This I Believe

Cheriees - Pontiac, Michigan
Entered on October 24, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe that African Americans are still living in oppression

“Come White People, settle down, Come White People, from miles around. I’m gonna raffle this nigger today, so come on down, please don’t delay.

Before my generation, before I was born, the White man would stand on a big platform. The Auction Block, that’s where he’d be, selling Black People, like you and me. Now Whites don’t need to hang around, to keep us low and down. We do it ourselves, as you can see. And the rest of the world sits back and laughs……..He, He, He.”

This is a poem that I wrote when I was 10 years old. The wording reveals my youth, but the concept was well beyond my years. Over time, my vocabulary has grown, but my thoughts on African American Oppression have virtually remained the same.

There are those that I marvel over, the ones that rise above the challenges we face and motivate others to do the same. Then, there are my misguided brothers and sisters that choose to live below their potential. For every roadblock we face, there are windows of opportunity presented to us. We spend an exorbitant amount of time complaining about what we don’t have, when that energy would be better spent focusing on education, careers, family and most importantly our children that are often left to raise themselves. While I fully understand the challenges against my race, I am also saddened by the lack of self-worth, displayed by my African American counterparts.

Some African Americans would rather place the blame of low achievements on others, instead of making the necessary changes to better their situation. The failure to make positive changes in communities, while encouraging others to do the same, often contributes to our continued oppression.

In my opinion, the reason many other races have been able to overcome these obstacles is because their loyalties are extended to all members of their race, not just the immediate family. Other races appear to be more compassionate and in-tune with the needs of their people. Many of them live in situations where more than one family resides under the same roof. These families share in financial responsibilities and daily duties. Sharing enables the families to meet the needs of everyone, thus wealth and emotional well being is more evenly distributed among all those involved.

Many African Americans appear to have no desire to aide in another’s success. Very few of us offer help to what should be our extended family. The “I succeed, when we all succeed” attitude exists among other minorities, but is not a common practice in our race. I believe that when African Americans learn to take responsibility for their own choices as well as collectively take care of each other, we will finally break the cycle of our self imposed oppression.

In conclusion, I believe that African Americans are still oppressed, but that for some of us, it is a direct result of the choices we make.