While reading the article Brainwashed there was one quote that stood out to me in particular. “when calculating the achievement of the ‘American Dream’ [African Americans] are still ranked at the bottom of a good list, and at the top of the bad lists.” Unfortunately, this narrative has is still a common depiction of African Americans from outside people looking in on our communities. However I personally feel like although this may ring some truth it is mostly in the perspective of the other groups looking down on the Black community. As I reflect over the last few days one specific story line has repeated itself. The white community saying that black people couldn't do xyz, then those same African Americans turn around and do exactly what others said they could not do. People said that blacks couldn't be educated but the people like WEB Dubois end up graduating from IVY league schools like Harvard University. It was said that black people could not fly planes, but the Tuskegee Airman not only flew planes in WWII but they were highly requested because they never lost anyone when they anyone when the accompanied them on missions. African Americans because citizens of the United States, were elected to office after the Civil War, they eventually desegregated the south, and got the voting rights act passed. Now we have an African American as President of the United States of America. So although in some cases the quote above can be argued to be a true statement there is certainly another narrative that needs to be told.
However, I am not saying that there isn’t still work needed to be done, there definitely is. The reason I say that the quote above rings some truth is because as I read all three articles The Rebirth of Caste, Activism and Service-Learning: Reframing Volunteerism as Acts of Dissent,The Scorch at the Bottom of the Melting Pot the common theme that seems to be repeating itself is the idea that people do not want to change. Not only people but the social make up of our society as a whole in truth is in many ways still the same as it was during slavery and during Jim Crow.
However the reading The Rebirth of Caste is one that really stood out to me was the argument that our society claims that it has eliminated laws like black codes, Jim Crow laws, and separate but equal these laws are still reflected in places like our incarceration system, schools, and segregated neighborhoods. Mass incarceration of African Americans is nothing new to American history. They mass incarcerated slaves in ships as they were stolen from their homeland, the mass incarcerated African Americans as they were protesting from their rights, and now we mass incarcerate African American men for any little thing. and I personally believe that White America has structured society this way to take away the black vote as much as possible. Because once you become a felon you can no longer exercise that right. So when you look at society that way it is easy to think African Americans have and always will be at the bottom on the totem pole. But on the flip side, when you look at the amazing things we have accomplished throughout history and how our resistance has made progressive change one can also argue that stagnant position of African Americans is slowly but surely changing.