Down on Our Knees, by Kyle Johnson

What is a nation in which African Americans are oppressed for their skin color? Or for their nationality? What is a nation that uses such a slang and explicit title, that I will refrain from using on the unique African American people, instead of their true title? What is a nation that watches black people hang from trees as they take their dying breaths? What is a nation that has seen African American churches burned to the ground and black people slaughtered by the Klan because they look different? This racism has grown into a systemic racism in that it is on every level of society. Whether there are two separate drinking fountains for white and colored people or restaurants that segregate colored people from white people, racism spreads systemically.

Division among people is what has caused our corrupt nation to fall to its knees. We constantly divide ourselves when we choose to immediately deport immigrants from our countries without giving them an option of becoming a citizen. Racism provokes offense. Offense incites retaliation. Retaliation breeds an unending feud because the focus of each opposing ethnic group is to “get even.” In perspective, if a white person offensively punched a black person in the shoulder with racist intentions, then they would most likely retaliate by punching back because they felt unjustly oppressed. Then, the white person, feeling offended by their punch, would retaliate by getting into a fight that would never end until one is dead or at least on the floor in defeat.

Not one group of people is “normal”. What we call “normal” can be completely different to another group. We all come from different nationalities. Coming from different nationalities is never a bad thing; however, our actions and their effects on others shape their impression of our different cultures. Sometimes, if not most of the time, our impressions of cultures can divide race against race. The police shootings of black people make our police forces and white people look like the enemy, which is not something they want. White Americans are no greater than any other nationality. Let us not forget the self-evident truth in the Declaration of Independence that states that “all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The only message skin color can send to us is an individual’s possible geographical origin, not their hierarchical rank in society. We, as humans, cannot get very much information about an individual just by looking at their skin color or by listening to the manner of their speech. Skin color should not arouse suspicion of people’s actions because that is racist. As a human race, we need to learn to look at skin color and love it. We need to appreciate people for the bodies and skin color they have and embrace them lovingly.

Our reaction should not be that of hatred, but of hope and prayer, the two things that can never be taken from us no matter our circumstances. Hope and prayer can sow back together what was once torn. Hope and prayer make a difference between falling on our knees and falling on our faces. On our knees, we have hope; on our faces, despair. On our knees, we have a faster recovery than we do on our faces. On our knees, we show the world we are not giving up; on our faces, we tap out. On our knees, we show that we are not giving up on the world and that we are not giving up on the people in it.

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