Saturday, November 17, 2007
Im in DC. The march and marchers were 10 minutes away but I had no interest in attending. And when I turned on the TV and saw Judge Greg Mathis at the podium, I became even more steadfast in my decision not to go. Itâ€™s like when I went to the Million Woman March and Jada Pinkett was speaking. WTF????? Again, am I bad??
My enthusiasm for marches ended with the Million Man March which I believe was the most amazing moment in black history that I have been alive to witness. (The OJ verdict not withstanding). Iâ€˜m just finding it very hard to muster the energy to participate in these marches and drives and â€œmovementsâ€ that seem so out-of-touch with the real important issues challenging Black America. Now donâ€™t get me wrong, of course I am against injustice and racism all the time everywhere. I think the Jena 6 protest was a legitimate protest for a legitimate cause and I am proud we were able to galvanize and make a difference in that case where there was so clearly an injustice. I guess my question is: why is it that we are so quick to oppose injustice done to us by white people, yet we run away screaming, arms flailing overhead when asked to be champions for ourselves?
Weâ€™re marching over nooses? These nooses are likely put up by copy cat obnoxious white kids that are just looking to get a rise out of the black community. And we so gladly give it to them. Yes, nooses are offensive. A thousand times yes. But so are black men getting gunned down in the streets. In fact, I must admit that I am a little more concerned with the latter. You can put everyone who has hung a noose on somebodyâ€™s doorknob or tree in jail for 100 years and weâ€™ll still be killing each other on the corner. What then? Do we cry victory cause there are no more nooses?
Fuck a Ku Klux Klan. Fuck a neo-nazi. Fuck a hate crime. I donâ€™t care how many nooses are hung, those nooses donâ€™t have the power to affect change in our communities. These are infinitesimal elements of black life in America. They donâ€™t have the power to influence a generation of black boys and girls. But our behavior does. Our families do. Our schools do. So why donâ€™t we fight as hard for these aspects of our lives as we do against racist behavior by a few white idiots?
5 young men can get gunned down on the streets of DC and we do nothing. Silence. â€œThem niggas shootin againâ€¦â€ Let a preacher steal millions from people who could least afford it. â€œIt aint the man, itâ€™s the message.â€ Let a man not take care of his kids. â€œIts hard on a black man out here.â€ Black kids cant read. â€œthose tests must be culturally-biased.â€
But let some white person call us a nappy headed ho?????? Whewâ€”you got a fuckin revolution. Its so sick. Does it make me a bad black person for saying that?
Will we ever get tired of begging somebody to do something? Its such a place of powerlessness. The Justice Department and Viacom and BET and Don Imus and nooses are just easy targets that we can point at and blame for this or that. Then we go to bed feeling better knowing that Sharpton and Jackson are on the scene saving us from racism. But who is saving us from ourselves?
Itâ€™s clearly a manifestation of our own inferiority complex. We donâ€™t feel weâ€™re valuable enough to save ourselves. We care more about how white people treat us or what they think, than we do each other. I dont think there is anyone (except maybe Sharpton or Jackson) who would say that racial discrimination and racism is the biggest problem faced by Blacks in America. So why are all of our movements seen through this paradigm? Is that all we know? Does that make me a bad black person for saying that?
Or maybe the problems have become too difficult. Too complex, too formidable. Its like when I look at my To Do list and its too long, I get anxious and go have a drink instead and nothing gets done.
Just think about it, the most powerful march since King marched on Washington was the Million Man March and you know why it was so powerful, because it was us talking to us. We called each other to task for the state of our communities. We wasnt begging and scraping asking Mr. Charlie to do anything. For once we all were forced to look at ourselves in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable for our condition. He had it right. We all were inspired, we wanted to do something, we loved each other, we thought we were great. Even if it just lasted that day. But it shows what power the teaching of self-reliance can have. Just imagine if we lived that philosophy?
And then we went back to this begging shit. And here we are. Judge Mathis and all. Great. I say, until we realize how precious our own lives are, we will continue to march in a circle chanting â€œNo Justice, No Peaceâ€ about this or that. With fewer and fewer people actually listening, actually caring. Instead of growing stronger through our increased economic power and our increasing population of educated black folks, weâ€™re becoming the little race that cried wolf. And just like that little boy, ultimately, if it aint happened already, people will stop listening. With all that going on the world, how can we seriously expect the country to care about us when we dont care about ourselves? hell, its some days when I dont even give a shit. Does that make me a bad black person?
So no, it may not get national coverage when we march for each other. You may not get on CNN. You may not get on the news if you and your community stage a sit-in at your local school to bring attention to bad teachers, poor conditions and poor performance. Your protest against out-of-wedlock children may not get on the front page. When we march for black lives and black families and black education, we may not get Tom Joyner to come or Judge Mathis or Jada Pinkett. But just think what we would get. For once, maybe some results. Letâ€™s start talking to the people who can really make a difference in our communities, the people who really control our images and influence our young people. The only people that can help us now. OURSELVES.
Does that make me a bad black person? peace people.
“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God… We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Nelson Mandela. Inaugural Address, 1994. (attributed to Marianne Williamson)
Thanks for the quote Jimmy. You can liberate me any day.