The problem of the 20th century was the color-line as Dr. Du Bois eerily reminded us in historical piece “The Souls of Black Folk” Well, the problem of the 20th century has walked it’s way into the adolescent 21st century.
As a young black man growing up I always was determined to complete my goals and the high standards that I set for myself. I don’t attribute this to anyone but myself. I have been witness to things that my counterparts in Garden City, Franklin Square and neighborhoods alike have & were not. The things my parents and the parents around me spoke to and speak to me about have been different! What I have been exposed to is different! The things I have had to and still have to look out for are different! Is this the case for all children of color? No, of course not. However, this has been MY story. Am I expecting someone to pity me? No, of course not! Do I have some built up black rage to where I hate all those who don’t have have experiences that are analogous to my own? No, of course not! Do I expect everyone who isn’t like me to understand the world I come from? No, of course not!
You’d be disingenuous if you thought the message of two fathers, one white and one black teaching their sons about the realities of their own worlds isn’t a clear depiction microcosm to what is truly the American experience. We live in a nation where a majority of black fathers, if they are even around will be having vastly different conversations with theirs sons AND daughters than that of their white counterparts.
We have a responsibility however, to change that. But, until the root of the problem, until the foundation is completely destroyed and replaced then what black fathers teach their sons and daughters will always remain different from what their white counterparts teach their sons and daughters.
America has been a racist nation since its inception, well even prior to it’s founding. Furthermore, America will remain a racist nation unless she truly lives up to the promises of her founding principles and ideals. I was once optimistic about the prospects of this happening and that I’d bear witness to a generation who was willing to put aside childish things in order to make good on the promises of long ago. This has not happened and may not happen.
It’s up to my generation to grab hold of the mantle of leadership, not just with lip service or 140 character status or statuses such as the one you know read. It’s going to take much more than that. Collective action, collective responsibility and collective accountability is what is needed more than ever. Then and only then will my optimism cease to ebb like the ocean does from the shore when the tide pulls away and returns to the sea.
This is how I see it.
End of part I….(To be continued)