We often tell ourselves, it’s ok to be selfish. Participate in self-care. Take care of your family and don’t worry about what other people are doing or saying.
This all is perfectly acceptable until we start talking about Black issues. Welp, let me give you the ok, “It’s time to be selfish.”
One of the reasons I love being black, and there are many, is the fact that we are truly one of the most loving cultures I know. We can find humor in almost anything which often shortens our longevity of any negative emotions.
We are an oppressed culture so we can empathize when seeing other groups that we believe are being oppressed as well. It’s part of our love language, we understand people because we want to be understood. That is all well-intentioned and beautiful but too much empathy in others’ plights can sometimes present itself as complacency in our own issues. Bothered yet?
Let’s break this down…
We have been in this same fight for basic civil rights and acknowledgement since the beginning of our time on Indigenous People soil.
For many years, we didn’t have the rights of a dog let alone an actual human being. We were made to breastfeed our “master’s” children, tend to fields, cook, build and more with ZERO pay and subpar living conditions and now over 400 years later with our “granted” freedom; our white counterparts make 10 times as much as us. (Examining the Black-White Wealth Gap). That seems fair.
We need to focus on how we can close the wealth gap in the country which presents itself not only in our actual income but our ability to obtain housing, open & sustain businesses, maintain a nice lifestyle, provide quality education to ourselves and our children and have adequate healthcare. See without money, very little is possible. YES, I’M SAYING WE NEED TO FOCUS ON REPARATIONS!
Yes, let me say it again: WE NEED REPARATIONS. By we, I am speaking specifically to the descendants of Black American Slaves as we are the ones directly impacted. The question I get often when I discuss reparations is: “Why should money be awarded to a group of people who weren’t actually slaves?” I’m so happy you asked. When ALL of the slaves were finally “free” in July of 1865, they gained freedom with absolutely nothing. There was no family farm, a job waiting, a family home they could go live in. They literally had to start. Not start over, START. See they had never OWNED anything.
When we speak of other groups of people from the Jewish people, Japanese Americans and the Indigenous People of this country (formerly known as Native Americans by our culture); they all received some sort of reparations. Don’t believe me? Go search and read for yourself. Yes, (for the sake of this blog I will refer to the Indigenous People as Native Americans, understanding full well the negative stigma that is associated with that terminology; it’s not meant to be disrespectful but to help the lay person understand.) Yes, Native American tribes do own many casinos across this country which provides economic relief to their communities through healthcare, education, housing and more.
The claim for many years as to why reparations shouldn’t and couldn’t work for Black slavery is because there are no living victims (yes I am intentional in using the word victim), this has been used for defending why Jewish reparations were given but as we can see in Native American culture, the fight for reparations creates generational wealth and opportunity for generations to come.
So, while you may think that the idea of reparations is farfetched and while we scream and use our voices for the justice for other people, we TOO are deserving of financial restitution to the atrocities our ancestors faced and that we are still dealing with today.
Sis, we aren’t still slaves…
Aht, Aht, Aht. Maybe not in the same sense as what we saw over 400 years ago with chains, out houses and lynching (oh wait, lynching is still happening in this country) believe you me, though, we are still a VERY oppressed people. Dealing with systemic racism in every corner of our lives, we have been marginalized as a people while lending our voices to issues such as feminism (women’s rights), LGBTQ equality, immigration laws, and many other “minority issues”. You will notice I don’t use the word minority often, intentionally. When you say minority, you are NOT speaking to black issues specifically, please be clear on that if you leave with nothing else. Minorities include white women, women in general but I want to make sure you understand that white women are often included in that minority grouping. So, when funding is guaranteed to “minorities” who do you think is at the top of that minority list? I’ll wait.
Black Americans have been long time suffers of the crime slavery. My grandmother, who is still alive, her grandmother was a slave. So, see we aren’t that far removed from something that people want to seem like ancient history. My PARENTS were alive and witnessed many criminal acts against their friends and family during the civil rights movement. And today, my daughters are witnessing crimes against not only the generation of their parents but their own as well. We may not be confined to plantations but we are definitely still victims of the United States of America’s “justice” system.
What issues, specifically, should we be focusing on?
I can’t tell you what should be important to you but the things that I speak about to my friends and family are as follows:
1. Eliminating the wealth gap for Black Americans in this country through reparations.
What, Trese, there has to be more!
With wealth, we can fix our neighborhoods, the education system our children attend, the healthcare inequalities for our communities and so much more. This country is founded on the American Dream principle but many Black Americans are far from the stereotyped picket fence with 3.5 kids, living comfortably and nearly stress free. We can fix our justice system because we will have the money to back candidates of our choice. See your President is BOUGHT! Your Governor is BOUGHT! Your Mayor is BOUGHT! Paid for by citizens who can afford to lend to their campaigns. As we increase the wealth in our communities, we decrease all the negatives that are so commonly associated with it.
Thanks for attending my Trese Talk and remember, now is the time to be selfish. Black issues are IMPORTANT.
Love & Light,