I am proud to be black. I come from an eclectic group of ancestral heritage, that made a myriad of choices, in the midst of what seemed impossible to endure, against the backdrop of being stolen goods. And yet, we have been so hard on ourselves, judging the sin gifts we inherited from those that enslaved us. We should be rejoicing in the historical fact, that some chose death, some fought like warriors, some went crazy, some learned, some strategized, some built, and some boldly lived to birth the millions of me’s and you’s that are here, existing, awakening and changing OUR reality.
There is no one right way, especially when the inhumane journey has accumulated trillions of miles of pain, trauma and a distorted view of oneself. Many are doing the best they can while others are clouded by the foggy view of the pursuit of happiness. Every choice our ancestors made, good or bad was about the definition of survival for them.
I don’t believe in religion but in my opinion in order not to believe, one must have explored the idea of religion while reading some biblical texts. I find the Bible to be a fascinating text and when read with an open eye, seems to offer the very experience of what it means to be human: All encompassing. One of my favorite stories is the story of Jesus Christ and Judas. I could actually share dozens of biblical stories that fascinate me, but this story in particular allows me to see the blessing even in the chaos or wrong doing. I almost told you where to find the info, but decided you should seek your own knowledge and understanding. Anyway, back to seeing the blessing even in chaos. The bible tells us that Jesus would be betrayed by a friend and disciple. So when he is betrayed, I am often baffled at the shock and disdain readers of the gospel have at already knowing a climatic element to the story. For me, this story means that Judas was either chosen by fate or fear led his free will to make a decision that changed the historical trajectory of the institution of faith for believers. And yet, people choose to hate the messenger and deliverer of GOD to his rightful place on the throne.
I said all of that to say, black people, we have endured. We have been betrayed by many. We have literally been hung to death, beaten to death and soul stripped to death and now it is time for us to rise. Ascend to our rightful place and stop being fixated with the Judas in the story. Actually, the en-slavers have yet to apologize for their sins. Judas, after leading the soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane for 30 pieces of silver, felt so bad he returned the money. We can’t even get reparations. They did what they needed to do for them, no matter how vile, but now we must focus on the rebirth of US.
I understand that trauma may convince you that you are not worthy or make some want to jump ship (pun intended) from the shackles of blackness. Both are responses to the mind, body, soul and spirits need to survive.
We deserve to more than survive. We deserve to live. We MUST unpack the baggage of WHY. Why the self hate, colorism, toxicity in our families and communities and seeking validation from the very group that made us hate ourselves to begin with. Once unpacked, we must reconcile it, know it, forgive ourselves and each other and then get down to business. Of course we can do the work. There is nothing harder than the work of struggling and look how successful most of us were at that legacy!
So what do we have to do? First we have to decide that we are worth it because we are. Then we must be willing to sacrifice the NOW for the FUTURE. The work of dismantling systemic racism, self hatred and its effects including poverty, mental trauma and a host of other ills, must be infused with the discipline to do like rapper and activist Killer Mike says, : Plot, Plan, Strategize, Organize and Mobilize. While incorporating this grass roots approach, we must collectively acknowledge ourselves as a culture with its own set of working systems for the benefit of our future generations. We must make the struggle worth it. It will never be justified, but success and peace is the greatest revenge.
On those days you question the journey, call on the ancestors. Remember what they endured so we could be in this fight. Explore your history devoid of just slavery and Jim Crow. Feel free to pick a historical figure and be inspired by their journey and then continue yours. Explore your history devoid of just slavery and Jim Crow. Learn about our greatness. Now go forth and build businesses, schools, hospitals, grocery stores and anything you can think of: TOGETHER.