Never Forget the Forgotten (Part III)
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama
For the past week or so I’ve been contemplating how, exactly, I am supposed to bring this series of posts to a close. What is the summation of everything I have said, and how can I (for now) bring finality to a topic that a vast majority of people are unable to identify with in any form. As a writer, my task of conveying raw emotion tends to be an easy one, but this is more than just emotion; it’s history … it’s reality … it’s life. How can I get just one person to read this blog post and have their metaphorical light bulb switch to the on position? How can I get one person to say, “Damn, I finally get it”? But then again, it’s not my duty to change the views of the masses; my only goal is to provide insight to my would-be readers on the things I feel passionately about. To persuade people to “get” my perception is a tireless and age-old chore that I have no intention on participating in.
Now, please allow me to pose a couple of questions to you. Have you ever stepped back from your busy life and wondered what the world would be like if all were acceptable of one another’s diversities? How different could things be if beauty was not just found in the eyes of the beholder, but in the hearts of all mankind? My thought is that we’d become the epitome of a Utopian society and the world would be fruitful. So, how did people learn to hate based not on a person’s character or content, but on their outward appearance? Why does white privilege and affirmative action even have to be a thing in what is supposed to be the freest nation in the world? I am still in search of the answers to these ever evasive questions.
When we simply acknowledge that we are not living in a world of peace, love and acceptance, by default we have to also accept the existence of bias and (social) injustices. Either everyone gets along or they don’t. Either racism exists or it doesn’t. Either you’re prejudice or you’re not. For some things there is no happy medium. And where something once thrived, there’s a great chance that its existence will never completely dissipate. For centuries, the African American community was considered unequal and less than human, retaining a value that you would probably place on your stove or washing machine. And this degraded perception of black lives thrived well throughout the civil rights era also. That being said, I cannot take anyone seriously that believes centuries of damage has been or could be completely undone within the last fifty years. It just doesn’t make sense.
Boston, MA; Portland, OR; Harrison, AR; St. Louis, MO….these are just a few of the cities that have made some list or other to qualify them as being included in the “most” racist cities. So, if Google is aware of the existence of racism, why is it so hard for the people of this country to acknowledge it? Why, when a little black boy or a grown black man is wrongfully shot by law enforcement, does the cry for justice anger so many? Why, when a socially unjust issue in the black community is brought to light, must we hear the resounding and collective chime of me too, which effectively waters down any recourse for rectification? How is it that the people of this country can fight for LGBT rights, hold fundraisers for cancer research, remember 9/11…but the minute black lives matter exits someone’s mouth, it’s the worst possible action? The Titanic sinking received more sympathy than the plight of the African descended in America, and I’m referring to the movie.
What I am about to say may or may not anger you depending on how far to the left or right you are in life. But again, this is my blog, and a place where my filter is allowed to be unabashedly off. People tend to fear either what they do not understand or cannot control, and at the root of it all, Black people are both. We are the Prized Unicorn and the Fierce Dragon. When the ancestors of the African descended were brought to America, they emitted a strength and resiliency that had to have been feared. It was thought to have been beaten out of us centuries ago, but just like the teachings of Willie Lynch, there is an echo of strength and beauty that remains in our DNA. To me, that’s saying a lot. Two contradicting forces, power and submission, collided at the same time…and both left their marks. Sadly it seems to take the right moment or event to see a glimpse of what we could be; because what we were before the noose, whips, chains and rape still exists in our DNA.
The majority of African Americans, myself included, become visibly irritated when we have to fight for our right to remember. It’s almost as if Black America is a blemish on the “perfect” skin that is America and we must be concealed. Forget about the boat (except Titanic), forget about the cotton fields that left hands bruised and bloody, forget about the triumph that was Black Wall Street, and forget about crediting the many inventions manifested by Black minds…just tell them to shut up so we can forget them. But we, and anyone that sees the necessity in this fight and stands with us, should never forget. Never forget those that fought for us to be where we are today, never forget how the Klu Klux Klan was and still is a lawful organization that has persecuted minorities for centuries, never forget how our ancestors begged and submitted…just to stay alive. But most of all, never forget that before any of this, the only thing that black knew how to be was beautiful. As a people, every time we get knocked down we get back up and fight for our spot at the top, and there is a reason for this that not even Willie Lynch could erase: Our DNA will not allow us to forget the ones that stood tall and strong long before we ever existed. They held their heads high and firmly planted their feet in the soil of a land a number of us may never know in this lifetime. There is still some primal and innate remnant of the ones long ago forgotten, before modern Africa was named and the land of Alkebulan thrived.
We are not the makers of history. We are made by history – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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