Divided Roots

The United States has been a “melting pot” of various groups since its inception. This pool of individuals from different parts of the world helped in building the America we’ve come to know and love. Our American family now comprises of those from as far as the shores of Africa, from Europe and Asia, as well as from South America and the Caribbean. The joy of having different groups in one country whose desires are to secure the American Dream should be looked at as a blessing, but many see the diverse faces as a curse. One of the reasons this country’s racial tensions continue to haunt us is the presence of old ideas, which still dominates our 21st century America.

The historical textbooks’ shows the struggles of the Native-Americans to the Japanese-Americans and their desires to live peacefully with European settlers. The details of the lives of African-Americans as slaves, and men, women, and children from different parts of European countries are emblazoned in different narratives. African-Americans came as slaves who are still fighting relentlessly to escape oppression and to craft lives, which are free from imprisonment and poverty.

One fact remains is that those who created the American doctrines were slave-owners like America’s first president, George Washington. Washington had over one-hundred slaves and did not initiate any freedom options for them even as the first president. Upon his death, the slaves were passed on to his wife, Martha.

In fact, the troubling pattern of slavery and Europeans did not start and end with Washington; because emblazoned in America’s history is the longevity of slavery.

History is our only hope for change

History cannot be erased, because it offers concrete truths, which are necessary to have important conversations about change. One way that America hides from its inhumane past is by convincing non-white groups that the American flag is a symbol of freedom for all who enters its land. Quite contrary to that egregious half-truth is the historical evidence that proves that white-Americans are the only citizens who secured freedom while other groups were marginalized.

What U.S. history has taught us is that the flag and the installment of democracy were the sole ideas of the authors of the Constitution. The Native-Americans were present, but did not get to decide the fate of this country; African-Americans were slaves when the design of the flag was introduced to congress in 1777, and most certainly had no freedom to give input.

The flag is an important symbol of identification for the people within a country. It promotes pride and honor to every citizen, and the American flag is a sign of freedom, but for white Americans. Other groups had to face oppressive scrutiny to be considered members of the American family, and that fight is still taking place today. There’s no doubt that the men from Great Britain who left England in search of freedom failed to give freedom to Native-Americans and African-Americans. It’s that knowledge of history that ignites different protests in the United States, and some athletes like African-American track stars, Vince Matthews and Wayne Collett in 1972 refused to acknowledge the American anthem as it played. Currently, more African-American athletes like Marshawn Lynch, and Colin Kaepernick have been carrying the history of protesting the flag because of its history of inflicting pain and despair on African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latin-Americans.

We are living in a 21st century world that offers us the chance to analyze the past and engage in constructive dialogue. Sadly, many times it seems as though we are living strictly in this moment and entrenched only in belief systems without any care for the younger generations who still look for guidance. They are inheriting a chaotic world with many imbalances, but there is opportunity to change.

The younger generations have been taught linear conclusions about this country’s history. Non-white children view this country as one that gives advantages and freedom only to white Americans while other cultures struggle to gain the same respect and accolades. We must change that mental framework for it is the cause of many separations in this country. We must begin a journey of change so that our current climate of pandemonium will not follow our children into the future.