Less than a month since Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams gave his quintessential speech at the 2016 BET Awards on race relations in America, we find ourselves stunned as the core of our nation’s foundation is exposed. America has a haunted history of attempting to oppress and devalue minorities since the birth of the nation.
The value of black lives still appears to be worth 60% of that of a white one. The sad truth is that the value of a black face eerily holds nearly the same value it did in 1787 when the three-fifth compromise was discussed. ~Andre J. Thomas
Countless videos are found online showing that during a typical situation where a white male is irate or even carrying a weapon, the chances that the police will negotiate or use alternative methods to diffuse the situation is greater than when black males are involved. The reason may be because the value of the white face is worth more (to them) than that of a black face. After witnessing the recent killings, blacks are slowly awakening to the harsh realization that their value in America is worth less than they think. We all thought that having a black Commander-in-Chief would raise our stock value. Eight years after his candidacy, the value in being black is still questionable.
Driving to Savannah this weekend, I had a weird epiphany looking at various coins. Looking at the different faces on American “coin” currency, I noticed that our money bears the faces of white men, a white woman (Susan B. Anthony), and a native American (Explorer Sacagawea). I thought it was very interesting that the currency represented the diversity of America, minus the fact that the currency was missing the face of an African American.
How did we go more than two-hundred years without bearing the face of an African American?
As I began to do an analysis of American currency, I began to wonder if blacks were possibly already represented. Why is there a brown coin when all of the other coins are silver? Despite weighing more than a dime, why is the brown penny worth 1/10 the value of its smaller counterpart? Mysteriously enough, the face associated with the brown penny along with its color may hold the key.
Suppose the penny was a way of reminding African Americans of their value in American economics?
Mysteriously the brown currency holds the face of a leader whose name was associated with freeing slaves. Black workers appear to be a disposable commodities when it comes to layoffs, just as quick as we discard pennies from our car. If blacks are perceived as disposable when it comes to the economics, it can be safe to say that the essence of the three-fifths of a person has never gone anywhere. It could also explain why the perceived frequency of officer involved killings is greater on blacks than white. The next time you have a discussion with someone trying to convince them that you matter, hold up the penny and tell them, this is what Mother America thinks my worth is of right now. Until our value increases in America, we will continue to have discrimination against us as a minority.
Rest in Heaven
Philando Castile x Alston Sterling
Andre J. Thomas is a 5x Award Winning producer for the hit show, College Talk. Andre is also a featured writer for Black Moguls Magazine, GumpTown Magazine, The Birmingham Times and SwurvRadio. You can listen to @AndreTheBlogger on The Joe Lockett Show 101.1 FM & 1260 AM WYDE (Alabama) on Saturdays from 4pm – 7pm CST. You can read more stories by Birmingham’s Favorite Entertainment Blogger at andrejthomas.com