Hope everyone is having a great Superbowl Sunday, don't eat too much!
Well, here we are, beginning our celebration of Black History Month. We acknowledge the men and women whose courage, strength, knowledge, and contributions make America a better place.
But I find myself with one question. How did we get here? The reason I ask was prompted by a movie scene. For those of you who have not seen "The Help", it is the story of a girl who, along with the maids who work for people she knows, write a book about the horrible treatment they endure in pre-civil rights era Mississippi. When the two maids who are the major contributors to the book arrive for church one Sunday, they are greeted with a standing ovation from their fellow parishioners.
My first thought was, how did the idea of demanding equality and dignity for fellow human beings become so perverted and twisted into feelings of entitlement, resentment, and often an attitude of superiority that seems to be the modern definition of "civil rights?
Did it start with men like Malcolm X, who, in their frustration felt that violence was their only recourse? Did it start with the separatist, supremacist rantings of men like Louis Farrakhan? Did it start with men like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who seem to have discovered early on that if you kept people feeling victimized long enough you could turn it into a lifelong career opportunity? How did we get here?
Why is it that very often when inner city kids dream of a college education they are taunted by their friends for "acting white"? Why are Black Conservatives, who dare to think for themselves, to look beyond what "Black Leaders" tell them to think about an idea, an issue, or a candidate called vile names like "Uncle Tom", "sell-out", or "Oreo"? How did we get here?
I want an answer to these questions. But I don't know where to find it. Thankfully, in 2012, the American dream is open to all who are willing to work hard, and play by the rules. America has come such a long way from those ugly days not so very long ago. America elected her first Black President in 2008, and once again, proved to the world that we are not just a place, but an idea. A vision. I don't think that Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan would have agreed on much politically, but just maybe, they would have agreed on the notion that America is that "shining city on a hill", with her best days yet to come. No American should ever be exempt from life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is not a political idea, it is a human idea.