DISCLAIMER: Firstly, this is an opinion no more no less. Secondly, it is not my intention to trivialize systemic oppression, but rather suggest perseverance in the presence of opposition.
I did not choose to be black, or to live in a country where my people are systemically oppressed; it just is, and there is no easy way if any at all to solve it. The more I live the more frustrated I become with the state of my being. How does one “solve” who they are? They can’t, they just learn how to be, and learn how to be within the existing systems. That’s the challenging part. My ancestors were brought to America, enslaved for over 500 years, built this country on their backs, and generations later we still have not gotten our penitence of 40 acres and a mule. Reparations have become a hot button issue but what’s the likelihood that whoever gets in office in 2020 will actually put policy in place for them? Some solvable issues are the fact that our vote is oppressed and relegated to one party, we are the target of mass incarceration, our families are systemically separated, we get unfair sentences relative to our white counterparts, and we are the victims of poor policing practices. These are policy changes and are things that can be advocated for. But the root cause, outside of America’s unwillingness to come to the table and have an open conversation about racism, is the slave mentality.
When do we stop being mentally oppressed first and foremost. Just because the system is not made for us does not mean it is not a place we can thrive. Look at black entrepreneurs, millionaires and billionaires, what do they have that the rest of us do not? Nothing, yet we look at their success as a pipe dream (unless of course they are a sports player or entertainer, which not for nothing, is far less likely than anything else we can if daring enough, imagine ourselves to be). I’m not saying that lifestyle is for everyone, but I am saying we can learn from and apply that level of ambition in similar areas of our lives to promote positive productivity; whatever that may look like. It’s in the freeing of the mind that we can begin to make a change, stand up for ourselves and challenge the structural systems. We’ve done it before. My passion for this issue in part is a righteous anger at my people. At the end of the day however, solving negative group think will continually be an uphill battle.
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