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Hey, Black People. Can We Talk For A Minute?

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

We in western culture have enjoyed another beautiful Black History Month. We have enjoyed movie specials, television documentaries, and radio programs. We have freely shared knowledge and information regarding our discoveries, our inventions, and our contributions to the planet. We've shown ourselves to be a beautiful people. Capable, and deserving. And rightfully so. We indeed have an obligation to do this in a culture that has for so long denied that what we lacked all along was opportunity, far more so than acumen. We should and shall continue to beat our own drum and sing our own praises, making our ancestors proud, and giving our progeny a more solid place on which to stand than we ourselves were given.

There's just one thing. A couple of things, actually; Can we stop hurting one another? There's still a disproportionate amount of robbery, burglary, theft, and rape in too many of our neighborhoods. Gang activity is still too prevalent. Our youth are often disrespectful to their elders. If it takes a village to raise a child, where is our village? When we lock our doors to secure our valuables and keep our loved ones safe, many of us are doing so to keep out people who look just like us. It's tiring. It's angering. It's embarrassing.

I'm well aware of the covert historical and present-day reasons for why there are so many guns, drugs, and broken families in our communities. Why there is so much unemployment and alcoholism in our hood. Black people have been under attack ever since before this nation began. It doesn't matter how hard they deny it. I have friends from around the world. The world knows the truth. But being attacked should solicit a fight or flight response, right? So which are we doing? Some of you would say both, and I'd agree. Except flight is the wrong response. When your village is under attack, you don't give in, you fight back. And the most formidable fighters have trained themselves, mind and body, in preparation for the day of battle. There's little to be availed by going up against any opponent if we haven't disciplined our own minds and mastered our bodies.

I'm not saying anything here we haven't heard a million times before. It has been said countless times. It's in our music, our poetry, our movies, and our sermons. Even the first three nights of Kwanzaa are dedicated to Unity, Self-Determination, and Collective Responsibility, respectfully. That's good. Acknowledgement is a start, and communication is the key. But we desperately need to move beyond starting now. It's clear by now that whenever we get a foot in the door, any door where we were once barred entry, we come in and excel. Truly, excellence is what we do.

The sad news is, America is failing. I can't give you a timeline, but she's a house of cards and is collapsing from within. There are few very wealthy people who don't have property in another country that they can flee to when the walls begin to crumble. Whenever that has happened in the past, it was always the poor and disenfranchised who were trapped in the rubble. That, Black people, in this current scenario, is us. But don't we owe it to ourselves to give ourselves a chance at survival? All we need is the collective will. So the next time we have the chance, and every time after that, let's be the change, heal the world, and inhabit the village that raises healthy, intelligent, respectful, and respectable children. We already know we can.

1 Comment

Shoshana McKinney
Shoshana McKinney
Jul 07, 2021

A big part of healing our African American community is really connecting to Africa. So much of the cultural and social damage in our community is the African heritage that was stolen from us, continually over centuries.

I would love to see a "Birthright Africa" program where masses of young Black Americans get to re-connect to our heritage and continue healing our community.

I'm from L.A. where the Black community is more dispersed (Compton is now a Mexican neighborhood) but there was still a strong sense of unity around politics and social events. And the HAIR, no matter what hood you move to, you still need to go to the barbershop or salon!

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