Civil Rights-Is it Real?
After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it appeared that the Nation was on the verge of social and racial healing. 51 years later, it feels as if someone yanked off the scab of the wound of racism unceremoniously and suddenly. Within the last 8 years after history was made, the tension is thick and like a vision chart, people are walking around seeing black and white. Was it all just an act, just to say that it had been done? That a man born to a white mother and Kenyan father ran for President of the United States and actually won? The ‘N’ word is being used freely and worst has become legitimized by we the descendants of a race of people whom this term was used to marginalize, demoralize and defame. This word is as deadly as it is sacrilegious as it was often the last word that men and women with black skin heard seconds before their lives were taken. There was no prayer or last rites; today we use the word freely asthough it has no stereotypical personification. Others use the word especially because of the loaded connotation it possesses. Both sides callously defending the usage while having no semblance of feeling contrite.
The scab has been pulled off and the modern intentions are as blatant as the days of Jim Crow. There is no escaping the realization that the wound is hemorrhaging hate and intolerance and it is as toxic and putrid as ever. Sadly, I long for the days of censorship of mainstream television or so-called public television in terms of what could be said versus what was implied. Who would have ever thought that watching a Presidential debate in the year 2015, there would be minimal effort to disguise the hate? Alternatively, watching the sitting President be heckled, disrespected, and dishonored for the world to see during press conferences, official addresses, etc. We are indeed making history again yet we are regressing in the wrong direction. A visit to just about any Internet social media, gaming site or whatever, is akin to attending a hate rally. It’s a vehicle in which anyone can say anything about anyone thereby misconstruing bigotry and futility as being protected by the 1st Amendment.
The irony is beyond comical that so many who are currently running for an Office that some of these Presidential hopefuls have disrespected so grossly during the last 7 ½ years. Why run for an office that you have so little regard for? Of course, some may argue that they were criticizing the man; this man is the President of the United States and the people elected him to public office. If you do not like him, fine; you and everyone else will have a chance to cast your (our) ballots for the next President. Until such time and as everyone else has had to do at some point in their adult life…deal with it and when you have an opportunity to change something…change it. Until then, change the way that you think! Please stop trying to control everyone else through anger, intimidation, erroneous information, and hate. A righteous platform does not have to work so hard to be righteous.
When you disrespect and dishonor the man (or woman) sitting in the Oval office, you disrespect the Office. Let’s look at it this way to further drive home my point; a uniformed law enforcement official has the legal authority to arrest, detain, and use deadly force if necessary, against any individual who does not respect their official position. If you walk into any courthouse and fail to obey the magistrate or Judge, you can and mostly likely will, be held in contempt of court for failure to govern yourself with the proper decorum expected for the court/Judge. These are not new rules and these are not rules that are negotiable and/or subjective for any of us to choose for whom we will extend this basic level of respect towards. Period.
I have to believe that the presenting problem is fear. A subconscious perception of fear of a loss of control or the facade of superiority over some else. I suppose history tells us that there must be a hierarchy, hence the class system that has been in existence since before the days of antiquity. A Queen or King needs Subjects, otherwise there is no need for a monarchy; a leader needs followers, et cetera.
There is nothing wrong with financial prosperity; there is a huge problem when there is a dominant mindset that influences and governs who deserves prosperity and who does not, or how rich someone can (or should be.) The same God that works for you works for me too!
I personally do not have a problem with wanting to live in an affluent neighborhood; to be a part of a community of responsible homeowners and residents who take pride in their property, families, et cetera. God bless you if you have two homes…a main residence and a vacation home…or more! I do have a serious problem if you are an individual who possesses these things yet believes that others should not enjoy a similar level of prosperity or lifestyle. Especially when those beliefs are fundamentally based upon another person’s race, nationality, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or purported social class.
Maybe I am defensive; maybe I am a little too sensitive. I am just trying to figure out how my life has individually changed due to no effort of my own. How I have suddenly benefitted by being a black American woman. I suppose there have been occasions unbeknownst to me that my demographic information benefited me on some level (or some entity for doing business with me.) What I am aware of is that in school I was required to take and pass the same tests as everyone else. I am a college graduate who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism; I am still paying student loans for that privilege. I did not get any grants to attend college for being ‘under-privileged’, for being black or for a being woman. In fact, I distinctly remember that I applied for a grant when I was barely earning $11,000 a year; the Financial Aid office told me that I did not qualify for a grant because I made too much money! I had to meet the same Mortgage Loan qualifications when I bought my house, as I would presume everyone else who has recently purchased a home. The car dealers primary concern was whether my credit score met the requirements and how much I could afford to put down when I bought my car. I am paying taxes…all government, local, state and property taxes. I swipe my own debit or credit card every time I go to the grocery store and everywhere else that I need to buy something.
So please stop withholding this critical information! If there are any benefits out there earmarked for me just because of who President Obama is, please let me know where I go to stand in line to claim those unicorn-like benefits. Like Santa Clause, I am still waiting for them to show up.
Until such time that these mythic benefits materialize, please discontinue telling me how great my life is because of the color of my skin. My life is great because I worked damn hard to make it that way. Moreover, I continue to work at being great and will continue until I take my last breath. I am not sharing the credit for my hard work, accomplishments and success with anyone (well, maybe with my Mom…I stand corrected, Mom! I share my success with you.)