Racism, misogyny, homophobia are not inherent traits of the human DNA they spring forth from a foundation of ignorance. It is in the best interest of the powerful to ensure that the masses remain ignorant, fighting each for their piece of the crumbs the powerful leave behind. It is not until the masses come to the fairly obvious conclusion, that despite our differences we all part of one collective, humanity will we know peace and move forward as a people in a positive fashion.
Have you ever looked around at a concert and seen people of all colors and genders smiling, dancing and singing along. At that moment the race, gender, sexual orientation of the person next to them is irrelevant the only thing that matters is the beat surging through their souls. That’s the power of music. In its purest form it knows no boundaries and can fill a person’s heart with happiness. If there is a universal language it is clearly music maybe one day we can embrace each other the way we embrace music.
January 21,2009 an Barack Obama an African American took the oath of President of the United States of America and many declared the end of racism. But after watching that man, despite his grace and dignity, attacked for eight years straight. After watching that man have to prove he was an American. After watching the man who led the charge to discredit his citizenship ride a way of hate and division to the White House in 2016 and his appointment of Jeff Sessions who immediately took up the task of rolling back gains made in the battle for racial equality. After seeing case after case of police brutality go unpunished. After seeing people march through Charlottesville chanting racial epithets it’s clear racism was never over. It was simply simmering underground waiting for the right person and the right time to show itself again. Don’t misunderstand as a country we have made strides and we are clearly in a better place now but we still have a long road ahead of us and there can be no doubt that there is a segment of the population, many who wield power, that really don’t care about us.
I am the victim of police brutality, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of hate
You’re rapin’ me of my pride
Oh, for God’s sake
I look to heaven to fulfill its prophecy…
Set me free
Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, the Cleveland, Ohio, police officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014, were not charged.
Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold before his death in 2014, was not charged.
Some things in life they just don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be
Sept. 22, 2017 Trump called on all NFL owners to “fire” all protesting players . The president also referred to the protesting players as “sons of bitches.”
October 31, 2017 Papa John’s CEO and founder slammed the NFL, blaming the league’s “poor leadership” on the pizza chain’s sales slump. “We are totally disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation
Beat me, hate me
You can never break me
1967 – World champion boxer Muhammad Ali used his worldwide star power to take a stand against the Vietnam War by refusing to enlist in the military.
1968 – After winning gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith raised his fist in the air alongside his teammate and bronze medalist, John Carlos. As Smith explained to ABC Sports announcer Howard Cosell, “My raised right hand stood for the power in black America. Carlos’ raised left hand stood for the unity of black America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power.”
2014 – NBA teams broke dress code rules to protest police brutality, wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups. The shirts referenced the last words of Eric Garner before he died at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island.
Beat me, bash me
You can never trash me
Hit me, kick me
You can never get me
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 3 1963- Fire hoses and police dogs were used here today to disperse Negro students protesting racial segregation.
Selma, Ala., March 7 1965 – Alabama state troopers and volunteer officers of the Dallas County sheriff’s office tore through a column of Negro demonstrators with tear gas, nightsticks and whips here today to enforce Gov. George C. Wallace’s order against a protest march from Selma to Montgomery. At least 17 Negroes were hospitalized with injuries and about 40 more were given emergency treatment for minor injuries and tear gas effects.
Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame
When these are the institutions that govern us, when black life is disposable, when black bodies are guilty before and after being proven innocent, when there is no recourse for injustice or even a belief that injustice has been done, when these institutions actively work to push inequality, we are dealing with something much more dangerous than a personal beef with blackness. – Mychal Denzel Smith the New York Times-bestselling author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching
The 2016 election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people who were eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box. Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party.
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don’t really care about us
While most of the examples in this post were of African Americans all people of color suffer from the effects of racism and discrimination While those in the LGBT community also deal with discrimination every day. It’s November, election season, if you’re not registered go out and get registered. Protest and calls for equality are nice but only when our voices are heard at the voting booths can we really make a difference to those who really don’t care about us
Lyrics in italics from Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us
I am pleased to see that we have differences.
May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.
-Surak of Vulcan
I am the child of Charles and Frances Cooke two African-Americans born in the early 1900s in the southern part of the United States. As such I have always identified myself as African-American and from time to time was reminded of this by society. From being chased out of a park while being called a nigger when I was 10, having a police officer point a gun at my head when I was 15 simply because I made the mistake of tossing a football around the yard of a white friend who lived in the suburbs, to being pulled over numerous times in my early 20s despite not fitting the “profile” because as kind of a nerd I normally had on penny loafers with argyle socks and matching sweater but my skin color was still the wrong shade.
While my self identification is the result of being raised, loved, and natured by two exceptional individuals who themselves were also African-American I am also adopted, a fact that was kept hidden from me until my late 30s. I know nothing of my biological father other than the fact that he wasn’t African-American. Recently I completed one of those DNA test and found out I was in fact 54.6% Sub-Saharan African and 43.9% European. Interesting I thought as I looked at my results how many of those Europeans had looked at me and seen just the color of my skin and thought of me as inferior? How many of them don’t look like me but have a similar ancestry? Does it really matter what my ancestry is? Does it define how I should live my life?
Our ancestry defines our culture and to a large extend our culture is a leading factor in defining who we are. But while it is a leading factor it does not change the fact that we are all human. Humans with differences but humans nevertheless. It is our differences that If embraced instead of feared would in fact make us stronger as a species. The sun, Earth’s primary source of energy, emits white light but that white light is actually a composite of all of the visible frequencies of light. Without the differences all the colors bring there would be no light at all. So is the case with the human species? Where would we be without our many differences? How would we advance and grow without the varied contributions of so many cultures?
The question before us now is how do we begin to embrace our differences as a species when our entire existence shows we let those differences divide us. Seemingly there is no answer to that. Man has always fostered a sense of loyalty rooted in group identity. We pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer has always been mankind’s rallying call. I am pessimistic about our ability to overcome the us versus them mentality in the short term. However I am optimistic that the human is a very promising species and as Captain Jean Luc Picard once said “inside you is the potential to make yourself better…and that is what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are.” Today our difference divide us perhaps tomorrow we will be better and our differences will be our strength.
There can be no doubt that we are a country divided. Sadly there can also be no doubt that much of this division is not based on an ideology by the people on what is best for the people of this country but rather what letter follows your name, (R) or (D). We have become more concerned with ensuing our “team” wins rather than educating ourselves on the issues and how it will impact us. This mentality has led to a blind allegiance to those in power. We have ceded the very government we so proudly hold dear to a few hundred individuals who profit on our ignorance. Our desire to have our “team” win means the powerful does not even need to hide their deception they do it right in front of us for as it was once said “The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.” The more the masses allow their minds to blinded the easier it is to manipulated them. They simply follow their “team” nodding in agreement with whatever decisions it makes. This thinking removes any sense of accountability from those in power as Albert Einstein commented “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” For any democracy to effectively govern for the good of the citizens it represents those citizens must become informed about issues that can improve their lives. In many countries around the world the government has taken away the will of its people. We seemingly have made the conscious decision to abdicate it to a small percentage of the rich and powerful depending on what letter they have behind their name. We can not continue to allow our government to be dependent on political ignorance and blind allegiance for it will surely lead to our downfall as one of the greatest experiments ever endeavored – a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Are we afraid or are we fearless
Are we afraid to admit that we’re Americans and with that comes not only all the good this country brings but the sins of our past, the blood of a uncounted indigenous people, the subjugation of the African American, the continued social injustice faced by people of color to this day.
Are we afraid to confront those sins so we can begin a dialogue in which different cultures, religions and races listen to and work together to make things better tomorrow then they are today.
Are we afraid to make our voices heard through non violent resistance/protest because it would make people who have a differing belief uncomfortable and lash out with at us moral outrage when their value is transgressed even slightly.
Or are we fearless enough to say enough. Fearless enough to say today we confront our past sins. Today we accept that yes there are social injustices in society. Today we reject those who even tough it’s blatantly obvious that if it is wrong would have us accept the status quo. Today we begin to respect each other regardless of race, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation or other differences. Today we begin the process of working to make our country live up to its unlimited promise. Today we begin to heal.
I choose to be fearless what about you
When a society willfully lets itself be divided by anyone whose primary agenda is to pit the masses against each other so that they may bolster their own personal wealth and power it can not be surprised to see unrest among the masses. It can not be surprised to see the very foundation on which it was built begin to crumble. It can not be surprised when it begins to fail from within. For the good of society as a whole the masses must put aside their differences and work together to reject what makes them different and embrace how their diversity has made them stronger. They do this only through a willingness to by listen to and learn about each other. It is only then that the masses will be able to stand up to those looking to divide, those who would see society crumble as long they themselves benefit and say no we will not stand idly by and let you destroy us. We are one, bonded by the spirit of humanity.