Are We Free Yet? By Channel Hallowell .".. The Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and by the chains of discrimination." Unfortunately, forty years from Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech this statement he made, still holds truth. One hundred and forty years from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, we must face that Blacks are still not free. Blacks are currently suffering from the oppression that happened in the past. Blacks are still not free because their democratic rights are not equal to Whites, they fall behind Whites in education, and there is still racial injustice in the judicial system. Blacks have been given the same rights as Whites, but Blacks are still not equal to Whites.

It should be possible for every American to enjoy the privileges of being an American without regard to their race, but this is not the case. Although the United States is a democratic country, today Blacks are still not free because they did not start off with the "same rights" as Whites. When the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written they applied to white men, then white women, and lastly Blacks. Thomas Jefferson said "all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but this was not true for Blacks. It was not until the Civil War that slaves were finally given freedom through amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment gave Blacks citizenship, and the Fifteenth Amendment gave Blacks the right to vote.

Today Blacks have the same rights as Whites on paper but they are still not free. Blacks have the right to vote, but some feel they have no reason to vote. For instance, in a democratic country like the United States, Blacks supposedly can choose their own leader, but there has not been a Black President because of the dominating number of Whites over Blacks in politics. Blacks work just as hard as Whites, sometimes even harder, yet they are looked down upon. For example, if there is a bank robbery and there is a white businessman in a suit and a black businessman in regular clothing within the vicinity of the bank robbery, the black man would be considered a suspect before the white man.

This shows that the black man is looked down upon even though he works just as hard as the white man. Blacks are not able to obtain their unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness because as Martin Luther King said "the Negro's basic mobility is from a ghetto to a larger one." Blacks are entitled to the same rights as Whites yet some of their rights are restricted and not equal to the rights of Whites. Oppression that happened in the past has caused Blacks to fall behind Whites in education. For instance, after the Fourteenth Amendment, Blacks became citizens and Whites were upset at this so they passed laws that oppressed the Blacks and kept Blacks and Whites apart. Furthermore, in 1896, the Supreme Court decided that the "separate but equal" facilities did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Resultant ly, Blacks could not attend the same schools as Whites.

This caused some Blacks to stay at home where they did not receive the best education. Today Blacks can attend the same schools as Whites, but White dominate schools have better education than Black dominate schools. There are private schools with better education, but most Blacks cannot afford these schools. For example, in Palm Springs, there is a private school that offers a better education than public schools and has a 95% rate of students that go to college, which my parents wanted me to attend but they could not afford it. Some public schools that are in poor black areas deprive Blacks of their education because the schools do not have enough money for new, updated books, and some teachers are not as qualified. In addition, some of these schools do not offer college preparatory, advance placement, or honors courses that better educate students and prepare them for college.

This is part of the reason why more Whites attend college than Blacks yet more Blacks are enrolled in remedial classes at Cal States. Overall, Blacks are not fully free in education because they do not receive the same education as Whites. Blacks are not free because there is still racial injustice in the judicial system. Police brutality to Blacks still exist and I have seen it with my own eyes. I went to Las Vegas in September of 2002 with my friends Charlee and Tirrell, who are also black. At about 3: 00 am we were walking from the strip to our room at the Stratosphere.

The police stopped Charlee and I and told us that we were hookers and started talking rude to us. Tirrell was walking far behind us. When he arrived at the police car and saw us, he stopped and tired to ask if everything was alright. The police grabbed him forcefully and repeatedly slammed him on the hood of the police car, then put handcuffs on him for no reason. It was not until after this brutality that the police asked Tirrell who he was and why he stopped, then the police let us go. After this experience I realized that there is no racial justice for Blacks in the judicial system.

Another incident proved to me that police treat Whites better than Blacks. I was with a group of White girls in a Lexus and we got pulled over because we were speeding. The cop was very nice to us and let us go even though we were speeding. A few weeks later I was with a group of Black girls and guys in a Lincoln Navigator and we got pulled over. The cop kept asking who the car belonged to and would not tell us why he pulled us over. The driver gave him the registration papers, but the cop made us get out of the car.

Then he searched the car and was very impolite. Finally, he let us go because he realized we were telling the truth. After these two experiences I realized that Blacks are not free or equal to Whites. We have come a long way form Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech. Blacks have gained the right to vote, to attend the same schools as whites, to use the same facilities as Whites, yet Blacks are not equal to Whites. Blacks are still not free because they are currently suffering from the oppression that happened in the past.

The democratic rights of Blacks are not equal to Whites because in the past Blacks were oppressed and did not start off with the same rights as whites. Blacks fall behind Whites in education because in the past, even after Blacks became citizens, Whites created laws that oppressed the Blacks and kept them from attending school. There is still police brutality and racial injustice in the judicial system. Furthermore, the oppression of the past has deprived Blacks from their unalienable rights, equal education, and racial justice. Unfortunately, only time will tell if Blacks will become free and equal to Whites.

We are closer to the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's dream than we ever have been before, but the bottom line is that Blacks are still not free. Hopefully Martin Luther King's dream will become true in the future.