I call this generation the Integration Generation. Many Blacks woke up one morning and things were as they are. Young Blacks today have not internalized the status of Blacks after slavery was negatively defined with visual iconic signs and symbols and violent examples of racism and segregation they have never seen the taking away of Freedoms.
After Blacks were freed from the bondage of slavery with the end of the Civil War, they were given nothing to assure their subsistence. This came after Blacks during slavery had established America’s capitalism by the sweat of their brow, the painful welts on their backs, the loss of limbs and body parts as they sought to escape from slavery, and even with their very lives. This Christian Institution of Slavery made America a very wealthy nation, and even after White America, including the Anti-slavery forces of the North officially removed the chains of slavery, these same forces felt NO obligation to afford these same Blacks Reparations to support themselves and their families. Today, White America, consider conversations about Reparations, as a big joke. White folks are not smitten with Anxiety, just Racism.
"When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This note was a promise that all men, yes, Black men as well as White men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
White America always take, or try and take, perhaps the greatest component of Freedom and a Democracy from Black America, and that is Voting! We have seen that play out today in Florida and Georgia, and in virtually every state in this country. Voter Suppression they call it now but it is just another form of White American Racism. And none of that is by accident. A “Vote less” people is a Voiceless people. When I hear young Blacks especially say they are not voting, it angers me and frustrates me and makes me understand how much more work we have to do. Some also think Racism is NOT an issue.
Civil Rights Icon Fannie Lou Hamer famously said, “ “You can pray until you faint. But if you don’t get up and start to do something, God is not gonna put it in your lap. And there’s no need of runnin’ an’ no need of sayin’ ‘Honey I’m not gonna get in the mess.’ Because if you are born in America with a Black face, you are born in the mess.”
When you think that you have it made, that there is no longer a mission, that the challenge is minor, that the struggle is over, that racism has somehow magically disappeared, that voting does not make a difference, that knowing the great legacy of your people is not inspiring, that knowing who you are is not motivation enough, then look in the mirror every day and make sure you really know the complexion of the face looking back at you.
The Struggle Continues!