Our Excuse or Theirs?: The Realities of Our System Today

The United States has the largest economic system in the world: one that was created long ago by the early Americans through the acquisition of land that did not belong to them and the multiple mass genocides of Native American and African people. Though we tend not to speak about those horrific periods in our history, it is within those times that America built this strong economic system the United States stands on. And although our wealth is constructed solely of colored people’s sweat and blood, it is the white supremacist government that still holds the power of the economic system and the majority of the wealth in the United States of America.

As much as the USA preaches that we are “One Country, With Liberty and Justice for All,” it fails to recognize the inequality of the economic system today, which even the Civil Rights Movement has not changed. African Americans may not be as openly oppressed and mistreated as they were back then, but the continuation of unfair money distribution and mistreatment of education limits African Americans in this country in their ability to be able to move up and progress like those of the white population.

So when petty, excusing, hush-up speeches are made by this country’s President such as this one, “We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices…. But one of the things you’ve learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses…And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured – and overcame,” it truly hits me with agony.

How can one mask the damage of centuries with the actions up front? Being an African-American in this country, I have no control over “my destiny.” How can one have control over something that was made up for them before their life even started? I can continue to do as I please, or think I’m doing as I please, but in the end, this system is set up in a way that makes it unthinkably impossible for the people of color as a whole to be at an equal point with white people. That is no “excuse,” that is the reality of this system.

The hardships of this time are just as important as the hardships before us. They should not be swept under the rug simply because one feels as though they do not meet the same national standards as for what is deemed important or not. Many speak about The Civil Rights Movement as a life-changing event, as a turnaround in the history of the United States of America, marked by the defiance and the courage of African American people finally standing up for what they deserve: equal and fair treatment. But, has that historical event really had a durable impact on the African American community, or was it just a symbolic occurrence for our history books? Or a reference shut down for the oppression dealt with today? In all honesty, not much has physically changed today towards creating an equal and fair distribution of wealth for the communities of people of color, keeping them in a constant state of oppression.

School systems will continue to fail children of color; that is out of the hands of young minds, yet it is blamed on them if they are not learning at the same pace as the rest. On top of that, children of color have higher rates of being “pushed” out of high schools under stricter punishments. Forty percent (40%) of students expelled from US schools each year are African-American, and African-American students are three half times more likely to be suspended than white students. If the system is set up for children of color to fail at a young age, they will fail, and it’s not in any way their, or their parents’, fault.

The United States as it is, has, and always will, run off of some sort of economic system, whether it be equal or unequal. Our education, law, food, employment chances, and housing are all centered around some means of wealth, which is why this issue is so crucial. In order for all people to have equal and fair chances at succeeding in life, we must dismantle this current system that we have and create a new one that allows us to all start off at the same starting line.