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Harvard's Henry Gates: The Necessity of Racism in America
By: Ehimwenma E. Aimiuwu
July 22, 2009

 

 

I was the happiest man in the world when I heard that one of America's most celebrated Black scholars was arrested because he stood for his rights against the police on his home property.  I was not happy because Professor Henry Gates of Harvard University was arrested, but rather, because it opened the eyes of America and the rest of the world to the necessity of racism in the American system.

 

Many Americans feel that because majority of Blacks no longer wear shackles around their necks or are no longer hung on tree for public display that racism is dead.  They seem to feel that because we have a first Black president that affirmative action has become irrelevant.  Racism was not only the legalized foundation of segregation, Jim Crow, and slavery, but was also the very foundation on which White American wealth was built upon.  Racism only transformed itself in America from a physical phenomenon to a mental one when White America realized that it was more profitable to free the slaves in exchange for machines than to maintain them under bondage.  The new problem became how to maintain White American wealth without the descendants of free slaves competing for it.  Since every capitalistic society needs an underclass, what can the American system do to reduce or eliminate the ability of Blacks to acquire wealth and be able to compete effectively?

 

This is the purpose of racial profiling, police brutality, crack, building jail/prison in Black neighborhoods, and increased Black unemployment (last to get hired, but first to get fired or laid off).  All this is done to give Blacks, especially the men, criminal records and to keep them poor from a very young age.  With criminal or even an undeserved misdemeanor record, employment may not only be delayed, but may never get a good paying job.  Many American laws in cities, counties, and states still have pre-civil rights laws that clearly states "negro", "slave", or "Black" that are still utilized in our courtrooms and law enforcement to this day, especially in the southern states.  This system makes education or the ability to get a good attorney against discrimination less valuable than sustenance for many Blacks.

 

The two questions I would like America to answer are: First, did the neighbor or person that called the police not know where Professor Gates lived and what he looked like, or was it simply a time for legal amusement?  Second, how do you think many young Black boys from low income homes are going to feel about the value and hope of education, when the leading Black scholar from HARVARD still has no voice in the presence of White police, who may even be a high school drop-out.  America needs to get rid of all slave laws that predate the civil rights and all the current laws that are based upon them from being used in our legal systems RIGHT NOW.

 

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