As we dwell deeper into this democratic hypnosis, we can explain the present-day lack of voter turnout from the origins of our very own Framers. And they ask why people don’t vote, without realizing how impossible it can be to wake up from political unconsciousness.
Speaking before a Black American audience, Kwame Ture explained: “The only difference is when the slave ship got to Trinidad they kicked me off in Trinidad and brought you here. That’s the only difference, we are the same people.” Ture was echoing a similar point that Marcus Garvey had made previously.
Because of the history and culture that black people share, I find myself (and many of my black peers) gravitating towards other black people, and instinctively supporting those of our own race. By lifting other black people up, we ourselves rise, and I believe this intuitive mindset to be one of the most powerful things about being Black.
To that mentality, I call foul. Somewhere down the line, my ancestors were slaves, too– just in a different part of the world. There are black people in America, AB or NAB, who might not have any slavery in their ancestry. They are allowed be just as angry at systemic racism, because the reality is their roots don’t always prevent them from going through the same struggles. Our society might group all black people as ‘the same,’ but we are not, that there is power in that diversity. There is more than one way to be actively, consciously black. Our individual grievances and triumphs might stem from different places, but they are valid. They are valuable.
Now, we have put the phones down and the fists up to halt these weapons that have formed against us- for we all know, they shall not prosper. #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackLivesMatter, as a movement, was resistance of the ideologies that Black & Brown stories were exclusive, that we were inherently deserving of this vicious treatment. The insecurities of White America played like a broken record, they told us their fears through inception.
However, I ask my fellow Black students on campus, how much more bigotry, hatred, and ignorance must be showcased by our white-counterparts before we realize we must invest our energies in ourselves. There should be no response of anger, emotion, or resentment- it is expected, an expectation that has been shown to us time and time again during the duration of our ancestral time in America.
Even as America attempts to exterminate you, they see you as entertainers, athletes, moguls, politicians and businessmen. You are desired in spaces which we are not and you are welcomed into circles from which we are tacitly and stealthily shunned. But as you rise into these spaces, do remember the shoulders of those who lifted you up. Create platforms for those voices to be recognized and heard. Make it known that you cherish your sisters because they are one piece of a whole.
To my Black community, I could explain that, despite what anyone says, on legal documents, my race is always categorized as Black and that I still face the same issues as other members of the community, including racism and colorism. However, through time, I’ve learned that none of these words or actions would ever make a difference to those people questioning me.
When we begin to doubt or get used to what the slave trade was and the devastating effects it has caused, when we forget the origins of an oppressive system that has yet to be dismantled, we become okay with it. We peg it as solely history, as something that is in the past and deny its current presence. A comparison is created because “it’s gotten much better” which is grounds for either neutrality, silence, or ignorance. When that happens, a man in the oval office who has no moral compass is viewed as okay. Charlottesville, Virginia 2017 is okay. Okay is dangerous.