FILE - In this Sept. 4, 1957, file photo, students of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., including Hazel Bryan, shout insults at Elizabeth Eckford as she calmly walks toward a line of National Guardsmen. The Guardsmen blocked the main entrance and would not let her enter. Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, marks 60 years since the Little Rock Nine first entered the school for classes. (Will Counts/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

Why are we so Tragically Afraid of Differences?

Colours, we learn they are different and beautiful as young children but as the realities of life press in, we learn hate, the privilege of others and the truth about colour. In reality, the difference in hair type, colour or even speech scares people more so the privileged who have the most to lose.

As people, we lose our humanity by entertaining the thought that the existence of someone or something different is a threat.
That fear has fuelled various methods of oppression used to keep the ‘African savages’ down, lack of housing, education, and jobs to list a few. The white man made sure to break our spirits by changing our names, treating us like animals, keeping us away from basic medical resources and education. They took away anything that gave purpose but we fought back! 

On the continent we waged war.

But our enslaved fellows have had to be more creative about their freedom. To date, they are and gunned down in the white man’s territory.

The story of the Little Rock Nine is definitely one for the books; nine coloured students in 1957 following the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954 took segregation by the horns and enrolled at Little Rock Central High School. Segregation like here during colonial times meant white folks purposely separated Africans from themselves in restaurants, schools and even places of employment to tilt the playing field in their favour. Segregation was enforced using the Jim Crow law. This law was basically a display of discrimination against people of colour and thus racial segregation was the law in America from 1877 to 1950.

The people of colour in the white man’s backyard had to use the law and relentless perseverance to get their freedom. The Little Rock Nine namely; Gloria Ray Karlmark, Elizabeth Eckford, Terrence Roberts, Melba Pattillo Beals, Ernest Green, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown and Thelma Mothershed were hand-picked by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
On September 4th, 1957 these nine coloured children reported for school, they were met by an angry white mob and armed National Guard troops. The Little Rock nine were verbally and physically assaulted and denied access to the school. The Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus; in full support of segregation ordered the National Guard troops to be present when the Little Rock Nine arrived.

In due time segregation was rendered illegal and justice was served but we seem not to learn from our mistakes. Think about it; segregation in its essence was about a group of people thinking they were better than another group, sounds a whole lot like Hitler’s idea. Hitler also felt there was a need to eradicate a group of people, the Jews for a whole lot of reasons scholars are still discussing.

It was believed that Hitler had the Americans in mind when he came up with the tragic “Final Solution”, the Americans basically killed millions of redskins upon their settlement. Only a scarce hundred thousand Native Americans remained, thus inspiring the German leader Hitler.

Today’s segregants are sexual preferences, gender identity, race and prestige. Still, we let the fear of such differences drive us. Hate and aggression get us nowhere but perpetuates violence in a morbidly repetitive cycle for each generation to see. In the words of the Marxist philosopher, Antonio Gramsci,

“History teaches, but has no pupils”.


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