It’s quite disconcerting for me when I tell someone about a recent social injustice aimed at people of African descent, after their gift of sympathy, they ask, “but aren’t things better nowadays? Hmmm… Are things better for black people nowadays? Well shall we review that for a minute?
If by better… you mean better than being dragged from your home and made to work on plantations for foreign white skinned aggressive men who want you to harvest cotton and sugar cane to satiate their sweet tooth? And if you aren’t doing well enough or working hard enough or have the audacity to ask for pay for your hard labour, you get flogged, branded or killed? Having to endure this in exchange for your freedom and sanity then AND for hundreds of generations to come. And while in the depths of your oppression you wish, hope and pray you could wake up looking like your oppressor so your troubles could be…be… poof! Gone. Well yes perhaps it’s a bit better than that.
Okay so if by better, you mean being “freed” from slavery and being allowed to live in the country to which you where sent, and told you were essentially an underclass because of your unchangeable race, unable to access anything that whites could, then I can see your point. Or if even within your race your “former oppressors” delineated strategically amongst you who would hold most power by means of a brown paper bag against your varying skin tones then…. Yes, perhaps it’s slightly better. No one holds a paper bag to your face anymore I guess!
If by better you mean, you can vote and we can go to school with the “supreme race” and there is a legal requirement to admit at least some ethnic minorities to colleges, universities and places of employment then yes, that’s better. Better than having to fight through crowds of angry white faces demanding that you get out of their country, beating you, spitting at you and other things vulgar when they are the ones who put you there in the first place (let that marinate). Yes, their racism is less savage these days. If by better you mean finally being able to integrate into society and being successful (for back then) in the media only to have white people observe and learn your style, steal it then make money off it? Yep, you know hound dog by Elvis Presley? The ORIGINAL was sung by Big Mama Thornton – an African American. While Elvis Presley STILL makes millions from that song in his grave, Big Mama Thornton received a cheque from the bank of ZILCH! Well… I guess at least now EVERYONE is protected by copyright ay!
If by better you mean… well I’m out of things that currently don’t still affect people of African descent today. Black people are still the highest ethnic representation in Black people are still given unfair trials in court. A recent example would be the case against George Zimmerman for the slaughter of a young African American, Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was acquitted because he and his highly paid lawyers claimed he shot at this innocent child because “he felt threatened”. Whereas an African American, Marissa Alexander, was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot against a violent spouse and pleaded the same as Zimmerman (who shot to kill) – not guilty as she fired because she was threatened.
Black people are still underrepresented in all forms of media (I shall discuss this in more depth in my next post) and only represented alongside “the supreme race” so that equal ops is adhered to. Black people are still brutalised by the oppressor i.e. the treatment of black men by the police force. Black people are still underrepresented in the government or on senior level management positions in industry. We are saturating the blue collar level of work as well as the unemployed levels.
My gripe is not with races that don’t understand our never ending plight. My gripe is not even with the white people who stay true to their one goal -world domination. My gripe is with people of African descent who are too happy to ride off the successes of the civil rights movement and allow themselves to believe that racism is passé; that we have true equality to whites or even Asians. These injustices, from the outright in your face ones to the subtle stereotypes, generalisations and expectancies that people have of our race and that we have of ourselves, affect us and permeate key aspects of our lives. Not one black alive has can say they have never experienced racial injustice.
When did black people get so complacent and comfortable taking “what we can get” and being happy because civil rights leaders and those preceding them did the hard stuff for us? When they slaughtered these great leaders i.e. MLK and Malcom X I’m sure they died knowing their actions sure did pave the way for future generations of black people. But paving the way means continuing to build on the fight for true equality and not paving the way to ride on that and comfortably live life at the bottom of the food chain, thankful for the bones we are occasionally thrown.
So is it better today than it was before? If by better you mean living in a county where your leaders looked like you, made decisions based on the mutual benefits everyone LIKE you would get. Where equality was true, authentic and you didn’t have to prove yourself day after day just because people have preconceived notions about people of your colour. Where education and teachings were world-class throughout and our influence filtered out to other growing civilisations at the time. Where the leaders hadn’t had their natural jewels and resources stripped and they continued to use this wisely for the benefit of the nation then I would say NO. It is NOT better than that!