Sunday, September 18, 2011

Frederick Douglass

Douglass begins his speech agreeing that what American's first and brave ones should be respected.  He is so glad that America is young and there is still hope that things could be changed.  Douglass sees that the forefathers believed in honesty, truth and fairness and would be ashamed of slavery and oppression.  He notices that Americans are very well informed of events that happened that are in their favor, but seem to be uneducated in those that make them look poorly.  He continues that we must learn from the past and make our own future, and then he asks why he is there to speak to these people? Douglass discusses how his people do not share the freedom that they do, that they are still bonded by slavery. He believes what is needed right now is to awaken Americans with a storm, not something gentle!  Then he goes on to tell different stories of human trafficking and the horrors that go along with it.  This country is no longer divided in the act of slavery because the Fugitive Slave Law goes throughout America and judges are paid by the amount of slaves they return to their oppressor.  Douglass proceeds to talk about how the church actually takes the side of the oppressor and says that the idea of master and slave is sanctioned in the bible.  After this he compares churches in England who promptly took action when the slave trade there was going on, yet the churches in America have done nothing and support slavery.  Douglass comes to the conclusion that the constitution does not support slavery and says nothing of the sort.  Finally his speech ends where he begins it, with hope.

This totally connects with the last reading that we had!  Harriet showed this same picture when she talked about the two different families and how they felt throughout the war.  In this piece Douglass talks about how the black man does not get to rejoice on the fourth of July because he is still not free!  In Harriet's story she talked about how the black family got torn apart because of the Fugitive Slave Act and how they were not free, even though the father had been free for 10 years.  It shows me how truly unjust America was in its "freedom."  America was founded on freedoms (religion, speech, action) and yet Americans themselves are taking basic freedoms away from other Americans because they look differently.

Today there is still racism in this country!  I grew up in the midwest and wasn't exposed to much racism, I knew many black children and grew up with them by my side.  I didn't see anything that was shameful towards anyone who didn't look like me.  However, when I moved to North Carolina it was blaringly obvious that there is still racism in America, and not just whites towards blacks but also blacks towards whites.  I truly hate America's past and yet I'm not too thrilled with the present either.  Looking at how everyone as humans treat each other still today is disgraceful.  Black people talk to other black people and say derogatory terms because it's okay if they do it because they're black, but if a white person said the same thing they would have bodily harm done to them.  It's the same with men and women.  Women call eachother derogatory terms they're basically telling men it's okay and this is why it's still so hard to be looked at as equal as men.

The more I think about this piece by Douglass, the one by Stowe and the one by Stanton I see the similarities in all of the struggles in America for those who were oppressed.  America has a dirty past that we shouldn't be proud of, but if we use the past as a positive and learn from it the future is truly bright.

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