There is the idea that just because time is moving forward that, by proxy, progress is being made. Amos Wilson made it clear that progress is not guaranteed with time. Racism does not heal over like a scab. On the contrary, Racism is a virus within the body despite the initial wound looking healthy.
The scab analogy was just to illustrate the seriousness of contemporary racism. Ebola, on the other hand, literally spread across West Africa like a cancer, consuming over 8,000 black lives. In 2014 it was the frenzy media outlets couldn’t get enough of. The rapid spread of the virus, again, showed the lack any infrastructure existing on the continent. It gave the world another reason to see the dark continent as a cesspool of poverty, disease and incapability. Fortunately, it gave nations like the United States the opportunity to massage their White Guilt and Jesus Complexes. AFRICOM had already put boots on African soil, but now the U.S has been able to send troops in to the help fight the sickness. There were obvious whispers of conspiracy. That maybe the virus was being spread in the very vaccines sent there to heal. These ideas come from a very real place as Tuskegee is not just folklore. Whether this outbreak was caused by nature, or other means, peace to all of the brothers and sisters that have perished due to this terrible virus. Its troubling that many of these West African nations were unable to manage the sickness themselves, or help their sister nations enough to contain the epidemic. Nigeria was able to eliminate all cases from it’s nation, but was unable to maintain peace in the North.
The terrorist organization Boko Haram has been around for sometime, but 2014 was different. They’ve increased their number of attacks in northern Nigeria and have slowly made their way into other regions. The group gained international attention in April when it kidnapped 257 young girls from a boarding school. There were social media campaigns (#BRINGBACKOURGIRLS) and celebrity outcry, but only 57 girls have returned home, and thats because they escaped. The Islamic group has quite literally taken over the northern part of Nigeria and are doing as they please in the zones they’ve conquered. There seems to be no end in site, and the government is either to corrupt, to incompetent or both, to silence the organization. The black men that make up the terrorist group are just like the young black men here in America, who resort to violence and crime as an attempt to gain some sort of power over their circumstance. Joblessness and hopelessness are what allow groups like this to thrive.
In the United States racial tension has exploded in ways we haven’t seen in sometime. The death of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice by white police officers have caused protests and “riots” among, not just black people, but all walks of life. #BLACKLIVESMATTER became the slogan of the movement, as the nation began to reevaluate the treatment of black men by law enforcement. Ferguson became the epicenter of the protest, New York residents shut down highways and that fever spread throughout the rest of the country. Even today the organizing doesn’t stop, and black people seem to be as active as ever in the United States, but there needs to be more direction. Our goal needs to be power, not to simply have other groups treat us like humans. We’ve begs, marched and protested for fair treatment for hundreds of year with only small steps forward. We can’t be equal to any group until we see ourselves as worthy. Did we need others to tell us our lives matter? Do we really look at one another and see our worth? Wouldn’t we have more agency and control over our circumstances if we knew the value of our lives? Peace to the black people here in America that lost their lives, and I hope we can grow as a group from the tragedies surrounding us.
Unfortunately, with the media’s heavy influence over what the national discourse, these stories have washed away as more “breaking” news sweeps in. CNN hasn’t mentioned the status on the missing girls, FOX is more interested in fear-mongering than covering the status of ebola in Africa, and MSNBC is more likely to trash FOX then covering Boko Haram activity. The protesters in Ferguson, New York and elsewhere have been silenced by more sensationalized sound bites.
Our inability to build a strong sustaining nation has allowed a virus to ravage an entire region. Our inability to create wealth and opportunity, coupled with or misguided allegiance to foreign belief systems, has created chaos in northern Nigerian. Lastly, our unwillingness to reevaluate our culture, and continued trust of racist America has left us in, arguably, worst shape than we’ve been in a long time. Clearly there is more nuance to each story, but they all come back to us, our lack of power, and our unwillingness to work together.
Despite all of these things Black people are still spreading soul, style “swag,” whatever you may call it, across the planet. We continue to show our excellence artistically, athletically and academically. We are much more than our struggles. We have overcome so much and with organization, intellect and oneness we can reach levels of greatness we haven’t seen in centuries.