Nathaniel Sawyer



Colonized People Forced to Assimilate: On Stolen Land

African Americans, stolen from Africa, were forced into slavery. Through this, they traumatically lost their culture, history, and identity. Throughout the history of the United States, African Americans have had to fight to receive basic human rights. Some say that they should “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” But the question remains on how to do that when these people started out with no boots.

Lacking resources, family connections, faith, culture, and education, the history of African Americans is one of having been robbed. Physically stolen, not only were their bodies taken but in doing so they were also robbed of their dignity, language, faith traditions, culture—their very names were stripped. The future of Africa’s knowledge was stripped from her bosom, in a brain drain effect, and used for the white man’s pleasure, and gain.

Black people picked crops before there was a massive wave of Latinx and undocumented workers today. The only difference between Latinx and African Americans is that they were called property, raped, and forced to be illiterate. There was no United Nations decree to protect Black people from slavery, because all international states had Black slaves. If they tried to flee from the tortures of slavery we were punished. Black and brown people who tried to read were punished. As the white man’s generation lived to fight for the freedoms they believed in, Black people just tried to survive, and keep the U.S. wheels turning in the right direction. Christianity was forced upon African Americans.

The soul of the Black person was stolen and forced to relive their trauma every day in America. The same people who were stolen and forced to be slaves are now the highest percentage in the prison system. There is a school to prison pipeline, that our policymakers seem to only discuss during political seasons but never address. Young boys and girls are being forced into jail cells before puberty. You might ask why? Well, the cycle continues to repeat itself. The same young boys and girls that are stolen from adolescence and placed into jail cells or boys and girls homes because they can’t communicate their feelings after “breaking the law” or “getting in trouble” will be the next generation of parents, if they get out of the system. The United States is a hypocrite because not every group of people had opportunities to develop in this country. If America were the place for equity, African Americans never would have had to fight a civil war to be free. If America was the place for equity, Black people in the U.S. would have been protected from white supremacy and Jim Crowe laws. Black people went from slavery to the ghetto. Without Black people, there would be no America.

In the era of Trump and Black Lives Matter, we see the explosion of the African American community after the death of George Floyd, and so many others after him. George Floyd’s death was a domino effect of everything the African American community continues to fight against which is systemic racism. Systemic racism is just another form of racism that is embedded in the policies and laws of colonizers and very smart white supremacists. African American culture is not taught in history books. So, white leaders allowed the country to celebrate Black history once a month, instead of bringing light to the work of the Black man and woman. Black people are even limited from certain leadership positions. Black children are given lower-level education and are suspended and do not complete their adolescent education compared to their Caucasian peers.

The narrative of the African American has been stolen to appease white society. Black men and women who learn the knowledge that white men and women offer, sometimes assimilate to their culture to protect their mentality and well-being. To live Black is the most dangerous situation in America. So, the best way to live a more successful and fulfilling life would be to say what the white man wants to hear, act like the white man wants to see, and never blame the white man for struggles, hardship, and trauma.

Imagine being the first in your family to graduate high school or college and be Black. Now, it is time to apply for jobs. Black people must smile more than usual, and dress and look approachable whether it’s for a position at McDonald’s or for an accounting firm. There are not many employees in white-collar careers that are African American so, employers unbiasedly judge immediately off skin color first, wardrobe second, and later your words. If an African American gets a job that he/she most likely deserves they are forced to act in the environment they are surrounded with or lose the position. African American women are treated with sexism and can be looked at as angry by appearances alone. African American men are looked at as angry and uneducated based on the lack of African American men in positions of power. The identity of the African American is being erased by the same people who put them in chains.