Thursday, October 20, 2016

Black Lives: Why Citizenship Over Humanity?

Op Ed By A. Ensley

I believe that we thought that being human was something obvious and inferred in America. This has been the case throughout history as it related to all sorts of nationalities and races. What we did not anticipate, however, was the depth of the disgust our captors had for us.

They not only did not see us as worthy of being citizens. This was a people who could not or would not, recognize us as human beings! Although they considered themselves to be superior, the thought of humanity was not a topic of discussion.

Generations of Blacks sought to be a part of the country that they built. Citizenship, they believed, would pave the road for our deserving of “the vote”. Many battles ensued, both bloody ones and those that were waged silently. Some of these were fought during the Civil Rights years and resulted in our people being able to participate in the political process.

This was the realization of a dream to which we attributed a real and tangible way to steer our future. Voting, for us, was a means of actually controlling our destinies in this country and protecting posterity.

What Does Party Loyalty Produce?

Being massaged, lured and hypnotized by both major political parties over the years, still has not purchased us this existence. The common curtesy that comes along with humanity is not a right that can be assumed. This was true then and is most definitely true today. All too often, in the eyes of our fellow Americans we are treated and viewed as lesser.

The evidence of this has followed us from freedom, Jim Crow, Civil Rights and to our current state in 2016. The lives of young black men and women are held in such low esteem, that it becomes contagious. Every facet of life, whether on the streets, the small screen, motion pictures or the media, introduces a hint of this state.

This is not just apparent in the all too common police interactions where shooting result in many innocents being slaughtered, but in the response to simple protests of Black Lives Matter. Its blazon images can be viewed both through the words of one of country’s current candidates for President of the United States. The blatant and hidden messages speak volumes to our ears.

The Support of Leaders

The disdain is apparent by what is not said by people of status in different industries and fields. Leaders, politicians, religious figures and those who capture the American consciousness are far too silent when it comes to standing against what is obviously wrong. The mystery continues as we witness the outrage sparked by Kaepernick’s taking “the knee”.
Some who claim to be patriots and others sports fans have pointed him (and us by association) to a faraway continent that most of us will never get the chance to visit. His and our citizenship is called into question because we dare pause to ask a question. How could the land that we love, be comfortable with the treatment that many Blacks receive? Is it okay to be called human but treated as less than that?

Humanity and Citizenry Are Synonymous

Should we have demanded a constitutional requirement that confirmed our humanity and not a 3/5’s Compromise? We were certainly the ones compromised against. The stench that legal acts like this one produced a stigma that has followed us till this day. It is proof that some of our White counterparts feel is justification.

Citizenry is not the same for everyone in America. Deep inside its origin are allusions that all people of nation have equal rights. Without humane treatment, what does this hold for us and our children? Is it even possible to mandate such a thing, when nature itself hasn’t produced it in the hearts of men?

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