The Once Proud Black Nation
For the past two or three weeks, I’ve had this train of thought running laps around my head. I’ve been trying to figure something out, and every time I think about it, I come to the same baffling conclusion. The question is quite simple, and is a question many people have asked before, and that is “What happened to black people?” Back in the fifties, sixties and seventies, the black population was comprised of unconquerable people who were on a mission to make life better for everyone. The civil rights movement was the very definition of determination in the face of absolute tyranny and injustice. Race-driven violence was met with a tempered resolve that sought to end not only the injustice, but the very cause of the injustice. Through sit-ins, boycotts, protests, marches, and demonstrations (most of which resulted in dog attacks, fire hoses, and jail time), the prejudice system was slowly changed to allow a semblance of equality.
I say semblance because I truly believe that while things have certainly gotten better for blacks in this country, the prejudice roots that have always divided us along race and class lines still exist and continue to thrive, and in some cases grow. For example, it is no longer legal to have racially segregated bathrooms, schools, or parks. However, how many black CEO’s are there of Fortune 500 companies? How many black mayors in predominately white cities, black governors of predominately white states, or black senators or congressmen in predominately white districts do you see? The answer is almost none. Does this mean that there are no qualified African Americans running or applying for these positions? Absolutely not. In fact, I think for every qualified white person, there are two qualified African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics each, yet these minority groups are even more so of a minority when it comes to positions of power, and without power, there will be no change in a prejudice system.
Many people wonder about how to change a racist and prejudice system. The answer is really quite simple: change it from the inside; but as they say, this is easier said than done. Changing any system from the inside requires someone on the inside in a position of power willing to make such changes in said system, no matter the consequences. This is exactly why states like Mississippi refuse to take the confederate battle symbol (aka ‘Bars and Stars’) off of it’s state flag. It’s why a bunch of over-paid lawmakers refuse to see the point in raising the federal minimum wage. The people who make the decisions about such things are those who won’t benefit from such changes. Tell me, how many lawmakers (or their families, friends, or their friends’ families) stand to make more money because of a rise in the minimum wage. None of them, Republican, Democrat, Independent, or otherwise. They are too far removed from the problem for it to be even on their radar screens until recently.
My overall point is this: systems, no matter how they are set up, by their very nature are changed only through two things: 1.) great external force in opposition to said system’s current state (i.e. the civil rights movement), or 2.) someone inside the system taking notice of the need for change, and steering the system toward that change from the inside. I say that to say that until Blacks and other minorities get really serious about wanting to change the current state of things, the “current state of things” will remain current for a long time. Talk is cheap, and apathy is lethal, and there is the main reason why after the civil rights movement, precious slow process has been made in the cause of equality for all Americans regardless of race; AFRICAN AMERICANS GOT LAZY.
We won the right to vote.
We won the right to go to school where we please.
We could eat, drink, piss, and stand in line in the best of facilities;
And we were satiated.
We no longer march for the cause of equal employment, fair housing, and equal educational opportunities. Instead we accept what is given to us and say “this is the way it’s always going to be”. We are still, by and large, under-educated, frivolous in our spending, and unwilling to work for what we need. Honestly, what good is a set of rims and grillz going to do anybody except make him (or her) the target of discrimination in the workplace and undo (and quite unwanted) attention from police?
If you haven’t picked up on it, I am quite pissed at the current state of Black people in America today; and do you know who I blame? Black people.