Where we were…
We all know the saying “If you don’t learn from history, then we’re doomed to repeat it”, and even though there are many things in history that we will never be able to 100% relive through, there are still mindsets that can resurface. That’s why it’s so important to reflect on where we came from, not just as a race, but a country, and really dive into what made us who were are, and what’s hindering us from being who we want to become. As an African American man who grew up understanding the “rule of being black in America”, and I think one of the most important things I’ve learned as an adult is that the things we learned in those history books, weren’t as far back I history is it was made to look.
I grew up believing that all of the worlds worst racist moments happened so long ago that it HAD to be almost gone, and that good had finally conquered evil because we were made to perceive that all the struggles and those movements were behind us. By showing black and white photos, and old movies, it forced a disconnect with those moments, it made it almost impossible to see that the fear wasn’t that history was repeating itself, but that present was just a continuation of everything we witness in those books and lessons slowly sneaking past an entire generation. Don’t get me wrong, I know that people of color had it a lot worst than what we have now, but the point isn’t to compare the hurtles we’ve have to jump, but to figure out why the hell did an entire generation jump those hurtles back in 1964 just so we can have those same obstacle thrown at our feet. living before and after the civil rights movement was no walk in the park for anyone involved, but the sad thing is where we are isn’t much better
Where we are…
Today, we are blessed to be able to get an education, have hopes, dreams, and ambitions. People of color are politicians, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, literally ANYTHING, and we are so proud that in 80 years our race and country has come so far. However, that does not mean that we are living in an Utopia. This is where the miscommunication comes into place. It is impossible to truly understand someone without walking in their footsteps, and unfortunately as a person of color, the only person who can ever walk in those footsteps is a person dealing with the same exact thing walking in their own. This makes understanding judicial and systematic racism unfathomable to those not hindered by it. Due to this, there’s an entire generation of people who have to live with their guard up as adults, because as a child they were made to believe that all the bad men and women were no longer an issue, that justice had prevailed, when the truth is it just found a new way to resurface in our society.
As an educated black man, it can feel like I get the brush off sometimes because I’m one of the “good ones”. To that I always bring up, how would it feel to know that everyday of your life you have to prove to ever single person who doesn’t look like you that it’s okay to be around you, that you are a good person who has no interest in harming them. Even worst, having to prove that when someone has done something wrong to you, or have taken your life, you weren’t the one at fault because by default…you are. We shouldn’t have to gamble with our lives when we need the police, we shouldn’t have to be worried that at any moment someone can make the decision to end our lives, or throw us in jail just for deciding to step outside of our homes. Wait… our homes are no longer the safe-zone it once was. We are force to be on high alert every moment of everyday not because history is repeating itself, but because we are still living through our movement.
Where we’re headed
I think it took a lot of people to lose their lives, a lot of people to be wrongfully incarcerated, and for the voice of the few to become the voice of many to truly see change. In the past, people of color asked for their rights, they fought for their rights, and we are so grateful for their blood, sweat, and tears. However, I think these next generations aren’t asking for it, they aren’t demanding it, they’re taking it. We’re watching as generations of people of color are standing with each other, they’re going after those who are doing wrong, and lighting a fire under those in power to do the right thing. We are seeing more people being held accountable for their actions, but most importantly the fear of repercussions is starting to dwindle. Not because we don’t care about the repercussions of our actions when taking a stand, but because the alternative is waiting for a moment where our lives are in danger for doing nothing more than living while black. When death can be knocking on each of our doors while we sit at home being law abiding citizens because of someone else’s prejudice, then what is there to lose? Do I believe change is coming? No, I think change is being forced through, and once it makes it through that racist barrier, we’ll really see what this world can look like.
I am beyond proud of the generations who came before me, who helped pave the way for me to be the man I am today with all my hopes and aspirations. With that being said, I am equally if not more proud of my generations and those younger than I am, because we made a decision that this world is our world too, that black history is the WORLD’S history, and we would not be defined by it. Yes, we have to work hard to get what we want and work even harder to keep it, but this world can’t stop us from obtaining everything we want out of our lives. If there is one thing in my life I am proud of it’s being an African American Man, because there is no other person who has a bigger target on their back, yet despite that we’ve decide to walk out our front door and live our lives to the fullest. To all my Sistas and Brothas out there who may be lost, or down and out, know that you have the ability to change your circumstances and write your story the way you want.