Sunday, April 5, 2009
Can we Black people get a grip? I know this will not be popular among many of my fellow African-Americans, but I'm not motivated to be popular; I'm motivated to speak the truth! What is it with Black people who cry racism every time someone doesn't do what they want? Why do we accept the victim role so readily? When will we deal with issues as issues and stop reducing everything to a matter of race? Don't get it twisted; I know racism exists, but if we constantly call everything racism to fit our own agenda, who will take us seriously when there's a real situation of racial bias that needs to be dealt with? You ever read The Boy who Cried Wolf?
Sarah Palin is not a racist! Yet Jazz musician, Gregory Charles Royal, has recently filed a federal lawsuit against her. She's accused of violating the law by failing to issue the 2007 Juneteenth Proclamation as set forth by the Alaskan Legislature. Juneteenth is the celebration of the enforcing of emancipation in Texas on June 19, 1865. As of 2008, 29 U.S. states recognize Juneteenth either as a state holiday or state holiday observance. Alaska is one of those states. Nearly 2 years ago, Governor Sarah Palin did not issue a proclamation observing the day. A big deal? Well yes, in the sense that a governor's office must keep up with all its obligations and responsibilities. Sarah Palin admitted that this was "a clerical oversight." But for this she gets called a racist?! This is what we've done to the issue of race. Are you telling me that failure to issue a proclamation gets the same rise out of Blacks as slavery, Jim Crow laws, and lynching? You've got be to be kidding me! Now look, the law states the proclamation should have been issued, but is this worthy of a federal suit? Not unless you have an axe to grind and an agenda to advance.
The saddest part of this, though, is not the horrific, unfair allegations against Sarah Palin, what it says about her. On the contrary, the saddest part of this is what it says about Black people, my own people. And that is this: After all these years since slavery, after all these years since the assassination of Dr. King (41 years ago April 4th), after voting rights, and desegregation, even after electing the first Black president, Black people are still begging other people, "See us; acknowledge us; like us." Haven't we figured out who we are by now? Don't we know that we don't need the proclamation by the Governor of Alaska about something that took place in Texas almost 150 years ago? Her proclamation doesn't make us any more free. Her forgetting to issue it doesn't make us any less free, and isn't this the point? Why can't we celebrate that freedom on our own? Why don't we get it? Why can't the main thing be the main thing?
I have always said--and wholeheartedly believe--that the tragedy of slavery is not what other people believed about us. No, the tragedy of slavery is what it caused us to believe about ourselves. We have yet to shake that victim mentality. The result? God help anyone who gets in our way, looks at us funny, and fails to issue a proclamation. The result? Bogus lawsuits like this one. We are so quick to brand people racists out of fear that we are being taken advantage of and not being acknowledged--always looking for someone else to validate us and tell us we matter, but someone once said, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." And it's true...many of us just don't believe it. If we did, this type of lawsuit would never exist.