I am a black woman. Although my heritage is mixed, my prominent ethnicity is from African origins. I am proud of my heritage. I am utterly pained these days as I see the atrocities against people of color continuing to manifest in our country. I am old enough to clearly remember the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered. I am old enough to remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. These are two events that everyone should be aware of, but there are so many other murderous stories that were never told. I say all of that to let you know that it hasn’t been that long since those events happened. It is heartbreaking.
King and Kennedy both died primarily because of their views of an egalitarian democracy; that ALL men/women were created equal and are entitled to certain inalienable rights. They believed that everyone should be judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin (black people) or socio-economic status (poor white Irish folks). Truth be told, many black people came up from slavery/poverty (nothingness) to prominence within their own right, by their own hands, only to be told by white people that none of that mattered to them because they viewed black folks as inferior. Even then they were insecure and afraid of our resilience and ability to push through all sorts of injustice and inequality to reach stability, prosperity and the American dream.
Being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and aunt to black men causes me to be reflect on the beauty of these men and how they are resilient, funny, strong, athletic, opinionated, loving, caring, providers, warriors, hard-working and the list goes on. These BLACK MEN want the same things for their family that white men want (and, to be fair, men of other ethnicities as well). They also want to be RESPECTED. Our men are not violent or out looking to hurt anyone, but they will defend and protect that which is theirs. Although I cannot speak for the entire black male race, I know that a large MAJORITY of BLACK MEN are respectful of authority – they give respect where respect is due, they give honor where honor is due. Yet, there is a small, hateful contingent of people out there who consistently want to provoke, cause division, and destroy these respectable human beings.
So, now for the unexpected. . .I also lift my hands and cry over the lives of our daughters and other black women who have died at the hands of those who pledged to serve and protect (#SayHerName). It is not only law enforcement, but many have suffered at the hands of slave owners, hateful bosses, and men who just decided to ‘have their way with them.’ There was a day that killing a woman – any woman, was taboo. Nowadays, however, Black women are subject to the brutality of force. I cry over the lives of women who will never get to achieve their full potential because their light was snuffed out too soon. As a resident in the city of Riverside, CA, I was shocked to my core when Tyesha Miller was gunned down while sleeping in her car. . .as a mother of daughters, this caused great concern for the safety of my girls. How could I protect them, how would I impress upon them to love the skin they were in while also telling them that same skin alone could get them killed.
For over 400 years now, black men and women have been subjected to unjust practices like being stripped from their homelands and sold into slavery, raped & impregnated, brutally separated from family, whippings that leave deep scars, treated like animals (actually animals have more clout in the eyes of some), given the left overs animal parts, etc. Even the poorest white person in America feels empowered over any black person simply because of the color of their skin.
Well, the time has come to say NO MORE! Not only will our men fight, but we women will fight! You ain’t had no butt whooping like one given to you by a BLACK WOMAN. We are TIRED OF IT and won’t stand for it. We are done with the killing of our MEN and WOMEN, sons and daughters. Enough is enough! Today, I am still mad as HELL and I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE. Understand, I can love you from a distance without liking anything about you. I will call you out if you think you can just say anything or treat us any kind of way and get away with it. I matter and I will command respect – we matter!
Black people, here’s a snippet of what I see as a way to begin healing ourselves:
First, REBUILD – one another and our communities. In the book of Nehemiah, he was heartbroken over the news that his beloved city was in shambles. Aren’t we heartbroken that our loved-ones have been lost and our communities are in shambles? We can learn from Nehemiah’s example. He wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power and requested a leave from his job to help rebuild the walls of his city, Jerusalem. He was intentional, strategic and methodical in carrying out a successful plan. In fact, they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 54 days!! Even in the face of great opposition, they pressed on and persevered. They were not naïve, they worked together and guarded at the same time. They were wise in their approach and they did not allow bullying (Tobias, Sanballat, and others) to keep them from accomplishing their task. I believe they were successful because they were ready for change and tired of being vulnerable – subject to other people’s whims and control. They were also looking out for the interests of others in their city and not only thinking of themselves. So that’s where we begin.
Next, FIGHT BACK – we do this by:
- Enacting legislation for the needs of the minority community.
- Supporting one another (spiritually, socially, academically, and in business)
- Stop distrusting one another – we are headed the same direction.
- Creating black wealth.
- VOTE, put people who are “for us” in governmental offices (local, county, state and national levels). . .not just black, but all minority ethnicities. WE pay THEM!
- Demand an egalitarian democracy.
- Hold white people accountable – they need to acknowledge their bias and own making change happen.
- Here are some scriptural references for how to overcome during this time:
- There is a time for war – Ecclesiastes 3:5
- Where evil government exists – Habakkuk, chapters 1 through 3
- Where there is shameless injustice (God will judge) – Zephaniah 3:5
- Hated without reason (Jesus was, so will we be) – John 15:25
- For injustice to be avenged – Isaiah 35:4
- Where there are unjust laws – Isaiah 10:1-4
- There is power in numbers – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
- Trained for battle – Psalm 144:1
- Victory – Deuteronomy 20:4
Let’s look to the example of Joshua and Caleb. Ten of the 12 spies who went to check out the land God had promised to them, came back saying the people were too big and they couldn’t take over the land. Joshua and Caleb said that while the people were big, they told Moses to move forward because God was on their side and HE made a promise to them. Those who said don’t move forward never experienced the promise; however, Joshua and Caleb believed God and as a result their families were spared for GENERATION upon generation. [Numbers 13:1–14:38]
If you’ve been raised in white society and have no reference point as to what black people have endured, read our TRUE history. Take a look at the subtle bias you live with – implicit or unconscious, the bias is there. If you’re afraid or unsure of people different than you because of what you’ve heard or been taught from the time you were a child, it’s time to set aside childish ways. Grow up and own your thoughts and change your actions.
Black people, stop destroying (or allowing others to destroy) your community. Someone will have responsibility to rebuild the community and you’ll pay for it through tax dollars. Ultimately, you’re creating more hardship – destruction does not change people behavior.
To everyone, change can happen. Tennis pro Arthur Ashe once said “start where you are, start with what you have.” The key here is to just start . . . Let us start now, start today.
11 Facts about Racial Discrimination. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-racial-discrimination