Race Relations in the U.S.

I've discovered the real roots of America these past few days
and decided that writing about it was better than killing an innocent
victim to soothe the hostility I feel towards my heritage. I picked up
a pen because it was safer than a gun. This was a valuable lesson I've
learned from my forefathers, who did both. Others in my country react
on instinct and choose not to deliberate the issue as I have. If they
are black, they are imprisoned or dead. As The People vs. Simpson
storms through its ninth month, the United States awaits the landmark
decision that will determine justice. O.J. Simpson would not have had
a chance in 1857. Racial segregation, discrimination, and degradation
are no accidents in this nation's history. The loud tribal beat
of pounding rap rhythm is no coincidence. They stem logically from the
legacy the Founding Fathers bestowed upon contemporary America with
regard to the treatment of African-Americans, particularly the black
slave woman. This tragedy has left the country with a weak moral
foundation.

The Founding Fathers, in their conception of a more perfect
union, drafted ideas that communicated the oppression they felt as
slaves of Mother England. Ironically, nowhere in any of their
documents did they address the issue of racial slavery. The
Declaration of Independence from England was adopted as the country's
most fundamental constitutional document. It was the definitive
statement for the American policy of government, of the necessary
conditions for the exercise of political power, and of the sovereignty
of the people who establish the government. John Hancock, president of
the Continental Congress and slave trader, described it as "the Ground
& Foundation of a future government." James Madison, Father of the
Constitution and slave owner, called it "the fundamental Act of Union
of these States." "All men are created equal," and endowed by the
Creator with the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness." They either meant that all men were created
equal, that every man was entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness, or they did not mean it at all.

The Declaration of Independence was a white man's document
that its author rarely applied to his own or any other slave. Thomas
Jefferson suspected blacks were inferior. These suspicions, together
with his prophecy that free blacks could not harmoniously co-exist
with white men for centuries to come, are believed to be the primary
reasons for his contradictory actions toward the issue of slavery. At
the end of the eighteenth century, Jefferson fought the infamous Alien
& Sedition Acts, which limited civil liberties. As president, he
opposed the Federalist court, conspiracies to divide the union, and
the economic plans of Alexander Hamilton. Throughout his life, Thomas
Jefferson, hypocrite, slave holder, pondered the conflict between
American freedom and American slavery. He bought and sold slaves; he
advertised for fugitives; he ordered disciplinary lashes with a horse
whip. Jefferson understood that he and his fellow slave holders
benefited financially and culturally from the sweat of their black
laborers. One could say he regarded slavery as a necessary evil. In
1787, he wrote the Northwest Ordinance which banned slavery in
territory acquired from Great Britain following the American
Revolution. However, later as a retired politician and ex-president,
Jefferson refused to free his own slaves, counseled young white
Virginia slave holders against voluntary emancipation of theirs, and
even favored the expansion of slavery into the western territories. To
Jefferson, Americans had to be free to worship as they desired. They
also deserved to be free from an overreaching government. To
Jefferson, Americans should also be free to possess slaves.

In neither of the Continental Congresses nor in the
Declaration of Independence did the Founding Fathers take an
unequivocal ezd against black slavery. Obviously, human bondage and
human dignity were not as important to them as their own political
and economic independence. It was not an admirable way to start a new
nation. The Constitution created white privilege while consolidating
black bondage. It didn't matter that more than 5,000 blacks had joined
in the fight for independence only to discover real freedom didn't
apply to them. Having achieved their own independence, the patriots
exhibited no great concern to extend the blessings of liberty to those
Americans with black skin. Black people were thought of as inferior
beings, animals. "You can manage ordinary niggers by lickin' em