The Debt Deferred
“Time Magazine in 2013 and other data stats show white women benefit the most from Affirmative Action. Then why are Black people still wearing the labels of disparity, and underserved? Why are the barriers acknowledged but when it comes to Affirmative Action its most deserving earner and benefactor Denied and Deferred? ”
Does most American’s know there are two Affirmative Actions?
The Bet is NO!
Does most Americans know Affirmative Action built the white middle class?
The Bet is NO!
Let’s be clear, nobody other than a Black American will choose to be a Black American!
Let’s be real clear that there is NO advantage of being Black and an American!
In the annals of history, one cannot deny the profound influence and contributions of African Americans have had on the development of the entire United States. From the earliest days of this nation’s birth, the labor, talent, knowledge and resilience of African Americans have shaped the very fabric of American society. Yet, beneath the surface of progress and prosperity, a debt remains unpaid, a debt owed to the descendants of those who suffered under the yoke of Slavery, Jim Crow, Criminality, Black Codes, Second Citizenship and a whole host of other discrimination along with psychological damage and trauma from living in a made up social power structural system called Racism. It is a debt that America must confront and rectify, for it is a testament to the broken promises that have hindered true racial equality and justice.
Embedded in the foundations of America’s birth was the promise of freedom and justice for all, but such promises eluded those held in bondage. For over 400 years, African Americans were subjected to the brutal institution of slavery, where their humanity was stripped away, and their lives were reduced to commodities to be bought and sold. Yet, even amid this unimaginable suffering, hope persisted.
Following the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, a new dawn beckoned. The Reconstruction era brought with it the prospect of equality and a chance for African Americans to rebuild their lives. But this promise, too, was betrayed. The era of Reconstruction, which held the potential for racial progress, was short-lived. The implementation of discriminatory policies such as the black codes and Jim Crow laws ensured that African Americans remained second-class citizens, their rights trampled upon and their dreams deferred.
It was in this backdrop of broken promises and systemic discrimination that the concept of Affirmative Action emerged. Born out of a recognition of the need to rectify centuries of inequality, Affirmative Action aimed to level the playing field, to provide opportunities that had long been denied to African Americans. It sought to dismantle the structural barriers that perpetuated racial disparities in education, employment, and other realms of life.
Affirmative Action, in its conception, held great promise. It was an acknowledgment that the burdens of history necessitated extraordinary measures to correct the course of racial injustice. It was a recognition that true equality could not be achieved merely by declaring an end to slavery or removing segregation laws. The promise of Affirmative Action lay in its ability to rectify the generational injustices that had hindered the progress of African Americans.
Yet, as time went on, the fervor and commitment to the principles of Affirmative Action waned. Its implementation was met with backlash, often fueled by misguided narratives of reverse discrimination. The very essence of its intent was diluted, with quotas and tokenism overshadowing the true spirit of equal opportunity. This dilution, coupled with legal challenges and a lack of political will, undermined the potential impact of Affirmative Action.
Today, as we stand at the precipice of a new era, we must rekindle the flame of justice and reaffirm our commitment to rectifying the debt owed to African Americans. It is not enough to pay lip service to the ideals of equality; we must actively dismantle the barriers that continue to impede progress. Education, economic empowerment, criminal justice reform, and healthcare equity are but a few of the areas that demand urgent attention.
To honor the promise made to African Americans, we must ensure that every child, regardless of their zip code, has access to quality education. We must invest in historically disadvantaged communities, bridging the opportunity gaps that have perpetuated cycles of poverty and despair. We must reform a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets and incarcerates African Americans, tearing apart families and communities. And we must strive for equitable access to healthcare, addressing the glaring disparities that deny African Americans the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In the spirit of W.E.B. Du Bois, let us remember that “the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” The debt America owes to African Americans is not one that can be calculated in monetary terms alone. It is a debt of honor, a debt of humanity. It requires us to confront our past with unflinching honesty and to chart a path forward that is defined by justice, equality, and true freedom.
In honoring this debt, we honor the struggles and triumphs of those who came before us. We acknowledge the indomitable spirit of African Americans who, against all odds, fought for a brighter future. Let us seize this moment to forge a new chapter in America’s history — one that embraces the promise of equality, that repairs the broken bonds of the past, and that charts a course towards a more perfect union. Only then will America begin to repay its debt to African Americans, and in doing so, fulfill its own promise of liberty and justice for all.
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986