As you no doubt know, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the introduction of slavery into the United States. I wanted to know more. I checked my People's Chronology and found this entry in 1619: "The first black slaves to arrive in the Virginia colony come ashore from a Dutch privateer whose booty includes Spanish plate and 'twenty negars.'"
No date for their arrival is given and no other comment is provided regarding this historically important event. The book also reports that on November 30th, 30 Englishmen celebrated the first Thanksgiving aboard the ship Margaret, which touches at the Virginia shore.
It's rather ironic that slaves and Thanksgiving both arrived before the Mayflower pilgrims (1620).
But now it's been four hundred years. Four hundred years and we're still arguing about bussing and equal education and fair housing?
Four hundred years and innocent black boys and men are still being killed for no apparent reason? Still being arrested at more than five times the rate of white men? (For drug charges it's six times higher.)
Four hundred years and black women are still paid 61 cents (white women earn 80 cents) while their white male colleagues earn $1? But hooray, yesterday, August 22, was "equal pay day" for black women, meaning that their entire 2018 salary plus their 2019 salary to that date finally equals what a white male earned in 2018 alone. According to CNBC, "This disparity is present regardless of education, location and age and it persists in both high and low-paying positions."
Yes, Lincoln freed the slaves, and yes we passed the 14th amendment, and yes there was Reconstruction, which melted into Jim Crow laws as soon as the troops were pulled out of the south. And yes, those laws remained in effect until 1964.
Four hundred years and we still haven't solved this problem? And I haven't touched on the racist language and symbology that is rife in the culture. What is wrong with us? Yes, things are better now; yes, we're making slow progress—emphasis on slow. I am ashamed for myself and for my country. We keep saying "We're better than this." Are we?