brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Resentment For What Has Been Happening

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Imagine a time at the peak of the period of institutionalized slavery where Africans are considered property and low intelligence beast of burden.  White people use skin color as an indication of a person’s worth.  Any obvious indication of African ancestry and the person is relegated into a low class social status.  Some black people are able to shake the bonds of enslavement.  These fortunate blacks are owned by white people who want to grant their enslaved Africans their freedom in their will.  Or, some slave owners will actually allow their enslaved Africans to make deals that would allow them to earn their freedom.  But these deals are normally not a package that would allow for the freedom of the entire family.  An Africans could work their entire life just to gain the freedom of their loved ones.

Once freed the African has to deal with a racist society that works relentlessly to keep black people from accumulating wealth, owning property, earning the right to vote, earning an education, earning an equal wage, and participation of anything else that would or could lead to a perception of equal status for blacks.

Now, me being a black man I would imagine that if I were to live under such conditions I would resent the white community.  I would consider such living conditions unfair.  I would look and see the disparity between the conditions that the vast majority of black people live under compared to white people.  Although I may not fully understand every last detail of the science of the social behavior that the dominant white community follows to justify the subjugation of black people I would understand that the disparity could not be created and could not be perpetuated without white people actively working a system of segregation and class strife than runs along racial lines.  I would imagine that the resentment that I would feel would run rampant throughout the black community.

Throughout the changes that have been made in American culture, throughout the period that witnessed the establishment and eventual abolishment of America’s institutionalized enslavement of black people, throughout the period of time that saw the establishment and eventual abolishment of America’s Jim Crow laws, through the era of the civil rights movement, and all the other subsequent generations of American history, the dominant culture continued its perpetuation of racial disparity.  As a black man I would resent America’s dominant culture for what it has done in the past, what it is doing now to protect the racial status quo, and what it will continue to do in the future to continue its subjugation of the black community.

People will say get over it, what’s done is done.  But, tell me, how do I get over it when I see as the result of this subjugation every single day when I go home to my house in the black community and see the disparity of black community’s living conditions compared to the white community I just left with a complete set of services and resources for its residents and businesses?  How do I get over racial disparity when I look at the workplace and see all the predominantly white executives in the boardroom and the mailroom and janitorial services that are predominantly black?  How do I get over the racial disparity between black wages and white wages, black wealth and white wealth, black property and white property, the quality of black healthcare services and white healthcare services, the quality of black public education and white public education, the black employment opportunities and the white employment opportunities, black prosecution and white prosecution, black government representation and white government representation?

Most of all I resent people, across the racial spectrum, who have the nerve to say that I, a black man who is reminded everyday of the affects of this disparity founded a long time ago along racial lines, should get over my sense of fairness and justice and simply conform to the parameters that the dominant culture has established for black people.  In my mind, to simply submit and learn to tolerate this disparity is to become complacent.  To suggest that other people should join in the submission to the mandates of the dominant culture is to become a collaborator to black people’s subjugation.

My resentment does not paralyze me.  My resentment does not keep me from competing in a working environment stacked against me.  My resentment doesn’t blind me to the fact that I have to work harder to earn less.  My resentment doesn’t allow me to forget that I have to tolerate coworkers, black and white alike, who would prefer that they not tolerate me darkening their work environment with my presence.  But most of all my resentment helps me remember that I have to continue to do what I can to change the status quo of black subjugation.  Resentment for how our society has regulated the black community to its second class status helps me to remember that this isn’t over.  Other black people can pretend that everything is okay.  But resentment, fueled by what has happened to black communities across this country, keeps me from embracing such blinders.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black History, Life, Slavery, Thoughts

6 Comments »

  1. It’s human nature, or at least hue-man nature, to have an open mind to perspectives other than our own. This is why so many Black folks actually bother to consider the perspective of those who “did not directly enslave us” and therefore, as their argument goes, “are not directly responsible for our enslavement”. Its probably also why so many of us got duped back home in the motherland, but anyway.

    Here’s the thing though. If the Americas were ‘discovered’ circa 1500, slavery established shortly thereafter, and slavery ‘abolished’ (i say abolished as the prison industry sure reeks of slavery to me) circa 1800, then that’s a good 300 years of a whole lot of people who, as a whole, figured it wasn’t their problem. Three hundred years. Malcolm told us if you want to know who you’re dealing with, read his history, and the history of white folks in the New World alone is one of rationalized privledge at the expense of Blacks’ and indigenous’ land, labor, and resources.

    Now there are and have always been exceptions, and God bless them, really. I can personally think of some white folks who are alright in my book. But for any fool to come at us with that “get over it, what’s done is done” jive is just that, jive. And that’s the bastard Im referring to with my rant. If his peoples looked the other way when we were straight up bonded, its unlikely his simple a$$ has the empathy to deal with the inhumanity of today, blessed exceptions notwithstanding.

    “I have to work harder to earn less.”

    Damn right, and the grace in it is you CAN work harder. For what, 500 years, half a millennium, our peeps in this place have told each other something along the lines of, “Work harder, hold on, and one day we’ll get there.”

    It never was about making it more easy for the next generation, it was simply about making it more. So hold on, remember your past, outshine these bastards, and don’t let them bring you down to their lazy ass unempathetic level.

    Comment by Bless | Monday, June 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bless,

    “Damn right, and the grace in it is you CAN work harder…”

    I remember watching a video of a woman who was in the crowd at a rally on behalf of George Bush, Jr. The woman got up to spoke and said that she had to work three jobs in order to make ends meet. Mr. Bush replied very enthusiastically. He turned to the crowd and said, “Isn’t that great! Only in America!”

    The point isn’t that I CAN work harder. The point is that I have to work harder to get less. Our enslaved ancestors worked hard. By no means was it a blessing.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, June 15, 2009 | Reply

  3. Great Post,
    My fight is not over and I see I am not alone. I have been told time and time again to “stop living in the past”. What people (black and other) don’t understand is that the past was not that long ago.(a little over 40 years)The damage done to black people has not healed. The effects of those wounds are not something you can simply “get over”.
    Systematic rape, mutilation, genocide, pedophilia(see Jefferson for past and Strom Thurmon for present), destruction of family, demoralization, fear, intimidation and I could go on and on. This is not something black people have ever had dealt with and something society has minimized for decades.

    Comment by cinque | Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. That’s right Cinque!

    Comment by isaac29 | Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Reply

  5. I must say that they owe… not only for the past but also for the present!!!

    Shit ain’t gon change! What we must do is to build our families, own businesses and land; teach our children to be strong independent and give them the ability to peruse the social, economic and government environments. It will get easier when a strong number (i hesitate to say majority although that is what it will take) of us do this while remembering where we come from and helping each other out! I.E., helping those taht are trying to help themselves… i think the saying goes “don’t throw your pearls to pigs”.

    Comment by Damien | Saturday, June 20, 2009 | Reply

  6. HEY there Bro-peace you forgot to mention when a slave would become a runner trying to escape the plantations & the master would have half his foot cut off to stop his disobedience, I’m fairly certain that would of created resentment.Only an idiot would try to say racism doesn’t exist especially in the good ole U.S.A toward the black race. But i answered your blog because i want to ask you to think about 3 points. My first is don’t you think racism is more of a human condition then just American decadence? Wouldn’t you say on a human level we tend to put even family members on different pedestals ? some above our selves some below , depending on where we perceive our own standing of merit or self worth or perhaps ego? would be a better word !& i realize i didn’t keep my sister at the end of a whip or my parents shackled to a horse cart in pig crap but that’s not my point. Guess I’m trying to point out i don’t see racism being abolished any time soon , but because slavery was & Mr Obama is & your blog goes forward i hope i will see it in my life time , but i am not going to hold my breath . Second point is i worry that when terms such as ( The black community) are used that in the eyes of the racist that confirms they even have Americans of slavery ancestry put in their place & segregated even in their own minds ,But i could be off track on that & on the subject off politically correct terms ,I would let em use the N word that way when true racism rears it’s ugly head we will know what ones to cut off . My last thought is as i was reading your blog the word resentment seems to me could be substituted for hate , & i fear if you allow them to grow your resentment into hate then they win but if you do look back in history & you don’t have to go all the way back to slavery , perhaps just back to your term of the present where you wrote the black community’s second class status…..hell the way i see it your wining. So keep up the great blogs cuz that’s what your African ancestors built on the backs of their shoulders & chance to be an equal in your good ole nation , So beat it by joining forces with the educated & bypassing the ignorant . My hope is that you do not end up like me with lost hope in all these damn humans. lol hang in there man !

    Comment by Darcy | Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Reply


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