Did you catch African American lives 2 on PBS last night? Fascinating stuff. A recurring theme throughout the night was the sacrifices that people made in order to make a better life for themselves and those to come. They would rather risk life and limb for feedom, the right to vote, the right to have land and raise their families peacefully. Chris Rock shed actual tears as he learned that his great great grandfather served in the civil war, the South Carolina legislature and was a prosperous land owner.
And then Chris talked about how he wanted to be president when he was little. "President or a comedian" and his mother was like noooo. To paraphrase he said, "I was born feb 7th and 2 weeks later Malcolm X was shot. That was the world I was born into." His mama said, "You want to be somebody that might get you kilt?"
and that immediately made me think of Obama and all this talk about people not wanting him to run cause he might get kilt. But watching the AAL2 and also having just finished Lalita Tademy's Red River (the true story of the masscre of hundreds of free Black men who dared exercise their right to self-government in Reconstruction-era Louisiana), I thought damn is this what we have evolved to?
self preservation over progress. unwilling to sacrifice so that we can maintain what we have. I know it's hard to make comparisions to those before us. those where-would-we-be-if-they-hadn't-marched-and-fought type arguments. Cause they aint had much to lose (or did they?) So many of us think it is futile today but wasn't it even more futile then? With what they went up against: Jim Crow, the White League, the KKK, and regular apathetic white folk who didn't stop their more radical brethern, just on the other side of slavery, not a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, practically speaking they couldn't have possibly had a chance in hell to overcome, succeed, win yet they tried anyway and they did.
Why? Because they were fed up with the way they were living. And fighting was better than pushing through, barely making it, living with the scraps.
You know I think about it sometimes. Why bother? What are we all doing just playing in the White man's bullshit game. Let me protect me and mine. It's funny this mentality is the norm from middle class to the projects. young men die sensilessly cause they don't see nothing better. the middle and upper class die the death of complacency cause they don't want to lose the small status they've attained and they damn sure aint steppin out to push for better, more for those who don't have.
True enough, Obama is no Martin (he says so himself) he's not the conventional civil rights leader gettin bricks thrown through his window. and he's not ours alone (which may be the real problem). But dammit if that uppity Negro aint trying to do something. Stepping over the black establishment, the white establishment, the democratic establishment and saying ima do this my way. And yeah I hear it, can he really, what if he flip when he gets in, what if he fails? really though, these are concerns any time we elect a new president.
But watching AAL2 last night I kept thinking, damn the ancestors would be proud, those who stepped up, fought and died. One difference may be that they didn't have so many whites behind them. Or maybe we have memories of those whites that were behind them during reconstruction who cut and run when things got difficult. who knows...
Listen as Michelle talks about her husband's safety in america as a black man...
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot