I think we can all agree that Black people, collectively, are struggling financially, politically, and socially. Up until 1964, there were laws in the books that oppressed and marginalized Black people here in the United States. Unfortunately, even after the Civil Right Act of 1964 and The Voting Right Act of 1965 racism has morphed into something much more subtle and sinister. When the Civil Rights Movement ended, with what seemed to be victory, Black people were left with little leadership and even less direction. The Black Panthers rose out of that confusion and frustration and they demanded change more urgently then their forefathers. The all black outfits, the picked out afros, the closed fist, the beret and the gun shocked the country, that believed they’d given enough freedom to Black people already. The Panthers understood that freedom is never given and that it must be taken, by any means necessary. After COINTELPRO destroyed The Panthers Black people were, again, leaderless. We’ve been that way for a long time here in The United States. Many people would look to Barack Obama, but he failed the second he took the role as Commander & Chief. That job comes with the expectation that this country will remain the SuperPower that it’s become. He could never outwardly lead us towards any significant organizing, or building because that isn’t his job.
Since the end of the Civil War, Black people have done their best to deal with racism. We’ve made Jazz and Hip-Hop out of our suffering and poverty, we’ve made soul food out of scraps and we’d turned our scars into beauty marks. We’ve done everything in our power to try and “lean in” and assimilate. We’ve had small sects of Black people preaching black ownership and independence, but we’ve rarely been able to organize in any substantial way. Our two grand examples are The UNIA led by Marcus Mosiah Garvey and The Nation Of Islam led by The Honorable Elijah Mohammed. We saw a drastic rise in self-worth and self-determination from Black people. The Nation, specifically, was impressive because it changed the lifestyle of Black people dramatically. Members of The Nation changed the way they treated one another, the way they thought about politics, their relation to white people, and even the way they ate. All of these things had a positive impact on the community.
I’ve been feeling stuck. I’m not sure where I’m supposed to plug myself in to help our community. I feel I’ve grown, but I think I need to share these thoughts with others so that we may build something… anything! There is no reason to wait anymore. It’s clear that waiting for white people to accept us as Americans is not realistic or smart. There is only so much we can do here, but things can be done. It’s just a matter of “WHAT!?” I don’t have the answers Black people, but I know what we’re doing isn’t working.