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Article Review: “Generations Lost” by DeNeen L. Brown

DeNeen L. Brown’s article Generations Lost covers one of the worst acts of terrorism on American soil. Perpetrated by White Tulsans against the prosperous Black Greenwood district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the massacre claimed over 300 African American lives. Despite the high casualties, the government took no action to punish the offenders or repay the victims. DeNeen L. Brown is a critically acclaimed, prize-winning staff writer at the Washington Post. Brown’s accolades include the 1999 American Society of Newspaper Editors Award and the 2006 American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors’ Excellence in Feature Writing Contest Award. The author covers topics ranging from politics, culture, and climate change. However, most of her work tackles social injustices hence centering on the black middle class, indigenous population, the homeless, and gentrification. Brown argues that despite efforts to extend equality and opportunities to all, American society remains divided along racial lines.

The article posits that racial division and segregation in the United States remain an unresolved issue. Whereas the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was characterized by looting, arson, and murder, contemporary society has devised novel models to perpetuate systemic oppression. The author cites the 2020 death of George Floyd, a black American man “under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer,” to portray systemic violence meted on the black community. Oppression (Brown 60). Brown employs the photograph of a mother, Kristen Moorhead, and her son, Che, to highlight the fear black mothers live with for their sons’ safety (Brown 61). Also, disparities in incarceration rates amongst blacks and whites are accompanied by massive economic differences, ensuring the continued dominance of one race over the other. Tulsa survivor E. A. Loupe recalls observing growing hatred among poor White Tulsans “because of Negro prosperity and independence” in “Little Africa,” which fanned the violence directed towards Greenwood (Brown 74).

The article Generation Lost is a crucial marker of the United States’ race relations history. Despite the uniqueness of the massacre, which included aerial attacks on American citizens, the responsible authorities silenced the atrocities of the raid leading to its relative unfamiliarity amongst Americans. The depicted relationship between contemporary systemic racial oppression and violence to the outdated open assault of blacks highlights the lack of progress the US has made in addressing the plight of the African American community. The expose by the article that city officials deputized the hundred white rioters who attacked Greenwood is very believable as it reflects modern-day police violence against black men. Thus, the article elucidates the origins of the ills that plague modern-day society. Therefore, the author highlights the need to resolve these racial conflicts that characterize American society.

As a result, I believe that laws such as the proposed Texas new law, which limits historical events that public-school teachers can teach, must not be passed. The law threatens the propagation of the history of certain cultures and ethnicities. For example, Brown admits ignorance to the events of Greenwood 1921 due to the cover-up efforts undertaken by authorities and the media following the Tulsa Race Massacre. Therefore, teachers must be allowed the freedom to teach and discuss events such as the Trail of Tears, which saw massive deaths of Native Americans, and the Wounded Knee Massacre. Society must embrace spreading awareness over such historical atrocities against specific communities to ensure that lessons are learned to enhance the unification of American society.

Works Cited

Brown, DeNeen L. “Generations Lost.” National Geographic June 2021 (2021): 59-82. Print.


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