marino’s article, “All Lives Matter’ vs. Black Lives Matter,” he inserts a quote from Rand Paul, who is a Republican Candidate, he believes that “they should change their name maybe – if they were ‘All Lives Matter,’ or ‘Innocent Lives Matter.” Many have believed that the Black Lives Matter movement is a hate group and taking away from others’ values of life. But people need to keep in mind that black has faced the most hate than others, and this movement was made to stop that. They aren’t implying others’ lives aren’t as vulnerable, they just want some change. Furthermore, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” He is elaborating on the fact that although stuff happened in the past, the government of Oceania has erased that and many people in modern-day like to forget the fact that African American’s have been targeted their whole life, and this has to come to an end, which is where the Black Lives Movement is involved in.
In conclusion, African Americans in America have been pushed aside and seen as an easy target, whether it’s high homicide rates, or the days they fear their lives, and all the times they wanted something but it was taken away from them. The Black Lives Movement needs to be here because it highlights the importance of innocent African Americans. It promotes freedom, whereas the All Lives Matter discredits them. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell uses the lack of freedom to show the impact of citizens and how corrupt they are and that they are so dull and hidden from the fact they are being stripped from their rights.
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