Race Before and Now

Joseph Eziri

Reading Race

Ms. Maitland

29 October 2016

                                                       Black Identity Before and After

              In the history of America, race has played a tremendous role in society. From the time of Jim Crow law to current 21st century, race is stilled a heated topic. Books like Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and articles like “War on 21st-century Jim Crow” by Leonard Pitts Jr and  “The Lynching of Blacks in the Jim Crow South Were Considered Acts of Christian Duty” by Jamelle Bouie show the past and present time of the part race played in society.

             First, before and during the Jim Crow era, there was no justice for minorities. The Jim Crow era ranges from about 1877-1964 and it was laws made in certain U.S states that deliberately enforced racial segregation of blacks and whites in society. From schools to buses to water fountains, all was separated by color. Hatred was established on both side, so violence was very rampant during that time. According to “The Lynching of Blacks in the Jim Crow South Were Considered Acts of Christian Duty” by Jamelle Bouie, “ In a new report, the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative documents nearly 4,000 lynchings of black people in 12 Southern states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia—between 1877 and 1950. ”(par 5, Bouie). This represents that race was a serious thing in society and it wasn’t taken lightly. At that time, everything that concerned society, had something to do with race.

             Secondly, even though the race-based Jim Crow era was over 50 years ago, in current 21st century, race is still a heavy topic. However, race is more complex than ever too because even race is everywhere, nobody is acknowledging it. According to Americanah, “Because this America. You’re supposed to pretend that you don’t notice certain things. ”(chap 12, Adichie). With so much culture now in America, people believe that other people don’t understand struggle as much as the other. According to Americanah, “Because she’s African. She’s writing from the outside. She doesn’t really feel all the stuff she’s writing about.” (chap 37, Adichie). However, with the huge increase of immigration and culture in America, all races are in the conversation now,  “But there IS an oppression olympics going on. American racial minorities– blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews– all get shit from white folks, different kinds of shit, but shit still. ” (chap 19, Adichie).

            Unfortunately, as America has evolved, the idea of race coming together, is still an issue to others. According to “War on 21st-century Jim Crow” by Leonard Pitts Jr., “Between policies like these, new restrictions on Sunday and early voting and, of course, Voter ID laws, the NAACP estimates that 23 million Americans stand to be disenfranchised — a disproportionate number of them African-American. Change is difficult and people are still ignorant on the problems that caused so much turmoil. According to Americanah, “Once, when he tripped and landed on his knee, a fall so heavy that he limped back to the truck, the driver told the others at the warehouse, ‘His knee is bad because he’s a knee-grow!.’” (chap 27, Adichie).

           As books and articles inform the people on race, race should be in everyone’s mind. Race is something that will not go away, but will be in the minds of the people for a very long time. If nothing is done to work towards a better future for the people, then there will be no future for the people.





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