Article by Stephen Maddox Sr.
There must be some confusion between Rights and Privileges. Rights are permanent and privileges are removable. Long and bloody battles were fought during this nation’s history to secure the same Rights for minorities and women that the “Founding Fathers” gave to themselves.
These “Patriots” seized power from the English king to give it only to the rich and influential American rebels. Those so-called “Real Americans” wanted equality with the English King for themselves, not for the rest of us. We, the minority and female “Un-Real Americans”, have been treated like ungrateful annoyances, at best. We have had to raise hell to be treated as full citizens.
The recent voter suppression, anti-abortion, anti-equal pay, anti-minimum wage, pro “corporations are citizens”, and similar efforts in the USA are signs that the greedy and powerful are working hard to restore themselves to the post-Revolutionary War levels of power enjoyed by the signers of the Constitution.
These “let’s-go-back-to-the-good-old days” advocates seem to think that only wealthy male white people are the real citizens of the United States. The rest of us are treated like imported aliens on restricted and revocable work permits who should not expect to inherit or receive any benefits from the USA.
The Filtered Fantasies packaged as United States History have been passed on and puffed up for so long that even some of the liars believe their own B.S…
We, the “Un-Real Americans” are not full citizens. The Constitution, even with its amendments, does not actually make all citizens equal in practice. The original Constitution allowed for fractional citizens (see the “Three Fifths Compromise”) and states were given the power to control the application of voting and other rules. The constitution is still an impotent document for “Un-Real Americans”. Most white women and minorities know that they are not regarded as equal citizens by law and practice. Too many people still struggle with daily inequalities.
To my “Un-Real American” friends:
Let’s stop the charade. Acknowledge your fractional citizenship status and dig out the real history of the USA. Use your common sense to examine past and present events and laws. It has been over 225 years since the adoption of the original Constitution and the first Presidential Election, yet some think we need to be patient and grateful. While the politicians fuss over the “Immigration Problem” they ignore the stolen rights, privileges, assets and lives of people unlike themselves. The destruction of our families by the decisions of slavers, modern businesses leaders and government officials continues to this day. The blocking of asset building in so many overt and covert ways goes on because they don’t want to compete with us.
Here is a different way you can look at these issues. The wedding picture of my parents changes, depending on who is looking at them. In the left side photo they are whole people and upstanding citizens in the eyes of their family and friends. In the picture on the right side, they are seen through the eyes of white society, which only sees them as 3/5ths of a person and quite shadowy and untrustworthy. Any reasonable “Real American” would be uneasy around them and would not give them full consideration as co-workers, neighbors, business people or even Christians.
My father started working when he was nine years old, setting up targets and ducking shotgun blasts at a gun club. He later was able to get a menial labor job at an airport. As an adult he got one of those good “Negro” jobs working as a cook on the railroad in the 1930s. Because he was not shiftless and lazy he worked there until he was drafted into the United States Army in 1942. The Army put him and the other Negros into segregated units (with White officers, of course) and Dad was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma and assigned as a cook for an artillery unit. The White soldiers on base had first pickings of the food supplies so sometimes there was little food left for the Negro cooks, and even that food was often spoiled. The cooks in his unit would get a side of beef and have to try to cut out the red meat from the green meat.
The prejudiced US Army Command did not want to deploy these troops to shoot at White German soldiers, so thousands were kept restricted to their bases all over the USA. This country’s racial prejudice was more important than winning World War II. The same discrimination was inflicted on Blacks by all the military services. It took intervention by President Franklin Roosevelt to order the Army to use the Negro troops in North Africa, Europe and Asia, but the Army Command often resisted by giving the Negros non-combat duties or sending them to fight the Germans, Italians and Japanese with little or no ammunition and supplies. Their goal seemed to be the extermination of the Negro troops, and sometimes it worked. When WWII ended the defeated “Enemies” were treated better than minority soldiers and their families in this country.
Dad was severely injured in a gas explosion at Fort Sill and was in the base hospital when his unit received orders to ship out to North Africa. Because Dad could not walk he was carried on a stretcher and put on the troop train. He said that when the train got to the Naval base at Norfolk, VA his fellow soldiers picked up his stretcher and they boarded the
oldest and slowest freighted in the port (The only Whites on that ship were the ship’s crew. The white Army Officers took another vessel). The ship left with a convoy but it could not keep up with the rest of the ships. Too slow to outrun any German submarine, it limped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Naval base at Gibraltar. They joined another convoy for the voyage to North Africa. The soldiers carried him to the military hospital and a doctor, realizing he was not able to walk or fight, gave the orders to ship him back to the United States.
The doctor’s orders probably saved his life. Dad learned after the war that most of the soldiers in his unit did not survive the poor supplies, the lack of ammunition and guns, and the mistreatment by the Army they served. They died.
This small segment of my father’s history was not special or unique. It is just one example of the denial of the “Rights” mentioned above. All of the opportunities and benefits absent in the lives of my fore father’s did not disappear into a void. Those “American Rights and Benefits” were snatched up and consumed by the abusers as usual. Any money, land, status etc. which outlived the abusers were passed to their beneficiaries and not returned to the victims or their descendants.
When the G.I. Bill was passed in 1944 it was supposed to benefit ALL veterans. But culture trumps law, so Black veterans still suffered discrimination in housing, employment and education. The service records of thousands of Black veterans were incomplete or destroyed, thus preventing them from getting their earned benefits.
The first movie about the Tuskegee Airmen from WWII did not come out until 40 years after the war ended. Countless movies about the White versions and experiences were out before the Tuskegee Airmen movie was in theaters and on TV. Even then it was called “controversial”.
The greedy and powerful still run the USA. They still freak out if we want to vote, compete as business people or as employees, or compete in politics. They also control the Police / Overseers who must “protect and serve” these greedy and powerful masters while keeping us on the plantation.
We have supported this country since the Revolutionary War.
We are not outsiders.
We usually share blood lines with the abusers who deny our genetic ties to their families. We are the disinherited.
And yet we are denied.