It is time to face facts: the relationship between Black people and the United States of America is at a crossroads. The past couple of months have revealed a festering wound in race relations that needs more than a band aid solution; real change must happen. Juneteenth was recently celebrated. This is the date on June 19, 1865, that the last slaves discovered they had been freed, even though the Emancipation happened two years earlier in 1863. Actually, this is not even correct; according to recent research and personal testimony, some African Americans were slaves as late as the 1960s. This is unbelievable, but true!
Considering the foregoing, the number and depth of atrocities endured by Black people in America has been astounding. These include the wholesale slaughter of Black people by the police who, even with people watching, are continuing to kill innocent and unarmed Blacks. Lately, an even more ominous turn of events is unfolding wherein five Black men have been found hanging from trees. These deaths, so far, have been attributed to suicides! This is highly unlikely and has all of the earmarks of lynching! We know that we can’t get truth from some authorities regarding these incidents; lying has been a strategy of white supremacists as evidenced by the number of policemen and others who have yet to suffer adequately for murdering Blacks. For example, with Breanna Taylor, an African American EMT who was murdered in her bed when police broke into the wrong home and killed her, the police turned in an empty report leaving out important details and saying she was unharmed!
The foregoing goes a long way to explain why it is difficult for Black people to trust anything that comes from white America. As a result of recent demonstrations, a number of concessions seem to be forthcoming that portend real change. For example, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben have come under pressure with corporations threatening to remove them from their products. In fact, all around, people seem to be waking up and finding the stench of racism everywhere. Yet, even though this is the case, many Black people are not at all satisfied, and are urging for more substantive reforms other than what some think are just cosmetic adjustments.
If we are to experience real change, there is one other important issue in America that must be addressed. While the country has been reeling from the murder of Black people by the police, others are lamenting the numerous murders that are the result of Black-on-Black crime. Recently in one Black community, numerous people were killed over the course of a weekend with a child the age of three as one victim. The challenge surrounding this is that a cadre of Blacks has emerged who are actively shaming and chastising those individuals who dare to point out problems of Black-on-Black crime. In fact, a number of people are actually saying that Black-on-Black crime does not exist!!! And those who are not in denial of its existence say that we shouldn’t take our attention away from the problems that the community faces elsewhere. It is as though these people think that we cannot walk and chew gum; that we cannot and should not multi-task. The truth, though, is that we will have to do BOTH. In nature, if there is change in one thing, the other will be impacted as well. The problems in the Black community will continue to render the community ineffective if we don’t address those inside as well as outside the community.
Regarding this last issue, there is a wrinkle; because of distrust, some people are concerned that some of these “Black-on-Black” murders are actually being committed by white men who are masquerading as Blacks! Essentially, this might be possible; but it’s also true that there are Blacks killing other Blacks. So, the bottom line is this: it is time for real change to happen regarding Blacks in America. We have more allies than at any time in the past who are advocating for our rights. It will be important that we engage with these allies and refrain from alienating them if we are to expect success. And finally, we must have an agenda to present that will let people know what we want in order to redress the myriad wrongs that Black people have faced. The most important of these should include REPARATIONS; the time is NOW to seriously push for this change! A Luta Continua.