Is Racism Stealing Our History?

January 15th, 2009 | By

I’m going to do my very best to be good.

Someone very close to me is making really bad decisions. In the current economy, jobs are hard to come by. When offered, an excuse for refusal should never be, “I ain’t working for no white man”. Should I have to say any thing else?

You would think not. But I had this conversation. Yesterday. And today, I am perplexed at the extent holding on to racism is ruining our country. The sad part is the perpetrators are not cloaked in white hoods.

They stand on street corners, not caring about the communities they ruin. They preach from pulpits, unaware the field of battle has changed. They represent political parties that push victimization.

I know, all things I’ve said before. Over and over again, I’ll admit. But it still rains true. Yet, I think I missed the point of how much history this romantic embrace with racism is costing us.

You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you came from, so let’s take a look back at history. Let’s imagine our current community mentality was present during the Civil War.

Imagine how we would crucify the slaves that wanted to learn to read and write. Think about this the next time you are watching roots and all the hate bubbles to the top. You have replaced the white man in those scenarios. You know the one you hate because he whipped a slave for having a book. Think about that as you bully a nerd in school.

Imagine how we would crucify Harriet Tubman. Who does she think she is? Uppity Negro thinking she better than us. Thinking she has the right to come and go as she pleases, while I’m stuck in these chains. But what about her struggle? What about her sacrifice? And there you are, safe, in your chains, complaining.

Let this seep into your mind when you are complaining about how they “just trying to hold a brother down”. Who is They? You. Did you laugh because the geek at McDonald’s got robbed of his paycheck? (I’m not going to lie, at one time I laughed.) What are we accomplishing by this behavior? I’ll answer that shortly.

Let’s imagine we lived along side, Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. Dubois. I won’t even evoke such hate on their memory. Instead, I’ll use my own personal experience. The great thinkers of our history would have been called “Uncle Toms”, “self haters”, or “house slaves”. Think about this as you shout about the accomplishments of those great men, then turn around and throw hate at me for attempting to follow suit.

Should I even bring up Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? You know I am. Imagine, if in the height of the Civil Rights era, our current community values took hold. Imagine, if after the dogs had been sicked on Dr. King, all the black people took to the streets and started destroying their own property. I can’t even write that with a straight face. Dr. Kings whole mission was non violent. Yet, think of the violence that occurs on most streets across the country that bear his name. Should I mention it’s mostly black on black violence?

Why was it impossible to stop slaves from learning? Why did Harriet Tubman continue to risk her life on the underground railroad? Why did Booker T. and W.E.B. demand on thinking for themselves? Why did Dr. King not met violence with violence? And why doesn’t our generation have the backbone of our fore fathers?

I’ll give you a hint. I mentioned the answer some where in this article. Think. Bingo. The battle field has changed. It was once us against them. We had a reason to stand and fight together. Now we destroy each other from the inside out.

We are a weak generation. Racism couldn’t stop great men and women from escaping whips and chains. Racism couldn’t stop enlightened minds from sharing information. Racism couldn’t stop thousands of white and black men and women from marching together for equality. Yet, racism can control us from the grave.

We spend so much time thinking about what was done to us, we forget what we accomplished. Even in the face of racism and hate. Why are we so easily broken when those before were so strong?

Sometimes I hating writing blogs like this. I always come up with more questions than I can provide answers. I feel like this should be easy. I mean, all the hard work has been done. We got everything our ancestors fought and died for and yet here we are. In a state of stagnation. Holding on to victim status like it marks our history more than the great people we talk about every February.

We can talk about how Dr. King died, with no mention of how he lived. We can complain about what we don’t have, when people have made it with much less. We can place blame on former slave owners, while copying their treatment of blacks around us.

Then we self righteously walk around like we control all matters of race. We do. And we get all the pitfalls of holding on to such a stigma.

Do you want respect or pity? I can give full respect to my elders who have actually went through the fire. They have the right to hold their memories and anger. It’s not healthy but it’s their right.

I hold an open mind to those slightly older than me that may have felt the remnants of a changing society. I never said racism doesn’t exist. Some people have been through horrible things because of their color.

I haven’t. Most of my friends haven’t. The person close to me making bad decisions hasn’t. What right do we even have to hold this stigma? We don’t. We can use it as an excuse though.

The person close to me has a lot of valid anger. He’s never met his father. His mother was an addict. And he’s spent the majority of his life feeling abandoned. Yet, when asked why he can’t get his life together, it has something to do with a white man.

And the credit for this thinking comes from whom? Dr. King? Harriet Tubman? Or does it come from the pride of holding on to racism instead of dealing with the real problems that plague our society?

When they write the history of our generation, what will they say? What song will they play to take our children back to the days of old? Other than Barack Obama, who will they say helped advance the position of black people in America? Or will the history books remain blank with our accomplishments? Not because racism still exist. Because we have nothing of value to add.

History tends to repeat itself. I’m just waiting for our generation to stand shoulder to shoulder with those before us. Tick Tock Tick Tock

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