Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

Are You A Groupie? By Angenita Williams

GLPIC

 

Are you a groupie?

Merriam-Webster says a groupie is a noun that means a fan of a music group who follows the group on concert tours.

Urban dictionary says a groupie is a young woman, often under age, who seeks to achieve status by having sex with rock musicians, roadies, security, and other band-related guys.

Does that describe anyone you know?

I heard the song Groupie Love by an indie artist Young Mac about a year ago. (Check the photo.) The more I listened to it, the more I really get it. Although the title would have you thinking otherwise, it’s obvious that the woman being described in the song is a hurting woman.

“I can tell it’s groupie love cause she aiming to get rich.”

Listening to the lyrics on the surface would have you think the narrator is talking about the typical groupie – backstage at all the shows. Heels on point. Body a ten. Making sure she gets chosen. But a deeper listening reveals that this “groupie” isn’t typical…she has the “aim” to get rich…but the “rich” isn’t the rich that one thinks of when they speak of rich.

In this aspect, rich means love. She wants to be rich…in love… jumping from body to body in search of this elusive love…the love that every girl dreams of. Yearns for. And when that love isn’t there, then substitutes are there to take the place…money…attention…sex. Selling herself short for the illusion of desire. She’s broken. And the narrator tells her, “I can feel your pressure.”

How much pressure are we under to find love? For us single ladies that are 35 and up, how much pressure do we bear when we wake up next to pillows every morning? When you just wanna hug and hear a deep masculine voice say it’s gonna be alright? I know…Momma never said there would be days like that….because Momma never let it show that there ARE days like that.

Navigating the world of relationships is real tricky. Mainly because everyone has baggage to unload, and everyone wants to remain selfish….when love has nothing to do with selfishness…it’s so selfless. You willingly give your all because love is about growing the other person, not what you can get out of them or from them. You have to make sure that person has your best interest at heart…But you can’t wait too late or you’ll end up broken and bitter.

Self-love is the key to deflating the pressures of being single. No one can love you if you don’t love you, and if you don’t love you, you can’t possibly love anyone else. So for the groupies in the world….take a pause…love you…Nothing will give you more satisfaction until you realize that love you seek is right there in you…

“Go ‘head and show that groupie love…go ‘head, you know that groupie love….”

Am I Not Good Enough? by Angenita Williams

*This is NOT a blog about being sad, or feeling unworthy. It IS a reflection.*

In the midst of my reading and studying, I usually play music or have the TV on for background noise. Sometimes, I have both. But yesterday, I decided to listen to the YouTube personality April Mason. She is an empowering woman with some really good points. I just wasn’t ready for what she had to say.

She had a letter from a young woman who explained that there was a guy she was “dating.” He was nice. He treated her well. He was fine. His sex was awesome. But he didn’t want to be in a relationship. Although he did all the things that couples do, he made it clear that a relationship was something he did not want. She was understandably confused. His actions did not match his words….definitely something I can relate to.

April went through all the usual relationship advice: why buy the cow when you get the milk for free; you allowed him to dictate the “relationship;” you must love yourself first…and so on and so forth. But then she said this:

“This may sound harsh, but you are not good enough.”

I stopped studying.

“You are good enough to hang out and go to the movies with. You are good enough to share meals with. You are good enough to have sex with. But you are not good enough to be his WOMAN. You are a placeholder for his permanent one.”

I sat up. Not good enough to be his woman?

I’ve often felt like I was never good enough. My self-esteem hasn’t been the highest. Although I was always told I was beautiful, I didn’t really believe it – I was fat. I didn’t have a nice shape and I was bigger than most guys – but I was still cute and my smile lit up a room.  I knew I was smart – my grades showed it. I was a little short on being street smart until I got to the streets and had to learn to navigate. I never quite learned how to navigate relationships with men though.

I was always good enough to converse with because I do have a nice conversation. I have a brain and I can go from goofy to intellect in a split second. I was nice to hang around because I carry an aura of comfort; of loving. I can cook a little bit, so of course I was good enough to make meals for a man. Of course I was always good enough to have sex with. I’m a nice looking, fluffy woman that’s well endowed. I take care of my kids. I’m smart. I’m funny. I’m loyal.

But I still wasn’t good enough.

 I wasn’t good enough for my father to love me enough to show me that I was indeed worthy to be treated like a human being.  I didn’t have a very high bar to compare any man to. Attention was enough I suppose. I wasn’t good enough for my ex to not marry a woman that I knew was all the way wrong for him, but yet he still came to me on plenty of nights until I stopped him. I wasn’t good enough for the guy who told me he wouldn’t hurt me, but he didn’t want a relationship…after sex. Or the one that said that no man would really want me because of my ready made family. Or the one who stopped talking to me when I took sex off the table. Or the one that sent unsolicited penis pics. Or the one who thought I would stay despite his abuse.  When I got married, I felt that finally I WAS good enough…I secured a lifelong bond with a man I was madly in love with…

But I wasn’t even good enough for my husband. No matter how loyal or loving or supportive I was, I just wasn’t good enough to keep him from the abandonment or the side chicks.

In the aftermath of all of this, I find that I am still just not good enough. I’m good enough to hang with or converse with, or even to sex…but I’m not good enough to be a man’s significant other. I’m not good enough to be the ONE.

My attributes are great. I am wonderfully flawed.  I’m beautiful. I’m sarcastic. Intelligent. I like sports. I cuss like a sailor. I am articulate. I can get moody. I can appear standoffish or disinterested.  I can discuss politics, Beyonce, Maya, and Bugs Bunny. I am lovingly loyal – I would say to a bit of a fault. I am a sweetheart when I want to be. I’m the perfect homegirl. I’m caring. I’m supportive – an awesome cheerleader. I adore my children and my grandchildren. I will go to war with the world over my children. I love my family. I work hard. I hustle harder. I strive to be the best I can be with all my flaws. 

This year marks my 40th year on this Earth. I look at the world through a lens of life experiences. I do have faith in God, something I can’t say I’ve always had. My confidence level as definitely increased by the multitudes. But, in the area of relationships and commitment, something always falls relatively short. And with all the #inboxfoolishness I get, with all the dates that are made but never completed, all the notions of just wanting sex from me and nothing more, I wonder…

Will I ever be good enough?

On Being Black in America by Angenita Williams

I know it’s been a minute…

These past few weeks have been torment for me.

I’ve sat quietly watching as news story after news story after blog after blog spills the details about another mistreatment of people of color.

I’ve been silent. Trying to figure out exactly what I want to say that hasn’t already been regurgitated through media.

And then the Charleston Nine happened. The actual thought of removing the Confederate flag happened. On my drive home, I figured out what I wanted to say – a checklist of sorts. I’m only going to list three, or this blog will be a hundred pages long.

  1. On Being a Black Woman

I am a Black Woman. That means that royalty flows through my veins. My foremothers were Queens. My foremothers were dignified women. I wear my crown straight. Slave blood runs through my veins as well as the strength of my ancestors. My shoulders sometimes struggle for carrying the world is heavy. My back is arched, my head is held high. Just like Maya said, “Phenomenal woman, that is me.” My piercing stares are full of determination and tenacity. My tresses are strong. I love me.

And it took me almost 40 years to do that.

With what society says I should look like. All my images of “real” beauty came in the form of Barbie. Brooke Shields. Susan Lucci. Farrah Fawcett. And when I got a little older, Claire Huxtable and Dianne Carroll. I was a victim of the paper bag. My blackness always questioned because my skin is a tad paler.

But I was still Black. I hated my kinky hair. I hated my name because it was so unique. It always seemed like if I was a white girl named Tina with long brown hair, and pale blue eyes, I would be so much happier. Why? Because Tina had things that looked like her. That resembled her. That were her…

And I was grown before I could truly love everything that being a Black woman is, does, and strives to do. Before I learned the true strength of where I come from – the fields of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Before I understood that my beauty comes from the strength I innately possess. Before I realized that beauty is truly beyond this skin I’m in.

  1. On Being a Mother of Black Children

I worry every time my children leave my sight. They are of strong mind and strong will. My son, a Black man. My daughter, a Black teen.

I am bombarded with images of unarmed children being gunned down because the officers don’t understand that they too are innocent. They have an innocence about them just like his kids do. But he is threatened by their melanin. By there sheer ability to have the nerve to WANT to do things outside the home. To DESIRE to be something other than…*insert typical Black stereotype*.

Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a picture of the White Charleston Nine shooter next to the picture of the fourteen-year-old Black girl with a cop’s knee in her back. The caption compared the dignified way he was captured against the violent way a CHILD was thrown to the ground. A woman who was white said the picture was misleading and that the bikini clad young lady was being aggressive. A child who had no idea what was going on and begged for her mother versus a cold-blooded killer who was afforded a bulletproof vest and a sandwich.

I responded with – she is a CHILD.

The lady responded with a long response to which she ended with “I will teach my children to treat everyone well, and I hope they teach their kids the same.”

My long response ended with “be thankful you can teach your kids that. Be thankful that you don’t have to worry about your kids not coming home – not because they are bad kids, because they are not. It’s because they are Black.”

As a mother, this is heartbreaking. And the list just keeps growing. I pray my children’s names are never on that list. I pray my nephews and nieces will never make that list. I pray my brothers, uncles, cousins and friends never make that list.

  1. On Being Black, Woman, Near 40, and Single

It truly seems like the older I get, the worse dating gets. Seriously. One would think that with age comes maturity. This isn’t so in a lot of cases. And it’s frustrating. Maybe it’s because I expect so much. Like a job. And decent conversation. And thoughtfulness. And a date or two or three. In my teens and 20’s, I accepted pretty much whatever just to be recognized by a man. Just to have one in my presence. Just to have one be there…even if it was temporary. Just to feel “love.” And I got two kids to raise pretty much alone (my loves!), a broken marriage (not truly getting what marriage entails), a few broken hearts, an ocean of tears, fears of rejection and pain, a steel fortified fortress built around my heart, and a different view on love. Dating isn’t fun – it is a tiring assortment of role specifics and game playing. I am over playing the game. And many older men that approach me want to play it.

There are way more things to speak on – finances, education, awareness, growth. I’ll save that for another time…

I’m baaaaacccckkkk

Yesterday’s History is for Today’s Time by Angenita Williams

I took my daughter to see Selma.

And I’m glad I did.

While I was vaguely familiar with the march to Montgomery, I wasn’t completely well versed in it. And neither was my daughter.

We were engrossed in the movie. Both of us were lost in the action of the film. I won’t spoil it for those who have not seen it, but there are moments in the movie that you know are coming, and your body still reacts to it. Your hands go to your face in the astonishment and at the sheer treatment of Black people. I am not sure if I would have been able to be alive in that time – living in fear because I happened to be born with a skin tone deeper than the “majority.”

The real deal occurred after we left the theatre.

She liked the movie. But she asked me about the other people who played a part in that march – John Lewis, Diane Nash, Andrew Young. When I asked her did she know those people, she stated no. My mouth fell open.

I followed up with who did she know that had anything to do with the Civil Rights Movement. She stated MLK, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks. When I asked if she new anyone in history, she stated she knew who Madame CJ Walker and Harriet Tubman were. She knew the Black Panther Party. She knew Nelson Mandela. She knew Ruby Bridges and the Four Little Girls.

No WEB Dubois. No Langston Hughes. No Frederick Douglass. No Mary McCleod-Bethune. No Nat Turner. No Marcus Garvey. No Jean Toomer. No Dizzy Gillespie. No James Baldwin. No Nina Simone. No Harry Belafonte. No George Washington Carver. No Zora Neale Hurston. No Ralph Bunche. No Thurgood Marshall. No Shirley Chisholm. No Little Rock Nine.

I felt as if I failed as a parent. How can my child not know these people? These very important people helped our nation recognize that Black people were people. They shared their Black experience with the world. Some in that group helped pass laws that affected the lives of Black people. Some broke the barriers to become first to stand against the establishment. Some helped uplift, and inspire generations of Black people to fight for the right to simply exist.

I understand that schools, nor this nation as a whole, figure that Black history is not a part of this nation’s history…but it is. And it is very important that we give our kids the tools they need to learn about where they come from. Honestly, if they have no idea where they come from, how can they progressively move forward?

My daughter and I had a very in depth conversation about history. I showed her some books I have on the shelf to give her more insight. We watched YouTube. We Googled.

We have to keep our children equipped with the knowledge of our history. The Revolutionary War happened. Slavery happened. The Civil War happened. Reconstruction happened. Sharecropping happened. Jim Crow happened. Vietnam happened. The World Wars happened.

And Black people were involved every step of the way. Our kids need to see that. Although we were an oppressed people, we were smart. We figured out ways to communicate when the slave master told us we couldn’t. We took the scraps they gave us and turned them into a fine and distinct cuisine. We were trendsetters. People love our culture and our swag.

Our kids need to know that. Our kids need to understand that we can walk with heads held high and be proud of where we come from.

After all, this nation was built on the backs of my forefathers and my foremothers. That is very important to note. For without the contribution of Black people this would not be a nation worth being.

I vow to make it a point to place some knowledge in my daughter’s path. In doing so, I will learn more as well.

If you have not seen the movie Selma, I encourage you to do so. It is so relevant for today’s time…

Happy Birthday MLK!

I am Legendary… I Create My Legacy by Angenita Williams

LLCPIC2

A few months ago, I received a Facebook inbox from a young lady I’ve seen perform and host within the Indianapolis poetry scene. Her poetry is phenomenal, exquisite, demanding, commanding, and raw – just like it should be. She captivates as her voice cascades through your ears to resonate within your heart. Not only is she a poet, she is a bonafide writer. I follow her blogs. Read her sometimes page-length Facebook posts. She inspires one to be inquisitive and most of all, while her heart is definitely on her sleeve, she is a mighty, transparent, strong woman indeed. Her name: Januarie York.

However, there was another remarkable woman whose smile brought life into a building. Her poetry was outstanding, and everywhere she went, love grew by the multitude. She was surrounded by the love she so easily dispersed – She was deemed a Queen. The name absolutely fit her to a “T.” Her name: Blanche Boone-Jackson, and she was called home earlier this year.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Januarie for a Spotlight. It was a great experience to see her outside of her usual poetic self. We had a great conversation and interview, and she liked the piece I wrote on her. I was pleased.

But, when I got the inbox from her asking for my address, I was shocked. I had no idea why she wanted it, but, I didn’t hesitate. Whatever IT was, it was going to be good.

I received my puzzle pieces, which turned out to be my invitation to The Queen B Legendary Ladies Ball. Legendary ladies? Me? Legendary? Wow.

Modeled after Oprah’s Legends Ball, the event started with a Tea and Testimony, then the actual ball the next day.

The Tea and Testimony was an awesome display of women coming together to support each other – to laugh and uplift. To enjoy the company of others. I gained some sisters that day. We fellowshipped in every since of the word. I knew some from Facebook, or going to poetry. Some I didn’t know…but we were all there under one accord – to fellowship in friendship and the love of the Queen.

The ball was everything. Everyone dressed up so nicely and smiles were everywhere. The gentlemen that were there treated us all like Queens. Elle’s voice was beautiful and sweet as she sang the interlude to her speech. The soulful Bashiri Asad shared his soul with us as homage to the Queen. A young lady by the name of Essence made eyes sweat with her rendition of Take Me to the King. And the wonderful duo of Elle and Theon gave us an awesome cover of Use Somebody. SunRae Phoenix gave a sermon unlike any sermon I’d ever heard before, and made our eyes glisten underneath the dim lights of the venue. Shantell read Still I Rise, and we saluted with HELL YEAH! Tony Styxx gave us the meaning of abracadabra and advised us to “watch our wands.” And then the fabulous Januarie said to us all, “If someone loves you, let them love you or let them go.” Then, we spoke our names.

To say this was powerful is a complete understatement.

We got a ceremonial box with mementos and keys to life. Beautiful purple sand, rose petals, and water beads adorned our boxes…some we placed in a vase as a ritual of unity…some we kept to share our energies, and keep it with us.

This weekend gave me so much strength to keep doing what I do. I never once thought of myself as legendary…

I am so humbled and honored to have been invited to this event and having the chance to meet and fellowship with some amazing women.

And I really feel as if #ICreateMyLegacy.

Thank you Januarie, and thank you Queen B for bringing us all together in your spirit. Your love lives on forever…for you are the epitome of a true #LegendaryLady…

Dear Janay by Angenita Williams

Dear Janay,

Hey Sis.

My spirit told me I had to reach out to you and to let you know that I understand what you are going through.

I know why you defend him. I know how it feels to be hurt by a man you love. And for all those on the outside, they have no idea what is real. This, what you have, is love, and until they understand that, they should leave you alone.

I get it.

But sis, what you don’t understand, is that this is not love. This is control.

I look at your beautiful face, and your eyes tell the story of how he breaks you down. He didn’t always strike you. He treated you like a queen. Got you what you need. There for you. Then one day, things changed. He hit you. He apologized, and went back to that good man. Then he hit you again. And the cycle continued.

I may be wrong. This could have been his first time. But the ease at which he hit you, with the strength he hit you with, and his callous reaction to it, shows me that he is no stranger to abusing you. He dragged you, even kicking you while you were out. He didn’t show that he cared…he showed annoyance. And you took the blame and apologized for your part – which was responding to a slap in the face.

Sis, love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hit. It doesn’t toss you. It doesn’t belittle you. The Bible tells us that love is kind and patient. He clearly lost his patience, Love.

And I am only reaching out to you because I have been there. I was not only a witness to abuse, but I was a victim, and also a perpetrator. I thought I would get them before they got me. That didn’t work out so well either. I was told that no one would want me. If I didn’t fall in line, my dad would hate me. Weak men prayed on my weakness and lack of self love.

Sis, physical abuse is the escalation. The emotional and mental abuse starts first. I understand the cycle. So when you defend him, I get it. You have to. He is your man, and you ride for him as to be expected of any good wife. Ride or die.

But ask yourself…

Would he ride for you?

I’ll end this by saying, sis, love you first. Find you. Explore who and what you are. What is your purpose in life?

I pray that you find the happiness in life that everyone longs for. I pray your marriage lasts without further abuse. I pray that if the abuse continues, you find the strength to leave. I pray you become a survivor. I pray for your strength, life, and health.

Be strong. Hold your head. Know that some of us understand.

Sincerely,

Angenita

Transparent by Angenita Williams

stock-photo-clear-forest-in-glasses-on-the-background-of-blurred-forest-164665187I feel like I need to be extremely transparent right now….

About a week, well maybe not even a week ago, I was on Facebook (of course) and a woman posted a status in Relationship Soup (www.relationshipsoup.com) about where the notion of women “not needing a man” came from. Of course, I responded, and there was a really good and intense conversation about the subject. Men and women had a lot to say, and both had valid points. But, it was the originator’s comment that stuck out to me…

…I understand the joy, happiness, and peace that a man could bring to me…

I pondered that for quite a while, and it hit me…I have no clue what that feels like…I have no clue what that even looks like…and tears welled in my eyes…as if I have missed something altogether…or lost that opportunity to ever know what it feels like…and when the realization hit me…my spirit wanted to feel it…

From the start, I haven’t experienced those feelings from a man. Sure, there were some good times, fun times, love times…but overall joy? Overall happiness? Overall peace? No. And that is so sad to me…to not feel the security of a man, but his disconnect with me. Not to feel the happiness or joy of his presence, only heartache and disappointment. To know how I just wished he could get his shit together so that we could be happy…but never having it come…consistent worry about infidelity…never really knowing that I didn’t have to put up with it and not truly understanding the diamond I truly was…and how I did deserve so much better…

I wondered…was it me? Did I block it by focusing on the wrong thing, or was a hint of it even there? Was I so blinded by wanting love that I moved towards the fantasy of it and lived the nightmare from my own insecurities?

Just how deep does it go?

When I read that, and simmered on it, I decided…I want to know…I want to experience that…so I end this by saying…that all the years of me saying I don’t need a man are being thrown out the window…I realize I do need him…to show me the other side of joy, happiness…and most of all…the peace of what a companion could bring to me…I don’t have to go at life alone as I conditioned myself to believe…

But…he who findeth a wife findeth a good thing…so I’m not gonna search…I will let him find me…and in the meantime, I’ll continue to work on me, get me in order, reach higher, dream bigger, and complete my goals so I can be ready to receive everything he has to offer…

Well Done, Maya by Angenita Williams

She rose from the depths
Of what society said
She should be
Tall, black, woman

Silenced
For years
After her words killed
A violator

But still, she rose

Her stature captured nations
Civility unmatched
Humble beyond measure
Loving spirit

Wisdom…
A teacher
A motivator
A Queen

And still…

Clouds produce storms
Rainbows are the products of storms
And clouds
They happen when the sunlight reflects moisture 

In the air
At just the right time
And angle
Nature’s splendor 

And still…

Her quotes…
Made you say…
Where did she get THAT?
How was that obtained? 

And her works
Will guide
On exactly where it was
Revealed 

And Still… 

Her voice…unmistakable
Her spirit…full
Her life…of purpose
Her legacy…everlasting
Her honor…noble
Her being…marvelous

Simple, awesome…love

When I wrote the blog last October, Clouds and Rainbows, I knew that Maya Angelou was ill. She was still boisterous, funny, and full of wisdom, but her body was frail. The shell that housed her was getting weak. But in her strength…she didn’t let it be known…

The strength of this woman is unlike many I have seen. By rights, a teen mother should not be this successful and full of life. She shouldn’t have all these experiences. She should grow to be a welfare mother with a house full of children with no daddies. Stigmatized. Alienated.

But through love and guidance, THIS, teen mothers, abused women, lost and lonely girls…THIS…is what you CAN be. Life can toss you so many things, and people can give you so many excuses as to why they can’t do something. But the LIFE of Maya Angelou dispels everything that anyone can say to you to impact you negatively. Her statuesque life. Her larger than life personality. Her…spirit motivated you to want to move. A simple reading of any of her works will get you up and out your seat.

God called her home on May 28, 2014. His purpose for her shell is done.

Rest in Peace, Dr. Maya Angelou. I’m sure you have already heard this by a bigger voice than mine, but, job well done. JOB WELL DONE …

Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it…

~Maya Angelou

Motherhood Reflection by Delina Hill-Brooker

2390728_1212077

 

It seems like just yesterday I was this scared teen, afraid to tell my mother that I was pregnant. I had gotten caught up, so fast, so easy, ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Well it did. The scariest thing that I could have imagined at that time happened to me. It was rough being pregnant an still in high school, the looks adults and even my peers gave me like I was some lost, wet, shivering puppy dog stranded on the side of the road. Their silence was loud, and the few words that they did speak went in one ear and out the other.

It took some time, but I decided before I actually delivered that I would not be a victim of the system, or a statistic. The more that I thought about it, I realized that this “situational dilemma” was actually, a beautiful gift from God. I decided then and there that not only I would survive, but WE would survive and come out on top. From that day forward I started making plans of how I would still graduate on time, and make a better life for us. I took my job seriously, I had to keep him protected, love him, as well as, show and teach him a better way. I literally poured all of me, and some into him. While I was on maternity leave I did home school, and would go to school with my baby to take my tests. Anytime I would get discouraged or unsure of myself my mother, my mother-in-love and the other mothers in our village would simply say, “You’re gonna be alright! You’ll look back on this one day and look back on this one day and you’ll laugh at the worry you feel right now.” For the life of me, I couldn’t see how that could be. Especially after I was hit with another blow of my fiancé (my sons father) passing prematurely.

Eighteen years later, after I decided to grow up quickly, I’m looking back and laughing at all of the worries that I had then. All of the love, nurturing, perseverance, hard work, bumps, bruises and help from our villagers paid off. My “baby” boy is graduating high school and has been accepted to BOTH schools of his choice!

 
He’s so very talented, funny, smart , hardworking, an excellent role model for his younger siblings and to top it off, he’s handsome too. He’s a perfect mixture of me, his biological father and my husband. He has been a joy to raise, and a perfect gift from God. He’s exactly what I needed.

I just want to thank everyone in our village, there are too many to list, and you know who you are. We love and appreciate you. Thank you for all of the love, encouragement, well wishes, babysitting, teaching, spankings, support (emotional and financial), tough love, words of wisdom, protection and guidance. We wouldn’t be where we are without you. It is true what they say, it takes a village to raise a child!

Inclusive American History by Venessa Bowers MSW, LCSW

black history month

Every February we take a few moments to reflect on Black History. After all, this is the only time of the year that we have to really think about the historical contributions of African Americans to this nation. It’s sort of like the issue of paying attention to people who are homeless in the winter, because, well it’s cold. But here’s the thing – why do we only pay attention on designated times of caring. Do we really need only a month to think about Black History?

I think it is tragic that a month must be called out for people to stop and think about the contributions of African Americans to our national story. Because, let’s face it we couldn’t have American History without the contributions of African Americans. It simply could not happen and here’s why:

According to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s amazing documentary, The African Americans: Many River’s to Cross, hundreds of years of free, forced labor, the multitudes of nameless, faceless, people who died building this country deserve so much more than the cursory, perfunctory nod of the head in February. They built the country on their backs and they each one, had a story to tell, a contribution made, a family, a dream, and a wish. What they get is a month each year for us to say “oh yeah…black folks did do some cool things.”
You see, our collective history is about so much more than a few famous people that we dust off and trot out each year. We all know that Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Fredrick Douglas were amazing people. These are the names we know. We forget that amazing people are contributing right now to our collective well-being. Each and every day, right outside our front doors folks are fighting, thinking, striving, dreaming for a better tomorrow for themselves, their children, your children, for the WE in us.

Isn’t it time that we vigilantly include African American history into our collectively-woven world-view? I can’t imagine having a “white history” month, because well, white history is the only history we recognize as unmarked – it is everywhere, all the time. It is also fundamentally untrue. History has always been written by the victors, the conquerors, the powerful. And because of this, by its very nature, because of who writes it, it is a deliberate lie. It is a lie steeped in generational guilt for atrocities committed against “the other.” It is a lie to cover the shame of people failing to intervene and protect people unlike them. It is a lie to protect us from the cold truth that this country, in all its splendor, was built with murder, hatred, violence, and marginalization. It’s a lie that is convenient because it does not challenge us. It’s a lie we all participate in until we decide we no longer will. We stop participating in the lie when we understand the toll our souls take for our silence.

It’s time to shift our thinking toward inclusivity and our actions toward collaboration. Because let’s face, white history, when it comes to African Americans, is morally and factually in question. Mix it up with the history of all people living in this part of the world, and it gets interesting and closer to the truth. Mix it up globally, and it’s fascinating and profound.

I’m ready to be fascinated. How about you?

Bright Blessings

%d bloggers like this: