Since the construction of the declaration of independence and the birth of our nation, many minorities, including those who lived within the period of time of its legislation, have felt as if they were stripped and neglected of their human rights. I find it odd that the founding fathers established a society based on the belief and premise that all men are born equal and that all have unalienable rights, which include liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness, but that this did not apply to black people for some strange reason. Whose rights were they talking about? Many blacks and women weren’t accounted for, so for this reason, this statement seems to be very hypocritical. These first ten amendments promise to uphold the freedom of others. Despite the fact that we have laws and other documents attesting to our freedoms, this seems to be misleading as people can’t even protest peacefully without getting tear-gassed and getting shot with pellets.
Tracy K Smith claims that racism and bigotry have victimized her people. She continues to add to her point by stating that her race has been subject to an outpouring of hate. Racism has harmed people’s ability to accept others regardless of color, and as a result, blacks and other minorities face significant discrimination. Sometimes they are excluded from certain facets of life, and each time they stand up for their rights, they are met with violence. For me, it almost seems to be cyclical. For years now, these injustices have been occurring, but there are never meet with the appropriate solutions. Tracey ends the poem by essentially asserting the fact that they never asked to come to the Americas, but instead, they were coerced. They were taken against their own will and taken captive, which goes against every virtue the US upholds, like freedom and liberty. Throughout the poem, Tracey employs certain compositional techniques and rhetorical devices in an effort to make a point. She is able to provide credibility to her poem because she is black. Tracey has experienced this first hand and can really tell us how the majority of Africans feel about this long and lengthy history of abuse and degradation. She has encountered the prejudice that comes with supposedly possessing distinguishable features that make her a different “kind.” Here we see an example of ethos.
She also writes in a linguistic tone that draws out some sort of emotion. Tracey uses a particular set of words that evoke a true sense of sadness, sorrow, and hopelessness. She uses the words destroy, ravaged, plundered, and phrases like “swarms of officers to harass our people” to really express and illustrate the abuse and torment her people experienced. This is an example of pathos. She feels excluded and alienated, and she understands that she will never be fully accepted for who she is because of her skin color even though she lives within a period of time where it is believed that all are eligible to receive unalienable rights and the right to pursue happiness. Tracey’s people are subjected to a never-ending cycle of percussion, as illustrated by her poem, which claims that their continuous cries have only been met by repeated abrasion.
As a community, we must learn to understand the inherited struggles of others. We must change social structures to prevent injustices from occurring. We must place ourselves in the shoes of those suffering to figure out the root of the problem, thus incentivizing us to fight for a comprehensive reform of our society. I truly believe that our denials of solidarity are the result of our privilege and ignorant nature.