They were stuck in a world that they deemed true as it was their only form of reality. Their education was deprived. Their last bit of African culture was stripped away. Being shackled, beaten, and controlled was the everyday norm.
Plato was a Greek philosopher who wrote the publication The Republic, including the famous Allegory of the Cave, a dialogue which expresses the search for truth. The dialogue reveals the idea of how humans take things as they are and what they see as the complete truth. Allegory of the Cave is about prisoners that were chained from head to toe inside a cave, and were forced to see shadows on the walls of the cave that was created by a fire behind them.
Since the prisoners viewed the shadows all their lives, it was the only reality they acknowledged. When a prisoner leader stepped out of the cave and recognized the outside world, he began to ache to the fear of reality and was naturally inclined to go back.
Like the prisoners, slaves were forced to accept their world and dared not to step out. Escaping was sometimes easier said than done. Many Black Americans are still stuck in a cave of oppression and trauma due to our past. It has been persistent for so long that we have grown accustomed to certain behavior traits, without being fully aware.
The N-word is the greatest example. The word was meant to be used as a pejorative towards. It associates itself with white superiority and black inferiority. So why do many blacks still utilize this word? A small number of people may agree that using the N-word is no big deal; it is a new generation and the word is changing. It has become informal. A few blacks are comfortable with the word and have no problem spewing it out at any moment.
However, the word nigger defines a low black person: During the period of slavery, the derogatory term was used as if it were natural. It was normal to use the word against an enslaved black, and the slaves had no choice but to allow the word into their reality. As a result of generations and generations of blacks, as well as whites, psychologically accepting this word, many blacks have gotten comfortable with its use in our culture.
With my experiences of this word, I believe it is actually ironic that it is still lingering today. Some Black Americans who use this term believe they are a strong individual, but yet they bring their image down by referring to themselves as an ignorant person.
It is also ironic that blacks who suffer from adversity tend exploit this term, and then do not realize why they are stuck in their cave of misery. No matter how much the N-word is justified with power, on the grounds of freedom of speech or even ethnocide it is defacing the outlook of Black Americans.
Even though it is believed that blacks cannot rise and overcome, I believe we are completely capable of doing so, but we cannot begin if we are contradicting ourselves and our people by accepting that we are ruthless, ignorant individuals. I believe the N-word can be hidden like the terms coon and spook. We have been locked in a cave for so long that the N-word has stuck with us even as we leave the chains and the cave far behind. Americans are living in a time where technology and entertainment dominates our viewpoint and influences society greatly.
Black Americans have always been imitated especially in the aspect of the entertainment industry. In slavery, Minstrel shows were a popular, but yet strange, form of entertainment that developed in the s. The Minstrel shows consisted of white men who would blacken their faces with burnt cork, dress in tattered clothing, and perform skits that mocked not only slaves, but the entire image of Black Americans.
By the Civil War, Minstrel shows became well-known and respectable worldwide. After the emancipation, blacks were not only prisoners in their cave, but audience members watching their own people get ridiculed, like the dark shadows dancing on the wall from the fire behind them.
Slaves could not protest the appalling ridicule that was deemed entertainment, even after they were officially free. Brainwashing was the source of control. Awareness is the cure. In fact, Minstrel shows continued in America until the middle of the 20th century.
Today, entertainment by blacks for blacks and whites has evolved and taken on a new disguise, especially in black music, comedy, and film.
In modern times, some black entertainment continues to portray blacks negatively, such as gangsters, robbers, poor, unsophisticated, and uneducated. We are still chained head to toe, watching the stereotypes and believing every moment of it; not realizing that it is breaking the us down.
The obsession with skin color is another challenge to black identity. I believe this is the most powerful prejudice that the centuries of trauma of unfair treatment has left for us to overcome. Our expression of pride in our skin color has been diminished, and our pride for being naturally black is almost nowhere to be found. Many Black Americans witness Colorism on an everyday basis often from our own people. We encounter other blacks making hurtful comments and treating each other unfairly because of our skin color and hair, of course.
Colorism can be traced back historically. European colonization created a structure of white privilege over blackness. In slavery, lighter skinned slaves were often favored, given easier work, and thought of as smarter, whereas darker slaves were given tough work and were not considered superior to a mulatto or a lighter skinned slave.
This has been an issue for more than a century. Stereotypes are notorious when it comes to black skin complexion. Intelligence, cleanliness, friendliness, higher income, and better opportunities are often associated with lighter skinned blacks. Negative characteristics such as lack of education, dirtiness, unfriendliness, lower income, and misfortune are linked to darker blacks.
Studies have shown that darker skinned blacks experience lower socioeconomic status, problems with law enforcement and criminal justice systems. While researching this topic, I have learned how lighter skinned black women enjoy being put on a pedestal while darker skinned females suffer. Once again, this is one ironic outcome that American history created. While watching movies, commercials, music videos, and other forms of entertainment, I see how a Black American woman is usually played by a light skinned, straight-haired female.
While watching movies together with my mother, who grew up during the Civil Rights Movement, has noticed how the image of the black woman has disappeared. She explained that in her time, a black woman was represented by a woman with medium dark complexion with natural hair and a brick house figure. Today, it is somewhat replaced by a small figured, lighter skinned, straight haired female, which does not typically display the average look of a black female.
I have realized quite a few Black Americans prefer other lighter skinned Black Americans, possibly due to the fact that America is a Eurocentric nation to some extent. While researching more about this particular topic, I came across many articles that explained how black entertainment and hip-hop expose the new lighter skinned look for black women. Rappers, comedians, and television producers tend to favor black women with lighter skin while degrading darker skinned women in the process.
The lyrics and statements above are only a small fraction of how the entertainment industry exerts a strong influence on the younger generations when it comes to expressing what is believed to be the standard of beauty. From advertising lighter skinned females, devoting to straightening and lengthening black hair; the loathing for blackness is ingrained in most of us. To bring to a close, there are many effects that American history has left on Black Americans.
Some are apparent and some are hidden. Years and years of torment and discrimination have changed who we are as a people. But by reason of the scar on his knees, he was sold. After that, he was sold several times. When he worked as a cab-horse with a nice master, Jerry, he accidentally met Ginger. It was a poor creature with hopeless dull eye. She was suffering all her life, which was full of work Showed next characters.
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Essays and criticism on Anna Sewell's Black Beauty - Critical Essays.
Black Beauty study guide contains a biography of Anna Sewell, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
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