Social Change Essay example

Submitted By rcordalis
Words: 1979
Pages: 8

Part A. One story that is taught to us from the time we are little till even now, as young adults, is the story of Christopher Columbus, sailing the ocean blue. Our hero, our lionhearted victor who discovered our country, our home. We would sing songs when we were in kindergarten, put on plays to show how Columbus valiantly fought to secure our land. Sure a few natives died, but what was a few deaths of people whom which we don’t even know compared to the security of a land of plenty for us to grow up in? We celebrate our unafraid victor without thought, we didn’t even blink at the lives lost, we were taught that no wrongs were ever made. From kindergarten we are taught that Christopher Columbus should never be questioned, only celebrated. Howard Zinn exposes Columbus in a way none have done before. He questioned. A process of unlearning occurs. Unlearning the celebration, the valiancy. Reading chapter one of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States brings to light suffering and genocide all for greed’s sake. This was not told delicately, Zinn does not beat around the bush. “In two years, through murder. mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead”(Zinn pg.5) Zinn describes how Columbus wiped out populations of Natives for gold, and eventually slave labor. Unimaginable cruelty undoes the blissful ignorance in which we grew up believing. “Total control led to total cruelty. The Spaniards ‘thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades.”(Zinn pg.6) Zinn continues his unraveling by addressing slavery, and the invisible line between whites and blacks. What we grew up learning wasn’t entirely wrong, such as the case with Christopher Columbus, but it was not the whole truth either. Zinn exposes what is behind the curtain, just because we, as a population know that slavery is wrong, does not mean we know everything about what happened what it arrived on our shores in the form of Africans. “Everything in the experience of the first white settlers acted as a pressure for the enslavement of blacks.”(Zinn pg. 24) From the time Africans stepped on American soil, and most likely on she ships as well, they were taught that they were inferior. But it was more than just a power surge for many whites. In fact, many did not know how to do do simple things such as grow their own food, and thought it was necessary to own Blacks as a form of survival. In the winter of 1609-1610, many people found themselves starving, and resorted to gruesome and macabre things such as cannibalism and eating feces. “There may have been a kind of frustrated rage at their own ineptitude, at the Indian superiority at taking care of themselves, that made the Virginians especially ready to become masters of slaves.”(Zinn pg. 25) Such an incompetence to take care of themselves made it justifiable to the Virginians, to enslave other humans. We were taught that slavery is bad, but we were rarely explained to why it happened in the first place. We must know that in order to really understand.
Part B. There have been many significant leaders who have advocated for equal rights between races, including Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.. Civil rights has been taken seriously for a long time, and the equality of races has been quite the fight. Martin Luther King Jr. was not particularly powerful or rich, but he was passionate and determined. He became a leader, and a voice of the civil rights movement, to advocate for the equality between blacks and whites. He was a black pastor, and he was a voice that could not be ignored. The same sort of fight has been waged against the genders, as well as the races. In a place called Fall River, women acted out against male counterparts. The women weavers decided to form a union, independent from the men weavers. “They refused to take a ten percent wage cut that the men had accepted, struck against three…