As a fellow African-American, I’ve become nauseated with the entitlement issues concerning my race. It’s infuriating that many of us believe we’re owed some type of reimbursement for events that took place hundreds of years ago on land we did not own and had no stake. What’s more annoying is that we act as if the European-American’s disparagement of us is the sole reason we can’t accomplish anything worthwhile. Furthermore, we are not the only, the first, or the last ethnicity to endure some mass hardship. Yet, we’re the only one that allows it to continuously paralyze us to the extent of poverty, hatred, and division.
I’m not attempting to lighten, dishearten, or discredit the tortures or accomplishments of my ancestors; but to ensure the works they erected from sunup until sundown, the pain they suffered, and the pleads they made to pay for my leisure’s and luxuries weren’t futile. We owe them the same strength they displayed for centuries. Today, we need the kind of strength that’ll allow us to liberate our anger and hate so that we can focus on more fruitful endeavors such as uplifting our people, building strong neighborhoods, and earning a sense of purpose.
It’s sad that as the largest racial minority in the United States, African-Americans have the largest poverty rate in almost every state and more than double that of Whites’ in 351. This is not due to lack of opportunities, but to miss opportunities by way of self-imposed dormancy. By bitterness we fail to recognize opportunities placed right in front of us; the same opportunities other immigrants take advantage of whole-heartedly. Even Africans that continue to migrate here aren’t preoccupied with inane emotions, and earn decent livings. It’s because they appreciate what we unequivocally take for granted.
It’s apparent that Dr. King’s message has been misinterpreted. It wasn’t his goal for us to receive government handouts, kill each other asininely, or to omit responsibility for our social or economic state. It was to give us voting rights, which we dismiss; the chance for an education, which we ignore; a strong loving community, which we can’t comprehend; and a nation where all are recognized as “one” and contribute to its success. So far, I see everyone else doing their part while we aimlessly veer in the wrong direction.
It’s not this nation or its people we should be angry with. We need to be angry with ourselves and finally take responsibility for the result of our actions. The slavery and Civil Rights scapegoats have been exhausted. We owe it to our ancestors, our sisters, our brothers, our children, future generations, and ourselves to fulfill our complete potential as a group and stop whining about what was. That’s what Dr. King and those before him would want and it’s what we need.
“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” – Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream”
Let’s Move Forward!