Suppose a boy steals an apple
From the tray at the grocery store,
And they all begin to call him a thief,
The editor, minister, judge, and all the people —
“A thief,” “a thief,” “a thief,” wherever he goes.
And he can’t get work, and he can’t get bread
Without stealing it, why, the boy will steal.
It’s the way the people regard the theft of the apple
That makes the boy what he is.
-Edgar Lee Masters
I’d like to relate this story to what is known as black crime in our country (America). Often times white people look at the black population as troublesome, an eyesore. They look at black people like they aren’t taking advantage of a good thing….AMERICA this GOOD thing. All the opportunities and freedoms and advantages that are not experienced by a large portion of the rest of the world and they wonder….what is wrong with us? What is wrong with black people? ….In relation to the poem by Edgar Lee Masters …Think about this….this boy…probably starving gets caught stealing …he did something WRONG and from then on he was branded, he was labeled as a thief…a bad person, someone that can’t be trusted…so no one hires him to work, no one will help him and he assumes the role he had as a child …a role he is pushed into because of that label…..When I read this poem all I could think was WOW…..Black people have assumed roles in which they are condemned for …without having done anything wrong in the first place….we didnt steal an apple to be labled as animals, beasts, rapists, lazy welfare mothers, whores etc. ….no….our transgression was being black, it is our very state of being. Blackness is equal to stealing an apple. This boy in Aner Clute stole an apple and became known as a thief ….we are black and become known for the stereotypes CREATED about black people…and eventually alot of us assume the role created for us. 80% of America’s prison population are African American men…..yet only 13% of the population of the United States since the census is Black….how can this be? Well you are born with the label thief, rapist, beast, lazy, whore tattooed on your very skin, and you are regarded that way…you cant find jobs that will pay you a living wage, you can’t get an adequate education EVEN with access to financial aide because of the labels that come with your skin…..it is the way they regard black people…that make them what they are….
Having said that…..we cannot allow this to continue in our communities my brothers and sisters….we cannot allow the corner we have been backed into determine the fate of our community or our individual lives, BREAK FREE from those labels, dont assume them, FIGHT THEM. We have been so ingrained and socialized towards being NOTHINGS, criminals and animals and theses subhuman things that some of use damn near AGREE and scramble to meet those very low expectations set by white people FOR US. Drug dealers, gang members etc…..yes we have been defined by white people but it is time to break free…more and more laws are setup to ruin the lives of young black men FOREVER for offenses they commit as teenagers and children….again they make a child a thief for LIFE…thats what it means to be a felon….