As the Minnesota summer swings into full effect, with blistering heat and humidity, a storm is brewing.
No not the storm that we have come accustom to that drops torrential rain pour and thunderstorms. No, a more menacing storm is on the rise. A cold front if you will. A cold Civil War is brewing in America. A war that pits two differing sides against one another. A coldness that will not allow for one side to even see the other simply as human beings. Although this is not in any way a new phenomena, it is however a new and updated version of the racial struggle that the great W.E.B. Du Bois wrote of in his literary legend, “The Souls of Black Folks.” Dubois wrote in 1903 that, “The problem of the twentieth century, is the problem of the color line.” Du Bois’ discernment was eerily accurate, not only for the 20th century but even more so for 21st century. The question facing us, as “Black folks,” is not if the issue of color remains a problem but rather, what we will do about it.
The civil rights activist Queen Assata Shakur once stated, “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” Let us consider Shakur’s words here. What have we gained from our continuous pleas to our oppressors for fairness and equality? Have we learned nothing from 400 years of cries and begs? We ask for our freedom from slavery and appealed to their moral compass and for our whimpering begs we received and empty emancipation. This “emancipation” led us directly from the chains of slavery to the bondage of Jim Crow and a promise for a better tomorrow. Have we been able to cash the check of freedom that this country wrote to us some 154 years ago? Simply, no. We can no longer stand by with our hands outreached asking for someone to be kind and moral in their dealings with us as a people. The moral account appears today as bankrupt. When we show up at the bank to cash the check they have long promised, we are told that the funds are insufficient.
As we watch a president stir the coals of contempt against all races, we cannot ask him or them simply to stop, it will not gain us even a second of relief. We must take our destiny into our own hands. We must organize ourselves. We must support one another. We must vote in one unified bloc. We must stand boldy, demanding a brighter future for our babies, our grandbabies and ourselves. We must demand better.
My father would say, “We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.” We must heal our own pain so the following generations are not left with this work. It is time for us to take our own destiny into our hands. Are we capable? No one but us can answer this and answering it will do little to nothing, but rather standing together in action is the answer.
The great Malcolm X put it perfectly when he said, “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man…you take it.” We have work to do, lets ride.