We had Medgar Wiley Evers, who fought valiantly until June 12, 1963 when he was shot in the back. As the bullet slashed through his heart, he staggered 30 feet before collapsing. He died 50 minutes later for the cause.
We had Nelson Mandela. On June 12, 1964, Mandela was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He spent 27 — yes, 27 — years of his youth in an 8×7 cell for the cause.
We had Martin Luther King, Jr. He went up the mountaintop and came down with a dream. On April 4, 1968 at 6:01 PM, he was shot. He was dead just an hour later for the cause.
Later, an autopsy revealed that while he was chronologically 39 years of age, he had the heart of a 60 year old man. That is how much he cared for the cause.
And Harriet Tubman.
And Solomon Northup.
And Rosa Parks.
And Booker T. Washington.
And Ruby Dee.
And Colin Powell.
Currently, we have President Barack Obama of the United States of America. He made just about everyone — black, white, and otherwise — believe change was possible.
And we have his lovely lady, Michelle Obama, who provides all women with a beautiful example of how to be a First Lady in our everyday lives.
Black people, we cannot afford our current way to be. We never could.
And yet, too many black men still aren’t stand up guys, won’t pull up their pants, and have chosen a life of crime as their vocation.
And still too many black women are having babies with worthless arseclowns and baring their arses and other “assets” at malls and grocery stores, on the Internet, on popular magazines, and in music videos as cheap, sleazy entertainment, for another buck, and/or for cheap compliments.
If the admirable — if imperfect — human examples listed above, who have risked and sacrificed so much, haven’t made a recognizable impact on how the majority of us (black folks, that is) choose to live, what impact can rest of us hope to have?!
Honestly, I am disheartened.
But I still can’t help but ask the question: What will it take for us to see a better way to be?
Call to action: How do you feel about the choices that black Americans are making?
Check out this excellent article at the Huffington Post: Why Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech Is the Greatest Speech of the 20th Century: Line by Line Analysis
9 thoughts on “What Will It Take?”
In America, we black people can choose to be better and more prosperous than we are. The choice is ours to make. The people you mention in your post have paved the way with their lives so that we and our children have the possibility for a better life. Some of us made the choice to stand up and take our place in society, while the vast majority chooses not to.
I honestly do not see how we can stop the madness that is happening in our country today, but I hope that as the new generation grows up they will be able to bring to fruition what we in this current generation cannot accomplish. I hope!
Well, said. Madness is a good choice of word for the pathetic state of affairs in the black community. We are mentally ill. Truth is, I hope too.
I am not disheartened. I feel inspired to personal advancement. I feel the best way to change the world is to change one’s self. Through self-improvement, we can elevate all consciousness, because we are essentially ONE consciousness. The separation we see is only an appearance — a kind of optical illusion in the mind of consciousness.
So when the external world seems unchangeable, I try to see what small change for the highest good I can make within myself and express that outwards in my daily actions.
Thank you adding your thoughts to the conversation. I am glad someone isn’t disheartened. And if this approach works for you, I applaud you. I agree that regardless of what happens in the external world we are still responsible for the our personal choices and that these choices matter, greatly.
And maybe the fact that I’m even still asking the question is a sign of, dare I say it, hope. Mm.
Oftentimes, what hold us back is ourselves. Oftentimes, many poor black children have their first real contact with a white person in their teens, yet they are behind in every measure. Internalized racism and mental slavery are the real issues. People who come here with nothing and are so black they are blue, come here and thrive.
If parents doubt their own worth , don’t read and don’t have purpose, how can their children.
I agree. Today, we probably erect a great deal of our own obstacles, and those obstacles are built firmly on internalized racism and mental slavery. We seem to have learned too well from the white man and institutionalized slavery how to belittle ourselves, our women, and our men. It is truly a disaster. And we cannot afford it. We never could.
Self-improvement is always a great beginning. And human beings are usually inspired by something or someone to improve. Nothing and no one seems to inspire black folks in this country. Or maybe we are inspired by the wrong things and people! Again, what will it take to get us on track to living enriched lives of integrity, meaning, and purpose.
What are we to do as a people!