Saturday, July 5, 2008

Are African-Americans really free?

by Donald Maher

This could perhaps be the most sensitive, loaded, hot-button topic of our generation. What is our measuring stick of freedom. If you have the write to vote, to work, to bear arms, and have the ability to speak what is on your mind, then that would lead me to believe that, yes, African-Americans are free and enjoy the rights that are granted to everyone under the constitution. Racism is something that exists in our society today against people from all walks of life. I do believe there are people out there who will not give opportunity to one person but may chose to give it to another based on the color of skin, ethnicity, or religious belief. Right there this becomes more than just an African American issue. In a perfect world this would not exists and problems such as these would be written about in fiction novels. The problem is the stereotypes that our society has labeled different groups with. Not every Muslim has a bomb strapped to his chest. Not every Jewish person hangs on to every nickel. Not every white person is a skinhead and runs around burning crosses. Not every black person refuses to work and had twelve kids. These are the views that hide in the back of our minds and in some cases is very much right on the surface that people display in acts of hatred. The reality is that one bad apple can spoil the bunch. It's a shame that in such a technologically advanced world, we still have a very primitive thought process when relating to matters such as this one.

The answer is in hard work and determination, one person at a time. It is unfair to have one person carry the faults of few because they share one commonality. It is also unfair, however, to blame the stereotypes every time something goes wrong. There has to be some accountability. An example is the current Michael Vick saga. Some people share the opinion that this is a racial issue. Unless all the dogs he killed were white, we have no race issue here whatsoever. He is a high profile African-American man, who made a series of bad choices. he illegally funded a dog fighting operation, for six years. That is not a one night mistake when you screw up and say I'm sorry. It was a well thought out and clever scheme to make money. The part that really tugs at the heartstrings of all Americans regardless of their background, is the way the under performing dogs were killed. It should open the door to some serious psychiatric evaluation. You can't be wrapped to tight if your running around from defensive lineman on Sunday and electrocuting dogs on Monday. This is where the"thug" stereotype comes into the picture. People say that he was only brought on charges for being a thug. Is that not exactly what this is? If the thug lifestyle involved planting tulips and baking oatmeal cookies, I think it's fare to say i wouldn't Be hearing about this on CNN. This is just a bad guy who happens to be African-American, not a bad guy because he's African-American.

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