America has been known since time immemorial for its oppression of the black community. Thanks to the civil war that led to the black awakening, the thought that black men are inferior to whites has been passed from generation to generation. Blacks faced slavery and oppression under the Jim Crow cruel Laws. It is, however, interesting to find that the blacks had no grudge towards the whites; the blacks believed that it is the effect of the whites believing in a history they never understand. America is celebrating more than 100 years of independence, but the unanswered question is everyone free in that land? During the covid-19 pandemic, most states in the United States experienced police brutality, mainly to the blacks, and many black lives were lost, leading to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Therefore, segregation is not new in America, and it continues to contribute to misunderstandings, hatred, and deaths of many minorities today.
A letter to My Nephew, by James Baldwin, was written decades ago, but it is interesting how the words of James appear to be authentic and as powerful as ever 50 years later. James writes to his nephew to warn and encourage him on his journey to the white man’s society. He tells his nephew that the white man was made to believe that they were superior, warning his nephew that the whites have destroyed thousands of lives without care and knowledge. The whites limited the ambitions of the blacks believing that they were worthless and that the only good they should be given was brutality. James says in the letter that all blacks were expected to make peace with mediocrity (Baldwin). It is sad to hear James telling his nephew that he was intended to live and die in the ghetto because he was black and never be allowed to spell his name correctly. But even with all the oppression and negativity, James reminds his nephew that the whites are his “lost young brothers .”James says that he is optimistic in forcing the whites to see that they are all brothers. All in all, he encourages his nephew to study hard and become the change that America needs.
Langston Hughes explains the effect of segregation in the story “one Friday morning .”A colored student bonds with a white teacher Miss O’Shay on the identity of “liberty and justice for all” (Hughes). Nancy lee is unfortunate to be born in the times when one was described according to t their race. She came face to face with discrimination when she was stripped of an award because of her African American race. Miss O’Shay believes that it was an act of segregation, but she encourages Nacy that it should not break her but motivate her to bring America’s change. In addition, Nancy is inspired and feels that she needs to be part of the change the country requires. She is ambitious to study hard so that such will not happen to girls her age in the future.
Currently, America is still built on segregation grounds. A typical white lives near 90% whites and close to 8% African Americans. Further research has shown that a black man with a middle income is more likely to live in a poor neighborhood than a white middle-income person. All this segregation is based on the history that whites have yet to overcome. Ideally, segregation has caused more harm than good. Segregation has caused inequity in the neighborhood and even in educational backgrounds. Describing geography according to color is creating an imbalance in livelihood and education. It is hard to find private schools in black areas, but they are many in white lands. That is why from the stories, both victims, Nancy and James’s Nephew, set out on a journey to find quality education. Today the government is fighting over segregation in residential areas, but there are more profound forms of discrimination. Housing agents continue to develop new ways of pushing people of color from better homes.
Segregation has also led to the loss of many lives. There has always been violence due to segregation as the blacks try to penetrate through the walls of segregation. James tells his nephew that he should be ready because his grandmother and father lost their lives in the white man’s land. The same applies to the 21st-century lives are lost as blacks try to find their rights. The experienced unrest in most countries due to the oppression of black lives is a typical example.
In summary, black lives have experienced oppression due to their color since the colonial period. Baldwin and Hughes rested their cases decades ago, but they appear to be as new as ever; this implies that times have changed, but segregation has not changed. We should realize that we are all the same in the absence of color.
Baldwin, James. “A letter to my nephew.” The Progressive 1 (1962).
Hughes, Langston, and Elek Máthé. One Friday morning. Terra, 1958.