I am writing you this letter to give up an idea of what it is like to be an African American in today’s society. It is funny but everyone is always telling African Americans to get over slavery and move on. How do you move on from something that destroyed families, psychologically damaged a people, and financially crippled a people based solely on race? (Hacker, 1995) The history of African American people is very complicated one. The effects of slavery and racial discrimination after slavery are evident in African Americans’ lives today. Many people believe that the racial prejudice towards African Americans no longer exists because we have an African American president. I would like to tell you that most African Americans I know do not agree with that statement. Slavery began in 1619 and the 13th amendment ended slavery in 1865 but African Americans did not receive equal protection until the 14th amendment in 1868 and the right to vote from the 15th amendment in 1870. However, these rights were ignored for many years. Jim Crow laws were put in place to limit the rights of African Americans. Separate but equals laws affected the quality of education that African Americans have received. The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 however the effects of Jim Crow laws can still be felt today. Executive orders like Affirmative Action were also aimed to help diminish inequalities. The pass few weeks have brought attention to how African Americans are treated in our society with the shooting of the unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown by a Caucasian police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. There have been several shooting of unarmed African Americans men by Caucasian men and Caucasian police officers across the United States over the past few years. The word “unarmed” should resonate with you. No other racial group has experienced this situation. These shootings serve as a reminder to many African Americans of the lynchings many African American men were victim to. As an African American mother I am afraid to raise a son in this society. As an American should I have to explain to my son that our society does not seem to value his life? I have to talk to my son about how he should act if he is ever approached by Caucasian police officers. This ensures that my son makes it home alive. Do you talk to your son about how he should act when approached by a Caucasian police officer? Your answer to this question is most likely no.
There are several examples of how African Americans have been viewed by society. African Americans were robbed of their culture. Our language and even religious beliefs were stripped away. Although African Americans were robbed of their culture, we have managed to create a culture all of our own. In the case of Dredd Scott v. Sanford, Dredd Scott an African American sued for his freedom shows us how laws were used to take rights away from African Americans. In March of 1857, the Supreme Court declared that all African Americans those who were slaves as well as those who were free were not and could never become citizens of the United States. African Americans had to first acquire the right to be seen as a human being and then a citizen of the United States. No other racial group had to overcome this obstacle in the history of the United States. In describing the rights of African Americans, Taney wrote, “the negro had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly