For many years people have been whipped, raped, assaulted, silenced, mistreated and judged by their gender, beliefs, or the color of their skin. The social movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights called the African-American Civil Rights Movement which lasted almost fifteen years. There has been a countless amount of struggle in many countries for peace and equality due to discrimination. The history of unfair laws and restrictions that were made led to unfortunate violence, riots and disagreements around the world.
From slavery, black people were treated like wild animals by whites being sold, traded and forced to work against their will by the Jim Crow law which was the name of the racial caste system that operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, for over 20 years. The Bus Boycott that officially started on December 1, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relocated to the back when a white boarded. Even though there was lots of struggle in the past years, there were leaders who led black people to revolution to try to improve and or try to erase discrimination and unfairness between races. Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. Rosa Parks, Malcom-X, and Ida b Wells who were all civil rights movement leaders.
As you may have heard the story of Rosa Parks, when she refused to move out of her seat on the bus on December 1, 1955, and soon was later arrested. Rosa Parks is one of the most romanticized personages in the Montgomery cast of characters. While this is true, there is more to the story. Rosa was educated; she had attended the laboratory school at Alabama State College because there was no high school for blacks in Montgomery at that time, but had decided to become a seamstress because she could not find a job to suit her skills. When she was arrested, she had recently completed a workshop on race relations at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. And she was a well-respected woman with a spotless record.
However, it is not only the struggle of black people but also for all races, who have all struggled in their own way to try and find peace and fight for equality. For many years there have been conflicts between different races causing riots, and violence wanting for equality and better future to come. Its discrimination and stereotyping that keeps us apart, it may not be as extreme as slavery but we still have the problems of racism today. I have been living in Oakville for 12 years and have been called a “Nigger” countless amount of times, and always been 1 out of 2 or 3 black people in my class. To this I thought it wouldn’t matter, because I went to school for the same reasons as everyone else; to get my education, make friends, and have a good time at school. However, I had some difficulty at first with the many name calling and stereotyping faced to me at such a young age. Where I began to wonder if my skin color is what defined me.
The novel “The Help.” In, Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s, all a woman was ever supposed to be was a wife. Aibileen is a black maid who is in the process of raising her seventeenth white child. She never dreamt of being anything other than a maid, but she is tired of the poor treatment she has dealt with her whole life.
Us as humans are one, and should not be treating each other like separate beings. Even till this today there’s hate, discrimination, racism being passed down by generation to generation. In 2012, 17 year old boy named Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed for being racially profiled in a “white neighbourhood”. It’s upsets me that after all this time that still everyone doesn’t fully accept each other for who they are. In some cultures and time periods, many people’s ethnicity or gender has weighed on the value of their voice in relations to others.
Considering this, voice is a privilege earned through struggle. What is the difference between you and me? I have parents, loved ones and friends. I have two eyes, arms and legs, a heart and a name. But based on our past and the tragic news of Trayvon and others like him, I am afraid I will never be seen as myself but yet just a colour. Is that what I am? A simple colour? And because of this I will be mistreated, put down and not aloud the same rights as others? We are all humans, and I believe if we continue to pass down hate we will never change, and peace will never fully come. Is this is what you want for the future of our children? Hate and separation?
The world is full of so many beautiful and unique things. Experiencing many different cultures, languages and sceneries. I want people in the future to be able to see more than just “black and white.” My name is Shanice Armstrong; I am 21 years old and will not let my colour define who I am nor how I portray other people I meet along the way.