I stay away from political topics on this blog even though I find it very difficult, to separate politics from faith from spirituality. For me, your faith or spirituality should have sway over your politics. And, politics are how we collectively exercise our values. Given that disclaimer, this post isn’t exactly political. But, it’s a sensitive subject- race. In honor of Black history month, I created a series of memes that I post on Treasured Locks and on my personal Facebook page. Often people ask why we need Black history month. When I see the response to my memes, I’m reminded of why we do. I’ve been sharing them on my personal Facebook page and many of my friends have responded positively. I’m taking a leap by making this post. I wrote it yesterday and have been contemplating whether I should post it or not. This morning, I was going over it in my head and I heard Shayna tell me I need to publish it. Just then, one of the Shayna Six, her group of friends, who I haven’t seen in about a year, came out of her house going for a run. Shayna spent a lot of time educating these girls on race in America. That was my sign.
Saturday night Tywana and I were at a friend’s house. We were sitting around the kitchen table making having homemade pizza and a few beverages. We’ve been friends with these people for a very long time. But, we are divided politically, we know it, and we tend to avoid talking about politics.
They were talking about their trips to Europe, visiting their countries of origin, talking about whether they are German, or Italian, or Irish. How they thought they were Italian but, it turns out they’re German (It was like a 23 and
It wasn’t until I was a teenager and I saw the mini-series Roots that I realized what African-Americans had been robbed of. The reason our families don’t tell stories of the old countries or have traditions, or language, or even religions, is all of that was robbed from our ancestors. They were forced to speak the language of their masters and forbidden to speak in their native tongues. They were forced to worship the god of their captors. I use lower case for god in this instance because this is not the
We then ventured into the opioid epidemic. Tywana and I have often made the observation that now that the epidemic has hit the “burbs”, the socioeconomic middle class, and frankly white people, it’s an “epidemic”. When Black people were smoking crack a few decades ago, they were criminals. They were derided as “crack heads”. Tougher laws were the answer. Declare them criminals and lock them up. If they won’t stop smoking crack, keep them in prison until they do. No one cared about why they might be tempted to smoke crack. No one asked what they were trying to escape from. They were criminals, plain and simple. Now, however, the opioid epidemic is hitting close to home. It’s coming to “good neighborhoods”. We were discussing a book my wife is reading with her book club. As the book my wife is reading likes to point out, the Mexicans are targeting the white kids. The book even claims the Mexicans are scared of Black kids. So, they’re not targeting them. Suddenly, it’s a problem because white people are victims. The book goes so far to say that the white kids don’t even have to go to the “bad neighborhoods” to get the drugs. The drugs are being delivered to them right there in suburbia.
The middle class is succumbing. They need treatment. We need walls to protect us from these bad Mexicans who are corrupting us. It hurts to hear that a drug problem that impacted people who looked like you was a criminal problem and needed to be solved by locking up the criminals doing drugs; but, a drug problem that impacts white people is an epidemic. It’s another reminder of
This morning, when I was on my walk, I began thinking about the meme I’ve created to be the featured image of this post. I felt the pain of my ancestors. Instead of thinking about them as “slaves”, I tried to picture them in their homelands, speaking their native languages, practicing their religions, raising their families, then having all of that ripped away. For maybe the first time in my life I sat with that, and I wept. It’s unimaginable what was taken from them and the ripples continue to spiral out through time, impacting me right here, 400 years later. Today, a B
This is some heavy shit. That’s why usually when my European friends are carrying on about their ancestry, I sit quietly, politely, and let them finish. Every once in a while, as Tywana and I did the other night, I might remind them that I’m “just Black”. You see, even though I’m about a third European, the “one drop rule” applies in America. If you have even one “Black” ancestor, you’re just Black. It’s why Obama is “Black”. It’s why Tiger Woods is “Black”. We reminded them that we’re “just Black”. We educated them on the one drop rule. But, we left it there. We didn’t go into how much our people were robbed of and how conversations about visiting our “home countries” and learning about our ancestors are things we can’t relate to because they are things we can never do. Since it’s Black history month, I thought you might indulge me a bit.