Looking At History, Thinking About the Future
It’s Black History Month here in America and while reviewing all the information about the past, my mind is currently wrapped around how in the big picture of ethnic relations the Black community as a whole is still struggling to be equal.
The questions that ring in my head as I read about all the work that was done during Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s are
1) What caused the disparity? and
2) What can be done to fix it? (The second question being the most imperative to answer)
WHAT CAUSED THIS DISPARITY?
If the records of laws passed over the centuries is accurate (which I believe they are), then the start of the legal documentation into law of racism began with the upper class whites having a fear of the Africans in their midst and the fear of what the results of inter-breeding (for lack of a better term) would be.
The European colonies were by definition ruled by Europeans (whites). Slowly at first, and then with more and more fervor laws were passed by the Europeans to establish officially their superiority.
They wanted to stay in power and since they specifically chose the Africans for labor due to their physical strength, endurance and resilience, they had to find ways to sabotage them mentally, emotionally, and in many cases spiritually (for example: the perverted version of Christianity the slaves were taught in comparison with the fullness of the Scriptures of the New Testament) in order to keep power over a people who were physically (and in many cases mentally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually) superior to them.
This oppression took many decades and much physical overburdening of the Africans in addition to conditioning by surroundings. After centuries and generations of both sides being fully immersed in the racist doctrines, the current system of repression was established and sustained (even to the present day).
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO FIX IT?
This is the hard question. Although many of the racism based laws have been removed from the books, the foundation and organization of the bigoted social structure have never been abandoned.
The reason Black people are in the majority of the people below the poverty line and the minority of those above middle class isn’t because of a genetic incapability to perform the tasks required to succeed. It is more due to the fact that the system that caused the rioting in the 1960s and 1970s (and even in the 1920s and 1930s) was never really changed.
What has been done is token efforts just enough to make it seem that the government is working for the good of the Black community.
There are just enough Blacks in public office (elected and/or appointed). There are just enough Blacks in the public eye (publishing, music, sports, acting, etc). There are just enough Blacks in high positions in the corporate sector.
There are just enough tokens placed in conspicuous places and just enough “Jim Crow” laws were taken off the books that Blacks did not riot again on a simultaneous national level since the 1970s until recent years. The protests and side riots of our current era are because all of the above tokenism DID NOT change the standard of living for the most beleaguered members of the Black community. It did not erase the disparities.
WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN
The subjugation of the Black race and the mental conditioning of both Blacks and Whites to accept this programming are so absolute that it will take massive and sweeping changes brought about by the masses themselves.
A vast majority within the white infrastructure would have to be willing to give up their perceived privilege. The entire system would have to be changed from within.
The rich would have to be willing to share with the underclass. Not just rich whites sharing with poor whites or rich Blacks sharing with poor Blacks, but EVERY person of financial means would need to be willing to help their fellow man.
White people of all classes would have to come to a realization that the situation many minorities find themselves in is not due to an unwillingness to work. Even “hustlers” have to be “on the grind” and the work ethic involved in illegal activities takes just as much effort as a legal “9-to-5” and in most cases much more mental and emotional strength.
Of course, the above requires a subjective internal change within masses of individuals. How could this change come about? What would make huge numbers of whites willing to repent of the actions of their forefathers and mothers (or the peers of them in the uncommon cases where ancestors were not agressors or silently complicit)?
One answer is education. The same methods that put the system in place to begin with would have to be employed to change it. The entire curriculum of the nation’s schools would have to be changed.
Another answer is change in the legal infrastructure. Laws would have to be made (and enforced) in reverse of the “Jim Crow” laws of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Also, mass media would have to correct (and in some places OVER correct) their presentation of the many cultures that make up America. The media would have to present a true and fair representation of ALL cultures as opposed to the hard ends of the extremes that is currently presented.
Lastly, there has to be a true and effective reparation of the damages done to marginalized groups over the centuries. This includes the indigenous First Peoples as well as the descendants of the kidnapped and otherwise mistreated Africans.
In the end the work that has to be done is vast and daunting, but it still has to be done. Whether we in this day and age want to admit it, we are responsible for fixing the problems that prior generations have left us.
I only hope that I can see the beginnings of the solutions in my lifetime. In the meantime, hopefully we will do our best individually to be the positive change we hope to see in the world.