I just got in from walking down the street to see a neighbor; we went to elementary school and high school together. I knocked on the door and while he wasn’t home I talked to his younger brother who I haven’t seen in years. I asked him, how was he doing and he responds with an, “I’m alright.”
“I’m alright” or “I’m okay” or “I’m maintaining” seems to come immediately after asking a Black person how they are doing. It’s as if we are never doing more than alright or okay. We are living at a level of mediocrity mixed with a system that doesn’t assist in our improvement. We can’t even go to the grocery store without seeing a story on how bad we have it as a Black person in America. The cover of Newsweek has a story from Joshua DuBois who was President Obama’s first director of the White House faith-based initiative, and is now an author, teacher, speaker, and CEO of Values Partnerships.
The story is entitled, The Fight For The Black Man is another story of what is so wrong with Black people. I get it we have issues. Deep-rooted issues that go further than this article or an article in Newsweek on a magazine stand. Talib Kweli says it best in his song, “Get By” everything we do is just to get by. The system was not meant for us and guess what? White people will never get it nor understand why we are so impoverished and honestly, the media and stories like the Newsweek cover will continue to perpetuate the same stereotypes and/or truths about Black people without offering any type of situation.
Some Black people have gotten so used to seeing their selves in one dimension that they are starting to believe that we all act in one accord. How many times have you been in a situation where you are the minority and others believe that you speak for all Black people? The normalcy of being Black in America has been shattered. According to an agenda pushed by the government, the media and the entertainment industry, all Black men are in jail, all Black women are ratchet and not too many of us are doing better than okay.
I lived in New York and the thing about living in New York is that on one single train ride you can see the disparity of all people. I traveled from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side daily and I saw White people strung out, Black people high and Hispanic people asking for money, in this economy we are all doing so-so and all the government can talk about is what to do with a woman’s body.
As Black folk we have to be each others sense of hope, we have to inspire on the level that a village raises a child. We have to be the hope that our youth sees because they are not going to turn on the television and see it. It’s a personal fight and it doesn’t need to be thrust in our faces on some magazine with another sob story. Yes, Oprah I am talking to you with the showing of the documentary, Dark Girls.
There was a sermon from a young preacher at my church in Brooklyn that stated that God uses all persons, we don’t have to reach a certain pinnacle to be used. God rode in to Calvary on a donkey. He should be using us everyday exactly how we are, we should not be waiting to be great to be used, and we can make a difference right now.
It’s about time that we build our self-esteem in spite of our situation; we are the capstone of this country. We have a hard fight but at the very least, we can be kind in spirit, slow to anger, quick to love and doing a hell of a lot better than alright or fine.
Writer and Fly Girl