Day after day, I browse posts on Facebook and the internet, seeing all the conflicting views about our struggle, how to get the movement started, where we should focus our energies, they go on and on. Reading so many different prespectives can be tiring, if not confusing. It is no wonder our youth are so scattered and confused about how to articulate their feelings, their disappointments.
Most troubling to me are the unending posts and videos from those simultaneously claiming to be ‘on the front line’, yet spewing division and hatred toward their brothers and sisters. Don’t they know that we can not overcome anything as long as we are looking at each other with hatred and derision? Don’t they realize that this internal conflict is what has kept our people in a state of confusion and dependent upon the systems in place to keep us divided? Can’t they see that without unity and respect for each other we further cripple our chances at being taken seriously? Like I said, there are many layers.
Layer one. When we first arrived on this continent the plan was devised to keep us separated by physical locale. The slave masters knew that they could not have too many slaves in one place because that would increase the possibilities of a rebellion that could overthrow their slave system. They first separated us by physical characteristics, only a few large, strong Mandingos were allowed on any one plantation; their primary use was for hard backbreaking work and the production of the next generation of stout enslaved Africans. The other male slaves were relegated to the fields. The women were divided by physical characteristics as well. The more physically appealing slaves were placed closer to the house, given better living conditions and easier jobs. Psychologically, our first barrier was set. We now were set against each other based on the ease of life given some by the slave owner. He saw this and to him this was good. As children were born with lighter complexions and as a result of slave rape, these children were also favored and given better living, easier circumstances. It was part of the plan, the plan that still plays out today in our culture.
Layer two came in the post-slavery era. Stark differences in regards to access to education began to develop. A few Africans were able to secure access to education. Some passed for Caucasian and did their absolute best to seamlessly merge into freedom. Such moments were rare as the vast majority of formerly enslaved Africans were in a horrendous economic plight. They were facing the arduous task of supporting themselves absent the ability to read, write, or engage in commerce. Thos that moved into mainstream America did so and left the others in a miserable state possessing much envy for those who escaped the rigid confines of economic exploitation. We as a people became more fractured and unsupportive of each other. Their plan continued.
Layer three and the most important layer. During the late twentieth-century and into the new millennium, our people divided ourselves into many competing factions. We took freedom of religion to a new level, creating every kind of worship group we could think of. We divided based on “greek” affiliation in college, we divided based on zip codes, based on choice of car manufacturers, based on red or blue, based on eye color, hair length, and finally the size of a behind. We divided so much and with emotion that we became comfortable with hating each other on sight. I am reminded of a movie by Spike Lee called “School Daze”. This movie was satirical but it clearly illustrated just how divided our people have become. The actors in this movie fought each other over differences in complexion, body build, financial ability and level of intellect. As much as this movie was enjoyed by our people, no one really paid attention to the subliminal message being sent, our division will be the downfall to us.
The top layer. We are all in the same boat and fighting for the oar. Our boat will capsize if we don’t get it together in short order. We have those who support the followers of Dr, King. They do so because the evidence of this approach is real. Without Dr.King, we would not be able to vote, to live anywhere we want, to aspire to reach higher learning and better lifestyles. Not many realize that the teachings of Dr.King were removed from mainstream education because these teachings would have gone on to lay a more equal foundation for our country. Those who benefit from racism could not let this happen because their privilege would be removed if the people of this country embraced equality. “Keep them divided, neutralize them and they will stay exactly where we want them”.
There are those who speak out against the leaders that have come from Dr. King’s teachings. Some arguments have merit but they miss several important points. During the period mentioned above, our people being fractured and disconnected felt there was no need for a leader, no need to continue to teach the lessons that made us “equal”. There was no need for an “Operation Push” until there was a killing. No need for Reverend Sharpton until there was a rape or murder. Even then it appears that the plan was to neutralize their influence by setting them up to look corrupt. In the 80’s there was Tywana Brawley who placed the first national knife in Reverend Sharpton’s back with her childish and racially derisive lie about Caucasian police kidnapping and raping her while she hung out with friends “turning up”. You can find out more about Reverend Sharpton here http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Sharpton and here http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1527. Jesse Jackson has also had a great impact on the lives of the average African American but because we are so blind and wanting to see the negative in each other, many do not know the positives he has brought to our struggle. Read about him here http://www.aaiusa.org/dr-zogby/entry/w072693/ and also here http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=687. For both I have supplied a positive and a not so positive link. You make your own decision.
In conclusion, I need to point out that there are very few, if any, ready to step in and address the total issue of how we get on a level playing field. Where we will fail is by not identifying that our own infighting and lack of cohesion will miss the boat and keep us no better than where we are. We have many issues to address. Fair housing and lending, equal job opportunities, equal pay, fair voting practices, and better representation in our elected officials. Our first step is to stop attacking each other and speaking negatively about those who can do the most good. I challenge all the “would be leaders” to come together and find a way to work as one unit to address and resolve all the issues we have as a race. Also, I challenge all my brothers and sisters to stop speaking out against each other and learn to support and promote each other because as I said, we are all in the same boat. Our road has been long and hard. Each of us has played a role in the place we find ourselves in, individually and collectively. There is no one person who can stand against the system and get us to where we want to be. We do it together or we fail together. It should not matter who is at the head of our fight, as long as they are producing the results we need and reaching the ultimate goals. Remember this saying “A house divided will never stand”. It’s time for our people to stand together and succeed. And remember, to all those who feel they have a reason to speak out against a brother or sister, you are teaching division to the youth watching and you will reap what you sow. Negative brings negative.
D.C. Price, MBA, PMP, MCTS, CNA