Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Respect Black 365: Past, Present and Future

Without an education our options were severely limited
Black History Month Should Not Be Enough  is the previous post that began this series.

In the post (that started this unexpected series) I proceeded to support my belief that Black History Month should not be enough.  It was created to inspire Black Americans with the honors as well as the struggles that our history holds to ensure that we always remember what came before so that we strive to have better lives with the same rights to live our lives with justice and equality--  and we all need to make sure that we do.

I am an observer.  I spend large amounts of time taking in my surroundings (which includes people, places and things) and then processing that information to get a better understanding of the world around me.  I am a multi-tasker which means that I am usually very good at organizing my life in a way so that nothing that matters to me suffers.  Back to my observations... they are not always crowd pleasing but I believe them to be fair in the sense that I always try to look at anything that I am observing with more than one point of view.   Sometimes, there is only one way to see certain things and I go with that.

Black people's subjugation in America and around the world is a subject that really only allows for one way to see the global societal structure-- and it is one based on racism and classism.

An observant and/or well-traveled person should readily see that the problems that afflict Black people in America are the same ones that afflict Black people worldwide.  It is the responsibility for those that see it, to acknowledge it and address it.  Black people!  We really have to do better at connecting the dots and not making excuses for differences (while they may different, are not that different) in a way that we should fail to see the same actions of racism and classism towards ALL OF US.  Stop saying, "Black people born here or there are better/less than Black people born anywhere else."  People choking on quicksand don't die any different; they still die choking on quicksand.

Known Black History Fact

When Africans were kidnapped by Europeans from the continent of Africa and then forcibly imprisoned on other continents; the majority of those people were shipped (like non-human cargo) to South America and then smaller numbers (due to deaths from famine, murder and disease) were shipped to North America, Europe and other areas.

My reason for mentioning the above Black history fact?  Black people are everywhere!  There are too many of us (even those that came to America and other areas after slavery ended) operating with a European colonized mindset and we fail to see the beauty and worth in who we are because of what was done to us.  It has been intentionally affirmed through violence and propaganda that we are not to be valued.  No other race of people are made to feel that who they were born to be is unacceptable on a global scale like Black people.  Because of this too many will do anything to not be associated with that which is the most hated among those that subscribe to racism.  Unless their skin tone betrays them.

How awful to not live happily in a skin that you don't/can't/won't consider a blessing.  Are there exceptions to the rule regarding racism? Yes.  But this post is addressing the rule that the majority of society operates under. Start finding your blessings people.

Conscious Living
Intra-racial and Inter-racial relationships for Black people due to a racist society have been mixed (no pun intended) at best.  There is always this feeling that there is a need to justify and/or clarify reasoning for choosing to engage in relationships, environments and behaviors with Black or non-Black people if you are a Black person.  Plantation house rules that carried over from slavery and Jim Crow and are effectively utilized today to keep Black people subdued, controlled and unenlightened.  Ugh.  The wrong things carried forward hinder our ability to really live.

Black ancestors risked their lives to be educated and to have their children educated because they knew that education was an equalizer and it would allow them to participate in a society that insisted on trying to keep Black people in a position of servitude.  It wasn't hard for Black people to see the differences in how white people lived versus how Black people were made to live.  We worked in their homes.  The knowledge of the difference was painful and interpreted in different ways which translated to (1) Black people emulating "whiteness" to be seen as "acceptable" to whites and (2) Black people deciding to live great lives without assimilating and seeking "acceptance" from white people.  We have these two types of thinking among Black people alive and well today in the 21st century.  Oh how I wish we all embraced #2.

Education as an equalizer was the most powerful tool available to subvert the restrictive and oppressive times.

Better Lives Lived with Purpose
Despite the highly oppressive and violent state of society during many varied times in history, Black people still found a way to build families and raise their children.  There were Black owned businesses that were established and neighborhoods that were filled with Black people who created better lives for themselves by choosing to educate themselves either formally or own their own to ensure that they could provide better lives for themselves and their families.  Sure there were those that made excuses as to why they couldn't or shouldn't put themselves and their families first but they were in the minority.  Black people made sure that their history and values for better lives were passed to their later generations despite the actions of their white oppressors to do otherwise.

There was actually a time when the louder public voice among most Black people was the one that championed choosing solid families, educating our children and a united goal of personal and community excellence.

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