Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guest Post: Would our generation stand and deliver?

Next up for Black History Month is OneChele from Black & Bougie. Don't be suprised that I know people from the bourgeois set!! OneChele is an author, entrepreneur and internet radio talk show host. If there is a hustle to be found, she is working the Hell out of it. I will warn you though. If you stay around her too long, your inner bougie will come out. Without further ado - OneChele.

We are smack in the middle of Black History Month. It’s a month where I go out of my way to find interesting articles, books, TV shows and movies to re-educate myself on how I got here. You see, I recognize that I did not arrive here on my own or by my parents’ efforts alone. I am a free black woman with house, car and credit rating because people came before me, my parents, their parents and their parents’ parents made sacrifices, pushed for change, stood up, walked miles, shed tears, spilled blood, prayed and fought tooth and nail to get me here. Working in fields, sitting in the back of busses, being spit on, mopping floors, cleaning toilets on the other side of town, called all out our names, marching in rain (sleet, slow), being willing to catch a case (or a bullet) for the cause… is this someone “our” generation is willing to do?

Our generation is pampered, protected and pretentious. Slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, even the Sexual Revolution are a little before our time. We can bear witness to the history and appreciate the end results but let’s face it: We are a media-centric group. We are well-versed in talking the talk and spreading the news but would we (could we) walk the walk? We (people of color) united for the election of President Obama but in less than one year’s time we have fallen back into finger-pointing and partitioning as if the dream has been realized and there’s nothing left but the post-game commentary. It’s almost as if we are passengers in the “post-racism” car and we are looking at the driver saying, “Are we there yet?”

I can’t imagine that this society where words are twisted, talent is more concept than reality and people are famous for no good reason at all is the imagined realization of all the blood, sweat and tears of those who came before us. The dreams of our forefathers are not realized until each and every person of color is fed, clothed, secure and educated (if they so choose), until “no child left behind” is more than a catchy t-shirt slogan and our young people quit killing each other in the street over stupidity. That’s quite a list of goals. Just typing it lets me know how far we still have to go. As far as we’ve come, there are still miles to go before we sleep… and no unified effort to get us there. We are a little bit adrift of black leadership a la Malcolm or Martin right now. Years of infighting and skepticism have us divided over what the next step should be let alone who should lead us there. I believe it’s going to come down to what President Obama said while on the campaign trail, “The change you seek begins with you.”

Admittedly, I’m a checkbook activist. The role that I play is armchair quarterback and cheerleader. When I see an injustice, I write about it, pass the word and find out where to send a check. I’ve been contemplating joining a mentoring program for a while but haven’t quite pulled the trigger. Spending time in the blogosphere and around social media allows me to witness a lot of “virtual activists”. I see a lot of people railing at the system and pointing out inequities. It’s a rare few who are actually up, out and doing something about it. So I wonder, if it was up to us… our generation… to answer the call to advance equality and freedoms for the race… do we have it in us to do?

I’d like to think yes when push came to shove and shove came to the young, black blogosphere we would rise up to do what needed to be done… I still think we can overcome… unless someone offers us a reality show on VH1, a really amusing awards show is on, or gmail goes down. Then the revolution would have to wait. Because we do have our priorities.


DatDudeinCali said...

I can always count on Chele to speak true. Long and short - no, this generation will not be rising up for the greater good. We are in a get-money, get-yo-own society unfortunately. Maybe the entitled generation behind us will be the ones to save the world. We are too busy tweeting and bitchin' and whining.

Unknown said...

You mean would we march and riot and get hosed? Heckie naw. We might a neighorhood a flame and do a protest rap song though... LOL

BeBe said...

I don't know - I think we might surprise ourselves. If there was a major race issue (not involving Tiger Woods) that we needed to rally behind, we just might pull it off.

Unknown said...

Man, listen- we ain't on that save the world ish. It's hard enough saving ourselves.

DrPeppa said...

Chele - you can better believe that if this generations freedom's were threatened enough of us are gonna make that change.

Kiki said...

LOL at checkbook activist. I guess I'm one too, I will throw money at a problem in a heartbeat

Citizen Ojo said...

DatDudeinCali - Thanks for stopping by. I don't think we can count on the ones behind us. They are dazed and confused. Call me jaded but I don't have that much hope in them.

Violet - Thanks for stopping by. If the rap protest song is going to be close to the new "We are the World" then lets not do it and say we did.

BeBe- Thanks for stopping by. Another person that we can take off the I love Tiger Woods List. That thing gets shorter every week.

Riley - Thanks for stopping by. Now there is some truth to that. It's hard to be Superman with a tear in your cape.

DrPeppa - Thanks for stopping by. What a hopeful person you are. We need more people like you because the rest of us are too cynical.

Kiki - Thanks for stopping by. I think checkbook activism is easy to do. You feel good and you don't have to even leave the comfort of your home. You still get kudos for being down for the cause right???

BeBe said...

@Ojo - very diplomatically done. Chele speaks highly of you. I like your style

Liselle said...

Cool post. Nice blog, diverse style. If the "revolution" kicks off tomorrow, I'm on the first flight to Jamaica. But good luck with that

Citizen Ojo said...

BeBe - Thank you. I take that as an honor. She doesn't give out kudos to just anyone.

OneChele - 3 more years of a Black President. Either get your passport or a baseball bat. Between Tea Baggers, Birthers and Groups that Hate Black Folks (too many to name) Somethings going to go down.

Liselle - Thanks for stopping by. Just in case things go down bad here save a spot for me on the island.

uglyblackjohn said...

Many of today's youth were not taught to fight - only to consume.
Most would get whooped by The Man the same way that fool on the bus got stomped by Santa.
For many - it just wasn't part of their upbringing.

Tiffany said...

I have been trying to tell that to people who think we have made it because we have a black president. I say, "do you hear squealing because there must be a pig flying through the sky." Folks think a magic wand was waved and we are all good. No, I haven't seen a line of people in the street singing kum-bay-ya, so there is lots more and I mean lots more work to be done. it may take a 10th or 11th black president to see a dent in anything.


Citizen Ojo said...

UglyBlackJohn - Once Black Folks started getting the same rights as Whites they started taking things for granted. The Black Politicians were sent to Wash to help but they became corupt. The Black Businessmen and women were suppose to take what they learned in corporate to teach us. They became corupt too. It then passed down to the kids.

Redbonegirl97 - I truly believe that if alot of black folks knew we would be where we are right now in Obama's presidency, they would have stayed home in 2008. Some blacks voted because they thought he was going to turn things around with the "Black Situation." They should have taken civics in high school....

uglyblackjohn said...

Wealth (and in this case "Freedom") is broken down into three generations.
G1 - recognizes a problem and works to teach their young how to fix it.
G2 - Solves the problems and creates wealth ("Freedom") for themselves.
G3 - Spends the wealth ("Freedom") which was earned by their parents.
This generation is just part of a larger cycle.

Citizen Ojo said...

uglyblackjohn - Thanks for breaking it down. That's what we like about ya!!!

the uppity Negro said...

I think it's a different fight nowadays.

That which needs to be addressed is not the same that needed to be addressed in the Civil Rights era. We don't need marches in the same way that our parents and grandparents needed marches--the racism that we face today is much more institutionalized racism. And by using the word racism, I'm speaking more to a frame of mind rather than the outright bigotry and prejudices that many face in the civil rights era and the small slights that some of us may encounter now. So now we're fighting the racism of an "invisible institution" that practices red-lining with residential districts, gerrymandering after census numbers are released, or the laws that have unfair sentencing for crack versus cocaine (although I still believe in the idea to tell the mofos to stop doing crack and the damn law won't be your problem, but that's another issue.)

As we see the Ann Coulters, Sarah Palins, Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks et. al. dominate the media, I think the African American community needs to realize we're fighting a war of consciousness: we need to be aware of what's informing our consciousness. Where do we get our news from? Are they a trusted source, do we subscribe to their values? What churches do we attend versus what ministers do we listen to on television--all of which inform our consciousness--the same consciousness that would mitigate our response to "standing and delivering" if need be.

I don't know if we will ever need to "stand and deliver" en masse because blacks don't share the same concerns in quite the same way, various segments of this diaspora have similar issues, but my issues as a black living in Atlanta are not the same issues for a fellow black person living in let's say rural Georgia down south, some similarities, but also many differences. 40 years ago, we would have very much been in the same boat with regards to certain civil liberties and rights.

Maybe the revolution is taking place and we just don't know it--it's most certainly televised, just turn on BET.

Citizen Ojo said...

The Uppity Negro - very astute observations. I do believe because we are not a monolithic race our issues are different. So yes what a black person in hood needs might be different from what a black in a wealthy subdivision needs. That makes the message discombobulated when it's time to team up.