Brown Bodies & Chains

Let’s start out by saying I AM NOT writing this blog to try and convince anyone to change their minds but only to put down, on paper, so to speak, my ideas about the state of brown people (any one perceived as African American/Black or Hispanic/Latino) in the US and the chains, whether physical, psychological or systemic, that oppress them. Let me also say that this blog is not meant to point fingers and I am having multiple people read over it to make sure that it is reflective and not demonstrative. I do not think that any one person/race/ethnicity is responsible for the state of things in the US but we, as a whole people, have all played our part in what is the U.S. of today! Lastly, the comparisons in this blog are NOT meant to diminish the struggle of the African American population during slavery/Jim Crow but simply to show a pattern of treatment of brown persons in the U.S.!

As part of our history, African Americans – originally Africans- were devalued and sold into slavery. They were stripped naked, placed on podiums or auction blocks and sold to the highest bidder. Through both the selling of slaves and the profits of labor, I would fair to say MILLIONS of dollars were made off the backs of African Americans and yet very few, in the long run, benefitted. Now, I know what you are thinking: YES, in Africa, blacks had slaves but families stayed together and they could even buy their freedom, sort of like indentured servitude among Europeans. In these instances, no one was being beaten to death and made an example of. They were African Americans in physical, psychological and systematic chains however they, at times, still managed to ban together to do what little they could to falter the “master” plan. There were also those, however, deemed ‘uncle toms’ that were counterproductive to the cause. They “kissed up” to the master and would keep him informed if anyone thought of rebelling against the norm.
Now, there are many theories on immigration but what I want to look at is the systemic breaking up of families. Does that ring a bell? Just as African American families were ripped apart on the auction block and sold to the highest bidder, so are Latino families ripped apart by the fence that divides them. Just like in African American households, the men are being stripped away and incarcerated but then even worse, deported back to Mexico where they may NEVER get to see their family again (also keeping in mind that some of these men are not even from Mexico but then dumped into a country that is not their own then being made victims to local cartels). The media would also have everyone in the U.S. believe that all of these men are thugs and criminals trying to smuggle drugs into the U.S. (just as the media zooms in on those African Americans looting etc. in Ferguson). The fact of the matter is an overwhelming majority of those crossing the border are doing so to be with family, for a job and/or to escape the violence in their own countries.
How do we fix this?? Well, some would suggest that we dry up the jobs so that Latinos will not be tempted to cross; after all, border crossings were at a low during our government crises. As for the African American community, a more direct approach to gang violence and drug use. But these are just a few, as there are many theories, but I would first start with my blog on single stories (, and the TED linked therein. Start by determining what single stories you, as an individual; have about brown people (both African American and Latino) and how that single story has informed how you treat “the other”. It is not until we look internally, an in-depth self-examination, that things can begin to change externally.

April English1689556_668160848878_505450568_n
Mission Intern, Class 2012
Primavera Foundation, Tuscon, AZ
Advance # 3021485



I started this blog while I was a Young Adult Missionary. I returned, on February 1, 2014, from service abroad in Montevideo, Uruguay where I worked with Youth for Christ doing community organizing and working directly with youth. To continue my missionary service, I served in Tucson, AZ with the Primavera Foundation for 1 year teaching financial education classes and working with a savings program for single mothers and their daughters. I was then hired on for an additional year and began my "life" in Tucson. I was born November 10 into a mixed race family and that has helped shape who I am today. I received my B.A. in English from Hood College and my Master's in Urban Ministry from SMU Perkins in Dallas, TX! After my missionary program, God lead me to stay in Tucson where I encountered MANY ups and downs, one of which was neglecting my blog (sorry folks, but I am back now). I hope that what I write on these pages will inspire and encourage anyone who reads it!

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