We have always been told that we are living in a democratic country, governed as democratic citizens by people whom we democratically elected. The question is has this always been the case and if so, has it always applied fairly to everyone who was a citizen?
African Americans are one of the most disenfranchised group of people living in the United States. They were the only group forcefully brought and forcefully kept. They were also among the first group of people to fight for the right to freedom. This was achieved with great difficulty, with pain, with hard work, but most of all with dedication. African Americans fought for almost the right to do everything. They fought for their education, their right to vote and most importantly the right to become and be treated as an equal citizen. While one would think African Americans who are now an equal citizen equally influence their country and its policies, that could not be far from the truth.
The event I had attended was a referendum to pass a transit plan that would connect all part of the city. I heard various voices talking excitedly about how easy it would make their everyday lives and how incredible it was to be a part of something that actually affected them. While almost everyone who attended had promised to vote the very next day, the bill failed to pass. The reason for this was because the MARTA was going to be expanded into suburban areas, areas where people with more money lived. The people living in those areas feared that crime rates would rise and the housing rates would go down, therefore, an overwhelming majority voted to fail the bill. While people who would be most impacted by this were those that depended daily on the MARTA, a large amount of these people being African Americans, their voices were not heard. They took the time out of their day to contribute to something they believed would fully be in their benefit but it did not work out in their favor.
My main understanding from this was that while everyone has the chance to vote, to influence, it does not mean it is going to be fair and it certainly does not mean it always work out for those who need it the most. If our laws are not there to protect us, to help us and to help our communities, are they really “our” laws? If they are not there to protect our rights, to ease our everyday lives, did we really do anything by voting? I suppose that is why a majority of African Americans are disinterested in voting and politics; at the end of the day, they know those laws were not made to protect them.