Life can be rough at times for African Americans. But, the writer of this piece is annoyed at the ‘Woe Is Me’ attitude prevalent in certain sectors of the Black community.
I get it.
Black people (my people) have been hurt. Wronged. Killed, throughout American history. No other racial group has been knocked around like African Americans. It’s common knowledge, and, unfortunately, a part of American pop culture. (See: Roots, 12 Years A Slave, and The Color Purple).
I get that.
Life in America for African Americans can still be a grind, since racism is sown into the very fabric of this country. Slights at careers, racial blowback from Obama’s Presidential era, and fucking Florida are reminders of how tough life can be for Black people.
I completely get that.
What I don’t get is the defeatist groaning of many of my fellow Black folk that’s unfortunately become reflexive second nature. The complaints about the roadblocks and barriers that Black people have already known that exist in this country.
I don’t get that.
And I don’t like it.
For all of my unenlightened brothas and sistas who don’t know, here’s a secret. Life in the 21st century for Black people isn’t that bad.
Yeah, I said it.
I, as a Black man, can vote. (Well, not if the Republican Party has anything to say about it. I’ll revisit this topic in 2016). I can write for this website. I can learn to read so I can write for a website. I can buy a computer from a store that isn’t “For Colored People Only”. I can get paid to write for this website. I can write/post my opinion on this website, and not get physically harmed for doing so. I can date a woman outside of my race and not (for the most part) worry about the physical repercussions for doing so. I can go to college, start a business, be a thought leader, a pillar of a multi-racial community, and run for office.
In other words, shit I couldn’t do in 1954.
Since I’m feelin’ it, here’s a second secret I want to share with the Black and angry. Ya’ wanna know how Black people survived in 1954, 1944, and 1934 ? They fought. They moved. They grit their teeth and plowed through roadblocks or jumped over them. They sized up their obstacles and found a way to get past them. They endured unspeakable everyday racism and cruelty and refused to be stopped. Yeah, Birdman founded Cash Money Records in the 1990’s, got an insane deal from Universal Records, and started an empire. But Berry Gordy started Motown Records with a few hundred dollars in 1959, and created a label that dominated mainstream pop culture for over 20 years, in an era where Black people were still fighting for their basic human rights.
Know your history, know your power, know your potential. Life as an African American can be challenging, but in 2014 we get to now walk around walls that our forefathers had to climb. Cry on Black Twitter, but kick ass in the terrestrial world.
Photo Raph D Flickr