Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa! These are serious and confusing times, with the leadership of the United States and, by extension, the American people, at a crossroads. And this is especially true for African Americans.
This celebratory season encourages people to think about others, i.e., to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, find shelter for the homeless, etc. It would be really wonderful if these generous acts could continue all year ‘round, but if this year is to be a model of what has gone before, the goodwill will disappear after this Holiday season is over.
We face a very special challenge, however, because of the caustic tone set during the presidential campaign of our now President-elect, Donald Trump. For various reasons, a lot of his followers look upon his victory as an approval to move ahead with negative, xenophobic behaviors.
Bigotry in all of its forms seems to be escalating. It is as though Trump’s supporters think that a member of their cadre of bigots has been given the keys to the kingdom. The climate established by this set of circumstances threatens to poison the body politic and the stability of our country.
Considering the toxic climate and the ever widening chasms between people, it would be prudent for people to proactively plan to offset the challenges that will no doubt arise.
Wise people are encouraging the public to give the new administration a chance with the hope that people will be pleasantly surprised. Though this seems like a sound idea, the choices that have been made for the new cabinet send a chilling message.
We now have a politically inexperienced plutocracy in place. Moreover, Russia is being accused of cyber-attacks that might actually have helped Donald Trump win the election, a very disturbing situation in a country such as ours that considers itself a “democracy.”
The bottom line seems to be that the Republican Party poses a serious threat to our democracy and to the well-being of the American people. This has been obvious during the eight years of President Barack Obama’s term. The message seems to be that if it benefits the Republican agenda, it’s okay, even if treasonous waters are approached.
Now, what does all of this have of do with Black people, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the future?
It is this: what happens to the Black community will be directly connected with what the community does for itself. In other words, it’s not what happens to us, it’s our response to circumstances that count, and the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, provide an EXCELLENT foundation for starters.
The Seven Principles are as follows: Umoja – Unity; Kujichagulia – Self-Determination; Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility; Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics; Nia – Purpose; Kuumba – Creativity; Imani – Faith.
If the African American community embraces these principles and acts as a unit, it will be virtually impossible for outside forces to destabilize it. The challenge that we face, however, is that there are a significant number of Black people who refuse to acknowledge the value of their own communities and hence, themselves. Let’s face it: there is a lot of self-hatred that must be overcome if the African American community is to survive and thrive.
The Internet, for example, is filled with videos with topics such as “Why Black Men Don’t Date Black Women,” “Why Black People are seen by white people as ignorant,” and more. One particular African American preacher has a series of anti-Black videos so vitriolic that he practically foams at the mouth as he screams about the incompetence and inferior behavior demonstrated by Black people.
While constructive criticism can be valuable, it must also be understood that all racial groups have their issues, and the Black community is no different. We must realize, however, that we will only be saved if we save ourselves. This is the bottom line. A luta continua.