I recently watched the James Brown biographical movie “Get On Up.” The movie was phenomenal, it truly deserved to win every award it was nominated for. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do yourself a favor and watch it.
Throughout the movie, racial under toning was very prevalent. Scenes that involved Mandingo Fights, or the stereotype that if too many African-Americans are in one place riots will ensue, even one that showed the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assaination.
After watching the movie, I began to reflect on the state of America now. Has much changed? Sadly, no. Yes, we may have an African-American President. Mandingo fights may not take place anymore. And there may be more upper class African-Americans now, then ever before. However, the mentality, the underline racial tones that existed throughout the 60s is still very much here today.
Many would argue that racism simply doesn’t exist anymore, and that our country has moved past that phase. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. Racism is not a phase, it is deep-rooted hate that affects all minorities, especially African-Americans. Just visit social media, you’ll find millions of stories where some Black person, somewhere was treated unjustly. And not just mistreated, but assaulted or worst…murdered.
We still live in a world where police brutality against African-Americans is justified, and where people can kill us because of the color of our skin, and nothing is expected to be said. We live in a world where cultural appropriation should be accepted, but are still ridiculed for the same features, hairstyles, and overall culture that is being appropriated. We live in a world where we are racially profiled, and expected to understand it, because at the end of the day “all Blacks steal.” Newsflash! People of all races steal, but because you have been subconsciously taught that African-Americans are economically inferior, that is who you focus on. Sadly, we live in a world where being Black in America is still very much exhausting. Stop un-acknowledging African-Americans pain. It is not just in our head, it is real and detrimental.
I know I speak for Black people everywhere when I say I’m not bringing these issues up because I want to play into the “Poor Us, Poor Me” narrative. I am writing this post to raise awareness of the fact that although my people have come extremely far, we still have a long way to go. I am writing this post for the people that ask me why do I have to post and tweet so much about Black activism. We want change, and the only way change will come, is if you create awareness.
I challenge everyone reading this to vow to end racism. If you see someone committing a racist act or making a racist remark, speak up. We may not be able to completely extinguish racism, but I guarantee a day will come when “their” viewpoints are the minority.
To my racial counterparts that put their lives on the line to help us demonstrate and speak out on our behalf, we appreciate you more than word could ever express.
And lastly but definitely not least, to my Black people, continue to push through adversity. We will win this war. Never apologize for your Blackness, EVER. Be proud of who you are. Embrace your kinky hair, full lips, and beautiful skin. We are awesome sauce and don’t you forget it. (Cheesy I know, but very true.) Like the late-great James Brown said, “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.”