America takes black people for granted. American historians have perfected the art of tucking the stories of the black freedom struggle to a dim corner. The insult becomes insurmountable when once a year we collectively reach back to highlight Martin Luther King, Jr., dust him off and use his image as a backdrop as if to metaphorically claim that racial issues are behind us. We recently finished the 8-year tenure of the first black president and in 2008 and 2012 white liberals rejoiced with the walking representation of a post-racial society. But this perceived victory for race-relations in the U.S. missed a key point.

Because its people haven’t really unpacked the past, the country can never fully move on. This means, not only visible barriers, but structural barriers will have to be broken. We might even elect a black woman as president, but the institutional systems that prevail to keep white Americans “superior” might still stand tall. Until the stories are told, heroes are honored, vigilantes exonerated,  and reparations given -- this country will never heal. The pathetic regurgitation of historical events in history books (with significant omission of the achievements of black Americans) is like scratching an oozing wound.

The fact is black emancipation has been great for America and will continue to be.

As Black Americans continue to fight for civil rights and liberties and win (i.e. pursue federal policy to limit police brutality), the resulting freedoms aren't just reserved for the 13 percent of the population but to ALL Americans. What is ironic is that blacks don’t even reap the full benefits of what their predecessors worked for. It is no secret that affirmative action has been found to largely benefit white women. I wish this phenomenon started and ended there. But sadly, there's a long history of this injustice. This is something that is all too familiar to black Americans — fighting for a perk that gets lost in translation.

The American legal system has seen drastic changes since the beginning of the 20th century. America's mantra freedom for all has been and will continue to be actualized by the hard working black Americans seeking to change their oppressive conditions. By scratching out their stories, then we are doing the entire nation a disservice.

Legal protections that came as a response to the gross mistreatment of black defendants:

A. The right to an attorney when charged with a serious offense. (Powell v. Alabama)

B. Place federal statutory and constitutional limits on the capacity of states to criminalize conduct. (Bailey v Alabama 1911)

C. Right to be free of torture aimed at eliciting a confession? (Brown v. Mississippi 1936)

D. The right to a trial absent of mob intimidation. (Moore v Dempsey 1922)

E. The right to federal procedural safeguards and due process under the law. (Bailey v Alabama 1911; Scottsboro Scandal)

F. Right to be tried by a jury selected without purposeful exclusion of black jurors. (Batson v Kentucky 1986Norris v Alabama)

…G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, and way, way more.

The United States of America allocates the shortest month of the year to highlight its longest and most troubling dilemma. How do we tell the story of such historic mistreatment while simultaneously ignoring the general good that has resulted from it? It’s ironic isn’t it? White fragility is like that.