Although the journey of 1619 from Africa to the United States was involuntary, the once enslaved African developed a personal attachment to the land of the free. As our ancestors fought and died as patriots with White Americans to liberate this country from the British, they were simultaneously fighting those same White Americans for the freedoms they themselves desired here in this country.
Are we so used to the struggle that we don’t know how to walk away from an abusive relationship?
From the Underground Railroad to the Thirteenth Amendment, from our own Black Wall Street in Oklahoma to the Civil Rights movement, African Americans have continued to grasp at the idealism of freedom and equality in America. Although the movement towards equality over the last 150 years has been long and arduous (two steps forward and one step back), the fortitude of the Afro-American has empowered us to continue the political and social struggle for freedom.
It was the Black American fight for freedom and equality that two-stepped us right into the Oval Office. The sense of pride we felt with the election of President Obama was accompanied by a feeling of accomplishment. We shall overcome…began to look as if we were overcoming. Despite the continued rise in mass incarceration and the relentless killing of innocent blacks by law enforcement, there still seemed to be that ever present sense of hope. Until…
The election of Donald Trump has caused many Black Americans to accept, maybe once and for all, the true sentiments of America. The country, that appeared to be progressing in the acceptance of the ideals and beliefs of all its citizens, once again brandishes its fiery sword of hatred. The rhetoric that spewed from the lips of Trump, during his campaign, seemed to merely be a reminder to us that ignorance still existed among a selected group of Americans. Although it is difficult for Black Americans to feel completely assured that America will protect our rights (due to our historical experiences with white hate) many remained optimistic that our country would not want a man with the pretentiousness of Donald Trump in office.
That bubble of optimism was bitterly deflated on November 8, 2016. The next morning the celebration of the Republican Party and the joyful sounds of merriment from white nationalist were drowned out by the dejected discussions of the Democratic Party. Yet, the resilient Black American woke up with the mindset of back to business as usual. This is only another setback we must endure and the on-going efforts to achieve freedom and equality will not cease. However, this time the conversation includes an alternate approach to liberty. Is it possible that the labor of our antecessors was not solely for the right to be treated equal here in America, but also, the right to move freely as a nation or individually throughout the world; to one day completely liberate ourselves from the clenching pain of being treated like second class citizens? Is it time for Blacks to leave America? Many will argue that this is our home and our ancestors fought for our rights to such claim.
We pay taxes and our contributions to America are so vast that not only are we entitled to be here, but we are an intricate part of the fabric that makes America great. Still, the color of our skin gives a police officer the justification to shoot and kill us with no remorse and often not more penalty than a slap on the wrist. Even so, many would rebut that we are used to the struggle. Blacks have always had to deal with the oppression of the man. But, are we so used to the struggle that we don’t know how to walk away from an abusive relationship? When slavery was abolished, freed African Americans feared venturing away from the plantation. Where would they go? They were free but still depended on their masters for food and shelter.
So, many remained on the plantation working in the fields as they did before, continuing to deal with the mistreatment because they didn’t know anything else. Is it time to once again leave Massa’s plantation? Can the notion of equality that Blacks long for be across the Atlantic? Can the freedoms we continue to march for be found beyond the Pacific? Is it possible that south of the equator we can live in a place where we feel equal not because of our education or the size of our bank accounts? Can home be any place where the many hues of our blackness is not seen through the eyes of fear, but revered with humanity? Blacks are fast approaching the 2019 landmark of 400 years in the United States. With the evolution from African to African American, then Afro-American to Black Americans and now to just Blacks, is it possible that we are also ready to detach America from our concept of freedom and equality?