Nathaniel G. Williams

United States

12

He/Him

ENTJ-A (Commander)

Ravenclaw nerd

Sci-fi/Fantasy

Open to all genres.

Please be honest in all your reviews.

My avatar is the black power symbol.

Justice for all!

#BlackLivesMatter

Message to Readers

Any feedback is appreciated. This subject IS controversial, but it needs to be addressed.

America - Wake Up (Final Draft)

October 16, 2020

WAKE UP! - Rage Against the Machine

    Many people say that America is the greatest nation on the globe. They say we have the strongest army, the best economy, a government "of the people, by the people, for the people."  A country in which they say everyone has equal freedom, including all BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people. But they forget. The Declaration of Independence says "all men are created equal" for a reason. 
    Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, owned slaves. Yes, the very man who wrote everyone is equal had slaves. But did he really believe that people of color should have rights just like his? 
    One historian at Stanford University argues that Thomas Jefferson was not talking about individual equality, but rather that the American colonists had "the same rights to self-government" as everyone else did. In my opinion, what he meant was that every man was created equal and every woman was created equal but then that changed and he believed it should stay that way. One of the first lines in a piece that first laid out the basis for this nation was written by a slave owner. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have owned more than 600 slaves.
    America eventually became free from the British in 1781 when the British surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown, but argument over whether slavery should be legal arose. Then, the Civil War came, the north and south split, and eventually the southern states surrendered and slavery was abolished. Or was it?
    The 13th amendment clearly states, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, ...shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Yes, you heard that right. You can still be forced to work with no pay if you are a criminal in prison.
    I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called 13th. In the documentary, they talk about how because people can no longer enslave black people, there is a whole mass incarceration scheme going on. Some government officials are trying to lock up everyone for there skin color. 
    13th mentions how during Ronald Reagan's presidency, when crack cocaine was created, they put much higher punishments for using crack then for using normal cocaine. Why? Most likely because crack cocaine use was higher in black neighborhoods. 
    Many people are misguided into believing that because of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and John Lewis, everything is okay now. Black people have all the rights that white people do, they say. I must admit I believed this lie until recently. 
    When I was only 5 years old, Treyvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watch who thought that the 17-year-old boy was trying to break in. He called the police but got impatient and decided to shoot Treyvon himself. Treyvon Martin was simply walking to his grandmother's house when he was shot.
    See what I mean? They might tell you it's okay now, but no, it's not. People of color are constantly being oppressed every day. The New York Times had an article containing three first-hand experiences of teens of color. One boy was followed by a police officer because he "fit the description of a man who robbed a convenience store. [He] fit the description." 
    That brings us to another issue in modern society. White people mixing up people of color because they have trouble telling them apart! There is a graphic novel I recently read called The New Kid. In the book, a mixed-race seventh-grade boy gets in to a mostly white school in the town of Riverdale, which is much different from his school in Washington Heights. He knows only 3 different kids of color, and despite that, everyone, the teachers and the students, get him mixed up with other BIPOC kids. One kid that they get him "mixed up" with is Maury, who is chubby, short, and has a round face, whereas he is skinny, small, and looks almost nothing like Maury. 
    Now let's get back to the more political side of things. Let's talk about redlining. In case you're unaware of what redlining is, redlining is when the government would deny mortgages to people because they were in so-called "bad neighborhoods." CBS News describes it as "banks, realtors, and even the government used red ink to outline areas on maps where lenders should steer clear." The neighborhoods were classified as green - "best", blue - "still desirable"  yellow - "definitely declining" and red - "hazardous". Most redlined areas were minority neeighborhoods, meaning it was harder for minorities to get loans in many towns. Many neighborhoods majority African-American neighborhoods in Brooklyn, such as Brownsville, were redlined from the late 1930's to as late as the 1970's! The whole system was messed up. It is still messed up now. And even though it is illegal to refuse mortgage because of the neighborhood you live in, many areas that used to be redlined remain poor today.
    I used to live overseas. I lived in Indonesia, where there are people from thousands of different islands. I have seen discrimination. And they got mad. REALLY mad. Government, watch out.
    And the government is ignoring the problem. Think about it. Before the death of George Floyd, when was the last time you heard of the government fixing problems like this? So I am here telling America to WAKE UP! 
    I know this might sound harsh. I know this might sound offensive, but while people of color have been oppressed, we are sleeping, letting the government change when they decide to. America needs a wake up call. I am telling America today, even though redlining is gone, even though segregation is no more, even though the Union won the Civil War - the government still is based off of white privilege. So I say reform America. Reform the police. Reform the Constitution or maybe even right a new one. We need change and we need it now. Wake. Up.  
     
    
https://news.stanford.edu/press-releases/2020/07/01/meaning-declaratnce-changed-time/#:~:text=When%20Jefferson%20wrote%20%E2%80%9Call%20men,not%20talking%20about%20individual%20equality.&text=It%20now%20became%20a%20statement,claim%20for%20himself%20or%20herself.
Howe (1997), Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln , p. 74
William Cohen, "Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Slavery," Journal of American History 56, no. 3 (1969): 503–26, p. 510
Jackson Fossett, Dr. Judith (June 27, 2004). "Forum: Thomas Jefferson"Time. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
 Brendan Morrissey, Yorktown 1781: The World Turned Upside Down (1997)
William Marvel, Lee's Last Retreat: The Flight to Appomattox (2002), pp. 158–81.
 "Date of Secession Related to 1860 Black Population", America's Civil War
https://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/13th-amendment#:~:text=Passed%20by%20Congress%20on%20January,within%20the%20United%20States%2C%20or
Averick, S., Barish, H. (Producers) and DuVernay, A. (Director and Producer). (2016). 13th [Motion picture]. Retrieved from https://www.netflix.com
Craft, Jerry. (2019). The New Kid. HarperCollins.
https://www.brownstoner.com/history/redlining-racism-brooklyn-neighborhoods-bed-stuy-williamsburg-2/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/upshot/how-redlinings-racist-effects-lasted-for-decades.html
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/redlining-what-is-history-mike-bloomberg-comments/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/us/first-encounters-with-racism.html
 

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1 Comment
  • Ximena24!

    I am glad that someone is addressing the problems that face the youth of the American community. Thank you for your service. However, I beg to differ on some of your points. To begin with, I completely agree that slavery is evil and unfortunately people are still suffering these conditions overseas, but when you quoted the 13th amendment you did so without reading any further. In 1865 when this amendment was ratified it was common to have a greater degree of community service as a punishment. I will not call community service because it was much more work in harsher conditions. This was a punishment common for light skins as well as African Americans. These harsher punishments have been discontinued and the convicted can argue against it with the claim that it violates the 8th amendment "no cruel or unusual punishment".The second point I would like to make is that when Jefferson wrote the constitution it was part of the culture to own slaves. Terrible yes, but there is nothing we can do about it now. We can never forget and try to make ourselves feel better by deleting such an important part of history. If we do forget we are just as likely to do it again. About your next point in the criminal justice part, I disagree as well especially in the new administration criminal justice is of the utmost priority.” he (President Trump) almost always mentions a new law that has allowed thousands of non-violent offenders to gain early release from federal prison”.(FREKING, Kevin, and KINNARD,Meg-ap.news.com). While I can't continue because of the word limit I would like to thank you for taking the time to present your arguments. I am sorry that my sources are not that explicitly cited, but I hope my counter-argument at least makes you think twice. I am grateful to have such a bright person to share my opinions with, thanks! Ximena


    9 days ago