I used to look at those Ancestry.com commercials with a glossy-eyed mesmerizing expression; fantasizing, hoping, and dreaming of knowing where my bloodline began. All the while afraid to see the 'negro slave registry' which my ancestors would come to a screeching halt, I actually had nightmares about this subject. I envied those celebrities who had a way of knowing who they 'really' are because being connected to legacy, however minimal, connects you to a feeling of purpose and strengthens identity, pride, and confidence. The unspoken cultural rape and emasculating experience of living a life as a Black American is a journey 'best fit for a King' I always say. That is why the strength of culture is rich, even in the mediocre circumstances, situations beyond our reach to pursue equal votes, rights, laws, housing, education, etc. have conveniently for some, found us engulfed. The ongoing presentation of Black Americans who run to get away from their own kind, there are those Blacks who have somehow positioned themselves 'above' other Blacks, those who have caught wind of the drug/gang trade and couldn't let go, those really unfortunate people portrayed in the spotlight as all of Black America, and the random, skewed number of Black Americans with something intelligent to say, do and be can be found from every point that the world is round. The fact remains, it is the melanin that finds us all in the very same life pot of social perception and acceptance in the closed and open doors of 2016.
Our African, Haitian, and other International brothers and sisters are fortunate to travel here, knowing their identity and being proud of it because although they may travel under less than ideal circumstances, it was certainly not aboard the 'Jesus of Lubeck'. It is hard to know the history and not feel the pierce of injustice; much in the way, I would describe a giant porcupine over the hearts of mankind, inescapable. There is a heavy tradition of legacy built into every area, from the way International Blacks were raised, to the way they pursue greatness as adults when raised in your homeland, this is expected. Several African friends, who now live in America, with whom I have been fortunate to get to know and openly converse have taught me many things. One thing I find quite obvious is that many Africans see the true benefit of being an American through eyes which Black Americans may not mutually grasp; the difference of upbringing in tradition and culture could dictate and greatly influence that perspective. There are certain entitlements which every person of pride, raised in their own cultural habitat, have innately present - it's a sort of pride that it unmissable. Even as Indian Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, etc.have endured great challenges, there is also great pride - it's almost like watching the heart of a champion unfolding before your eyes. International Brothers and Sisters may experience racism differently but I don't know because I was born here, in the 'land of the free, the home of the brave', as was my Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother. It's strange to hear the term African-American being used to describe Blacks in America because when generations of people are born here, it is hard to simply attach a label to the unknown, for convenience purposes. With that being said, it is difficult to attach a definition to any identity without revealing justification in doing so and, even further degrading as the journey continues. The step-child of America is what that term feels like, the orphan, the one no one wanted; yet somehow the very presence of Black Americans in American society has, is, and will continue to sustain the walls of these United States of America.
With all the open and quiet racism against people of color, it is pretty hard for some to locate forgiveness, especially as the behavior continues, sometimes right before your eyes. The only place where I know forgiveness can exist is within a love that cannot be explained, a love that has forgiven me - that same love in which I hide every person who has lost their way, in loving others in a healthy way. I must hide the pain in the creator of all humanity, if not, I run the chance of losing my hope in it, my love for it, and my faithfulness to see it restored. It is pretty hard to stop racism if everyone thinks it only happens in a different place from where they live, work, or socialize. It's also hard to stop racism when there is an angry Black person around every corner, however justified, ready to rip the world to shreds for the pain unheard. It will not create the solutions we need, as a society to truly heal this broken state of mind. It's pretty hard to stop racism if collective groups of people continue not to change their perspective, both Black, and White. In many cases, Black Americans are asked to just 'get over slavery', well it is pretty hard to get over something that happened to our ancestors hundreds of years ago, if we are forced to relive the retributive, genocidal, economical, educational. . . . systematic mindset, beliefs, and incongruent justice platforms that leave us at a constant disadvantage in the society our blood, sweat, and tears helped to build. Yeah, we all have the power to change, improve and empower ourselves and with a fair platform, the change would happen at a much faster pace. . . I will say a familiar phrase to help the focus of this sentence fall in place - AllWhiteOscars 2016.
It has been said many times that two rights don't make a wrong so I just believe that although it is hard to stop racism, it's not impossible. I love diversity, celebrating it in how I live, worship, and raise my children, with my friends, co-workers, family, and friends. That is just a few reasons why this post I saw on facebook, is so disturbing. If it hurts me, it should hurt everyone - if you really care about humanity, it will hurt you enough to change your perspective. I post many pictures on facebook and get hundreds of 'likes' but this post will only be 'liked', 'shared' or discussed by those who actually want to see the change we need to see in the world. Otherwise, it is just a too long post, spoken by some Black lady with too much to say about something she can't control; you know, we can 'excuse away' anything we really don't want to address. Believe me, I have learned to accept the things I cannot change but racism is not one of them. I pray for the future of our society and I believe that things can be much better. The societal brokenness goes both ways but; change has to start somewhere! The back and forth, throwing verbal/written jabs will never fix it; it just makes you feel better for the moment but the scars in the soul remain. Those scars get passed on to the tiny people which the adults in our society have been chosen to lead, children. I just can't stop praying for our lost, broken world, and those of us who are forced to endure the very thing which keeps racism at full throttle - ignorance.
I always like to suggest a solution but on this topic, I feel too many at once. I originally thought that having a cultural sensitivity course, instituted with as much requirement as, obtaining health care has been in the past 10 years.
Then I thought it would be great if we can have town hall meetings all across the country but I am not quite sure of who will lead those meetings and justifying one mindset over the other is challenging for people who struggle with the truth. That would likely be the largest 'Go Meeting' or 'YouTube Live' meetup in the world. But then, there are too many people still homeless in our country, still people without access to computers. . . still, as we bling, floss, and stunt for 30 seconds of fame.
The backlash associated with change is great. The price families have to pay when they take a step in the direction of truth, requires the mobilization of more people of influence, than a tiny voice on a random blog site somewhere in the world. Not to mention the extra-terrestrial mindset of the country's extremist who believe in the one way or another thinking. Let's also not forget those whose sanity won't hold on long enough to embrace a complete thought, let alone maintain a sense of logic within one. So there goes the 'no man left behind' theory on annihilating racism.
Here is where I landed on a solution: It takes more sacrifice than many of us, are willing to give up, and that is the biggest problem I can see. Or maybe we sacrifice but if there is a payout for our family, it's worth more than the moral compass. The fact is, we would just have to be willing to go the distance and not settle for bread crumbs to miss the feast of champions. We have a responsibility to be the best people we can be, as often as possible to show people we can reach, that goodness is possible. We have, to be honest, speak the truth of our lives, and the love for humanity through it. We have to hold accountable the wrongs in our society for the benefit of not allowing our good experiences to be drowned out in negativity.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. participated in and helped to launch the Civil Rights Movement, he was not alone. Every person who worked with him knew that at some point, they may pay a price, with their lives and their families knew that, but still - they moved forward, for the greater good. As selfishness runs rampant in our society how will we ever truly see the victory in human rights which we so desperately, like tantrums in aisle 9, are seeking after? I am reminded of the story told by motivational speaker, mentor and amazing human, Les Brown. It is the story of a man and his dog - and is told this way:
"I was walking down the street and happened to see a man sitting on his porch. Next to the man was his dog, who was whimpering. I asked the man "What's wrong with your dog" The man said, "He's laying on a nail". I asked, "Laying on a nail?, Well why doesn't he get up?" The man then replied, "It's not hurting bad enough."
This story is used in tons of places and I have applied it to almost every area of my storms in life. I can honestly say that the nail of racism which we continue to 'lay on' does hurt, but when a person doesn't know how to heal. . . the behavior will continue. How badly does racism hurt? Do we have to wait for another disaster to see the true value in ALL humanity? Maybe if we can see the ways in which both Blacks and Whites have systematically responded to this illness, we will become less stifled by the pain and more driven by the devastating need for healing. If you are reading this, just know - I write because I care and not with the intent to hurt or disrespect anyone. It's just that, I am just ready for racism to be over. . . ready to see the love and not just hear it discussed. I'm tired of seeing the racial profiling, social media bullying, political innuendos of poor social mindset to lead this country with objectivity and grace. I'm ready to experience the healing in which our collective society is unmistakably thirsting after. Do you have a solution? Wanna share it? Cool. Don't? Still cool. Imma just be 'me' then. That is all. Carry On. Speak Resilience