Since the 1600’s, African Americans have been marginalized because of their skin color and the way they look. Black people have been fighting for equality and fair treatment since the Europeans captured and began to treat them as “slaves”, during the early 1600”s in African villages, all the way to what has transformed into African Americans fighting to end racism in todays society. To gain a better understanding of today’s African American communities and issues that need to be addressed I watched the “Way out of No Way” Humanities Series by Karla F.C Hollaway and Nnenna Freelon on youtube. Both Holloway and Freelon focus on talking about today’s black communities and the aversion and racist bigotry they face. However Hollaway’s and Freelons discussion points out the effects and reactions that black communities experience because of the racial prejudice they face and how young black people are fighting to end the color discrimination that is established in the United States. The program “Way out of No Way” Humanities Series by Karla F.C Hollaway and Nnenna Freelon demonstrate the effects of racial prejudice towards African Americans while having a purpose of expressing the level of resistance the Black community has shown throughout history, through their successful use of personal emotion provoking stories and experiences, statistics that create an effective call to action, and a set theme of social issues and justice.
“Grief” was the first word that Karla Hollaway and Nnenna Freelon used to describe the emotions they felt after being racially targeted. Due to their immediate use of the word they instantly set an earnest, bitter and serious tone which allowed the audience to understand the importance of the issue and the theme of justice they were going to talk about. When one hears the word grief, death and tragedy is something that comes to mind involuntary while simultaneously provoking sorrowful emotions. So in the first few moments of Holloways and Freelons presentation, the purpose of their discussion could be easily predicted by the audience. However the presentation took an unexpected turn, in which they continue to talk about the fact that they are not utilizing the word “grief” to speak about previous events that caused pain, and in contrast are using the word to represent the emotions that African American individuals feel because of the racial discrimination that they face every day. Through those shared experiences the theme of fighting for justice becomes relevant because we, the audience, have a second hand experience of what they went through and therefore can easily identify the call to action which essentially established the theme of fighting for Justice.
Hollaway and Freelon continue their conversation and begin talking about the injustices in America such as, how black people are treated very poorly not only by other American citizens but by the American government including the police; through that part of the discussion the theme of fighting for Justice is established. They discuss the fact that overtime words have become very important because of the way they represent certain attitudes towards colored people. They connect that to people’s attitudes in situations such as when a colored person is trying to obtain a new job in comparison to a white person and the difference in treatment they receive. They then circle around the meaning of grief and the importance it has on African American people. Hollaway brings up that grief is experienced in everyday life and that it is not always related to mourning someone’s death. She argues that when African Americans face racial prejudice, whether that’s extreme racism or just not being given an opportunity because of the color of your skin, what she calls “daily grinding griefs” come about and help you reflect on what you are experiencing. Chapter 15 of “Freedom on My Mind” focused on recent major events in American Black History that have impacted African Americans. Personally, I had never thought about grief as anything more than mourning someone’s passing. After hearing this conversation I will now think about the word in a way that does not simply define the mourning of someone but in contrast the way it represents perseverance, strength, and resilience. Holloways and Freelon’s program did not just open my mind to a new perspective of the word and experiences that African Americans face, most importantly, it allowed me and most likely many of their other viewers to view African Americans through a different lens. Becoming aware of this new concept, enabled me to think about the lives of African American people living in the United States and view their struggles through a new standpoint. Not only does it help demonstrate the perseverance and strength it has taken them to grow as a community and fight against the incredibly unjust treatment they have received in the past centuries, it also encouraged myself to really think deeply about African American history as a whole.
While reflecting on the presentation, Black community struggles and major events in history that I have learned not only in this class but also over time, became more meaningful. After hearing about the way that African Americans “grief” and the way that it opens up a new way of thinking for them that enables fighting back stronger and seeing everything in “different colored ways” meaning they will not let racist remarks or actions diminish their fight for equality. I immediately began feeling an unimaginable amount of respect and empathy towards the Black Community. I thought about the way that I would feel and react if I were in their shoes. The amount of courage and strength that African Americans have had during these last centuries and that were represented in major history events that we have learned about like the March on Washington, the creation of the National Black Political Convention, as well as any other event that resulted directly from a previous racist act like most recently the Black Lives Matter Movement because of the tragic killing of George Floyd, further proves that the African American community is the strongest and most persevering group of people that there has been in American History. There has been absolutely nothing that has stopped them from combating the issue of racism, which should be the sole reason that everyone in the world sees what an incredible group of people they are and that it is time for America and the world to become colorblind.
After all, generations after generations of black people have been fighting for equality in America. From slavery to police brutality, the root cause of such poor treatment, ideologies, and extreme racism is quite literally the color of someones skin. White citizens of what is now the United states, have been racializing almost everyone in this country starting in the 1600’s after colonization began in the East Coast. Racial motives have changed and the degree of racisms has fluctuated over centuries but there has never been a time where America was completely free of discrimination towards colored people. The program, “Way out of No Way’’ Humanities Series” by Karla F.C Hollaway and Nnenna Freelon helps viewers understand the significance of African American History through their use of emotional appeals and great dialogue that sets a determined yet grave tone that leads to the uncovering of fighting for justice as the theme. The idea that African Americans choose to “grief” their daily negative racially motivated experiences, proves the amount of strength they have. Today’s young people are demonstrating that through fighting against government racism towards colored people. Government officials should begin to try to end racism instead of creating new issues within the community. Finally, after listening to this conversation and analyzing the assigned text, the idea that without African Americans the United States would not be what it is today becomes very prominent which should suggest that the Black community is seen as the building block of America and therefore suggest the eradication of racism towards colored people.