Viewing the account of the lasting impact of slavery in America proved to be a challenging emotional experience. I am deeply disturbed by the inhumane treatment of black women throughout slavery and that some of these injustices persist in our society today. The emotions I experienced while watching the fifth episode were overwhelming – I felt a sense of anger, frustration, and unease throughout. The episode highlighted the ongoing consequences of racism and slavery in modern-day America. The black men’s fear and struggles while navigating life under oppression. It was painful to witness their attempts at passive protests and resistance, which were ultimately futile against the deep-rooted system of oppression established by those who have benefited from generations of inequality.
Various ideologies of power still stand today. To disrupt these tactics, it is imperative that the police department takes responsibility for the unjust killings that have taken place and works towards rectifying this situation. This involves holding officers accountable for their actions and ensuring that those who have committed crimes serve their due time in jail. Closed cases also need to be reopened so that justice can be served. Additionally, the police department must be demilitarized. Using Vietnam War-level ammunition on civilians is unjustifiable and only escalates violence. Derrick Ingram is a shining example of an activist fighting against the current system. I am committed to supporting his organization, Warriors in the Garden, in their efforts to bring about meaningful change.
In today’s America, the legacy of centuries of miscegenation is still strongly felt, although it may be more subtle and woven into the fabric of society. One way this legacy plays out is through racial identity. The concept of race and racial categories developed in part as a means to justify the oppression and subjugation of certain groups, including those of mixed racial heritage. People of mixed race with black ancestry are typically categorized as black, which can result in negative consequences. Interracial couples and families continue to face social stigma and discrimination, and mixing different racial groups can still be a source of conflict and tension in some areas.
Black women have been and continue to be at the forefront of fighting for reproductive rights and access to healthcare, as well as challenging harmful stereotypes and representations of black women’s bodies in the media. They have also been instrumental in activism and social justice movements. Black women have tirelessly used their voices and bodies to demand change and have played pivotal roles in movements such as the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. Their activism has fought not only for their rights but also for the rights of other marginalized groups. Gender has been a crucial factor in their experiences and struggles, as they have faced intersecting forms of discrimination and oppression as both black people and women.
Fear has been weaponized against black men and has been cited as a factor in many cases of police brutality and killings. This is a despicable reality, as it allows police officers to get away with murder by using fear as a justification for their actions. The fear of black men has been perpetuated by harmful stereotypes and systemic racism, which have led to the criminalization of blackness and the portrayal of black men as inherently dangerous. This fear has also been used to silence opposition and dissenting voices, particularly black women and other marginalized groups. The intersectionality of gender and race means that black men face unique forms of oppression, which those in power have weaponized to maintain the status quo and uphold systems of inequality. Ultimately, the weaponization of fear against black men is a symptom of a larger problem of institutionalized racism and the need for systemic change.
The quote, “The freedom of black women is freedom for everyone oppressed in America,” resonates deeply with me for its all-encompassing nature. When black women are granted true freedom, it has a ripple effect that extends to every oppressed group in America, as they are systematically the most oppressed group in the country. The impact of cultural stereotypes on black women has had negative consequences on policies, which have been inexplicably warped. The mention of black resistance in this context is particularly poignant, as every type of resistance is met with police brutality, whether passive or rebellious. These words are painful to hear, but the evidence is apparent in the countless martyrs who have lost their lives in the fight against white supremacy and neo-slavery oppression. Even passive rebellion is not immune to violence, as seen in the assassination of many leaders.
Given the lingering fear of uncertainty, I feel a deep sense of concern, worry, and frustration. The reality is that I don’t have to match any particular profile to become a target of police brutality, which leads me to limit my time outside. This fear is concerning and frustrating, as many of the black community’s measures and efforts to address these issues have fallen on deaf ears. There is a sense of urgency to this issue, as it is a problem that cannot be left unresolved. The pain, anger, and guilt that I feel for my ancestors is also a source of frustration, as I believe they could have done better and perhaps prevented the horrors of slavery from happening in the first place. Overall, these emotions reflect the ongoing struggle for justice and equality, and the need for action to address the systemic issues plaguing our society.
During the interview, the interviewees shared their personal experiences and emotions raw and honestly without holding back. There were moments of pause as they processed difficult events and memories. Nicole Hannah Jones, the main speaker and interviewer of this project, spoke with clear and professional language while also being sensitive to the feelings of those being interviewed. She made a conscious effort to connect with her interviewees and hear their unique perspectives on the issues. The descriptive English language used by all those involved added depth and richness to their stories. I particularly appreciated Hannah Jones’s welcoming and non-intrusive tone, which helped create a safe and comfortable space for the interviewees to share their intricate experiences. To further put them at ease, she also switched between formal and informal language, catering to the individual needs of her interviewees. Overall, the interview was a powerful testament to the importance of listening to and honoring the voices of those who have been marginalized and oppressed.