Will the real America please stand up? The whole “Do as I say, not as I do” thing we tell the world is old at this point. As we prepare to memorialize the nine victims of Mother Emanuel AME Church, we are asking ourselves, what year is this: 2015 or 1965? Most of us are moved to some degree by the murderous actions of Dylann Storm Roof. Over the last week, the conversation has gone from Roof and his manifesto to the Confederate “Battle Flag”.
This flag is a prime example of American hypocrisy. The polarization surrounding it is the 800lb gorilla in the room. Southern Whites in support of letting it wave, wax poetic about southern pride and heritage. The Black perspective is never taken into account. The whole notion of “Antebellum South”, makes stomachs turn in Black America. The Confederate Battle Flag symbolizes the culture of antebellumism; a culture where Black Lives were considered to be three-fifths human.
We may be open to a debate over this flag waving in southern cities, if it was honest and truly an integral part of a state’s culture. Truth is, this flag wasn’t raised until 1961, in defiance of Federal Integration Laws. How are Afrikan Americans supposed to respond? It’s pretty clear that what we think, feel, or believe doesn’t matter. We served our purpose. That said, I applaud South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley and Charleston Mayor Riley for their call to take the flag down in the State Capitol. 54 year is long enough.
The larger issue, is the institutionalized racism that continues in American Education and Economics. There is a National ignorance about Black Culture. What exactly does the “Average American” know, aside from MLK, Malcolm X, a handful of Rappers, and some “Hood Movies”? I ask, because I was insulted by the constant tone of incredulity exhibited by news commentators and political pundits over the “forgiving nature”, “grace”, and “Christian demeanor” of the Mother Emanuel Congregation. It rings of “You are so well spoken…”
We are called “The Forgiving Race”, but there is an undercurrent of “White Guilt” that anticipates Karma for hundreds of years of Chattal Slavery. As such, we are expected to act like wild animals. The truth is, Black Rage is borne out of frustration, not retribution. Our nature, is to be ONE with The Most High. Our “wretchedness”, was beat into us by our oppressors.
Because of our forgiving nature, Black America has been, and continues to be the fodder that feeds everyone else’s American Dream. This is by design. For starters, we are denied business loans, so we are Minority Business Owners in our own communities. Our entertainers are encouraged to showcase “street culture” and buffoonery; few espouse the value of Education. Our children are inspired to “fake it til you make it”; gone is the Black Mantra, “Uplift The Race!”
Funding for After School Programs and Summer Jobs have dried up in our communities, giving our young men and women few options outside of gangs. The recipe for disaster is clear. I believe that a holistic educational curriculum, one showing actual contributions made by Afrikan Americans would go a long way on both sides. This is about RESPECT… When it’s all said and done, it makes good economic sense.