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  • Writer's pictureAbiodun Oyewole

The State of Black America

In the absence of a movement the circus comes to town.

Back in the sixties, Black lives centered around movements. We went from the civil rights movement to the Black power movement. There was a vibrancy and a cultural explosion that gave us guidelines and values that many of us still recognize today. When the concept of "Black Lives Matter" came on the scene, I felt it was a feeble attempt at trying to start a movement. With all that had transpired since the Emancipation Proclamation, I felt it was a step backwards. Black lives matter is a given. Black lives have always mattered from the very beginning of this New World experience.

The free labor we provided for four hundred years, the humanity and compassion Blacks have exemplified, the creative genius that Blacks continue to put on display, the strength and energy Blacks consistently exhibit in spite of the racial barriers put before us proves not only that Black lives have always mattered, but without Black people, America would not have become one of the world’s most powerful nations today. Blacks in America have provided a blueprint for oppressed people all over the world. Blacks have found a way to achieve no matter how high the odds are stacked against us. Too many people have died trying to make changes for us to suddenly say Black Lives Matter. Each life matters and each death matters whether it was on the slaveships during the Middle Passage or a hanging in Mississippi.

Every now and then we might get a glimpse of a positive change. Having Barack Obama in the White House for eight years was one of them. Black folks lives didn’t change, but there was a bit of emotional satisfaction knowing that he and his family were in the White House. But racism remains the biggest wall Blacks have to hurdle. Even during Obama’s term there were vicious racial attacks against Blacks in America. I sincerely believe racism is an incurable disease.

And then Donald Trump wiggled his way into the White House when he played the race card with his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Black folks understood immediately what he was really saying was “Make America White Again.” Some white folks took issue with Obama being President of the United States simply because he was a Black man. Out of desperation the powers that be decided to put a cheap con-artist businessman in the Oval Office running on a ticket of white supremacy.

It was very interesting to me that the same week Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president, Barnum and Bailey Circus shut down after a hundred and fifty years. I think it was clear America is not big enough for two major circuses. The orange clown and his cohorts have created a circus that would truly be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. During the Trump administration, more lives have been loss to gun violence, racism has reared its ugly head and now the latest population control act, the Corona virus.

Over seventy-five thousand people have died because of this evil virus. America has a history of viruses, starting with small pox which wiped out thousands of Native Americans. So here in 2020, the entire country is practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Theaters, schools, churches, arenas, restaurants and any other place where people would gather have been shut down. People are instructed to stay home. This is a first .  Nothing has ever had such a devastating  affect on American life like this before.

Millions of people have lost their jobs and many are on food lines. This looks like the fall of an empire.

Ahmaud Arbery

In the midst of this catastrophe a young Black man in the state of Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed by two white men who thought he was a robber. The young man was simply jogging. The incident took place two months before the suspects were arrested. The arrest came only after a video of the incident was made public.  Despite what many wanted to think that after having a Black President, we are now living in a post-racial period. Obviously this is not true.  The killing, abusement and hatred towards Black people is stronger now than it’s ever been.  

I think racism is fueled by jealousy and deep insecurities. Unfortunately, there are more people in America who feel this way than I realized.  Yet, with all that has happened in recent years, I still have faith in humanity .Yes, there are many people who have the racist germ in them. My hope is that one day we’ll come to realize there is only one race and it’s the human race. To be loved respected and appreciated should be everyone’s goal.  That is not the case right now. There is still a lot of work to be done.

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