I believe that being American means being able to become anything you want to be, freedom and opportunity. That which you have to fight fiercely for unless you are of the one superior race. One race has all of the advantages from birth and everyone else faces discrimination, hardship and poverty. Being American means that everyone has an opportunity to succeed, depending upon what race you belong to determines how much harder it is to actually succeed. African Americans, especially men, face discrimination from those in positions to help them.
During Reconstruction, this idea was demonstrated when the “Civil Rights Act of 1875” was repealed by the supreme court in Civil Rights Cases
This example shows that laws in favor in helping black people gain full citizenship and justice were put down because many white people still believed in a system where African Americans were at the bottom and didn’t deserve to share the same rights with them.
Similarly, events in modern times illustrate that black men are constantly harmed by authorities who are supposed to be there for help and security because the authorities are set in a position for African Americans to continuously fail.
In recent history, an African American rap artist was sentenced 2-4 years for a technical probation violation while a white rapist was sentenced to 6 months. This event shows that for many in America where there is indeed opportunities for all to succeed regardless of sex or race, there are entire systems to hinder certain peoples from succeeding and make opportunities unequal.
These events share many commonalities because they show the most prevalent struggles of the African American communities of their times and show that there is a system against African Americans hindering them from being able successful as a people.