Black American and Still I RISE
I watched the new documentary titled: Black America and Still I Rise. It was a 4-hour documentary shedding light on the obstacles black people have faced during the civil rights movement, how far they have come, and how far they still have to go. In the beginning of the film the writer goes through the struggle black people faced just to be seen and treated as equals. They take you on a journey of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the freedom fighters of that day and the tremendous accomplishments they made. Often when I watch anything explaining the struggle of the civil rights movement they paint a real brutal picture of what it was like to be a black person in those times, but at the end of the films I often see a common theme. Although they may educate me on factual events and attempt to explain what happened to their people, I’m left with just more questions. They always tell me the problem, but I am left with no solutions. No real solutions are brought up to fix the problem black people seem to be facing today despite all the obstacles they have overcome. I wont go through all the things I had questions on, otherwise that would be a very long paper, or I should say longer then this paper already is.
What I will say is that most of what black people experience right now is a cultural problem not a racial problem. I feel that before I go any further I have to write a disclaimer. I am by no means minimizing the struggle black people, women, or anyone fighting for their God given rights had to go through. I believe challenging the law of that day and fighting for your rights to be equal is a noble act. I am proud of the men and women who stood up and changed the course of our history. I am by no means condoning true forms of racism, violence, name-calling, or treating anyone less than. I have a passion for people, and empowering others to reach their full potential. With that said I think a lot of what we deal with today is a result of a cultural issue rather than a race issue. What I have noticed is despite the obstacles black people have conquered they still feel the system is against them. I am in full agreement that the system is deeply flawed, but I believe whole-heartedly that the system is designed to keep everyone down, not just black people.
Is there still racism? Of course there is. There was, is, and always will be unless we start to focus on changing people’s hearts, values, and morals. There are unfortunately just bad people in this world and always will be. We live in a fallen world. There are people who are so full of greed, and hatred, that they will continue to fuel that fire as long as they continue to hold that belief system. The government was supposed to be designed for the people and by the people. We the people are supposed to tell them what to do- not the other way around – and we have gotten away from that. Is that judge who gave the black man more time in prison other than the white man racist? Probably. Are there bad racist cops in this world? Yes. Is the jail system just a big money game rather then really caring about taking criminals off the street? You bet. But what is the root of all these problems and more? I keep hearing education regarding these issues but no real solutions. Is more education the key? I don’t feel it is. I remember a scene in the film of a black teacher teaching his mostly black classroom about culture and race. He was asking them questions like, “is segregation getting worse?” “Why does our school look the way it does?”, “do low- income and high-income families have the same opportunities?” and one of the students answers, “No, because the higher income gets more of a push in life.” How is this helping the situation? It breaks my heart that this is being taught. Why would you throw the obvious back in these kid’s faces? Is this their reality currently? Yes. Is it a problem? Yes. Is it worth talking about? Of course. But spend little time discussing the problem, and more time on the solution. To bring people out of poverty you do not keep educating them on how poor they are. How about a new approach and educate them on how to manage money, how interact with all people of all races and relationships. How about teaching empowering messages like they can conquer anything they put their minds too. They are not bound by their current state of poverty. Teach them to be creative, innovative and how to start a business to hopefully one day tell a different story. But the system won’t do that. The system in all areas wants to control us, and keep us down.
If you are innovative, create, and manage your own life you are less controllable. If you manage your own family and your own business you are less controllable, than if you are poor in your mind and poor in your wallet. In the documentaries I’ve seen about black people and black America they always point at the system and blame the white man. They blame the “white” system for their problems as they preach for a new system for things to get better. I find the very system black people complain about, they actually are loyal to. Black people support the “system” and parties in government that are supportive of bigger government, which is designed to keep them down. The government communicates to us in a way that they are trying to help us with their welfare programs, and “here take this hand out” or “take out this loan” and here is free health care, food stamps and “we will just take care of you” sounds very nice, thoughtful, and generous, but the problem is the more you become dependent on someone or something the more of an actual “salve” you become, no matter what the race. Now I am not saying I am against helping people in need. I think the welfare programs are amazing opportunities we have to help those is real need, whether they had bad luck, lost their jobs, or need a pick me up until they can get their lives going again. However, I feel there needs to be a time limit on the matter depending on the situation. Getting help is not bad, but staying down in your situation for the rest of your life is. I can recall a story once told to me by a Pastor of a man in his congregation who owned a small business. The business man new another man who was on government welfare and needed a job. This man gave this other man a job sweeping the floors and cleaning his establishment, offered higher pay and position if he did his job well. After just two weeks the man quit. The owner of the store was confused and asked the man, “why did you quit I thought you needed a job?” The man responded and said, “yes I do, but I am getting paid more from the government doing nothing so why would I work for less?”.
This is a very flawed system and I do not have all the answers and I am not against helping those in need temporarily. But I feel all these people should eventually learn how to help themselves and that’s where the government misses it. Now this is unpopular with most black and minority culture because they do come from poverty and they need that push, and that is okay, but not for their entire lives. Unfortunately that’s what the government wants and they, in my opinion, have been fooled to thinking its good for them. I also have noticed in these documentaries that anyone, usually conservatives that teaches freedom, or responsibility for your own life are mostly rejected. Especially when there is a man or woman of color who preaches the same message they are looked at as a “sell out” or “uncle tom” because they refuse to think and act like everyone else. So if a better system is what you want then why do you continue to support people who support a system that is trying to keep you enslaved? Why do you reject people who try and preach, “ If you want to see real change we must start with ourselves?”.
“I’m starting with the man in the Mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways, and no message could of been any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place then take a look at yourself and make a change.” Those were the words of Michael Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror. It is truly one of our solutions we need to realize. Black people may be going to jail longer, but what about the crime they committed? It was small crime, big crime, does it matter? It was a crime. How about not doing crime to put yourself in that kind of situation? For a while the idea has been pushed that the racist justice system is the cause for so many blacks in jail. Fact is if blacks were being put in jail simply because every cop, lawyer, and judge are racist the incarcerations would be through the roof. Fact is that the number of incarcerated blacks is down 23% from its peak in 2001 and for black woman down 49%, while rates for whites have continue to rise. (1) No body seems to want to talk about the self-inflicted cultural pathologies that lead to black incarnation in the first place.
Fact is millions of kids are born into homes with no dads, which can lead to dysfunction in the home. Without this strong disciplinary figure in the home these kids in these communities fail to embrace education and it leads to a high drop out rate. This type of behavior is passed on to the child and he or she applies it in other areas of life such as abandoning school, job, healthy relationships, and seeks acceptance elsewhere. This need to fit in can sometimes lead to gains, which then leads to more poverty, crime, and other questionable lifestyle choices. (1) Today the supposed “white supremacy” seems to be this huge force going around making life hard for blacks and minorities alike. If the KKK were to organize a rally today they’d be lucky to get 100 people, and the protesters would out number them 10 to 1. The time the KKK could round of tens of thousands to march in the street shouting racial slurs, which by the way was a domestic terrorist arm of the democratic party, in other words when white supremacy was a real force the democrats were doing it, now that it is a spent force it blamed on conservatives. (2) In 2015 FBI data came out saying that actually Jews were 3 times more likely then blacks and 1.5 times more likely then Muslims to be victims of a hate crime. (3) This was shocking to me because all I seem to see and hear on the news and media outlets is the blacks have it the worst. The FBI records also show that black on black crime, meaning murder or homicides is 50%. 50% of black people are murdered by other black people. The percentage of whites killing black or cops killing blacks is a small percentage when compared to this data. I would say that there is defiantly some mis information being reported out there regarding these “race” issues. Now the data I have mentioned here is not always the case. There are white kids that are victims of dysfunctional homes, there are other races that deal with absent fathers, mothers, drugs, gangs, crime, you name it.
I am by no means trying to pick on any racial group. I am simply stating there is another side to the story. I like looking at things from both sides. I don’t mind you reporting about a racial issue, or a injustice situation that happened to a black man or woman, but don’t run with it, misinform the public, and instill fear in others that this goes on all day every day. It doesn’t. We currently have a black president Barack Obama. If he just got the black vote, he couldn’t of won. Every race, gender, age group, ethnicity group voted for a black person because they believed in his policies, he was well liked, or whatever their reasons were. The majority of people do not care what color you are or where you come from and I believe there is good in people and we care about all races here in America. These documentaries do tell you and I factual events but it’s not the whole story. Tell the whole story and let the audience decide for themselves.
So, here we are, hopefully you can see now that there is something else going on besides race in this country. There is a cultural issue in our world today and we can certainly see the system perpetuates the problem. So how to we fix it? What is the solution? There are two solutions that come to mind and neither are popular ideas nor will they ever be taught to you by the system, main stream media, or people in general and that is a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not taking about the dos and don’ts and following a set of rules that come with religion. I’m not talking about just going to church on Sundays or how you dress and how you talk. I’m talking about an intimate relationship with the Lord where he talks to you and you talk to him back, a unique friendship. Why is this a solution? Because knowing Jesus changes you, your life, and your heart. He changes you from the inside out. He teaches you about love and compassion. This love that he fills you up with is the love that will change the world. Jesus said to His disciples when he was about to leave them to be with the Father, “This one command I give to you and that is to love others as I have loved you”. Loving others will take care of the Ten Commandments and all other laws. If you love your neighbor you wont steal from them, if you love your fellow man you will not murder him, if you love your neighbor you will not commit adultery with his wife, if you love you will not have hatred in your heart. This love helps you love and value yourself, value others, and value this planet. All of the different concerns we have today from racism, hatred, abortion, environmental health, air pollution, nature, animals, terrorism, national security, would all be taken care of if we were to raise leaders with this kind of love in their hearts. When we raise up leaders in our family with this type of love and encouragement your going to raise up a leader who will genuinely care about the cares concerning our planet, All of our needs would be met.
Now of course I know we cannot please everyone and there will unfortunately be the people you cannot please no matter what you do, but you always strive to be the best version of yourself and extending that outward to others. This leads into the second solution. Whether you are spiritual or not you cannot deny the fact that we all must look in the mirror and face ourselves and ask am I helping the problem or contributing to it? You make not like the system and how you felt it has wronged you and your community, but does it do any good complaining about a system that will always be run by broken people and therefore always be broken? It may not seem like much and you may feel so insignificant thinking your just one person so what kind of change can I make? But if you would apply yourself to a cause that fires you up inside, ignite in you a passion that runs so deep and chase your dreams you will create change. You go out there in your local church, the local animal shelter, your neighborhood clean up, volunteer at the prisons, local foster care center and start helping those in need in your own community you never know who’s life you may touch. All it takes is touching one person, changing them for the better, then that person touches another, and then another, and watch your one act of kindness ripple like a rock in a stream that can affect generations to generations. We should be empowering our children to learn how to budget, spend money wisely, be innovative, start a business, how to have successful relationship, how to raise and lead your own family. That is how true change takes place. Giving the power back to the individual. This is why taking responsibility for your own actions, looking in the mirror, and asking yourself how can I be better? Is the system against me? Most of the time. Are certain people against me? Yes. But why should that stop me? How can that stop you from helping your people in your communities to affect change? It doesn’t. And quite frankly all your excuses to stay the same, and blame others for where you are in life will always limit you. It will always hold you back. And anyone, any party, or any government that try’s and keep you enabled and dependent on them, that my friend is what true slavery looks like. We need to forgive. Take the past and don’t run away from it, but learn from it. Forgive your ancestors, the supremacy, the abusers, and move on. How can we as a people and as a nation move on if we keep looking in the past? If we keep rubbing dirt in the wound? We must forgive, we must move on, we must allow ourselves to heal, and start moving towards independence, less government control, and pursue real freedom. We must realize that this great power, this freedom, comes great responsibility. Responsibility to chose our words and our actions wisely. Freedom to chose what is right, for you, your family, and your country.
References: 1- excerpt from a Blog called Patheos by David Clarke.
2- Excerpt from Dinesh D’Souza on FoxNews
3-2015 FBI data from AEI.org
PS. I would recommend everyone watch the documentary called Runaway Slave. It is a great alternative view to being Black in America. It is inspiring, encouraging, and eye opening!