By Reggie Smith
I remember going to the March on Washington over 50 years ago when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech. I also attended the Million Man March in the same place with Minister Louis Farrakhan as the keynote speaker. I’ve been inspired by Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Dr. John Henrik Clark, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Barack Obama, and so many other black leaders of thought, including my parents. These are just a few who have spoken truth to power. Unfortunately the systemic power of the status quo (SQ) does not seem to want to hear or act on the truth. It is not possible to reconcile a lie like the one racism is built on without first admitting to the atrocities that have been perpetuatedto maintain and sustain that lie, is it?
People of color have been suffering oppression and other indignitiesworldwide for all of my life and longer. It has never made sense that white people would claim superiority based on simply being white when no one has the choice of what race we are born. The evil that has been done in the name of so called civility is unbelievable. In America, Black peoplehave had to fight with and for our lives in order to create a space where we might enjoy what is said in the Constitution to be “inalienable” human rights. Now, all immigrants of color are faced with oppression and rejection while either fleeing life threatening situations, or simply seeking freedom and self determination. Even the history of Black people worldwide is perverted or suppressed in order to justify racial injustice. It is easier to say that race relations in America have gotten better if you do not have to live with the trauma of being discriminated against. There is no justification for racism in the first place. Are we satisfied with the state of race relations in America or the world? What will it take for there to be greater human equality?
W.E.B. Du Bois said, “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” I interpret that to mean more than an economic debt is incurred when so much energy is put into denying the truth about human inequality. There is a great spiritual price we are paying. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. There is no conscious choice we can make to choose our race, but there may be a karmic decision made by our eternal souls to come into this incarnation in a particular place and racein order to fulfill our individual and collective karmic debt. When we approach life from the perspective of an “engaged observer”, we are able to more easily achieve some level of equanimity. Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court member said, “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” We are all, I assume, humans with a purpose for being. Without any evidence, I maintain the hope that the world will be transformed into a place more suitable for peace and self determination for people of color in my lifetime.
Great change is often preceded by great chaos. By that standard, we must be on the verge of a new earth. We are all blessed to be on the planet to experience this phase of human evolution. We certainly have a part to play in how the story progresses. Our actual choices in the universal outcome of mankind is limited to the choices we make in our daily interactions with each other and the ecology. Coretta Scott King said, “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” We are here at this time in human history to be the light-bearers and drum majors for truth and love. Black History is world history. There is no separation between the two. Let us make the conscious choice to spread love. As the song says, “Love is the one thing there is just to little of.” “What the world needs now is love sweet love. No not just for some, but for everyone.”
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