How we collectively got here is one of the most fascinating questions I ask myself. It's stimulating on so many levels. From the thought process of a nation, to the outliers that choose to think against the stream. You can't always* be sure of what exact occurrence caused history to shift from a desired outcome. News articles and books written during a specific time can provide context. There's even a perspective within the music. For example recently I made a playlist of various intros I'm a huge fan of. Link(IntroHaven)I needed to go through a plethora of albums to trigger my memory. Doing so I'm reminded of many classic songs. Such as Why by Jadakiss. For 4 minutes he finds himself asking why to many personal and worldly events. This song will mentally take you back to 2004. One line that stands out to me considering how much news prison reform has gotten lately, "Why they stop letting n*****s get degrees in jail". You can take that where you want because today I'm going to stay on task. How far have have we gotten after being freed. When I see low income families specifically black. I think of what it takes to move up to be a rung higher than your parents.
I hope to address what I believe to be a focal point in the history of African Americans whilst unveiling an unofficial rulebook that is followed generation after generation. You must set your mark beyond reach otherwise complacency will breed complacency. Where did newly freed slaves set their mark? Rightfully so the moon. After the American Civil War the Freedmen's Bureau was created with the intention to aide newly freed slaves during reconstruction though the task grew overwhelmingly complicated. Considering the vast amounts of freed men, women, children and unwavering stigma attached to PoC. Resources grew slim and America began shifting its focus after feeling that they have done enough. Urbanization and acquiring vast amounts of wealth occupied the agenda.
Booker T. Washington
After the failure of the Freedmen's Bureau hope wasn't destroyed simply lost. It showed it's face with the rise of Booker T Washington. Accompanied by a 3 point plan for Negro survival in America. They were 1. African Americans would submit to the political rule of the whites 2. They won't speak boisterously of inequality and it's implications 3. education would be funded by the north and focus on Common schooling and industrialization. These 3 points essentially made up the Atlanta Compromise.
W.E.B Du Bois
Another notable figure during the civil rights movement. Who initially supported Booker T. Washington and the Atlanta Compromise. Though after deep thought decided to oppose it for various reasons. The main reason for Du Bois' opposition is a condition these 3 points create.
The Triple Paradox
Du Bois describes the condition as such because this compromise settles an immediate issue of unrest for people to live in the times. Though in regard to longevity it lacks Black ascension.
First you submit to a justice system that promised to be fair but how could it possibly be.
At the time Courts were ruling favorably for whites. Which isn't news though the Freedmen's Bureau before failure attempted to right those wrongs by holding white people accountable for their crimes. These courts could not work because of the racial bias. The US Court system would consistently find black men guilty and the Freedmen's Bureau was where they went to find vindication.
Paradox 1 - Handing the the political responsibility of people that had to decide maybe we shouldn't have slaves.
Second you accept your social status in America. There are many unfortunate situations though clamoring about the lack of equality will not bring indemnity. Now let's keep in mind the north had to fight to free the slaves.
Paradox 2 - Acceptance of third (I know right, not even second) class citizenry.
Third and most importantly aspirations to be well educated. Booker T. Washington recommended that you focus on common schooling and garner skills that could be put to immediate use. The invention of the cotton gin and various machines pushed industrialization. There would be an influx of jobs. Focusing on common schools and trade skills money was reallocated from schools of higher education.
Paradox 3 - If there are less means to obtaining higher education. How will Men and Women ever see themselves truly refined.
"Is it possible, and probable, that nine millions of men can make effective progress in economic lines if they are deprived of political rights, made a servile caste, and allowed only a meagre chance for developing their exceptional men?" - Du Bois
I watch now as the dire need of political leaders to bring awareness to issues plaguing PoC is more evident. As we pray, tweet and riot to be accepted within society. For the lives of our youth wrongfully slain to be considered of value. Those that have committed said crimes to be held accountable. As the heads of the most prestigious HBCUs meet with Trump in hopes to obtain more funding. To be able to support more students.
This condition was created long ago and maintained by the man made negative correlation of skin complexion and ability.
How do we disconnect?
If you want to change the future you change the youth. Yet we live in a society that blames the youth. Constant articles about Millennials and their lack of (insert good trait here). I can't wait to see what they blame gen-Z for.
Frank Martin, the coach of the Kansas Jayhawks recently said a quote that went viral. "Kids haven't changed, We changed."
He elaborates on the fact kids know nothing and learn as they go. What are we holding them accountable for ? Are we arming them with the necessary knowledge, skills and habits.
I think black people as a whole need to redefine success. As much as we claim to have changed the definition of the word nigga. Why can't we alter how intelligence is viewed or the importance of sub communities that make up cities instead of beefing with people across town. With the mix of cultures I think now more than ever adults need to inspire kids to build within their communities. We need more mentors and stories of black success to create successors. As well as elevate their youthful desires. I've seen countless men and women have their potential stunted by distraction.
In order to truly change the youth and disconnect from the triple paradox we must hold ourselves to the example we hope to see them rise above. We don't leave it to kids to be a rung higher than their parents. We show them how the ladder was made.
We mustn't adapt after submission. We must never submit. So I leave you with a poem...
"They broke your great grandpa black boy
They freed his body and told him he couldn't vote
They broke your grandpa black boy
They gave him the ballot but kept his civil liberties on a rope
They broke your father black boy
They set a trap right outside his home
And when you awoke you were all alone
Black boy will they break you?"
Where like minds disagree and punctuation is overlooked