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So I don’t watch the news because I get too emotionally charged when I see injustices of any kind, but more than anything, injustice against the black community. My dad has dedicated his entire life to the education and betterment of the black community, so for as long as I have been breathing, I have seen an influential black man, dedicated to his community and dedicated to his family. Like Angela Rye said, I was #bornwoke, “Woke From The Womb”, I had no choice because it’s in my DNA.
Although I stand firm on not watching the news, over the weekend, I went to spend some time with my parents and as soon as I walked in, I was immediately hooked onto what was on the television. It was Saturday in the middle of the day and all I saw on the television was white people with tiki torches. Additionally, I viewed a car smash into a group of people protesting the racist, neo-nazi, inferior white men (“white supremacists”, but we should stop giving them so much power with our words), killing one young lady named Heather Heyer.
I was devastated, hooked like a fool, as they replayed the scene of the car crash over and over, people flying into the air, the car then reversing and driving away. I watched as hundreds (
thousands?) of white men (I didn’t see women, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t there) marched throughout the town of Virginia with tiki torches, saying they were going to take their country back (a country stolen by the Native Americans by the way). As a young lady who called in on The Breakfast Club this morning said, we assumed it was old white people who felt this way. Perhaps they grew up during the Civil Rights era and had not gotten over the mentality but that is simply not the case. These were young people, professors at integrated Universities, bankers, business owners, etc. These were people who no longer wear the white hood because they feel that emboldened that they can march and scream white power and NOTHING will happen to them. They feel emboldened because their president previously said that “if this (at one of his rally’s) happened 40 years ago, they would’ve been taken out on stretchers”.
I have ALWAYS known of the pain of slavery. I went to an African American camp for my entire young life, learning about the best and worst of my community. I watched Rosewood, introduced to what happens when a black man becomes physically involved with a white woman. I saw Sankofa, watching as a black woman who forgot where she came from was thrust back into the world of slavery, I went to see Amistad with my school when I was in the 8th grade. How devastating to see a black woman being treated so badly that she sat on the edge of the boat with her infant child and drop backwards because she would rather die that be taken by these people that looked nothing like her.
I knew of all this. But luckily my father was able to balance it with things such as Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters and the stories of the builders of the pyramids in Kemet (KMT or best known as Egypt). Luckily my father was able to teach us about the Moors and how they were the original travelers who introduced soap and rubbing alcohol into Europe because before the Moors, that was not something they had. Thankfully, although we knew about slavery, he taught us how to excel, realizing that we would have to be EVEN BETTER to compete with them. And even though he told us the stories of the Bible, he also taught us the African origins of those Western created new religions that slave masters forced onto their slaves.
After Saturday, I’m devastated for so many reasons. I haven’t been able to stop crying and it gets worse when I hear people talking about it. I don’t want us to be angry, not without a plan anyway. Our anger is not going to bring us together the way it needs to be. We are taken down when we protest peacefully, so our anger will only destroy everything we try to build.
But it’s hard not to be angry. Riding the train in NYC, I began looking at all of the people and wondering if they were in attendance in Virginia over the weekend. At work, I found it hard to take direction from my non-melanated coworkers, but I don’t have a choice. I realize that until I am in the position to walk away, I have to do what I have to do and I think that is one of the most painful things for me. A part of me is a humanitarian, driven by the goodness is people, desiring to spend my days on earth surrounded by amazing people, however another part of me is a Black Panther‘s daughter, unable to resist the pull of the fight for freedom and righteousness.
I’m honestly sick of our desire to need approval from a group of people that our ancestors called master. Our abilities to excel exceed our mishaps of failure. It is amazing that we are the bread and butter with every money making venture in the United States (sports, entertainment, music, etc), yet we own none of it. Makes no sense that we choose to go outside of our communities for jewelry, clothes and shoes. Makes no sense that we base our success on how much of their items we can afford to buy (essentially sending their kids to school). When we have garbage in our neighborhoods, we cry for someone to come clean it. When our girls were missing in DC, we wanted their helping finding them. When we boycott, we “punish” them for a day and go right back. In 400 years, our people have never been self sufficient.
What are we going to do? How do we fix this? How do we remove ourselves from the “barrel” and put our “crabs” back in their natural habitat? The ability to become self-sufficient is absolutely essential. Why do we have to be around people who do not want to be around us? How about we just build within our own communities? What can we do to move forward?
Buy Black. This has always seemed obvious to me, but I don’t think many people get it. We still base our success on the things we can afford in their communities. We still use our tax refunds to put their children through college EVEN IF they state PUBLICLY that they don’t want us wearing their items. WE STILL SPEND $300 ON A BELT BUT ASK OUR PEOPLE FOR A DISCOUNT! Imagine what would happen if we took all of our money and supported each other?
Don’t boycott white businesses, shop with black businesses. A few years ago, I got a flyer with a red, black and green flag on it that said “Boycott Black Friday”. We cheer for this and people were on board. I’m looking at it like, this makes no sense. Why would we BOYCOTT Black Friday? Why do we consistently try to prove to them that we are good enough for them? Why don’t we focus on our prosperity and focus on building our communities and just disappear, since they hate us so much?! WHY DO WE CONSTANTLY ASK THEM FOR PERMISSION?! As my dad always said, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was one of the best and worst things to happen to the black community because when that boycott was over, we should have had our own bus company so we wouldn’t have to go back to theirs.
Bank Black. I’ve been in banking since March 5th, 2007. The intellect of our community with regard to money is nearly non existent. And the way others are able to get over on us is ridiculous. Redlining kept black people from getting mortgages, essentially keeping us out of certain neighborhoods. Yet our black banks are struggling and many of us do not even know that they exist. Why do we beg people who hate us to accept us?
It is going to take dedication to the cause to counteract the horrible actions of others. Or perhaps we will just learn to love ourselves and lean on ourselves. Perhaps Donald Trump becoming president was the best thing that happened to the Black community because we are no longer in the dark about how this country really feels about us.