By Jessica Wright
When the United States Constitution was created, it was an instrument that was not enacted to advance people of color. People of color were never meant to benefit from the Constitution. We were thought to be too ignorant to interpret the meanings of the Bill of Rights and the amendments.
I have been studying the United States Constitution for over a year and it is my own opinion that our prosperity lies within the bounds of the Constitution. If the Constitution were in fact studied, poured over and well thought and applied to the many struggles we face and have always faced — such as racism, discrimination, inequality and segregation — w could change all of these circumstances significantly and flourish.
In the late 1980’s the infamous rap group 2 Live Crew challenged the media on their 1st Amendment-right to freedom of speech due to their suggestive lyrics and partially nude women gyrating in their videos. They were very instrumental in bringing about a change to censorship and piqued the interest of the Constitution in the Black community. The 2 Live Crew proved to Black America that the Constitution can work for us.
The Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution at first glance seems to be a lot of technical gibberish. Written by men who neither had our best interests in mind nor could they foresee the world metamorphous and advance in the vast areas it has.
The Constitution was meant to be the one true law of the land. It has not changed much and neither has the antics the Constitution is supposed to safeguard us from.
Our financial freedom is cloaked in legal actions — individually or as a class — and can be litigated prose. The very document that was so ingenuously written by the founding fathers can and should be used to our advantage. Our ability to interpret the United States Constitution should be used for prosperity as well as a means to an end of our hardships and struggles as descendants of displaced Africans in America.
Many in the Black community are tired of hearing about slavery and there is always someone saying “get over it.” A wise man recently told me, “The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance grows for it.” The fact of the matter is reparations will never be given to the ancestors of slaves as a group. Our numbers are too great. Such an occurrence would rock the economy to biblical proportions where as “The last shall go first and the first shall go last” will ring true.
The diction of the Constitution, although laborious, is really our only countermeasure against a society that has refused to advance in its treatment of people of color over time. Instead, choosing to disguise age-old behaviors in snares such as background checks, credit checks, credit ratings and other facades that sift the good from the bad bringing about “quality” through “qualification.”
Qualification in America is legalized discrimination. Qualification is credentials. It’s diplomas and not certificates. It’s a bachelor’s degree or more preferred master’s degrees instead of an associate’s. It’s good credit, no criminal history, a good driving record and no evictions. Without some or all of these you are automatically inducted into the “class caste” system.
Know your rights and be prepared to protect them at any cost. Knowledge is not only power, it is prosperity in disguise.
Jessica Wright is an inmate of Shakopee Correctional Facility.