I sit to write today, my first blog entry, after saying to myself for years that this day would come, thinking it would sooner than it did, but there’s no use in focusing my energy on that. Instead, I allow myself to feel proud that the moment finally came when I decided to value myself, my thoughts and my voice enough to jot them down and share them with those they might reach. It’s Martin Luther King Jr Day in the United States, and the legacy he left has been present in my mind all day. 50 years after his death, we continue needing to be reminded of his teachings. We continue needing someone like him to lead us in the right direction. We continue needing to fight with love for equality, justice and peace. But most of all, we continue needing to be reminded that we still need all of this, especially those of us who aren't directly affected by the injustices he fought. Many of us have settled with the status quo of racism, simply because we no longer see blatant signs of segregation in front of water fountains, or in classrooms, or on city buses. Many of us have been blinded by the physical integrations of races we see all around us. But what about social integrations on a broader spectrum dictated by the almost invisible seeds of segregation? Why is it that today, in 2018, we still continue to see rally’s and protests and signs reminding us that black lives matter? How integrated are we really if black lives still feel the pain that drives them to remind us? As a hispanic woman raised in Miami, I can’t say I’ve lived the pain of oppression myself. I’ve lived the discomfort of being too hispanic for some of my friends and too white for my other friends, but never pain. And yet that’s never stopped me from feeling empathy for the others who are just like me except for the superficial detail of the tone of their skin. So I ask myself, how is it that so many of us are so blind to it? Why is it that we continue putting those a few skin tones darker than us in a position where they need to fight for equality and for justice, simply because of their skin color? Can it be that we really live in a world where cars can almost drive themselves but we can’t even drive ourselves to compassion? These are just thoughts typed out on a laptop, but they come from feelings that are deep rooted, and while I don’t know what good they will do, I put my faith in knowing that spreading positivity and messages of love will add on to the goodness in the world in hopes to outnumber the bad.
I wanted to elaborate further on this topic, but I know the internet is overflowing with content and many of us can't focus on one thing for too long, but in case I've captured your attention, feel free to read on.
How often does the oppressor say, “African Americans have the same rights we do, so whatever circumstance they find themselves in is only their fault,” or something along those lines expressing this belief? Now just for a moment, stop to think. How long do you think the effects of slavery last or impact a race or society? Sure, it’s very unlikely that anyone in the United States today can actually say they were a slave, but what about when we ask if their grandmother, or great grandmother was? When I think of the person I am today, and all the values I carry deep in my heart and present in my mind, I trace them back to my family. Who I am is mostly because of the way I was raised by the people that raised me. And what do you think influenced the people that raised me and how they are as people most? The people that raised them. So now imagine being raised by a mother whose grandmother was a slave, or whose grandmother's parents were slaves, and lived that horrific tragedy that brought on insurmountable amounts of pain. Imagine growing up with the anger, the grudges, the pain, passed down from generation to generation. Now that's only trying to understand the oppressed on an emotional level. So let's think a bit further. How much easier is it for kids who grow up in a wealthy home to get ahead than kids that grow up poor? I know what you’re thinking, as I did when I wrote that, it’s not an excuse and it’s certainly not impossible to get ahead no matter where you come from. AGREED. But what about an entire race? What if the reason why we're starting from the zero line and moving up while a grand majority of African Americans are starting from below the zero line is because of disadvantages set by a racist and unjust society? What about an entire race that doesn’t see themselves represented in a highly respected or successful light? How many black doctors have you seen in movies or in TV’s in comparison to doctors of other races? Lawyers? Educators? CEO’s and businessmen? What if your whole life all you saw in the media around you about your race was the same you saw in your low income neighborhood? What if you grew up your whole life profiled as someone who won’t amount to much? Or as someone who people expect the lowest from? How can we expect a whole race of people to escape this prison when we continue to keep them behind these societal bars. Now tell me racism doesn’t exist. Tell me African Americans as a whole have the same opportunities when a large portion of them live in low income neighborhoods with a lower education. Tell me black little boys and black little girls have equal opportunities when statistics show many of them are raised by single mothers earning minimum wage. Black lives matter, and they don’t deserve the disadvantages they deal with which are stemmed from our racist history.
Disclaimer, this is not a newspaper article or history book excerpt, so if I don't sound politically correct, please excuse me as my intent is only to shed light on a dark problem and promote awareness and love.
I'm sure I will always think of things to add or adjust to better explain myself, so if I waited to publish this until the moment I thought it was perfect, it would never happen, so here it is.