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American Ethnicity: Race and the Need for Equality

The two videos provided mainly anchor their messages around race and the need for equality. The video “The Myth of Race, Debunked in 3 Minutes” especially shows that race is not a genetic issue; it cannot be transmitted from one person to another. It shows that the issue of race is a human creation that can also be removed whenever someone wants. The video reveals that someone can change their race from one to another. This is possible because different societies, especially America, have created and killed some races and even made it possible that some can choose to say they do not belong to any race. Most importantly, it reveals that race belongs to the mind of those who decide to build issues around it.

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On the other hand, “You Must Learn” shows the need for people to learn how important it is to realize the systemic method of teaching issues around race. It reveals that people have been taught in specific ways to make them feel superior or inferior. It shows how the black people are considered to have come from the cursed lineage of Ham, who was cursed. However, the artist goes further to enumerate the significant contributions of the black people in the history of America and the world.

These two videos reveal there have been changes over the years, where people considered to belong to some race became identified in other areas of life. The videos show common origins of race as being human creations. They both reveal that the barriers that humans made have in different ways been broken through natural methods, scientific discoveries, and personal efforts. Most importantly, the videos teach that the race of race can be removed if people understand its initial origin.

The two videos, “The Myth of Race, Debunked in 3 Minutes” and “You Must Learn,” are both made to address the issue of race. Several themes emerge from both videos, all of which build the overall theme of both films. In “The Myth of Race, Debunked in 3 Minutes”, the narrator reveals that race is a creation of human beings and supports the assertion by pointing to the many times when America created various races in censors. In “You Must Learn,” the artist reveals the origin of ideas of race and gives reasons why it is a concept of human creation, systematically taught in schools and accepted as the truth. Furthermore, the videos highlight the origin of race, where the blacks were categorized as such because of issues that made them look inferior.

The minor themes identified in the two videos build on the need for people to learn and disassociate themselves from race discrimination. The videos reveal that despite the racial differences created by humans, each person possesses equal powers and talents to make a change in the world. They say that everyone can decide to embrace a given thought, and it is up to them to determine if they can live with such notions. The two videos show that black communities and other non-white races were considered less superior, though all of them played crucial roles in the history of the world. Consequently, they call everyone’s attention to see the need for exploring better issues beyond race. They call for new forms of learning to understand that race was a created phenomenon that should not bring division among human beings. This is important because understanding the equality of human life can go a long way toward creating a more functional society, where each people can become helpful and create a better world for the next generations.

The article titled “There Was No Other Way” is a fictional story narrating the ordeals of the slaves trying to escape from their masters. The story depicts how difficult it was for those captured, many of who were derived from African countries through the Atlantic. After their capture many of them in underground railroads and returned home to no welcome. Most of the children of the slaves grew in tough situations. At some time, those who tried to escape realized they did not know where they were heading, thus had to return to where they had come from to join other slaves. Those who tried to escape and were captured endured extreme difficulties in the hands of their masters, sometimes dying due to the intense beatings. According to the author, “it was the grave the runaways fought against, for that was their destination if these men prevailed and returned them to their master” (Whitehead 4). The slaves were considered less than humans, they “were property for them” to do as they willed.

Slaves were not treated as humans and for this reason they desired to be freed from their masters. However, it was difficult to be set free as their captors found free labor in them. The stories of pain and forced labor did not fascinate new slaves. When they thought about how they would be treated, they desired to be free from slavery. For instance, reading about what escapees experienced revealed to them that they too would most likely be subjected to such torture. It meant that if they continued to be slaves, then at one point they would find themselves in situations where they would be beaten to death. Such experiences were breaking them, and they to become free from their captors as early as possible before they could be subjected to such tormenting experiences.

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The Indians are considered the indigenous inhabitants of America. However, there have been several occurrences that have seen the Indian culture and traditions become extinct due to problems of race and discrimination. In the video “Rebel Music: Native America | Extended Episode” four indigenous musicians and activists reveal how they use art to incite change among their communities. These activists’ acts are like those of the times of slaves who used various arts and music to push for antislavery reforms and at the same time show their enduring spirit amidst the torture.

The story of the “Blues People” is similar to that of the indigenous Indo-Americans, as depicted in the “Rebel Music”. The slaves at the time invented music such as blues, jazz, soul, and hip hop to communicate the deeply rooted message of resilience amidst the tough times they faced. These music genres were deeply tooted to the slavery in America and went back to the experiences in Africa. For instance, in jazz, the musicians told their stories regarding how they transformed their music as a result of their slavery. It is crucial to note that the artists could not all tell the same story due to their diverse backgrounds and individual experiences. However, some outstanding truths joined their music and made them one genre or the other. One of the origins of the blues, jazz, hip hop, and souls were all desired by the American people based on their actions and inactions to sensitive matters that touched on fellow humans.

Like the blue people’s music, the current Indo-Americans are rising because they have been neglected for a long and their rights have been trampled. It is common for one to associate America with the whites, although these whites are not considered of Indian descent, as they have been extremely been ignored in some crucial matters. For instance, the recent Black Lives Matter focused more on the life of the people of color as the most ignored community in America, thus shifting the attention to them only, ignoring other potential communities with similar issues. The desire for equality, which pushed the Afro-Americans to compose and perform defiant rebel music through jazz and other genres is the same spirit that pushes current junior Indians.

It is also crucial to note that the blue people’s songs such as jazz and hip hop were not sung by the original slaves. The songs were later arranged or composed by some generations after the initial ones experienced the real torment of being slaves in the hands of their masters. These grandchildren of slaves did not have the exact experiences of their great grandparents, however, they understood that after a series of pushed reforms, those who were their masters did not listen to their cry for being fellow humans. While slavery continued to be tolerated in America, such as through denial of equal rights, the Afro-Americans sang to help spread the message to all people who found it pleasurable to listen to the story of one person, who spoke the minds of many. The current Indo-Americans are singing or using their various arts to communicate a deeply rooted issue of ignoring the place of indigenous people of America. They cry about their degraded systems of life and culture. They are protesting cultural loss or mockery by some people in America. They are speaking the minds of many who do not have the voice and platforms to share the same stories.

The “Rebel Music” video is also similar to blues music because it is not pure in its form. For instance, jazz, blues, and hip hop were a result of cultural interactions between blacks and whites. The interaction between the two communities created a form of understanding in which both sides of the divide contributed aspects that enriched the music experience. While the Afro-American people tried to connect with their original home, they told their stories in America. They were physically disconnected from Africa, even though their hearts and souls were deeply in touch with the values and spirit of their ancestors (Craddock-Willis 31). For instance, the black slaves used some of the European instruments and diatonic scales to create their African effects and tastes. While these cannot be said of the current Indo-American musicians, still there is a unique taste of Indian music that distinguishes it from that of the rest of the world. Therefore, in trying to communicate the indigenous American frustrations, the music takes the tastes of both sides, rather than being purely Indian.

Another common trait of “Rebel Music” and blues, jazz, hip hop, and soul is that the artists come from a wide range of communities. India is a big country and currently with the second largest population in the world. Similarly, many African slaves were taken from different parts of the continent, and they collectively became a single community. While their experiences in their countries differed, they were joined together by the oppressor from their slave masters. The Indian American community has also joined hands to fight against their oppression despite being the indigenous community in the country. They become a single culture unified to make their voices heard through all the possible means. It is worth admitting that the current forces are not as hard to break as they were in the 16th century. In present times getting a stage is easy and opens to the world, depicting the ease of passing their message to the intended audience.

The black people fought for freedom for quite a long time and got little to none going through. They continued to push for reforms so that the government and authorities could save them from the cruel hands of their masters, but they did not instantly attain the desired outcomes. Even when the emancipation of proclamation that meant gave America its founding ideas were announced, some masters were not ready to let their slaves go.

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The founding ideas meant that everyone whether black or white, young or old, would be treated equally in the sight of the law. That meant that everyone would have equal rights to life, the right to travel in the country, the right to own property, and the right to vote. According to Oshinsky in “Worse Than Slavery”, some African Americans were still treated as slaves. The author reveals that after the proclamation of founding ideals, “Dey did free us tho about three or fo months after dis” (Oshinsky 14), showing the continued acts even after salary was considered illegal.

Even though the founding ideals had been proclaimed and slavery considered illegal, some whites continued to show their supremacy by detaining their slaves. According to the author, “these planters sought a way to control black labor now that slavery had expired” (Oshinsky 15). In this case, the blacks who had not moved to cities and towns were easily controlled so they would not get news regarding their freedom. Oshinsky further reports that “some slaves were not even told they were free. Their masters, believing emancipation to be illegal or immoral, refused to spread the word. This caused problems in the deep interior counties of Mississippi, where towns were scattered, plantations were isolated, and news could be tightly controlled” (Oshinsky 14). Therefore, the slaves continued to suffer at the hands of their former masters.

To some extent, the former masters or white supremacists refused to acknowledge black people as equal. According to Oshinsky, “One must be superior–one must be dominant.” he wrote. “If the negro should be the master, the whites must either abandon the territory, or there will be another civil war in the South… and [it will] be a war of extermination”(Oshinsky 18). In this case, the former masters who discriminated against the black people made it apparent that they would not treat the people of color with regard, which meant that they would rather leave the land or fight them.

Jones revealed that his dad flew an American flag in front of their yard. This possibly after the announcement of the illegality of slavery. After the proclamation was made, the whites and blacks could not stay together as friends or families. According to Jones, “the Mississippi of my dad’s youth was an apartheid state that subjugated its near-majority black population through breathtaking acts of violence.” (Hannah-Jones 1). The author reveals that his father had paid the price when the slaves were becoming free. His father may have escaped the aggression level against the black people, especially due to the equal rights to own property and to be free. The author states, “White residents in Mississippi lynched more black people than those in any other state in the country, and the white people in my dad’s home county lynched more black residents than those in any other county in Mississippi…” (Hannah-Jones 1). In addition to these atrocities against the black people, they were denied the right to vote and to join the military.

Jones revealed that he was ashamed because his father flew the American flag, even though the country had treated them as fewer humans. He revealed that the black community had paid the ultimate price to ensure that the United States of America was what it was and that without the black people, there would be no US. The over 600,000 African slaves in America transformed the lands into some of the greatest colonies in the British Empire. The Africans labored and cleared the in the Southeast. They brought insights to the colonists, such as growing rice that would then be exported to other countries. The African slaves picked cotton that became America’s most profitable commodity, which accounted for the country’s 66 per cent export. The black slaves built the foundations of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, all of which are considered attractive monuments to the present day.

The black slaves also laid the foundations of the Capitol and the White House, and in chained hands, placed the Statue of Freedom. They laid the wooden railroad tracks that were used to transport cotton from the south, thus fueling the Industrial Revolution. Apart from material wealth, the black people also contributed immensely to American freedom. The black people played a crucial role in American democracy. Despite the immense contribution of the people of color to the development of America, the black community has continued to pay the heavy price of neglect and mistreatment. They have continued to face various forms of injustices, including lynching and police brutality.

The journey of liberating America has not been easy, especially due to the policies exacted by every government and other dynamics in the economy. The struggle for democracy is one that still must be fought to ensure that the country can remain true to its founding ideals. While the struggle for freedom has been led by the black people, it is time to realize that democracy belongs to everybody. The ultimate solution to the problem is when all people join hands in the struggle for liberation and equality in America. Minorities such as Asians, Indians, and Arabs, can join black people and speak one voice of the need for equal treatment in all matters of immigration and freedom. President Trump’s approach to immigration of Muslims, for example, showed deeply rooted ideas, which is left to grow will result in more harm to the Muslims or other minority groups. Therefore, this struggle belongs to everyone and should not be left to the black communities.

Works Cited

Boogie down productions – you must learn.YouTube, uploaded by BoogieDwnProdVEVO (n.d), Web.

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Craddock-Willis, Andre. “Rap music and the black musical tradition: a critical assessment.” Radical America vol. 23, no, 4, (1989), pp. 29-37.

Hannah-Jones, Nikole. “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” The New York Times (2019).

Oshinsky, David M. Worse than slavery. Simon and Schuster, 1997.

“The myth of race, debunked in 3 minutes.” YouTube, uploaded by Vox, 13, Web.

Whitehead, Colson. “There was no other way.” The New York Times, 2016.

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