This is America – Jim Crow for the 21st Century

 

“You just a Black Man in this world, you just a barcode ayy.” Lyrics by Childish Gambino in “This is America”
-Image by Inky The Cartoonist

 

This is America.  The game is rigged.  The odds are against you.  In this world, in this country, you are seen as nothing more than a number,  a statistic.  Your grandparents were raised in the ghetto.  Your family has been living in the projects for generations.  The wages that you are eligible for have been predetermined to keep you perpetually screwed.  You’ll never be able to afford to LIVE only to survive.  Your chains of slavery have been made metaphysical.  Your school systems will fail you because it has been decided that your district is not worth all of the money it’s tabbed to receive.  Without that basic education, you will be destined to find other ways to earn money since the legitimate jobs being offered are going to the people two or three towns over whose schools were well funded, better staffed, and better prepared to spit out leaders rather than slaves.  That’s what you are.  You are a slave.  You’re a slave to this country and its preconceived notion of who you will be.  You’re a prison number by the time you hit the third trimester in your mother’s womb.  You’re a target for police by the time you learn your A-B-C’s.  This is America.  This is your jail cell.  This is your tomb.

This is America.  Since the beginning of its time, it has been designed to screw over anyone who was not a white, European male.  The native people who were here and welcomed three ships worth of immigrants were destroyed.  Their hospitality brought nothing but strife and loss.  Tribes and nations of people were slaughtered because they were perceived as primitive savages.  Savages who had their own language, who had no formal system of law and order (because there was no need for one,) savages who lived off of the land that was so coveted by the immigrants that wanted to live freely.  Avoiding religious persecution in their own land, they came to this one and forced their religion on those savages.  Those who did not adapt were killed or mutilated.  Those who did adapt were killed and mutilated.  Savages.  Human beings.  People just like you and I.  Corpses.

This is America.  This is the country that decided since “all men are created equal” under the eyes of the Lord,  human beings or savages with more melanin in their skin should be used to build the country into a sovereign nation.  Labor would not be paid for however, that’s ridiculous.  Instead, the chattel would be worked until it died and it would never be allowed to be free because freedom equals equality.  Equality is dangerous.  Equality means a level playing field.  Equality means education.  Equality means sharing.  Why share when you can dominate?

This is America.  This is the country that finally outlawed external slavery.  This is the country that physically removed the shackles from the savages with more melanin in their skin and realized that the economy could not stand without some sort of slave labor.  This is the country that made it illegal to walk around without some sort of pass that okays your right to walk freely.  This country decided that it needed to create the most asinine laws in order to remove the “freedom” it granted savages.  Those savages could then be shackled and caged again.  Those savages had their humanity removed.  They could now be sold again to the highest bidder, or at least their labor could.  That labor would be used to continue to make the rich richer.  That labor, those shackles placed on the ankles and hands and necks of the chattel would be used to separate the humans from the animals.  Humans are clear to control their own destinies, animals are too dumb to figure that out.

This is America.  This is the country that separated the haves from the have-nots.  This country decided who could and who could not be given an education, the very foundation of freedom.  When slavery itself was “outlawed,” separate school systems were created.  The haves would be given the skills to read, to write, to add and subtract and multiply and divide.  They would be given dominion over the direction that the future would go.  The have-nots would be given the tools to give more power to the haves.  They would be taught how to farm the food that would feed and power the haves so that they could continue to reign over the have-nots.  The have-nots would be taught to accept their station in life, they would be taught that it was divine will that they are subservient to the haves and in turn for being good little workers in this life, in the next life they would be rewarded with peace and love and equality.  Meanwhile, the haves are living this life with peace, and love and equality.

This is America.  This country is now very much like it was then.  Those who believe that things are getting better are deceiving themselves.  Things are not getting better, they are being hidden more easily and camouflaged so that the truth must be dug out of the heart of deceit.  The laws in this country are still designed to keep the savages suppressed.  Drug laws have been created and implemented to keep the savages fighting amongst themselves for control of a product designed to kill them.  At the same time, pharmaceutical drugs, and the companies that make them, which outwardly tell you of their side-effects that are likely to kill you than to treat the condition they were prescribed to you for, generate billions of dollars a year for the haves.  They make money by convincing the general public that they need to take these drugs to heal themselves from problems that they created.   They then make money on the back-end by privatizing the prison system.  Hotel companies bid to provide beds, food companies bid to provide “food” to keep the savages mobile enough to keep working.  Those prisons are then used to house the savages that are arrested and robbed of their freedom for creating an economy for themselves using stimuli provided by the haves.  The have-nots do not create the means for depriving their own freedom, it is inserted by the haves and then used to punish the have-nots.

This is America.  In a community designed to breed leaders and oppressors, you can find Walmart stores, mom and pop shops, farmer’s markets, extra-curricular centers located in the heart of the community, legal gun shops, and more.  In communities designed to continue the status-quo of breeding slaves, you can find liquor stores, fast-food restaurants with foods high in sodium and low in actual nutritional value, jewelry stores and pawn shops designed to spread a false narrative of what wealth actually is, bare-bones urgent-health clinics designed to treat those people who can’t afford private health insurance, and more.  Gun violence and drug use plague the nation, yet when you observe the prison system, the overwhelming majority of those incarcerated due to gun and drug charges are the have-nots.  Curious.

This is America.  The country founded so that its citizens could own firearms to protect themselves from the government and seemingly, their own private property and liberty.  The country founded so that its citizens could organize in groups freely.  The country founded so that its citizens could have their unified voices heard through protests.  This is the country that does not put gun shops in the inner-cities.  This is the country that polices and prosecutes the have-nots on trumped-up charges for obtaining a piece of metal that is not readily available in their communities legally.  This is the country that still allows segregation practices to occur in public places.  Two have-nots cannot sit in a public place and wait for a friend because that public place reserves the right to deny service and shelter to whomever they choose for whatever reason they choose at any time they choose.  This is the country where the haves will call the police on the have-nots for meeting in a public space to cook and prepare food amongst themselves.  This country’s citizens who have will call the police on someone doing something as audacious as falling asleep in a communal space.  Even having a job that requires you to travel into foreign neighborhoods to inspect a property to make sure it is safe for someone who doesn’t look like you to move into, will probably end up with the police being called to question you.  Oh, and as far as protesting goes, the have-nots can meet and organize, sure, but they should prepare to be herded like cattle, have their movements restricted, and be met with severe physical force up to and including the use of crowd control agents designed to incapacitate by attacking the respiratory system.  The have-nots put their very lives in danger by agreeing to and exercising their basic rights “guaranteed” to them under the laws of this land.

This is America.  A country that tries to tell the have-nots that they aren’t good enough, or pretty enough, or talented enough to be as revered as the haves.  Yet the haves continue to use artificial means to get physical features normally associated with the have-nots.  Bigger, fuller bodies and lips, hairstyles with origins in Africa or the west-indies, verbiage originated in communities where the English language was not spoken with a European-centric dialect.  This country controls the entertainment industry.  It tricks the have-nots into believing in and accepting their station in life unless of course, you can entertain them.  Dribble a ball well and put it through a hoop, or be able to pass and catch and run, or be able to put some words together in a rhyming pattern to a beat.  Either way, your way out of the environment that is designed to entrap you and kill you, is to find a way to entertain the haves and move into an environment that still views you as an outsider, that will still treat you like trash and call the police on you if you do something they deem unacceptable; such as have the gall to move into a neighborhood that was explicitly designed to keep you out.  The haves pay good money to control the message that they send to you.  They destroy the ideals of a good, strong, nuclear family by promoting misogyny and drug use in the music.  The most popular form of music for the have-nots is controlled by record companies that have no interest in promoting peace, love, and positivity.  Negativity sells.  Anyone can be convinced that murder is cool, that domestic violence is acceptable, that abusing drugs, whether pharmaceutical or not is the best decision you could ever make.  All of these things make sense when a good musical beat is attached to the message.

This is America.  This is a country that “elected” a person who has time and time again, exhibited racist and segregationist views into the most powerful position of leadership there is.  This person called for the deaths of five have-nots in a case that would determine their lives.  It doesn’t matter that they were eventually found not guilty and exonerated of the crimes they were accused of.  The have-nots should have been killed by the state for the mere fact that they were around when the police were rounding up suspects.  This person ran a real estate empire that would regularly employ immigrants to build and work in the constructed places, but would also regularly deny residence to the same people.  This person ran a fraudulent college and took money from people looking to better their lives.  This person has gone on record saying that there are “good people on both sides” of a growing civil discord.  Some of those people are admitted racists, going so far as to call on others to fabricate a race war in this country.  This can no longer be.  This will no longer be America.

This is America.  This is the country where for the first time, a have-not entertainer has won a Pulitzer Prize for an art-form normally thought of to be just entertainment.  He wrote his album based on his experience as a have-not and allowed the haves a quick peek at the world from someone else’s point of view.  DAMN.  This is America.  This is the country where cell phones have become tools to be used to document injustices going on around us every day.  What’s done in the dark will shine in the light.  Every single day, normal citizens are becoming documentarians when they shed light on practices normally ignored by the haves.  Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, and more have-nots have been immortalized due to their treatment being caught on a cell phone or dash camera.  This is America, where young children are now learning that everything that glitters isn’t always gold.  Young people such as yourselves are learning about the political process and how important exercising your right to vote truly is.  The corrupt system has been allowed to stay in place for far too long.  In order to change it, it must first be explored and learned about.  Then it must be infiltrated.  From infiltration, it can be altered, and from alteration, it can be destroyed and built anew.  This is America.  This is what we choose to make it.

This is America.  This is a country that is making strides towards a better future.  This is the country that elected its first African-American leader to the highest position in the land.  This is the country that, while doing so illegally, harvested the cells of a have-not and through the miracle of science, might actually cure cancer one day.  The story of Henrietta Lacks may not be well known to some, but it should be studied by all.  This is the country that tolerates racial discrimination less and less.  Day by day those that would separate themselves based on skin color or by language spoken are being called out and shamed by the general public.  This is America.  This is the country where state by state, free college tuition is being offered to those unfortunate enough to actually pay for themselves.  This is America.   This is the land of opportunity for those brave enough to take it or make their own.  Things are not great, not by far, but they have the potential to be amazing.  Potential is what turns a two-acre plot of dirt into a booming farm that feeds a community.  You represent that potential, so long as you do everything in your power to create your own escape out of the trap.  Once you create yours, help someone else create theirs.  One man can change the world.

This is America.  This is home.

 

 

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