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.
Wow! You bring about a very fair point. It really makes me wonder that if the democratic laws and practices are not affecting all, then is it a democracy FOR all? I am sad that something that could have been so beneficial for so many didn’t go through, and it does seem that the democratic promise of voting for something that will help in the future doesn’t work, then it can kind of have people wondering if the system is broken (can be argued another time) or if the democracy and laws in place was really gained after having fought so hard for them. Overall, I hope to see a system in the near future that truly benefits everyone so that we can start to see the practices of democracy that we talk so much about being appreciated by all. The good thing is that we are the next generation and are aware of this, so hopefully we can be the ones to bring about the positive change for these disenfranchised communities.
Exactly! I’m really glad you enjoyed it though.
Great blog post Aisha. I agree with you that democracy in America is limited and not everyone is treated equally. African Americans have been a target since they arrived in America and it has yet to change. African Americans today struggle to find jobs and to have a decent education in their communities. Recently the passing of Nipsey Hussle brought light to the trials African Americans face and his work shows the issue are real. I think its not right the Marta community doesn’t want to expand the train for the help of needy. Although it’s understandable why they would disapprove it’s still not a good decision. I think the city should work on other transportation means if they aren’t going to give the people what they need and want. Uber can be pricey depending on where you are going versus the five dollars it costs for a Marta train ticket there and back.
Fair statements. This blog post really brings light to the effectiveness of democratic laws. Although everyone does have the right to vote, sometimes that does mean an unfair outcome, however, it is quite reassuring to know that one in a democracy, as an option to vote, unlike other countries, regardless of the outcomes (though, they may be unfair.)