Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Part #3: Dragging the Whale Behind Us

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all still carry the results of our human past with us.

Consider this bizarre image:
All humans are each pulling a huge rotting carcass of an historic whale up the sand dunes.

But, we do in our consciousness, creativity, ethical sense of ought, and ability to act have the choice to change from the past, even if it is only very gradual.

#7 Think clearly about the past, the present, and the future. Then choose to make changes.

Charles E. Cobb, Black civil rights leader, former field secretary of the famous SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) wrote,

“Black people are not faced with anything like the violence that confronted those seeking voting rights five decades ago. Let’s end the excuses."

"The people of Ferguson have all the power they need to simply get rid of their unrepresentative government — vote them out. This does not take any great political computation.”

“...Only 6 percent of eligible black voters participated in the last municipal elections — this in a town that is more than two-thirds black. No wonder the six-person City Council only has one black member and the 53-person police force only has three black officers."

"Just two generations ago, black Southerners endured arrests and beatings in order to vote. And yet, it seems we’ve already forgotten the immense power of the ballot.”

“Leaders in the ’50s and ’60s were inspiring for their ordinariness."

"For instance, Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper, was no celebrity in 1962 when she attempted to register to vote in Sunflower County, Miss."

"When she returned home, the plantation owner was waiting for her. He demanded that she promise to make no further attempts to register to vote."

"Her reply: 'I didn’t go down there to register for you; I went down there to register for myself.'

He kicked her off the land. She became one of Mississippi’s great black leaders.”

Consider Fannie Lou Hamer's very difficult background, her hard circumstance, the racism of the plantation owner.

Yet Hammer took that old whale carcass of her tragic and unjust past, and the difficult present, and overcame it.

"Hamer was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, the youngest of her parents', Ella and James Lee Townsend's, 20 children."

"Her family moved to Sunflower County, Mississippi in 1919 to work on the plantation of W. D. Marlow as sharecroppers.

Hamer picked cotton with her family, starting at the age of 6."

"She attended school in a one-room schoolhouse on the plantation, from 1924-1930, at which time, she had to drop out. By the age of 13, Hamer could pick 200-300 pounds of cotton daily."

"In 1944, after the plantation owner discovered that she was literate, Hamer was selected to be the plantation's time and record keeper. In 1945 she married her husband, Perry "Pap" Hamer. They worked together on the plantation for the next 18 years."

"While having surgery to remove a tumor, in 1961 Hamer was also given a hysterectomy without her consent by a white doctor as a part of the state of Mississippi's plan to reduce the number of poor blacks in the state."

"The Hamers later raised two impoverished girls, who they later decided to adopt."
from Wikipedia

Nothing stopped this Black lady from reaching for what is right.

As mentioned above, (and in the previous section of this very long article), the past does impact us. However, Black leaders need to stop blaming the past, the police, the Whites, and, instead, start making a new future.

According to the book, Lay My Burden Down by Alvin F. Pussaint, M.D. and Amy Alexander,
"The historically low rate of suicide among African American youths increased 114% between 1980 and 1995. Because “persistent racism has resulted in a ‘posttraumatic slavery syndrome.’"

That is very poor, irrational thinking. No present reason exists why Black youths can't achieve, if they will choose to do so.

Many more Blacks have succeeded in their endeavors since the dramatic changes of the Civil Rights Movment brought about more opportunities."

Blacks have succeeded in business, in the media, in medicine, and so forth. A few have even made it to the Olympics and earned medals, set records!
There are Black entrepreneurs and business owners.

Then there is also Barack and Michelle Obama which set a new precedent:-)

What is keeping other Blacks from achieving isn't racism, but dysfunctional social behaviors with in the Black communities.

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton:

“The reality of the Black Lives Matter movement is it is significantly focused, primarily focused on police and their efforts to portray police and the police profession in a very negative way..."

“There are no denying within the police profession, 800,000 of us, that we have racists. We have brutal people. We have criminals, cops who shouldn’t be here. But they do not represent the vast majority of American police.”

President Obama said, “First of all, any violence directed at police officers is a reprehensible crime and needs to be prosecuted. But even rhetorically, if we paint police in broad brush without recognizing that the vast majority of police officers are doing a really good job and are trying to protect people and do so fairly … then we’re going to lose allies in the reform cause.”

Simone Manuel wins gold in the women's 100m freestyle final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Adam Pretty/Getty Images

No matter what race you are, what past you have come from, how difficult your circumstances, realize that today, you can choose to reach up.

Nobel Prize Speech of MLK:
"I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him."

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality."

"...what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up."
Martin Luther King Jr.

Go for the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


Bill said...

This is a fascinating and convicting series of posts. Whatever the way to solving these problems, it seems clear to me that we must do better than we're doing now.

Daniel Wilcox said...

Thanks for reading and commenting. At least, as your own blog, Practicing Resurrection, showed this week, our current situation is a vast improvement over the past.