I had the privilege of visiting the White House today and of course, I HAD to take this picture (even though my arms were crossed the wrong way LOL).
…and as I walked around this beautiful symbol of our America, I looked at all of the beautiful artifacts, the furniture and dinner service, the sculptures, the paintings that speak to the hundreds of years of history in those hallowed halls…
…none of it looked like me. In a palace built largely by the labor of Black slaves, where the leader of our country (and the free world…who happens to be a Black man…for the next few months at least) lives…none of it reflected the historical contributions of people of color…none of it speaks to the sacrifices made by people who look like me for the liberties we enjoy in this country.
The ugly reality is that when the foundations of this country were built, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, LGBTQ’s, even women and several others weren’t considered respective to the power structures in America. Now ALL those groups have made HUGE strides…people have been moving up in business, government and all kinds of other endeavors, but foundationally, it wasn’t for us. Blacks in particular were merely property that provided labor and Native Americans were exterminated for the sake of having most of the land we stand on.
That accounts for much of the disenfranchisement and marginalization folks experience, but more than anything, it doesn’t lead to there being as sense of their humanity on the same level as those whom this country was created for. When the “founding fathers” encapsulated who got rights and what those rights looked like, their foresight didn’t stretch to what the US looks like in 2016 and people not like them weren’t considered FULLY human in the same manner as they saw themselves.
That legacy is the soil in which the Tree of America was planted, and the treatment of people of color…where we’ve seen them murdered in cold blood by people with badges of “authority”, is fruit of that same tree.
So what next? Well…we must realize that there is no SINGULAR solution and that people other than white land-owners have only had rights (voting, for example) for a fraction of our country’s existence. Advances in business, wealth-building, commerce, and the ability those create to advance and infiltrate the political power structures in this country will help. Our churches, community organizations, etc. must be more intentional about raising up the next generation to aid in their contributing to society in ways that make change. I can go on and on but I could never provide an exhaustive list…we all have been given something to contribute. 1 Peter 4:10 says: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another…”
NOBODY can do everything, but we all MUST do what we’re created to and thus able to do.
Tupac once said: “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” May we all endeavor to do the same. I’m not sure how long the history of this country will be, but I believe that with each passing day, we have an opportunity to positively affect its very fiber along with inspiring and equipping others to do the same.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Well I’m not convinced those truths are seen to be evident in this country, but truth’s existence doesn’t rest on validation…and along with that truth comes a God-given ability and obligation to contribute your ingredients to this meal from which we all receive nourishment.
I’m angry and in pain like many of you, let’s encourage and love one another and help focus those feelings to action in our respective spheres of influence.