This week’s blog was originally going to be about my break from social media, but in light of recent events, who would I be if I didn’t use my platform to talk about something that affects my community and my heritage? I am sadden that I do not see many brands speaking out on the recent killings, but I am happy to see certain celebrities in the streets doing the marches and making an effort to see change to fruition.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice every where.-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This is bigger than all of us. This change needs to happen for the children. It feels like between Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Obama being elected the change that was taking place just fell stagnant. The hate began to grow and became something that has been brewing beneath the surface for a while now.
I see a lack of understanding and empathy. The one thing every human being goes through is struggle. My struggle may not look like yours, but we have all struggled at one point or another. We all have the ability to empathize with each other over our different struggles. At this moment in time, why is it so hard to empathize that one particular group is hurting and struggling and needs help? America can acknowledge that when it comes to world hunger, disease, or even allying with nations to take down Hitler, but when a particular group is being slowly eradicated in their homeland, America turns a blind eye. We scream till we have no voice that #BlackLivesMatter only to be negated and told ‘no, you’re wrong #AllLivesMatter.’ Do they? Because the group that is being harmed is an obvious sign that they don’t all matter. I wouldn’t go to a breast cancer march and yell #ProstateCancerMatters! no only would that be disrespectful, but it would interrupt the cause at hand. Yes, we know it needs help, but right now breast cancer is taking women down at an alarming rate, lets heal this first and then we can help you. So, yes Duh #AllLivesMatter but until Black Lives are included in All Lives, lets heal that wound first. What is most frustrating about this statement is the refusal to see that there is a problem.
“If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn’t even begun to pull out the knife.”-Malcolm X
It’s no secret that police brutality on blacks is very common, dating further back than Rodney King’s violent and excessive beating by police that caused the Watts Riots to the hanging of black men in the public for even looking at a white woman. Justice has never really been served for the black community. But how can it in a system, or world that has set us up to fail from the beginning?
Let’s give a real history lesson and not the one they make look real pretty in the education system.-if they even still teach that, but I digress that’s a completely different blog post-
Being slaves for over 4oo years was damaging enough- Let’s not get into the effects that can have on a people- Only to get freedom and that’s it. Now the slaves where free with no food, no home, and no money. What were they going to do to survive? Sharecropping! This worked 3 ways-
- Workers can rent plots of land from the owner for a certain sum and keep the whole crop.
- Workers work on the land and earn a fixed wage from the land owner but keep some of the crop.
- No money changes hands but the worker and land owner each keep a share of the crop.
This sounds like a good idea until you throw in the bitterness the slave owner felt for now having to form some sort of agreement with his slaves and the fact that the terms were completely left in the hands of the slave owner for most of these slaves had no education and were not business savvy. Essentially, they became more in debt than actually being able to earn a living –sound familiar? Somehow the newly free slaves managed to get by living on very little, but now segregation and Jim Crow laws are in effect and well we all know that story. Tack on over 60 years of segregation, the civil rights movement and earning the right to vote in 1965- my mother was born in 1966, is this hitting home yet?- and now we are here. People want to throw up how slavery was so long ago, and it was but what about segregation? There are people still alive and well who can remember in detail the civil rights movement. That can remember in detail the first black kids to go to am all white school. who can remember in detail not being able to vote.
On paper, it does seem like that was long ago. In reality it was not that long ago. My generation would be the first to grow up with a fully integrated society and racism not so in your face- but trust and believe it is there- which is why I think it’s a little harder for people to grasp that there is a problem because we’ve been walking around blind to it.
So what can we do to see this change to fruition?
I’m so glad you asked! We have been systematically taught one way. In order to begin a change we have to restructure the systems way of teaching. Or in the words of Jesse Williams “Restructure the function”. I wish there was a right or wrong answer for this, but unfortunately there is not a manual we can pull out that tells us how to fix the machine. Here are some things that would be a great start:
“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality”-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1965 African Americans were given the right to vote. Our ancestor lost their lives for this right so how dare you not exercise your right?! Here the gag though, I was never taught how to vote. I will be the first to admit, I only voted for the president and blindly clicked on whatever name sounded good for the House and the Senate. – Actually the first time I went to vote for the president I didn’t even know we had to vote for the house and senate. – Educate yourself on what elections are going on within your community. This is very important. Not only does the presidential election matter, but your local elections matter even more. These are the elections that directly affect your day to day life. Make sure you know who you are voting for. This is huge! Remember a leader is nothing without the right team and vice versa.
2. Getting our officers to know the community.
If you saw your local police officers out of uniform would you know them? Do you only see them when you’re getting pulled over or needing emergency help? This is like the child that only gets disciplined hard by one parent, eventually they will begin to resent that parent. I think it’s crucial to know who is protecting us. I realize some cities are bigger than others and it may be a little harder to do so but I think –dare I say this- it’s a major key to breaking down that barrier. Also, we need officers to break the mold and stand up when they know an officer is wrong or when a situation should have been handled different. They never admit their fault. Any good leader will tell you in order to lead, you have to admit when there was a mistake made and how you are going to rectify the mistake. If you cannot do that, no one will ever trust the system. Kudos to the governor of Minnesota for publicly admitting the situation could have been handled better.
3. Building and uplifting black owned businesses.
Why are we so hell bent on not helping each other? I see it so often in other cultures. Asians, Indians, Hispanics hell even white people will band together and help their families, but black people FORGET IT! You are on your own. We make fun of the Hispanics and the Asians for being huddle in a small house but who is coming out on top? We need to learn to build each other up and not tear each other down. We are told by too many people that we will never amount to anything, let’s not do that to each other. Get out and support black owned businesses. Maybe if we can raise enough awareness, those that can’t seem to get a job because of their background and begin to make money the legal way.
- Educate yourself
I cannot preach this enough. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Be a sponge absorb everything! you may not need education to be in the field you’re in? So what! Learn anyway it helps you grow as a person. Learn culture. You don’t necessarily have to be in a classroom to learn. Stop relying on these facebook articles to teach you –and teach you the wrong thing- do your research. Stop spreading propaganda. Pick up a book and let your imagination grow. Hate reading? Listen to audible. It’s too many resources out here to not educate yourself. Give a HBCU a try. –I recommend doing your research before just trying ANY HBCU- however our colleges are becoming a thing of the past because we are losing the resources to keep them open due to attendance. Educate yourself on current legislator and laws being passed. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! A fool can be easily lead and manipulated. Trust people count on that.
“Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” -Jesse Williams
- The media
If there is one thing I could change within my own power it would be the media and its carelessness for the families of the slain. The coverage the media provides does more harm than good in some cases. Following the 2 shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, there was very little national media coverage on it UNTIL the shooting in Dallas took place and all of a sudden it was around the clock coverage. They were more concerned with Hilary Clintons email-which were important but all day coverage? ALL DAY?!- Than they were about the developments of the two shootings that were clearly affecting communities. The way African Americans are portrayed in the media is disgusting. African Americans are instantly labeled as thugs and criminals. They will put up a mug shot and dispel their criminal history- or allege they have one- before they offer condolences, while Caucasians are depicted as mentally unstable and shown as a model citizen after a mass shooting. This is another form of systematic racism. And it needs to change today!
Lastly, divided we fall united we stand. Gain some understanding for one another. There’s people out here trying to understand and asking what may seem like dumb question, but some people really are that blind. For some people they see only sunshine and rainbows, while others see thunderstorms and rain. Don’t tear them down listen to understand and not just to reply- Gosh that’s my biggest pet peeve- get out of your own agenda and listen for a second. We truly have to be able to have a dialog in order to come together. If we can’t have an open honest dialog with one another if we can’t put to use the basic function of conversation we will never get anywhere. Break down that barrier.
“There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth.”- Louis Farrakhan
I would love to hear from you. These were just things I think could be done to move forward, but I’m sure there are many more. Let’s open a dialog and discuss. Please note I will delete hateful comments.