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At the Hands of Persons Unknown

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    The history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality. (Elizabeth Stanton). At the hands of person unknown by Philip Dray, is very fascinating and insightful book that anyone who is interested the history of Black African American should definitely take time to read. The book captured a lot stories that happened to the black American by showing the side of their stories. As I was reading this book, I understood that America has come from long way in term of accepting change. In this book one of the most aspect that I will not forget was that the realization Du Bois, that one could not be calm, cool, and detached scientific while the black African American were lynched, murdered and starved and that there was no such definite demand for scientific work of the sort he was doing.

    Although not from this country, one of the experience I had witness in my childhood life was on Saturday September 21, 2013, unidentified gunmen attacked Westgate shopping mall, an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The attack resulted in at least 67 deaths, and more than 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass shooting. (Wikipedia) Anti-Islamist terrorists called Al-Shabab claimed that they had done the attack and that it was a warning to the Kenyan government for interfering with Somalia. After this incident, police started to invade the muslims and the Somali people who did not have Identification card or were not Kenyans. They entered their houses and arrested them without an arrest warrant. The policeman came to our room and gave us a look that made my hair stand up. I never knew what fear was but that look made me shiver, let alone standing on my legs.

    The police looked at our house and started interrogating us in a wrong way. They banged the next door of our neighbour with all their force and broke the door. After some commotion, the police arrested a girl and committed robbery in the house. The girl aged mother tried to stop them but they pointed gun at her. They took the girl to the police jeep and vanish through the thin air. The next morning we found out that the girl had been molested and she was in critical condition at Jomo Kenyatta Hospital. When the girl’s mother went to the police station to find out what happened, the policeman denied any allegation although the doctor did all the necessary test needed. That was the moment I realized if you have power, you can use in a good or a bad way.

    The girl’s mother went to the court but I still don’t know if the girl got justice. But one thing was for sure that day, that justice was meant for people who were powerful to tie down the non powerful humans . Not all policemen are evil and corrupted but those policemen were a wolf in a sheep wool. If a white shirt get a stain people will only notice the stain. Although America came from far place to give equal right, but there still injustice meted out to the African American community. The recent movement of black life matter that campaigns against the racism, police brutality. “Is it possible for white America to really understand blacks’ distrust of the legal system, their fears of racial profiling and the police, without understanding how cheap a black life was for so long a time in our nation’s history?” (Philip Dray). In this book it is well explained how the African American struggle for civil right. As a black man in America your skin already makes you guilty in the eyes of racist people. But racism is not only mented against the black people.

    I cannot say if the case of Eric Garner who died while an officer put him in chokehold was because of a racim. But one thing was sure that Eric Garner had human rights. Those rights are protected under the Constitution. He had the right to Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When they arbitrarily took his life they deprived him of all his human rights. Those officers were paid to do their jobs. They were required to take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That means they must honor the Rights of all the people. Instead, my opinion is, they became paid assassin’s for an overreaching government that wants to control every facet of the people’s lives. Resisting or not, nobody deserves to be choked to their death and have them do absolutely nothing. No one should should have to undergo that kind of treatment, and no one’s family should have to experience the death of a loved one, especially at the hands of someone who was being paid to protect and serve the community. By someone who took an oath to uphold and defend the Rights of the people.

    America surely has a dark history. Not only for Black African Americans but also the Native Americans, the internment of the Japanese Americans and many other. Surely there is a racism still going on in the United Stated whether it equal rights for women in jobs or being a pedestrian walking on the streets. Although not the best, we are a lot better than were in the past. One thing for sure is that we cannot change the past, but we can surely learn from the past to make our present better and shape the future for our generation and the next generation. Overall I found this book arguments to be compelling and making you think something you have not thought about it. Looking back I am wondering is there any situation where racism and injustice can be justified?. Or are we the ones who are creating the social injustice and blaming on one another? Because there are two sides to each coin.

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    At the Hands of Persons Unknown. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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