Not too long ago…
I stopped at Starbucks before class to get some “wake-your-ass-up” fluid. I usually go through the drive-thru, but I decided to go inside and sit until class started. I think I may have had a test that day…so I might have been studying.
The Starbucks as down the street from campus, so just a couple of miles away, so of course there were a lot of students in there as well. I overheard this young Caucasian girl talking to her friend, a young Caucasian man, about their course for the semester. She mentioned taking a History class and how boring it was. The young guy couldn’t believe it. He was proclaiming his interest in history and all of the cool things you learn about and so on. She did not agree. However, she started to tell him about the most interesting thing she had learned so far in that class. “The Africans sold their own people.”
When she said it, she spoke the words with great pride. It sounded as if she was given a sense of relief that Africans did it to themselves, so…there…it’s their own fault! She kept talking in this way that I just cannot describe because at this point I was upset.
Here is the back-drop. I am in a newly developed rural area in Georgia. Just a week or so ago, not too far from this location there, there was a cross-burning in a young Black couples front yard. Yes…just a couple of weeks ago. So umm…just take a step back and think about what type of environment this is and the possibilities of the type of people who reside in this area. Should I be surprised at this conversation? No. I expect this type of talk and thinking, but not out loud! It’s 2013. But, I needed to remind myself of the reality around me.
So…as I sit there sipping my double-expresso, shaking in outrage, and trembling from the anticipation of what I am about to do next…I speak my words. I am usually very polite. There was no, “Excuse me” in this move. There was no subtleties. Only truth-speaking here. “That is not true!” “Even if it was true, our people had no idea what was in store and did not trade us under the conditions they were told.”
The young Caucasian guy, “That’s true.” As she rolls her eyes at me and begins to mumble something, I decide to turn away and drop it right there before I get lynched in 2013 for speaking out loud to a young Caucasian girl. To not be dramatic, I stayed and finished my coffee. I ignored any further words that came out of her little polluted mouth. I couldn’t focus though. I was ready to leave. I had so much adrenaline pumping through me I could have run to campus and not even have been tired. But I sat there. Appearing calm, until I finished my coffee.
There is a podcast called, ‘A Forgotten History: The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England’ on iTunes that I listen to and watch. I want to share i with the world. The one that directly relates to this conversation is called, ‘Did African slave traders enslave their own people?‘
Mis-education and His-story have crippled Black people beyond measure. Black people everywhere. But specifically here in the United States. EVEN TODAY! We just want be treated fairly. Some of us want to assimilate, some don’t. We want to just be. We have proven time and time again, that we are more than they sold us to be. We are strong, intelligent, innovate, creative, sensitive, compassionate, loving people. The list can continue. We can blend. We do blend. We do belong. People…we should never forget. Keep your history true to yourself. Some of us are still in environments where we have to be a little more conscious than others We have to remember exactly who we are, where we are, and where we came from. It is important to maintain perspective. Some of you are clueless. Ignorance is SOMETIMES bliss…and I hope the rest of your life remains that way so that you never have to endure the dual consciousness that most Black people (and I am sure other ethnicities go through this to some degree also) have to maintain (W.E. B. DuBois). It’s hard, it’s aggravating and annoying, it’s tiring…it’s extra. I hate it. But it’s real for me. And I have to keep it in perspective so when I encounter situations that are not making sense to me or that do not seem fair…I can re-analyze from my other level of consciousness and settle the thought.
Check out this Podcast and the rest in the series. Read more! Information is out there, ready and available to you…most of it for free.
Downside…if you are reading this in WordPress…the link does not work…sorry. You will have to take the time to get the Podcast on your own, if you are truly interested.
If you are reading this in Facebook…the link should work.