Monday, May 18, 2009

What Was And What Will Be: Where Do We Go From Here?

Last week I asked if Blacks were prepared to step it up a notch or be replaced. So much of our thinking has to do with looking back at events from the past. From freedom post-enslavement period through Civil Rights to now, the rules of engagement have changed. We are now in an era where far too many are resting, satisfied with themselves while enjoying the efforts of the ones that came before us. That's okay for a brief moment but it was never meant to become the norm. There's far more work yet to be done and things that need to be accomplished for some to start skipping along the path. There are those sharing that road who want to bump us off of it as well as others who want more space for themselves. 

True equality has not been achieved and cannot be assured will be available to a majority. In the fight against white male patriarchy lies the fight amongst ourselves over gender, orientation, religious freedom  - really anything and everything. The key here is to continue working towards goals and constantly reassessing our status. Other groups of people do this all the time, yet African-Americans seem to resist the idea of introspection. There are arguments about "not airing dirty laundry" or not liking the "tone of what was said"or "who said what when" that is damaging to the collective such that it is. 

It's the thinking that having a Black President means racism is done that is most damaging as of late. I've had conversations with Blacks who think we've "overcome", tying this to MLK where they're willing to trust whatever the President does with little scrutiny. I've also had to FIRMLY tell some non-Blacks that racism is alive and kicking. One action by a group of people (i.e the Nov election) does NOT wipe the slate clean or mean there's been a significant change. It just means the circumstances were ideal at a particular time for a particular person. 

In the United States African-Americans are not the largest "minority" group anymore. Still the amount of work and contributions made by previous individuals helped advance the collective. Those efforts also paved the way for other groups to advance and should be recognized. I hope somewhere people are taking notes because the "students" are now more prepared than the "teacher". They were led by example with such efforts as the Civil Rights movement and because they were a more cohesive bunch the observers have positioned themselves well.

What's going on now is an all-out effort to delegitimize the contributions of African-Americans by those who know better. Coupled with a certain laziness and misdirection on the part of Black leadership and many have forgotten who they are. Individual pursuit takes precedence over protecting the interests of the majority. That's why there's no cohesiveness. Once integration was available and Blacks didn't have to live amongst each other many decided to leave and took an entire infrastructure with them. Yet truth be told we can't be certain there was a group of like-minded individuals who chose to be together or a forced mingling of people based on external categories. Many were only interested in maintaining a certain status quo that benefitted them if they could be the exception.

Some would remove the "Black" from the Black Experience. There's a lot of (learned?) confusion about who is African-American. We all have class distinctions and personal viewpoints that inform our behavior. There's an ongoing argument about whether the person growing up in a majority Black environment determines ALL aspects of their outlook. I lived in all-Black neighborhood. It wasn't really by choice. The city I grew up in practiced blatant housing discrimination to keep separation of races intact. There were a few who managed to move into white neighborhoods. Race alone doesn't make it automatically better though. 

I sought a variety of activities and a variety of people in my social circle. I was determined to be my own person, but I wasn't ashamed of who I was. I found that far too many wanted to limit their interactions and deny their historical legacies in an effort to be like everyone else. Since when is "diversity" from a white hegemony a bad thing? 

It seems today there are far too many amongst us who are ashamed. Otherwise why do they mock others and engage in the lowest common denominator behavior? They may discuss freedom of choice in identifying their heritage but it's predicated on denying their "Blackness". There seems to be a discomfort and so many want to shrug it off as if it were a coat being worn in a warm climate. 

I'm going to use quotes from some who've been commenting as to what some of the core issues are:
From Khadija:
Self-determination; COUPLED & INTERTWINED WITH(b) self-esteem BASED UPON devaluing and distancing oneself from any "Black" identity (i.e., anti-Black racism). In short, modern anti-Black racism is cloaked in the language of choice and self-determination. And most of us are too confused to understand this.

From CDWriteMe:
Every person of color (even the sellouts) know that white don't look at "half-whites" as white. They may be nicer to them, but they still consider them "the other".

Regarding white people, predictable. They have tried every trick in the book, historically, to maintain domination. This is no different.

And, they will win if we don't stop them. Alot of whites in America could care less if we were all hung or put in jail. In this political climate, however, they have to come at us more subtly.

Take away recording of races you take away the statistics. Take away the statistics, you take away the evidence. Take away the evidence, you have nothing to fight the ever-predictable white denial with. Let the white denial win out and there is no compulsion for civil rights enforcement.

White people may be alot of things, but, they're not dumb. We need to educate each other and the biracials. We need to stay alert.
Do I have to state the obvious? Race is not racism. All Blacks aren't African-American, but AAs are Black. White Africans who emigrate to the United States can NEVER be AA. They can never be BLACK. The day the entire white collective allows for all Blacks with any white ancestry to be considered WHITE then we can talk. It would be best for all those concerned to be able to draw a line in the sand, pick a side and stop straddling the fence. When it's no longer convenient then we find out who our true allies are.

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