In the sci-fi thriller “The Matrix”, a movie that’s essentially a metaphor for Spiritual Awakening, (as intended by Sophia Stewart, the franchise’s true creator) Morpheus tells Neo:
“…You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
According to the “State of the Black Family” report recently released by Ebony Magazine and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, though “many African Americans identify long-standing problems that still plague the community—such as unemployment and access to high-quality education—the Black population remains largely optimistic about the future and satisfied with the direction the country is going in”.
The report also noted nearly 90 percent of those polled said they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their overall quality of life.
I’m not sure exactly what this says to you, but I know what it says to me:
We took Blue Pill, and went right back to sleep.
What else would cause us to look at the current socio-political landscape, and determine that in spite of the hourly assaults on our humanity, character, kith, and kin, we still have reason to be optimistic?
And BEFORE you say it, integration (and all the problems that came with it) should in NO WAY serve as the breeding ground for an optimism no African American in his right mind should have toward being Black in America.
Don’t misunderstand me: While I’m definitely not of the belief the African American neck should still be under the boot heel of Jim Crow, the fact remains de-segregation was no more of a social justice policy for African Americans than Affirmative Action was – or is.
Sadly, this is the root of our so-called optimism: Because we can drink from the same water fountains and use the same bathrooms as white folks, and a very select few of us are sitting at the apex of the Fortune 500, we believe it enough to justify our positive outlook.
Simply put, we’ve mistaken token, surface accomplishments for actual progress.
While it’s important to note our accomplishments, and be proud of ourselves for achieving in spite of the weight of our oppressive circumstances, African Americans cannot allow those accomplishments to trick us into believing we’ve made more progress than we actually have.
Remember, this is still a country where young Black boys are put on trial for their own murders, while their killers are elevated to “iconic, heroic” status.
We still live in a country where even Ebony magazine – a so-called historically African American publication – will throw one of its own EDITORS under a bus because she dared believe she had the same First Amendment right to publicly express her personal political beliefs as anyone else (read: white) did.
And we still live in a country where the “First Black President” would rather make eleventy billion appearances on the late night television circuit to coon and buffoon, than grant ONE substantive interview request from the NNPA (National Newspaper Publishers Association) News Service and its 200 Afrocentric publications – a request the organization has made every year, since Obama’s first term.
Black folks live in a country where the mere mention of OUR holocaust is met with derision, mockery, and disgust, but Jews can mention the pain and suffering inflicted upon their ancestors by Hitler and his Nazi regime, and “suddenly” everybody understands the relationship between a people’s history and their culture, and the way the two inform a community’s behavior.
ALL of this is the reality of what it means to be Black in America.
So, you’ll have to forgive me for not sharing some of my people’s “optimism”.
No matter how some of us try to “spin” it, a half-full glass is STILL half-empty.
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